Presidential advisers get their personal lives hopelessly tangled up with professional duties as they try to conduct the business of running a country. Fictional Democratic President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet suffers no fools, and that policy alienates many. He and his dedicated staffers struggle to balance the needs of the country with the political realities of Washington, D.C., working through two presidential terms that include countless scandals, threats and political scuffles, as well as the race to succeed Bartlet as the leader of the free world. Written by
On the set of the series one day, Allison Janney was entertaining the cast and crew by lip-syncing to an obscure spoken jazz piece called "The Jackal", by Ronny Jordan. Aaron Sorkin liked it so much that he wrote it into the next episode of the show ("Six Meetings Before Lunch") as a ritual of C.J.'s. See more »
Secret Service code names for the First Family always begin with the same letter (for example, the Obama family code names are Renegade, Renaissance, Radiance, and Rosebud), which means that if President Bartlet's code name was Eagle, Zoey's would not have been Bookbag. Her code name would have begun with the letter E as well. See more »
[still new to the White House, Josh can't find his desk]
I'll just walk around some more and see if I can get into a pick-up meeting.
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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. See more »
This is the finest show ever produced for TV. Each episode is a triumph. The casting, the writing, the timing are all second to none. This cast performs miracles.
The secret to this show is that it is, at heart, a comedy, even when tragic things are happening. That gives Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff et al. the room to work. And do they ever.
It works because it is deep, the characters are well-drawn. Early in the first season, CJ gets a root canal and walks around for the rest of the episode with cotton stuffed in her mouth, yelling things like" The Pwesident must be bweefed!" This has to be seen to be believed. It had me literally on the floor, laughing until I feared I would hurt myself. I don't know how many shows have tried cheap stunts like that and they are just that, cheap. On "The West Wing" it works because we know CJ, we know how unlike her, and yet like her, that moment is. And Toby's slow-burn reaction is pitch perfect.
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