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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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7.09: The Wedding (with Nina Siemaszko)

Today, we?re talking about "The Wedding" (or The Marriage, or The Espousal, or The Nuptials, or The Union). We?re joined by Nina Siemaszko, who tells us about the twist in this subplot that she didn?t see coming.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/709

2019-09-18
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7.08: Undecideds

In "Undecideds," Santos gives a speech meant to uplift and inspire, but Josh and Hrishi are "Unconvinceds." Plus, we look at Toby?s apartment, Godwin?s Law, and Will?s butt.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/708

2019-09-11
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7.07: The Debate (Part II, with Ronald Klain and Beth Myers)

How did Santos and Vinick do in the debate? To help us judge the candidates on both substance and style, we?ve enlisted the people in charge of debate prep on either side of the 2012 Presidential election. Ronald Klain led President Obama?s debate prep, and Beth Myers was in charge of Senator Mitt Romney?s prep. It was fascinating to speak to both of them together for this bipartisan episode of our podcast.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/707-part2

2019-09-04
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7.07: The Debate (Part I, with Lawrence O'Donnell)

In our first of two episodes on "The Debate," we talk to Lawrence O?Donnell, who took on the challenge of writing a live episode ? one that takes place entirely in the context of a Presidential debate.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/707

2019-08-28
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7.06: The Al Smith Dinner

At long last, everyone is ready to unleash their negative ad campaigns. Here's one Hrishi came up with. JOSH MALINA?he's not nearly as mean as he makes himself out to be! He says he "ruined The West Wing," but even Richard Schiff says 'Arctic Radar' is one of the best episodes of the series. What else is Josh hiding? JOSH MALINA?actually pretty nice. (My name is Hrishikesh Hirway, and I approve this message.)

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/706

2019-08-21
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7.05: Here Today (with Richard Schiff)

Richard Schiff joins us to discuss this gorgeous, eerie, heartbreaking episode and to tell us his true feelings about Toby?s storyline.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/705

2019-08-14
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7.04: Mr. Frost

Joshua Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway (collectively, ?The Hosts?) have been served a subpoena to appear on this episode of the podcast, to testify in regards to the above television episode. Pursuant to this agreement, you (?Listener?) are required to listen to our nonsense. Failure to do so may result in missing out on some dumb thing that gets called back later, like a reference to a 2004 movie about dance battles.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/704

2019-08-07
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0.15: Alex Graves

At long last, West Wing director and executive producer Alex Graves joins us to talk about his time on the show. From "In Excelsis Deo" to "17 People" to our current episodes in Season 7, we discuss some of the big moments in the series that he helped shape.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/015

2019-07-31
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7.03: Message of the Week

This week, the message is The Message of The Week. Just to brief you: we're keeping it brief. As they say in athletics.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/703

2019-07-24
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7.02: The Mommy Problem

In this mother of an episode, Alex Graves cranks the style up to 11. We?re introduced to the character of Louise Thornton (played by Janeane Garofalo). We get real-time text answers to our quests from the unstoppable Eli Attie. So get ready cuz, as Steve Miller says, "we go down Carolina!"

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/702

2019-07-17
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7.01: The Ticket

It?s the Season 7 premiere! Which begins, naturally, with a scene from the Season 10 premiere! Suspense hovers over this episode, like a space station in need of maintenance?or a baker about to be sent home from the tent?as Josh and Hrishi sort through both the wise and foolish acts of our heroes.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/701

2019-07-10
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0.14: Veep (with Gary Cole and David Mandel)

We wanted to honor the end of Vice President Bob Russell's storyline in The West Wing with Gary Cole, who played Bingo Bob. Gary also plays Kent Davison in the brilliant, vicious, hilarious Veep, so we decided to celebrate two great(?) Vice Presidents in one episode. It's a Veep special! We're also joined by Veep showrunner David Mandel, a huge West Wing fan, to talk about where these two very different, political, Emmy-winning shows intersect.

For more, visit thewestwingweekly.com/014

2019-06-26
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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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