For the last episode of the year, we answer listener questions in our 2nd edition of The West Wing Weekly Big Block of Cheese Day. Thanks so much for listening to the show this year and giving us a great 2016 — apart from, well, everything else that happened.
Hrishi's West Wing cast list
Forget the popcorn, we got Ginger! Kim Webster joins us to talk about the fortuitous path that led her to the role. So affix your signature and seal, baby — <sexy music> — we're about to declare you extraordinary and plenipotentiary.
Plus, we're doing our FIRST EVER live taping. It's in San Francisco, on January 15, 2017, at the Sketchfest Comedy Festival. We'll be joined by friend (?) of the show, Bradley Whitford. GET TICKETS.
When we spoke to Emily Procter (episode 2.04), she told us a story about a lunch meeting she had with Tommy Schlamme that had an unexpected twist. We've been holding on to her story until this episode. You'll hear why. Plus, a lot of #TrumpAiYiYi.
(sung to the melody of "Carol of the Bells")
Hark! oh my gosh
Hrishi and Josh
Puns and intel
Tells us laymen
All that you see
Was her duty
She was the West Wing Set Decorator
And we’ll talk to Bradley Whitford later
When it’s just us
Things we discuss:
I got a job?
You got a job
Bush versus Gore
Flentls and more
Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!
Bradley Whitford won an Emmy with this
Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!
Epic flentl; you don't want to miss this.
At this extremely historic moment, we present a very unique episode. (Wow, that really is some terrible writing.) In this episode, we bone up on our Mars with help from NASA Systems Engineer Mallory Lefland, who is working on the Mars 2020 mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Freddie Mercury said it right.
The pressure is on as we discuss one of Hrishi's all-time favorite episodes. Will his feelings be spared by Josh, or will they be placed on the chopping block and pulled apart like a turkey's giblets and flentls?!
Introducing the TWWW University Sweatshirt! You can get one for yourself or for your favorite West Wing Weekly listener at thewestwingweekly.com/sweatshirt.
For "The Portland Trip," we try to slip the surly bonds of Earth. We are, in turns, lifted and dragged down by our feelings. In honor of Josh Lyman's conversation with Congressman Matt Skinner, we ask real-life former Wisconsin congressman Steve Gunderson what it was like to be the first openly gay Republican in Congress. And we're joined later by Pennsylvania Congressman Brendan Boyle (@RepBrendanBoyle), as well as the Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning (@SecArmy) — the first openly gay person to head any service in the U.S. Military.
How ya doin, Dalai Lama? In this episode, we're joined by steadicam operator Dave Chameides to talk about the complex choreography of the shooting a walk and talk. Plus, we get a visit from Kevin T. Porter (@KevinTPorter) to talk about his Sorkinisms supercut videos.
Sorkinisms: Part I, II, and III
Loosen your tie. Loosen whatever you'd like. But don't get it twisted: leaf peeping is totally a thing.
Ginger, get the popcorn, because we're joined by Emily Procter (@emilyprocter) to talk about her first appearance on the West Wing as Ainsley Hayes. Plus, for some context and perspective on the storyline about AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, we speak to Ambassador-at-Large Deborah L. Birx, the US Global Coordinator to Combat HIV/AIDS (@PEPFAR).
And introducing The West Wing Weekly t-shirt!
While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, it's in fact the weekly meeting of the West Wing TV Book Club. (The Ignorant Tight-Ass Club meets down the hall, on the right.)
In Part II of our double header, Bradley Whitford (@WhitfordBradley) makes his West Wing Weekly debut to talk about getting the role of Josh Lyman, and starting the season by getting shot. But first, we speak with Michael O'Neill, who played Special Agent Ron Butterfield. Plus, a few thoughts on Emily's List from its former executive director, Amy Dacey (@AmyKDacey).
"In the Shadow of Two Gunmen" was the Season 2 premiere of the West Wing. The two-part episode aired as a special 2-hour broadcast. In honor of that, here's our own two-part episode.
In Part I, we're joined by director and executive producer Thomas Schlamme, who created the visual language of The West Wing around Aaron Sorkin's words. We ask him about his directorial decisions for the show, and for this cinematic premiere. And we ask: what happened with Mandy?
West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin joins Josh and Hrishi for a special episode. Aaron reflects on the experience of making the first season of the West Wing while making the second season of Sports Night at the same time. We look back on the previous season, and look ahead to the upcoming one.
For the finale of season one: you get Hoynes. Tim Matheson (@Tim_Matheson) joins us as we reflect on what kind of season it has been. Plus, a little preview of what's next.
Josh and Hrishi are joined by Bill O'Brien to talk about his role as Kenny Thurman. This West Wing episode focuses on polling, so here's a poll question: do you approve or disapprove of the lack of Oxford comma in the title?
Kathleen "Bird" York (@birdyork) talks to us about playing Congresswoman Andrea Wyatt, and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson (@karenaboutgary), former CEO of The National Association of Drug Court Professionals and current mayor of Gary, Indiana, talks to us about mandatory minimums.
More at: thewestwingweekly.com/episodes/120
This episode of the West Wing represents the lowest point so far for the Bartlet team, but perhaps the highest point so far for the series. Josh and Hrishi are joined by The Honorable Patrick Murphy (@USAMurphy), Under Secretary of the Army. While he was a Congressman from Pennsylvania, Secretary Murphy helped overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
The Good: a conversation about reparations; the Bad: Mandy and pandas; and the Ugly: Josh and Sam dancing (?) to “The Jackal.” Plus, a few words from West Wing music supervisor Anne Kline (@theannkline).
If you don't like this episode, just be wrong. Just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong and get used to it. Plus, Hrishi brings back a field report from the Democratic National Convention, with thoughts on The West Wing from former DNC CEO Amy Dacey (@AmyKDacey), Senator Chris Coons of Delaware (@ChrisCoons), and Zeke Miller of TIME (@ZekeJMiller).
We live in Los Angeles, but no one has offered *us* a development deal. We're going to the wrong parties.
Former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (@JayCarney) joins Josh and Hrishi to discuss Josh Lyman's secret plan to fight inflation, and other ways press briefings can go horribly, horribly wrong.
Josh and Hrishi team up with the FiveThirtyEight Elections Podcast to discuss how polling is used in The West Wing, by looking at a few scenes from the show. This episode was recorded live at the Crest Theatre in Los Angeles. We talk about scenes from seasons 1–4, so there are spoilers throughout.
Like Toby in this episode, Josh and Hrishi go to shul to try and learn more about the death penalty and faith. They have a conversation with Rabbi Jonathan Spira-Savett. Plus, we email Aaron Sorkin to ask how Marlee Matlin came to be cast as Joey Lucas.
This episode of the West Wing deals with hate crimes, and our discussion comes close on the heels of the massacre in Orlando. So, we asked Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) about the current state of hate crime legislation. We also talk to Liza Weil (@liza_weil) about her role as Karen Larson, as well as the Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation (matthewshepard.org).