|701 The Ticket||712 Duck And Cover|
|702 The Mommy Problem||713 The Cold|
|703 Message of the Week||714 Two Weeks Out|
|704 Mr. Frost||715 Welcome to Wherever You Are|
|705 Here Today||716 Election Day (1)|
|706 The Al Smith Dinner||717 Election Day (2)|
|707 The Debate||718 Requiem|
|708 Undecideds||719 Transition|
|709 The Wedding||720 The Last Hurrah|
|710 Running Mates||721 Insititutional Memory|
|711 Internal Displacement||722 Tomorrow|
# THE TICKET
Santos Staffer: "How's
Josh: "It exists and that's a start."
Santos: "Where's my
Josh: "You don't have an office. You're never going to set foot inside this building again."
Josh (to Santos): "There's
a bathroom up there."
Helen: "Don't you think you're micromanaging?"
Josh: "He went."
"Leo, we don't want
to give the impression you're iffy on your candidate's name."
- Annabeth, explaining the proper pronunciation of "Santos"
"If you don't like
what they're asking you don't accept the premise of the question."
- Annabeth, explaining Leo's rules for handling the press to Leo
Toby: "He doesn't think
the AG's objective."
Bartlet: "The AG hates us. We hate him. It doesn't get more objective that that."
Donna: "The Russell
campaign gave me some wonderful opportunities... Let me get through this.
It's one of the more awkward moments of a lifetime."
Josh: "I can't do this."
Donna: "I'm good is the point. I'm as surprised as you are and rumor has it, you could use a deputy."
Donna: "You hummed
'These Boots Are Made For Walking' everytime the press mentioned his name!"
Josh: "Yeah, but I won."
Josh (to Donna): "I've got an airplane hanger out that filled with 500 strangers looking to me for direction. I've got a candidate who doesn't trust any of them. And frankly neither do I. And if you don't think I miss you every day..."
Santos: "The Congressman
doesn't like that idea very much."
Josh: "It's one of those close your eyes and think of England moments."
Joey (about Santos): "Women love him, men want to have a beer with him. It's just not clear that it would occir to anybody to vote for him."
Santos (to Leo): "Americans think you're the chaperone and I'm running for Prom King."
Santos (to Leo): "You're here because you know how to run a country."
[Three Years in the
Bartlet: "Abbey wants a picture of the baby."
Danny: "I thought we emailed you one?"
Will: "Mr. President."
# THE MOMMY PROBLEM
Santos: "Tell the Secret Service if they put 40 electoral votes on the table I'll do whatever they want."
Josh: "People think campaigns are about two competing answers to the same question. They're not. They're a fight over the question itself."
Josh: "When voters want a national Daddy, someone to be tough and strong and defend the country, they vote Republican. When they want a Mommy to give them jobs, healthcare... they vote Democrat."
Staffer: "Did you do
this on the Bartlet campaign?"
Josh: "No, Toby Ziegler. A few more nights like this and we can go hairline-to-hairline."
Carol: "Toby, there
are three reporters camped outside your office."
Toby: "That's why I'm nowhere near my office."
Toby: "Good men with good reasons shouldn't set precedents for bad men with bad reasons."
Josh: "I delegate plenty."
Joey: "Name one thing you've delegated."
Josh: "I would never have chosen this paint color."
Joey: "You have to hire some heavy weights... You don't have a political director, you don't have a chief speech writer. You don't even have a communications director.... There must be 300 people on staff now, surely a few of them are capable of—"
Josh: "Look. These are kids. Not a single one of these non-shavers would challenge my assumptions, stand up to me in a meeting—"
Staffer: "When was
the last time you went on a date?"
Josh: "I won't talk about it."
"We're talking about
the future of civilization."
- Josh, trying to persuade Lou to join the team
"Oh, let me introduce
myself. I'm the problem."
- Josh, rattled by Lou
"It's Christmas already.
Deck the halls with guns and ammo!"
- Josh, finding out about Santos's reserve training
# MESSAGE OF THE WEEK
Bruno: "First one to go negative is a show of weakness."
Vinick: "I want to knock him off message without ever mentioning his name."
# MR. FROST
Bartlet: "Has the speaker
called back yet?"
Debbie: "No sir. I think he's onto the fact that you're inviting him to a funeral where there's a 50-50 chance he'll wind up dead."
"I believe in God and
I like to think that He's intelligent."
- Santos, ducking a question on 'Intelligent Design'
Josh: "Time for us
Lou: "The school?"
Josh: "The state."
Leo: "Remind him to stay off the Old Testament".
Santos: "We are in the information age but we have a school system that is practically a relic of the agrarian age."
"I think it would be
fairly difficult to teach geology, anthropology and zoology without evolution...
Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. It's a religious belief
and our constitution does not allow for the teaching of religion in our
public schools... Evolution is not perfect, It doesn't answer every question
but it is based on scientific facts. Facts that can be predicted, tested
and proven. Intelligent Design asks theological questions... can't we agree
that the inclusion of non-scientific explanations into the science curriculum
of our schools misrepresents the nature of science and therefore compromises
the central purpose of our public education which is the preparation of
a scientifically literate work force?"
- Santos, answering the question
"The framers of our
Constitution believed that if the people were to be sovereign and belong
to different religions at the same time then our official religion would
have to be no religion at all. It was a bold experiment then as it is now.
It wasn't meant to make us comfortable, it was meant to make us free."
# HERE TODAY
Helen: "I thought you
liked it when I got loud?"
Santos: "In this, as in all things, context is the key."
Babish: "You're in some trouble. And I'm personally truly sorry about that.... Unfortunately, at the moment, that is of incidental concern in my capacity as White House Counsel. You've put this administration into some difficulty. So, my immediate professional concern is whether you put the President into jeopardy as well."
Waterman: "You have
to listen to me now. If you were truly the only one involved—"
Toby: "I was."
Waterman: "Well, then that's unfortunate because it means that you have no bigger fish to turn over to the prosecutor which is what he and the Congress will be looking for and obviously would have been the best and fastest way to make a deal."
Toby: "I don't care about that."
Waterman: "Well, it's my job to. And we're not starting with a lot of bargaining chips and we have less every time you open your mouth."
Toby: "I'm not looking to cut a deal."
Toby (to Waterman): "You really earned your fee today. That was the first time he said please."
Bartlet: "Is it possible to be astonished and, yet at the same time, not surprised?"
Bartlet: "I can't accept your resignation. I have to fire you."
# THE AL SMITH DINNER
"I don't really feel comfortable working
in Toby's old office."
"Think of it as the Communications Director's office."
"I can't help thinking of it as a federal crime scene."
- Will and CJ
"They counted the number of questions I was
asked this morning because I didn't answer one of them."
"You thought we were going to get good coverage this week?"
"Forty-seven, by the way; career high."
"You have to let the press punch themselves out."
"You're talking to the punching bag. My job is to look like I'm not completely ignorant. Counsel won't even brief me on the details of Toby's firing."
"I asked them not to."
"Don't you want me to have a shred of credibility in the briefing room?"
"Your ignorance is your credibility. That's why I put you in this job."
- Will and CJ
"Follow your instincts."
"My instincts say to curl up in a ball in the corner of my office."
"Then follow your job description."
- CJ and Will
"She's hitting me from the left and from
the right.... telling the right I'm pro-abortion, telling the left I'm
a captive of the religious nuts."
- Vinick, watching Donna's speech
"If this were Europe the Republican party
would be three parties."
- Vinick, on the difficulties of keeping all his party onside
"The minute the Santos campaign runs its
first negative ad we run a hundred of ours."
"Years, I've been looking forward to this campaign. I never imagined it would look like this."
"It willl look better after you win."
"You don't have to be so happy about this."
"You don't have to be so queasy about it."
- Josh and Lou, as the campaign threatens to go negative
"I don't know what the problem is between
you two, but she's great on television and I don't care if she worked for
Francisco Franco in the primary, right now it's all hands on deck. So,
work it out."
- Lou, trying to reconcile Josh and Donna
"We're the pro-choice party, you gotta' dance
with the one who brung ya."
- Leo, to Santos
# THE DEBATE
jobs. Business creates jobs. The President's job is to get out of the way."
"Do you want a President who will get out of their way when corrupt executives are plundering a company like Enron?"
- Vinick and Santos
"I know you like to
use that word 'liberal' as if it were a crime."
"No. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have used that word. I know Democrats think liberal is a bad word. So bad you had to change it. What do you call yourselves now, progressives? Is that it?"
"It's true. Republicans have tried to turn liberal into a bad word. Well, liberals ended slavery in this country."
"A Republican President ended slavery."
"Yes, a liberal Republican, Senator. What happened to them?
- Santos and Vinick
"I think we should
forget about more gun control. What we need is bullet control. That's right.
There are at least 100— 200 million guns in this country. I own three of
them We cannot control the supply of guns in this country but we can control
the supply of ammunition. Buying bullets should not be easier than buying
a plane ticket. We should license the purchase of handgun ammunition. There
should be a clear, ID record of every handgun ammo purchase. We're in the
21st Century, homicide detectives should be able to trace every fired bullet
back to the buyer in minutes."
"I don't trust politicians
to choose the right new energy sources. I believe in the free market. You
know, the government didn't switch us from whale oil to the oil found under
the ground. The market did that. And the government didn't make the Prius,
the hottest selling car in Hollywood. That was the market that did that.
In L.A. now, the coolest thing you can drive is a hybrid. Well, if that's
what the free market can do in the most car-crazed culture on Earth, then
I trust the free market to solve our energy problems. You know, you know,
the market can change the way we think. It can change what we want. Government
can't do that. That's why the market has always been a better problem-solver
than government and it always will be."
"First of all, I want
to thank Matt for agreeing to drop the rules tonight and let us have a
real debate. And what you've heard, over and above the many important policy
differences, were different philosophies of government. I believe both
of us want what's best for this country, we just have different ideas about
how to go about it. I think it's fair to say that Matt has more confidence
in government than I do. I have more confidence in freedom — your freedom;
your freedom to choose your child's school, your freedom to choose the
car or truck that's right for you and your family, your freedom to spend
or save your hard-earned money instead of having the government spend it
- Vinick, from his closing statement
"All of us, Democrats
and Republicans, Independents, Liberals, Conservatives, we all want a government
that we can believe in. We all want a government that doesn't make false
promises, a government that doesn't overreach, doesn't take on more than
it can handle; an efficient, effective, honest government. That's what
the Founding Fathers created. That's what they wanted for us. Now the choice
in this election comes down to this: do we want more government or do we
want to get control of government. To govern is to choose and the choices
are never easy. There are lobbies out there that will fight you on every
choice you make. They're ready to call you names the second you make a
choice they don't like. You heard that heckler go after me tonight. You
have to be tough to stand up to that. But being tough won't help you make
the right choice. That takes experience and mature judgment. That's what
the Presidency needs now more than ever. And that's why I ask you to give
me your vote: so that I can give you the government you were promised by
the Founding Fathers. Thank you, very much."
- Vinick, from his closing statement
# THE UNDECIDEDS
Staffer: "We need 90% of black voters. We've got 81%. 12% of African-Americans are undecided in this race. The black vote's never had undecideds, but they're willing to hang back and weigh their options because they don't hate Vinick and they're not sure they like the whole idea of Santos. This is not a small problem."
Santos: "You know, I find myself on days like this casting about for someone to blame. I blame the kid, he stole a car. I blame the parents. Why couldn't they teach him better. I blame the cop, did he need to fire. I blame every one I can think of and I am filled with rage. And then I try and find compassion. Compassion for the people I blame. Compassion for the people I do not understand, compassion. It doesn't always work so well."
# THE WEDDING
Josh: "We're pulling
out of Washington."
CJ: "Wow! Things that tight?"
Josh: "Welcome to my world... Is that Kazakhstan?"
CJ: "Probably. You want to trade?"
Josh: "Dignatory bingo?"
CJ:" Find the Mexican Ambassador and you're all set."
Donna: "Josh, I'm bored. I'm an attractive woman waiting to be entertained."
Leo (to Santos): "Josh has taken you as far as he can. Now it's up to you."
# RUNNING MATES
"I haven't spoken to
a friend in two months."
"I don't think I have any friends left."
"All my friends are in this room."
- some answers to Josh's question about leaks to friends
"I can assure you:
Armageddon not necessarily imminent."
"May I communicate same to the White House press?"
- Kate and Will
# DUCK AND COVER
"Censorship is like
saying I can't eat a steak because a baby can't chew it."
- Santos, at 'Rock the Vote'
"The President wants
to make a statement in the next few minutes."
"Whatever we can come up with in the next few minutes."
- CJ and Will
"Big night for you?"
"It's always morning somewhere."
- Bartlet and Kate, monitoring the global situation
"We're in a great big
glass house, we don't throw the first stone."
- Bruno Gianelli
"Risk is everywhere."
# THE COLD
"We'll get better at
"One can only hope."
- Will and Kate, not coping well
"About this morning.
It was... inappropriate. Totally inappropriate. I feel terrible."
"Don't worry about it."
"Seriously. It was bound to happen sometime."
- Josh and Donna, coping even worse
"Only time they request
meetings without the staff is when the meeting's about the staff."
- Sheila, as the RNC arrive
fought a war in the cold for quite some time. What will they wear?"
- Bartlet, worrying about the weather in Kazakhstan
"One of your will inherit
this pinata. I thought you should know what's on the table."
- Bartlet, to Vinick and Santos
"We're placing ourselves
on an oil field between two nuclear powers. Alone."
"What's your exit strategy?"
"I don't have one... These armies are marching towards each other and somebody has to stand in the middle. Unfortunately, it has to be us."
- Santos and Bartlet
"She forgot her key.
- A staffer foils Donna's subtle plan
# TWO WEEKS OUT
"Every voter you get
me in Alabama costs me two in California."
- Vinick to Jane
"You know what I really
hate about Jane? She's not always wrong."
"I don't want you to
"I have a reputation to protect."
"Better than loser."
"Then don't lose."
- Vinick and Jane
"I don't have a 50-state
strategy anymore, I have a one-state strategy. California is the one state
that has everything: big cities, small towns, mountains, deserts, farms,
factories, fishermen, surfers, all races, all religions, gay, straight,
everything this country has. there's more real america in california than
anywhere else. If I can win California I can win the country."
"That's a nice speech just don't say it into any microphones. Because everyone else in the 49 other states thinks that California is a giant psycho ward."
- Vinick and Jane, discussing strategy
"He just might have
a better feel for Californian politics than we do."
- Bruno to Jane, watching the Senator in action
"When in doubt do the
right thing — the rest of the time get away with whatever you can."
- Vinick, with an old aphorism
"Don't tell anyone,
but I respect the voter. That's how I win."
# ELECTION DAY (1)
"Everybody meeds to
relax — except you. Bartender needs your credit card."
- Lou, to Josh, as the staff unwind before election night
"How did I miss that?
...Did you know that?"
"About Ronna and Cindy?"
"Any of them?"
"All of them."
- Josh and Donna, catching up on staff pairings
"Welcome to the club!"
"No one can sleep."
- Donna is surprised by the number of people in Josh's hotel room
"I was feeling better
today then I spoke to a man who didn't even know it was election day."
- Lou, failing to unwind
"I love Foo Fighters!
...these guys have voted, right?"
- Josh, trying and failing to unwind
"I'm not like you.
I don't live and die with the Democratic Party."
- Kate to Will
"Where are you in your
head? Where'd you go?"
- Helen Santos, with a penny for her husband's thoughts
"What are they lying
about? What they care for or who they voted for?"
- Josh, trying to make sense of the exit polls
# ELECTION DAY (2)
"We won. We lost. We
need a good laywer."
- Josh, on the possible outcomes
"I know he was your
friend. He was my friend too. But we can't be sentimental about this or
we will have a Republican president who will gut education... and cut taxes
until we are bleeding red ink. And when Leo wakes up, he will kick your
ass for letting that happen. You know he will."
- Lou to Josh
"The Chicago native
played a role in shaping every presidential election of the past quarter-century."
- News report
"We have to be very
careful. We could create a backlash for ourselves."
"How about creating a conscience for ourselves?"
- Sheila and Vinick
"It's hard to reassure
without your reassurance."
- Republican staffer on the effect of Leo's death
"I'm not much for making
the trains run on time. I like the gladitorial arena. Two candidates whacking
away at each other with huge ad buys."
- Bob, explaining why he prefers electioneering to governing
"You need him back?"
"I need Josh to be wherever he needs to be."
- Helen and Santos
"I talked him into
this, into joining the ticket."
"Nobody ever talked Leo into doing anything he didn't want to do. And he's want you upstairs. Not down here. You belong up there. It's your night. He was so proud of you, Josh."
- Donna and Josh
"Are they playing it
as a defeat for the First Family?"
"I think they're playing it as a victory for their congressional district."
- Josh and Bram, after the President's son-in-law is defeated
"If I didn't know what
he said why would I tell you to ignore it?"
- Lou to Bram, overruling Santos
"Did we even campaign
- Santos, worrying about the crucial state
"Arnie Vinick made
this a better campaign and he's made this a better country for all of us."
- Santos's speech
- Josh, at the end of a long night
"I'll walk with you.
I don't think a picture of you and me makes the front page of the New York
- Charlie to Toby
"This is the bill that
lets us pass every other bill."
- Santos, arguing for lobby reform
"All hail the conquering
- Bartlett salutes Santos and Josh
"If only men voted
Democrats would never win an election."
- Amy, pushing for a female VP
"Leo never wanted to
go anywhere he couldn't see his car."
"I was supposed to
be doing this with Leo."
- Josh, worrying about the future
"It's up to you now."
- Bartlet to Josh
"I voted for the other
"Yeah, a lot of people did."
- Josh gets a talkative cabbie
"This guy's the real
"You said that last time."
"Yeah, and look how right I was."
- Josh, trying to persuade Sam to come back into the fold
"What's to think about?
"For one thing whether I want to end up looking like you."
"It's the hairline isn't it?"
"It's routed, like Napoleon out of Moscow."
- Josh and Sam
"We're gonna leave
with some class."
- Bartlet, planning a smooth transition
"Any thoughts on my
position within the Santos administration?"
"Yeah, you're on the shortlist for VP."
- Josh fobs off Otto
"Whatever the buildup,
it's all happened amid absurdly heightened emotional circumstances. The
election. Leo's death. There's been no moment to so much as take a breath,
much less figure any of this out. And now this roller coaster's plunging
into the transition, with its time-pressure demands and then the inauguration
and it's hit the ground running and the first hundred days, and before
you know it, the midterms and the new Congress and then we're running again
and four years becomes eight, and we've never had the talk. And you can
lose that look of panic in your eyes, we're not going to have it now; we
don't ever have to have it. But there's a window. I'd say four weeks. If
we can't get it together in that time to figure out what we want from each
other, then clearly, it's not worth the trouble."
- Donna, to Josh
"Did you just ma'am
"Yes I seem to have."
- Helen and Donna, adjusting to life as a First Lady
"Time for a little
"Not even for a surgical strike."
"I had in mind more of shock and awe."
"Oh, yeah? After 15 years of marriage I'd be shocked if you were awed."
- Helen and Matt Santos
"Josh seem all right
"Uh, a little tired."
"He looks like a zombie."
"He may be going through a bit of an undead phase... he's just amped up to a particular peak of Joshness."
- Santos and Donna
"Just to complete my
tour of sports metaphors..."
- Josh, finishing an interview
"You don't care about
"Scorekeeping, quantative evidence that I'm smarter."
- Josh and Lou
"I may have forgotten
about the hours..."
- Sam settles back in
"I won't stay unless
- Sam despatches Josh on a holiday
"It was a great idea,
sir, to exploit the inherent awkwardness of the transition this way."
"Use it to play a little geo-political good-cop — bad-cop. But you know your going to make some really loud saber-rattling if we're going to pull this off.... Let's hope you can scare the hell out of them."
- President Elect Santos and President Bartlet
"May I just say, a
truly excellent notion?"
"The vacation. Going-with-you part was all me."
- Donna and Josh, jetsetting away
# THE LAST HURRAH
"He won't be able to
afford the Republican lifestyle her deserves."
- A friend, after urging Vinick to take a high-paying corporate job
"So our neighbours
are to be prisoners in their own house?"
"They'll be living on the safest street in Houston."
- Helen Santos, working our security arrangements
"Pretty simple. We
love Nevada by 70,000 votes because of the nuclear accident."
- Bob, explaining the exit polls, and the election outcome, to Vinick
"I wanna talk to Arnold
"I should have started
lying about my age a long time ago."
# INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY
"No is a perfectly
- Danny, trying to get CJ out for a daylight date
"Where's your transition
- CJ and Will
"We shouldn't go in
together. It would not look cool."
"What was the last thing you did that looked cool?"
- Kate and Will
"I'm starting a foundation
'cause if I hold onto all this money, I start to look impolite. I want
to find a single problem I can attack. Something which might actually have
some kind of substantial effect. Maybe I should be fighting AIDS in Africa.
Or maybe it's malaria. Could be clean air or election reform. I don't know.
But my sense is that you would have a unique perspective on what that could
be and how to make it happen."
"A single problem."
"It's a complicated question."
- Franklin Hollis makes CJ an offer
is an invaluable commodity..."
- Santos, making CJ another offer
"You've been here two
years, it looks different from the far side of eight."
- CJ to Kate
"I'm not moving to
"I'm not moving to Oregon either!"
- Kate and Will
"You're not the busiest
girl in America anymore."
- Danny to CJ
"We don't have that
kind of relationship, yet."
"Apparently.... We keep shoving the conversation downstream. At some point you have to choose to have a relationship, but you don't even see me in the picture, do you?"
- CJ and Danny
"Thank you. That's
- Danny, responding to CJ's silence
"It's not a gift, I need a drink."
- CJ hands Toby a bottle of wine
"I read the Constitution
— I think I found a typo... There's an inconsistant comma... It changes
the meaning of the takings clause."
- Toby, explaining what he's been doing in his spare time
"I think you don't
know why you came here. You're a woman with a lot of options. You're acting
like the world's backing you into a corner."
- Toby to CJ
"I don't need training!"
"We'll call it something else, that sounds bad."
- CJ and Danny, working on their relationship
"I want us to talk
like we're gonna figure it out together. I want us to talk."
- Danny to CJ
"You enjoy being a
human piñata on C-Span?"
"You never know what you've got until it's gone."
- Charlie and Will
"You do realise that
you turn into a pumpkin at noon? ...53 minutes."
- Debbie, to President Bartlet on Inaugruation Day
"Ever stop thinking
of this as Leo's office?"
- Josh to CJ
"What would Leo do."
- CJ's handover note to Josh
"Your most frequent
response to any question will be no. Just say it with empathy and you'll
- Debbie, passing on some advice to Ronna
Bartlet for America.
- Leo's framed gift to Jed
# BEYOND THE SHOW
Now in its seventh
season, "The West Wing" lost much of its original magic when its creator,
Aaron Sorkin, left and took the series' screwball comedy wit and intellectual
sophistication with him. The show still has banter and worldly references,
but at its height in its first few seasons, even tiny bits of dialogue
were three-dimensional, providing a joke, a subplot and a policy point
all at once. Mr. Sorkin's successors do not think and talk as fast as he
did, and neither do the series' characters. "West Wing" aides retain their
idealism, however, a sense of civic purpose and honor that is made palatable
with wisecracks and personal pratfalls.
- Alessandra Stanley, "The New York Times"
It's a very short list
of dramas that have been at the top of their game creatively, fallen into
a fallow period marked by fans watching more from habit and gilded memory
than actual merit, then returnedto glory. "The West Wing," against all
odds, overcame itself after the departure of creator and main writer Aaron
Sorkin, the wonder boy of smart TV dramas. It never quite reached the heights
of the Sorkin era, but the presidential drama fought through shoddy writing,
ill-advised character evolutions and a reactionary political climate to
creatively salvage the final two seasons. Though it won Emmys against series
it probably shouldn't have beaten ("The Sopranos" for starters), "The West
Wing" at its finest represented intelligent and passionate network television.
It raised the standard on smarts. And it did that after defying the odds
-- no programmer wanted to touch a political drama. Sorkin brought together
viewers who may have had diverse political opinions. He gave the battered
office of the presidency an aura of respect and gravitas; he made politics
seem important and noble until, well, he couldn't any longer as the national
political mood fractured. When it wasn't being pompous or preachy, "The
West Wing" gave people the kind of leadership they dreamed of (it was on
during both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush years). It would later
plunge, without Sorkin, into a bad soap opera in which characters changed
for no reason and plots became ludicrous. But, it rallied against lame-duck
status and found a new kind of respect in the end.
- Tim Goodman, "SF Chronicle"
While British TV usually
depicted politics as a trade for the stupid, venal or evil - think Yes,
Minister, the New Statesman or House of Cards — the West Wing insisted
that politics was a noble calling. The players might not be glamorous —
a fact that always made Rob Lowe an odd fit in the early seasons — but
they were sincere, witty and uncannily smart. But the show always meant
most to those who had lived through or followed American politics in the
1990s. For the West Wing was not just a TV drama. It was a very specific
fantasy: the Clinton presidency as it should have been. Week after week,
Jed Bartlet would face dilemmas that had confronted Bill Clinton. But while
the real-life leader had dodged or fudged, pandered or failed, Bartlet
always did the right thing. The West Wing became a kind of White House
in exile, with ex-Clinton staffers all working on the show. In the Bush
era, they kept the old flame alive.
- Jonathan Freedland, "The Guardian"
In yesterday's papers,
it was claimed that the "sleepover" episode of The West Wing - in which
the Republicans are tricked into calling an important vote on the basis
that there aren't many Democrats around (when in fact the Democrats are
hiding out in an empty office) - provided direct inspiration for this week's
"rebellion by stealth", which included an "under the radar" Tory whipping
operation, against the government's religious hatred bill.
- Mark Lawson, after Tony Blair suffers a parliamentary defeat, "The Guardian"
In "The West Wing"
...the frantically energetic inhabitants speak modern American English
in its highest state of colloquial eloquence.
- Clive James, "The Meaning of Recognition"
"Not only did The West
Wing have that sort of zeitgeist, pop-culture explosion which happens from
time to time, what was really rare was that it also had the credibility,
the smartness and the seriousness underneath it, which most shows that
have a zeitgeist appeal don’t have. I can’t think of another one like it.
It’s like Ken Burns’s The Civil War, but on the cover of Entertainment
Weekly. You’re lucky if you have one or the other, but to get them both."
- Rob Lowe, interviewed in Britian's "Sunday Times" (2005)
"I'm always better
depending on who I'm dancing with, and these are the best partners I've
- The late John Spencer, accepting award for Best Ensemble Cast at 2002 SAG Awards
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