The West Wing (1999–2006)

TV Series   |  TV-14   |    |  Drama


Episode Guide
The West Wing (1999) Poster

Inside the lives of staffers in the West Wing of the White House.

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8.7/10
54,935

Photos

  • Teri Polo and Bonita Friedericy at an event for The West Wing (1999)
  • Bradley Whitford at an event for The West Wing (1999)
  • The West Wing (1999)
  • The West Wing (1999)
  • Bradley Whitford at an event for The West Wing (1999)
  • Allison Janney in The West Wing (1999)

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Cast & Crew

Top Series Cast



Creator:

Aaron Sorkin

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


21 April 2007 | Philby-3
9
| A series to savour
Now that the last episode has been shown in Australia, and having very much enjoyed the show despite seeing it out of order in several different countries, I'd like to make a few general comments. Thankfully the ABC showed series six and seven weekly in blocks of two episodes without commercials; thus the pleasure was undiluted.

1. Whatever inaccuracies there may have been in the depiction of White House procedure (apparently Clinton adviser Dick Morris was not impressed) and however impossibly smart everybody seemed, "West Wing" caught the essential flavour of politics, US style, where a squillion issues, some great, others trivial, all compete for attention in a complex legalistic and ponderous system.

2. There is a lot of emphasis on the trappings of the "imperial presidency"- flitting around the countryside in Air Force One at a cost of about $10,000 an hour, the amazing White House protocol for almost everything, the veneration of the public for the office. Louis XIV never had it so good. But then I was brought up in a country where until recently the Prime Minister's phone number was in the phone book and he used to walk the 800 metres to work. Of course the security measures don't require much justification in the land of guns for all.

3. President Jed Bartlet is indeed the liberal ideal (the show could well be called "Left Wing") but he is also a patriot, and to those of us who have to put up with the US heaving its weight around abroad this is a problem, not a matter for praise.

4. The "walking heads" delivering rapid-fire dialogue are off-putting at first, but do give the show pace; compare "Commander in Chief" which is leadenly slow (and otherwise dire) by comparison. It no doubt helps to know something about how the US political system works but generally there is enough information provided to at least follow the story.

5. The internal politics of the White House are downplayed; Bartlet's team are portrayed as uniformly bright, keen and loyal, both to the president and each other, and not interested in internecine conflict. Lucky Jed.

6. The acting from the main players is all that one could ask for – they emerge as real people, but then they get a lot of air time, sometimes with most of an episode to themselves. Some of the minor roles tended to be written and played as stereotypes. My favourite was Lily Tomlin as the Pres's secretary – she acted as if she could do his job herself, although Allison Janney as CJ ran a close second.

7. It must have been a fun series to create and we must thank Aaron Sorkin for the effort he made in developing this show from his "The American President" which was a piece of fluff by comparison. He got away with what must be about the talkiest show on television. Alas, things did tail off a bit after he left (after the fourth series) but the show had enough momentum to make it entertaining right to the end of Bartlet's second term, though the last few shows were rather limp.

Critic Reviews



Did You Know?

Trivia

The Oval Office set originally designed by Michael J. Taylor, was constructed for Dave (1993) and then subsequently used for The American President (1995), which was also written by Aaron Sorkin and included Martin Sheen, Joshua Malina, and Anna Deavere Smith in its cast. It was also used during the filming of Contact (1997), when the carpet, made by the original company, had to be replaced for twenty-eight thousand dollars.


Quotes

Leo McGarry: This guy's walkin' down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, "Hey you! Can you help me out?" The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. ...


Goofs

We see the inside of Josh's apartment several times throughout the series, but it's different every time we see it. The architectural style is the same, but the layout and the wall colors differ. We know that he hasn't moved because Donna notes in Season 7 that she has had a key for six years.


Crazy Credits

Episode titles are usually the first thing shown on screen (after recaps). This is one of the only American series to show episode titles before its opening credits.


Alternate Versions

The first airing of the episode "20 Hours in America" contained a scene between President Bartlet and the First Lady in which they good-naturedly tease each other, calling each other Medea and Jackass. This scene was not included in subsequent reruns because of commercial limitations and was also not included on the DVD.


Soundtracks

West Wing Main Title
(uncredited)
Written by
W.G. Snuffy Walden
Performed by Pete Anthony

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Drama

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