The West Wing Weekly

The West Wing Weekly

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An episode-by-episode discussion of The West Wing, one of television’s most beloved shows, co-hosted by one of its stars, Joshua Malina, along with Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder.

Episodes

3.20: The Black Vera Wang (with Mark Harmon)  

We’re joined by Mark Harmon to discuss all things Simon Donovan. Our interview with him spans the rest of Season 3, so if you're watching The West Wing for the first time, be warned that spoilers abound during that part of this episode. For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/320.

3.19: Enemies Foreign and Domestic  

A correction: Eli Attie's teacher, Mrs Morello, is alive. A reminder: Paxton Whitehead, who played Bernard, is also alive. Josh and Hrishi discuss Russians being played by non-Russians, Tom Lehrer, and the Sorkinism of having nothing to do. Plus, to accompany the story of the letter that gets sent to the President, we're thrilled to present one of our favorite episodes of 99% Invisible, “Ten Letters to the President.” It’s a perfect companion for this episode of The West Wing. Big thanks to Roman Mars (@romanmars) and the folks at Slate’s Working podcast for letting us share it with you.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/319

3.18: Documentary Special (with William Couturié)  

This week, Josh and Hrishi speak with the director of The West Wing Documentary Special episode.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/318.

3.17: Stirred (with Eli Attie and Fmr Deputy Labor Secretary Chris Lu)  

This week we're joined by Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44), who served as the White House Cabinet Secretary during the first term of the Obama administration and the Deputy Secretary of Labor during the second term. He gives us some real-world insight into Presidential Proclamations. Plus, we use the special West Wing Weekly Hotline to call Eli Attie (@EliAttie) to get the inside scoop on the writing of this episode.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/317.

3.16: The U.S. Poet Laureate (with Television Without Pity and David Wade)  

We’re joined by two of the co-founders of the website Television Without Pity, Tara Ariano (@TaraAriano) and Sarah D. Bunting (@TomatoNation), to discuss the lemonlyman.com plotline—inspired by Aaron Sorkin’s own posts on TWoP. We’re also joined by David Wade (@davideckelswade) who was national spokesman for then-Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign and who later served as Secretary Kerry’s chief of staff. We compare President Bartlet’s hot mic moment in this episode with a famous one from John Kerry when he was a candidate.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/316.

3.15: Dead Irish Writers (with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)  

In light of Donna's brief time as a Canadian in “Dead Irish Writers,” we’re honored to be joined this week by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau). (We know. We can't believe it either.) The PM discusses political idealism – both on- and off-screen – and gives us his thoughts on what The West Wing got right, his father's tenure as Prime Minister, how he feels about President Bartlet, and more. Plus, Josh and Hrishi talk about the parallels between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and The Troubles, and the value of overcoming your fear of public failure.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/315.

3.14: Hartsfield's Landing  

This week, our discussion ranges from chess and poker games, to code switching, to West Wing Weekly themed fart machines. All this, plus Josh, the master prankster, ranks the pranks in CJ and Charlie’s prank war. For more, visit thewestwingwekly.com/314.

3.13: Night Five  

To get some real-world insight into the Sam/Ainsley/Celia scene in Night Five, we invited three West Wing Weekly listeners – Amy Carlson, Jamie Lynn Crofts, and Debora Verdier, employment attorneys in three different states, representing both plaintiffs and defendants – to give us their perspective in a panel discussion. It's our episode, it's about to become your episode, and we sleep…ehh, ok, not that well.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/313

3.12: The Two Bartlets (with Blanche Sindelar)  

President Bartlet and his father; CJ and her father; Bob Engler and his father…this episode is the Dada of Dada issues. And Josh and Hrishi talk to Blanche Sindelar, the property master for all seven seasons of The West Wing — the keeper of Gail’s fishbowl.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/312.

3.11: 100,000 Airplanes (with Dr. Leo Mascarenhas)  

This week, we’re joined by Dr Leo Mascarenhas, the Deputy Director of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and the Section Head of Oncology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, to discuss the cancer crusade that President Bartlet wanted for the State of the Union. Hey, Toby, how many words are in this description? (56.)

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/311.

3.10: H. Con-172  

Is Cliff Calley actually a good guy? Hrishi thinks it’s obvious. Josh thinks he’s not so great. Meet us in the Georgetown Law Library so we can discuss. For more, go to thewestwingweekly.com/310.

3.09: Bartlet for America (with John Spencer)  

To accompany our discussion of "Bartlet for America," we're thrilled to present an interview with John Spencer, who won an Emmy for his performance. We talk to David Daniel (@CNNLADavid), who is a senior producer at CNN Newsource. He interviewed John Spencer in 2002, just before the Emmy awards, about The West Wing pilot, "Bartlet for America," addiction, and more. We're so lucky to have gotten David's original raw tape from that day, which we used to put this segment together. For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/309.

3.08: The Women of Qumar (with Allison Janney, Fmr UN Ambassador Sarah Mendelson, and Tim Ballard)  

This week's episode gets a bit dark, as does our discussion of it. We're honored to have three amazing guests. We learn more about the realities of trafficking with former UN Ambassador Sarah Mendelson (@SarahMendelson) as well as with Tim Ballard (@TimBBallard), the founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad (@OURRescue). And the brilliant but elusive Allison Janney (@AllisonBJanney) finally — finally! — makes her West Wing Weekly debut. For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/308.

3.07: The Indians in the Lobby (with W.G. Snuffy Walden)  

Thanksgiving! Native Americans! Turkey! Foodborne illness! Hrishi's dad! All this, plus we present the recording of our live interview with Emmy-winning West Wing composer Snuffy Walden (@snuffywalden). For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/307.

3.06: Gone Quiet  

Our discussion of this episode takes many a twist and turn: from the NEA to JFK, from Star Trek to Eddie Murphy. Plus, Toby's confession that he is no fan of musicals leads us to the next chapter of "Hrishi Hruins a Musical." For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/306.

3.05: War Crimes (with Fmr. UN Ambassador David Pressman)  

David Pressman is the former US Ambassador to the United Nations and was the first-ever Director for War Crimes and Atrocities on the National Security Council at the White House, and we're thrilled to have him on the podcast to discuss the "War Crimes" episode with us. Plus, Josh and Hrishi get into it over Toby's "we're a team" speech. For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/305.

3.04: On The Day Before (with Janel Moloney)  

For this episode, we're joined once again by Janel Moloney (@NellyMoloney), who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Emmy in part for her performance in this episode. Alas, she did not help us learn to tie a proper bow tie. (At the end of the podcast episode, you want to be able to pull it open, like Tony Bennett.)

http://thewestwingweekly.com/304

3.03: Ways and Means (with Eli Attie)  

We’re joined again by our friend Eli Attie, the former speechwriter to Al Gore who went on to join The West Wing in Season 3. Eli has a ‘story by’ credit on “Ways and Means”, and we dig into what that really means. Plus, we talk about the importance and danger that stage directions can provide actors and politicians.

Take a listen, you won’t be . . . DISAPPOINTED!!!!

thewestwingweekly.com/303

3.02: Manchester, Part II (with Connie Britton)  

Josh and Hrishi are joined by Connie Britton (@conniebritton) to discuss the second half of the Season 3 premiere. I made a joke about Freudian slips in the show notes for Part I (“Josh and Hrishi try to sort their way through it all without making any Freudian slips while talking to each mother”), but it really should have gone here, in Part II. Sorry about that. My dad. I mean, my bad.

thewestwingweekly.com/episodes/302

3.01: Manchester, Part I  

The Season Three premiere has a dense script, and an enormous production to match. Josh and Hrishi try to sort their way through it all without making any Freudian slips while talking to each mother. 

thewestwingweekly.com/episodes/301

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