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The West Wing Weekly

The West Wing Weekly

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.

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6.22: 2162 Votes (Live with Mary McCormack and Lawrence O'Donnell)

We wrap up Season 6 with a live taping from Washington, DC, joined by special guests Mary McCormack (@marycmccormack) and Lawrence O?Donnell (@lawrence). Cue the balloons! Go balloons! Uhhh, where are the balloons?!

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/622

2019-06-19
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6.21: Things Fall Apart (with Jennifer Palmieri)

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the DNC,
The delegate tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of democracy is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. 
With special guest, Jennifer Palmieri.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/621

2019-06-12
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6.20: In God We Trust (with Alan Alda and Rev. Katey Zeh)

The legendary Alan Alda joins us this week to discuss Arnie Vinick, the Constitution, and eating ice cream. Plus, we speak to Reverend Katey Zeh, the executive director of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/620

2019-06-05
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6.19: Ninety Miles Away

"Ninety Miles Away" really takes us somewhere, and we're not talking about Cuba. Josh and Hrishi try to navigate their way through wigs, termites, and Hemingway.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/619

2019-05-29
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0.13: Graphic Design for President! (with Michael Bierut and Leslie Wah)

When you?re running for President, how you present yourself to the public is crucial. The West Wing often underscored that it?s not just what one says, it?s how one says it. So in this special episode, we look at what goes into designing a Presidential campaign ? both fictional, and non-fictional. Michael Bierut designed Hillary Clinton?s ubiquitous 'H' logo, and Leslie Wah designed the logos and signage for all of the West Wing candidates in Season 6. This might be the nerdiest episode of the West Wing Weekly yet!

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/013

2019-05-22
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6.18: La Palabra (with Eli Attie and Angelica Salas of CHIRLA)

Eli Attie joins us again to talk about his third episode in the trilogy of Santos campaign episodes that he wrote for Season 6. We also hear from Angelica Salas of CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights) on the real story behind California?s fight over driver?s licenses for undocumented immigrants.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/618

2019-05-15
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6.17: A Good Day (with Richard Schiff)

Richard Schiff returns as our guest this week to tell us about his experience directing "A Good Day."

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/617

2019-05-08
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6.16: Drought Conditions (with Debora Cahn and Richard Schiff)

This week, we?re joined by Debora Cahn, to talk about her script for "Drought Conditions," and by Richard Schiff, to talk about his heartbreaking performance in it.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/616

2019-05-01
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0.12: How Barack Obama Shaped Matthew Santos (with David Axelrod and Eli Attie)

"Tell me about Barack Obama." That's what Eli Attie said to David Axelrod in 2004, while searching for inspiration to help flesh out the character of Congressman Matthew Santos. In this episode, we talk to both of them to find out what Eli learned and how it shaped the sixth season. And David Axelrod tells us about his own experiences as the guy behind the guy, and what The West Wing means to him.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/012

2019-04-24
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6.15: Freedonia (with Eli Attie)

Eli Attie joins us to discuss the Santos campaign, the return of Amy Gardner, and the Marx Brothers.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/615

2019-04-17
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6.14: The Wake Up Call (with Lawrence Lessig)

We?re joined by the real-life Professor Lawrence Lessig, who appears as a character in this episode, played by the real-life Christopher Lloyd.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/614

2019-04-10
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6.13: King Corn (with Karis Campbell, Evan Arnold, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, and Michael Grunwald)

We have so many great guests for our discussion of ?King Corn? that you?re going to look at this podcast episode the way Will Bailey looks at an ice cream sandwich. We talk Ned & Ronna with Evan Arnold & Karis Campbell, we talk Turkey with West Wing writer Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, and Politico senior writer Michael Grunwald walks us through the political maize of supporting ethanol.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/613

2019-04-03
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0.11: Big Block of Cheese Special

You sent in your queries; you know we've got answers?it's a feta compli. In the queso one or two questions, we got a little help from Allison Janney and Bradley Whitford, who sent us some really gouda answers of their own. We're always fondue these episodes, and we hope you'll think this one's grate, too.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/011

2019-03-26
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6.12: 365 Days (with Fmr. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken)

There?s only a year left in the Bartlet Presidency?and only 9 months left in the TWWW Podcastency!?and it feels like the last chance to make history. We?re joined by Tony Blinken who once held the same NSA position as Kate Harper, to talk about how hard it is to make long-term plans while you?re putting out little fires everywhere.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/612

2019-03-20
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6.11: Opposition Research (with Mayor Pete Buttigieg)

We?re joined by Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 2020 Presidential hopeful, for our discussion of ?Opposition Research,? in which Matt Santos travels to New Hampshire to introduce himself to the electorate.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/611

2019-03-13
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6.10: Faith Based Initiative (with Bradley Whitford)

Bradley Whitford joins us this week to discuss "Faith Based Initiative," which he wrote! Incredibly, his first time writing for television was this episode of The West Wing. He tells us how it all came together, as we pick it apart.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/610

2019-03-06
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0.10: In the Writers' Room (with Paul Redford)

We?re joined by Paul Redford, who wrote for West Wing Seasons 1?5, as well as Sports Night and The Newsroom. He?s responsible for some classic West Wing storylines, and we?re long overdue for a chat with him, so we?re making up for lost time with this bonus episode.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/010

2019-02-27
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6.09: Impact Winter (with Ben Murray)

We?re joined this week by Season 6 newcomer Ben Murray, who played Curtis Carruthers, the President?s new body man. He tells us the hilarious story of auditioning to be the guy who had to pick up and carry Martin Sheen.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/609

2019-02-19
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6.08: In the Room (with Penn & Teller)

Join us in the room to discuss "In the Room," in which the President?s need to be 'in the room' in China is the central topic of discussion in the room?President Room?the Oval Office. We?re joined by magicians Penn & Teller, who light a flag on fire in the (East) Room in this episode. Or did they? (They didn?t.)

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/608

2019-02-13
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6.07: A Change Is Gonna Come (Live with Mary McCormack and Roman Mars)

Mary McCormack joins Josh and Hrishi to discuss "A Change Is Gonna Come," recorded live in San Francisco. Plus, Roman Mars, host of 99% Invisible and noted flag expert, drops some vexillological knowledge. Special thanks to Professor Rebecca Nedostup for shedding light on Taiwan and China.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/607

2019-02-06
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0.09: Casting Special (with Tony Sepulveda)

In this special bonus episode, we learn about what it?s like casting The West Wing. Our guest is Tony Sepulveda, who was the casting director for Seasons 3 and 4.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/009

2019-01-30
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6.06: The Dover Test

Wait a second: Is Annabeth Mandy 2.0? Plus Donna pushes Josh away, CJ pushes Toby away, and Santos pulls Josh in with his wily political moves. We need a bipartisan summit with Red Vines families and Twizzler families so we can discuss all of this and more.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/606

2019-01-23
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6.05: The Hubbert Peak

In this episode, a little chess, to test cognitive ability. First move: SUV to Prius. What's the opposite of checkmate?

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/605

2019-01-16
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6.04: Liftoff (with Allison Janney)

Everything about ?Liftoff" feels like a new era is beginning, so we?re welcoming the new year by welcoming Allison Janney (@AllisonBJanney) to talk about CJ?s new job as the new chief of staff.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/604

2019-01-09
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6.03: Third-Day Story

Big changes are getting announced: CJ is the new Chief of Staff. More importantly, Josh and Hrishi announce "Melon Day" as an official West Wing holiday. Grab a muskmelon and a plate of brownies, and hit play!

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/603

2018-12-19
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6.02: The Birnam Wood (with Fmr. Ambassador Jacob Walles)

Hello Mother, I'm elated

Here I am at old Camp David

I'm respectful, all due deference

But I don't really get the Macbeth reference

Plus, former ambassador Jacob Walles tells us about the years he dedicated to brokering Mideast peace, including his time at 2000 Camp David Summit, and he tells us what this episode got right about those conversations.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/602

2018-12-12
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6.01: NSF Thurmont

It took a lot of diplomacy behind the scenes, but Josh and Hrishi have agreed to come together to negotiate our feelings on Season 6, Episode 1. Pull up a chair and join us for the discussion at Camp Josiah.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/601

2018-12-04
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0.08: Meet the Twwweam (Bonus Mini-Episode)

Introducing the folks behind the scenes of our podcast.

You can help us make our show, too, by supporting Radiotopia's annual fundraiser, going on right now! radiotopia.fm

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/008

2018-11-28
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0.07: Parks and Recreation (with Rob Lowe, Adam Scott and Michael Schur)

We literally cannot wait for you to hear how much The West Wing influenced Parks and Recreation. We spoke to the co-creator of the show, Michael Schur, and two of the stars, Rob Lowe and Adam Scott, to learn about the parallels between the Bartlet White House and the Pawnee Parks Department. Stop pooping! Just listen.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/007

2018-11-21
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5.22: Memorial Day (with Josh Singer)

We're wrapping up Season 5 with screenwriter Josh Singer, whose first writing credit was "Memorial Day." We also look back at the past 22 episodes to ask: what kind of season has it been?

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/522

2018-11-14
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5.21: Gaza (with Jason Isaacs and Janel Moloney)

We're joined by special guests Jason Isaacs and Janel Moloney to discuss the big, ambitious, penultimate episode of Season 5.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/521

2018-11-07
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5.20: No Exit (with Fmr. Senator Tom Daschle, Wilson Cruz, and Eli Attie)

We?re joined by three guests for our discussion of "No Exit." Former Senator Tom Daschle tells us about what it was like getting sent anthrax in the mail; Wilson Cruz tells us about playing Jack Sosa for his two episodes on The West Wing; and Eli Attie tells us about the writing of the episode, specifically the Will and Toby scenes, which he co-wrote with Peter Noah. But first, a poem that this episode inspired Hrishi to write:

Albert Camus
Cried, "What do we do?
We're all stuck here in a cell!"

So Samuel Beckett
Got totally nekkid.
"Let's go!" he started to yell.

But Jean-Paul Sartre
Just let out a fartre
And said, "Other people are hell."

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/520

2018-10-31
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5.19: Talking Points (with Richard Schiff)

We're joined by Richard Schiff to discuss this episode, his television directing debut! Hear what it was like for him to step behind the camera for this story about power and labor and international trade.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/519

2018-10-24
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5.18: Access

In "Access," we're given a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to work inside the West Wing. ?wait a second, what have all these other episodes been about? Let's discuss.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/518

2018-10-10
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5.17: The Supremes (with Debora Cahn)

We hereby appoint the Honorable Debora T. Cahn, West Wing writer, for the position of Chief Guestice of The Supremes episode.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/517

2018-10-03
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5.16: Eppur Si Muove (with Dr Muller Fabbri and Jason Zengerle)

They tried to get us to renounce The West Wing, but Eppur Si Puodcaste! Josh and Hrishi investigate some of the real world mechanics behind NIH grants and the federal judiciary with help from cancer researcher Dr Muller Fabbri and political journalist Jason Zengerle.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/516

2018-09-26
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5.15: Full Disclosure (with Lawrence O'Donnell)

Full disclosure: you?re going to hear the words 'full disclosure' a lot in this episode, as we discuss "Full Disclosure." Lawrence O?Donnell joins us to discuss how he wrote this episode, how Richard Schiff changed its meaning without changing a word, and how Josh Lyman?s plot line landed him in Hillary Clinton?s crosshairs.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/515

2018-09-19
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5.14: An Khe

In this episode, the past is laid bare like a nude portrait, or at the very least, like a photo of your ex in a bikini. Grab your copy of Latin Phrases for Awkward Situations, and parachute in with us.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/514

2018-09-12
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5.13: The Warfare of Genghis Khan (with Fmr. Congressman John Tierney and Jacob Keaton)

A potential nuclear threat looms on the horizon, so let?s head down to the Situation Room to discuss The Warfare of Genghis Khan. We?re joined by former congressman and nonproliferation advocate John Tierney, who catches us up on nuclear politics then and now. And Josh and Hrishi manage to listen to the arguments of NASA analyst Jacob Keaton without him even having to take them stargazing or anything.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/513

2018-09-05
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5.12: Slow News Day (with Eli Attie and Nancy Altman)

Sleep in! We'll wake up the President for you to tell him about our great idea to record a podcast about the Slow News Day episode of the West Wing. Joining us in this historic endeavor is returning guest Eli Attie, who shares his memories about real and fictional West Wing attempts to build a legacy. Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, also drops by to tell us just how Toby's efforts compare to the real history of Social Security reform. PS: we had a data glitch while recording and lost Josh's mic audio, so his side of the conversation is not up to our usual standards. Sorry about that!

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/512

2018-08-22
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5.11: The Benign Prerogative (with Janel Moloney)

This week, we discuss "The Benign Prerogative," and the not so benign aspects of Presidential pardons. We're joined once again by Janel Moloney to talk about Donna's moving storyline in this episode. Plus, Lin-Manuel Miranda makes a little cameo (#Hameo) to help us with the original text by Alexander Hamilton from which this episode takes its name.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/511

2018-08-15
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5.10: The Stormy Present (with Bellamy Young)

It's the 100th episode of The West Wing! Our guest this week is Bellamy Young, who made her first appearance in a TV White House here, some years before joining Josh on Scandal as PRESIDENT Mellie Grant.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/510

2018-08-08
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5.09: Abu el Banat (with Joe Fab)

"Cauliflower."

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/509

2018-07-31
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5.08: Shutdown (with Gene Sperling)

Shut! It! Down! Josh and Hrishi are walking right up to the hallway outside your office to talk about ?Shutdown.? Gene Sperling, former White House Director of the National Economic Council, joins them to compare Bill Clinton's shutdown game plan to Jed Bartlet's apparent lack of one.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/508

2018-07-25
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5.07: Separation of Powers (with Michael Hyatt)

The Supreme Court is looking at a case that relates to Korematsu v. United States, while the White House starts to make their moves towards appointing a new justice. But ai yai yai, we aren?t talking about last month?s headlines?we?re talking about ?Separation of Powers,? from November 2003. And this week, we?re joined by special guest Michael Hyatt who plays Angela Blake. She gave us a wonderfully candid interview about how she got the role?and why Angela didn?t stick around for longer.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/507

2018-07-18
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5.06: Disaster Relief (with Alexa Junge and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich)

We're joined this week by Alexa Junge and returning guest Lauren Schmidt Hissrich. They co-wrote "Disaster Relief," and together, we try to propulgate the backstory of this episode onto the frontstory. Like President Bartlet in Oklahoma, you'll never want to go back to work!

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/506

2018-07-11
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5.05: Constituency of One (with Jennifer Palmieri)

What is a ?Constituency of One?? You know, it?s all about that boss, ?bout that boss, those troubles. It?s all about that boss, ?bout that boss, those troubles. Toby and POTUS. Will and Bob Russell. Amy and the First Lady. Plus, we speak with Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri, whose list of bosses includes Secretary Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/505

2018-06-27
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5.04: Han (with Paula Yoo)

Listener beware - like the episode we're discussing, Han, this installment of The West Wing Weekly has more sad piano music than all previous episodes combined. When they're not lost in a sadness so deep no tears will come, Josh and Hrishi interview Paula Yoo, the writer who came up with the story of a would-be North Korean defector who visits the White House.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/504

2018-06-20
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5.03: Jefferson Lives

Jefferson lives, but the President's dreams for a strong VP die?killed by committee. But Josh and Hrishi, pilgrim detectives, are on the scene to investigate. PS: Jefferson is also dead.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/503

2018-06-13
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5.02: The Dogs of War

Friends, Romans, people in other places, lend us your ears. We come to dissect this episode, and to praise it, or at least the parts we liked. So cry "havoc!" and let slip this podcast into your downloads.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/502

2018-06-06
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