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.
3.03: Ways and Means (with Eli Attie)
Apr 25 • 54 min
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…
3.02: Manchester, Part II (with Connie Britton)
Apr 18 • 67 min
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…
3.01: Manchester, Part I
Apr 11 • 45 min
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.
3.00: Isaac and Ishmael (with Ajay Naidu and Fmr Press Secretary Mike McCurry)
Apr 5 • 85 min
This is a controversial episode of The West Wing, and one that falls outside the regular storyline of the show. We hash out our conflicting opinions on it to find some common ground. We’re also joined by Ajay Naidu to discuss his role as Rakim Ali. And we…
2.22: Two Cathedrals (Part II, with Aaron Sorkin and Kirsten Nelson)
Mar 22 • 72 min
Aaron Sorkin joins Josh and Hrishi for our final episode of Season Two, to talk about his experience writing “Two Cathedrals.” Plus, Kirsten Nelson (@NelsonKirsten) tells us about playing the role of the young Mrs Landingham.…
2.22: Two Cathedrals (Part I, with Lawrence O’Donnell and Mary Graham)
Mar 15 • 46 min
We present the first of two episodes of our podcast discussing the Season Two finale. In this episode, we’re joined by West Wing writer / producer Lawrence O’Donnell (@Lawrence), aka Jed’s father, Headmaster Bartlet. Plus, Mary Graham, author of…
2.21: 18th and Potomac (with Oliver Platt)
Mar 8 • 57 min
It’s the penultimate episode of Season 2. Oliver Platt (@OliverPlatt) joins Josh and Hrishi to discuss his role as Oliver Babish.
2.20: The Fall’s Gonna Kill You (with Marlee Matlin)
Feb 28 • 78 min
Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) joins Josh and Hrishi to discuss her role as Joey Lucas. Along with her interpreter, Jack Jason (@655Jack), she pranked us pretty badly just before we recorded her interview. Listen for the brutal details of that, plus our…
2.19: Bad Moon Rising
Feb 22 • 50 min
Before we get into Oliver Babish and the Big Hammer, and Donna Moss and the Secret Pumpkin, we start with a much needed follow-up to our discussion of autism in 2.17: The Stackhouse Filibuster. Special thanks to Amy and Jill, who were two of the many…
2.18: 17 People (with Richard Schiff, Emily Procter, Rebecca Walker)
Feb 14 • 69 min
We’ve got 7 people for “17 People.” Richard Schiff (@Richard_Schiff) talks to us about Toby’s journey, and the origins of the Spalding ball. Emily Procter (@emilyprocter) talks to us about Ainsley “spilling coffee” with Sam. Rebecca Walker…
2.17: The Stackhouse Filibuster (Live with Bradley Whitford)
Feb 8 • 59 min
Josh and Hrishi are joined by Bradley Whitford (@WhitfordBradley) for the first-ever live taping of a West Wing Weekly episode, recorded at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre in San Francisco at the SF Sketchfest Comedy Festival. We also hear from Dee Perkins…
2.16: Somebody’s Going to Emergency, Somebody’s Going to Jail (with Rob Lowe)
Feb 1 • 84 min
Sitting here in the darkness\ I’ve gotta post the show\ Somebody’s joining us this episode\ Somebody named Rob Lowe\ We found somebody to explain free trade\ Cuz there is so muuuch we don’t knowwww\ And we asked Aaron about the song… It’s the West Wing…
2.15: Ellie (with Nina Siemaszko)
Jan 25 • 51 min
In this episode, we look at the uncomfortable contiguity of Bartlet the President and Bartlet the Dad. Along the way, we discuss zeugma, gloriosky!, Smoot-Hawley, and other ridiculous sounding words. We also talk to Nina Siemaszko (@MsSiemaszko) about her…
2.14: The War At Home
Jan 18 • 44 min
Stockard Channing was nominated for an Emmy based on her performance in this episode. Though her performance in the first part of this two-part arc was also excellent, we discuss why this second episode may have had the edge. Plus, a discussion around the…
What’s Next? featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda [clean]
Jan 16 • 3 min
The West Wing Weekly presents an ode to The West Wing. Hrishi made a beat, an extended remix of our podcast’s intro theme, for the biggest West Wing fan we know— Lin-Manuel Miranda — who wrote lyrics and recorded vocals for the track! What’s next? To…
What’s Next? featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda [explicit]
Jan 16 • 3 min
The West Wing Weekly presents an ode to The West Wing. Hrishi made a beat, an extended remix of our podcast’s intro theme, for the biggest West Wing fan we know— Lin-Manuel Miranda — who wrote lyrics and recorded vocals for the track! What’s next? To…
2.13: Bartlet’s Third State of the Union (with Don Baer, Fmr. White House Communications Director)
Jan 11 • 68 min
In this episode, we’re joined by Don Baer, who was the chief speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, to tell us what it’s really like to write a State of the Union Address. And when you’re done listening and you’re ready to go home, we only have one…
0.03: Big Block of Cheese II
Dec 21, 2016 • 48 min
For the last episode of the year, we answer listener questions in our 2nd edition of The West Wing Weekly Big Block of Cheese Day. Thanks so much for listening to the show this year and giving us a great 2016 — apart from, well, everything else that…
2.12: The Drop In (with Kim Webster)
Dec 14, 2016 • 53 min
Forget the popcorn, we got Ginger! Kim Webster joins us to talk about the fortuitous path that led her to the role. So affix your signature and seal, baby — Plus, we’re doing our FIRST EVER live taping. It’s in San Francisco, on January 15, 2017, at the…
2.11: The Leadership Breakfast
Dec 6, 2016 • 45 min
When we spoke to Emily Procter (episode 2.04), she told us a story about a lunch meeting she had with Tommy Schlamme that had an unexpected twist. We’ve been holding on to her story until this episode. You’ll hear why. Plus, a lot of #TrumpAiYiYi.…
2.10: Noël (with Bradley Whitford and Ellen Totleben)
Nov 30, 2016 • 72 min
(sung to the melody of “Carol of the Bells”) Hark! oh my gosh Hrishi and Josh Discuss Noël Puns and intel Ellen Totleben Tells us laymen All that you see Was her duty She was the West Wing Set Decorator And we’ll talk to Bradley Whitford later When it’s…
2.09: Galileo
Nov 15, 2016 • 57 min
At this extremely historic moment, we present a very unique episode. (Wow, that really is some terrible writing.) In this episode, we bone up on our Mars with help from NASA Systems Engineer Mallory Lefland, who is working on the Mars 2020 mission at the…
2.08: Shibboleth
Nov 8, 2016 • 52 min
The pressure is on as we discuss one of Hrishi’s all-time favorite episodes. Will his feelings be spared by Josh, or will they be placed on the chopping block and pulled apart like a turkey’s giblets and flentls?! Introducing the TWWW University…
2.07: The Portland Trip (with Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, Congressman Brendan Boyle, and Fmr. Congressman Steve Gunderson)
Nov 2, 2016 • 67 min
For “The Portland Trip,” we try to slip the surly bonds of Earth. We are, in turns, lifted and dragged down by our feelings. In honor of Josh Lyman’s conversation with Congressman Matt Skinner, we ask real-life former Wisconsin congressman Steve Gunderson…
2.06: The Lame Duck Congress (with Dave Chameides)
Oct 26, 2016 • 51 min
How ya doin, Dalai Lama? In this episode, we’re joined by steadicam operator Dave Chameides to talk about the complex choreography of the shooting a walk and talk. Plus, we get a visit from Kevin T. Porter (@KevinTPorter) to talk about his Sorkinisms…
2.05: And It’s Surely to Their Credit
Oct 19, 2016 • 50 min
Loosen your tie. Loosen whatever you’d like. But don’t get it twisted: leaf peeping is totally a thing.
2.04: In This White House (with Emily Procter and Ambassador Deborah Birx)
Oct 12, 2016 • 75 min
Ginger, get the popcorn, because we’re joined by Emily Procter (@emilyprocter) to talk about her first appearance on the West Wing as Ainsley Hayes. Plus, for some context and perspective on the storyline about AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, we speak to…
2.03: The Midterms
Oct 4, 2016 • 43 min
While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, it’s in fact the weekly meeting of the West Wing TV Book Club. (The Ignorant Tight-Ass Club meets down the hall, on the right.)
2.02: In The Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part II (with Bradley Whitford and Michael O’Neill)
Sep 28, 2016 • 77 min
In Part II of our double header, Bradley Whitford (@WhitfordBradley) makes his West Wing Weekly debut to talk about getting the role of Josh Lyman, and starting the season by getting shot. But first, we speak with Michael O’Neill , who played Special…
2.01: In The Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part I (with Thomas Schlamme)
Sep 28, 2016 • 72 min
“In the Shadow of Two Gunmen” was the Season 2 premiere of the West Wing. The two-part episode aired as a special 2-hour broadcast. In honor of that, here’s our own two-part episode. In Part I, we’re joined by director and executive producer Thomas…
2.00: Special Interim Session (with Aaron Sorkin)
Sep 20, 2016 • 50 min
West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin joins Josh and Hrishi for a special episode. Aaron reflects on the experience of making the first season of the West Wing while making the second season of Sports Night at the same time. We look back on the previous season,…
1.22: What Kind of Day Has It Been (with Tim Matheson)
Sep 7, 2016 • 53 min
For the finale of season one: you get Hoynes. Tim Matheson (@Tim_Matheson) joins us as we reflect on what kind of season it has been. Plus, a little preview of what’s next.
1.21: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics (with Bill O’Brien)
Aug 31, 2016 • 64 min
Josh and Hrishi are joined by Bill O’Brien to talk about his role as Kenny Thurman. This West Wing episode focuses on polling, so here’s a poll question: do you approve or disapprove of the lack of Oxford comma in the title?…
1.20: Mandatory Minimums (with Kathleen York and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson)
Aug 24, 2016 • 69 min
Kathleen “Bird” York (@birdyork) talks to us about playing Congresswoman Andrea Wyatt, and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson (@karenaboutgary), former CEO of The National Association of Drug Court Professionals and current mayor of Gary, Indiana, talks to us…
1.19: Let Bartlet Be Bartlet (with Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy)
Aug 17, 2016 • 56 min
This episode of the West Wing represents the lowest point so far for the Bartlet team, but perhaps the highest point so far for the series. Josh and Hrishi are joined by The Honorable Patrick Murphy (@USAMurphy), Under Secretary of the Army. While he was…
1.18: Six Meetings Before Lunch
Aug 10, 2016 • 42 min
The Good: a conversation about reparations; the Bad: Mandy and pandas; and the Ugly: Josh and Sam dancing (?) to “The Jackal.” Plus, a few words from West Wing music supervisor Anne Kline (@theannkline).
1.17: The White House Pro-Am
Aug 3, 2016 • 51 min
If you don’t like this episode, just be wrong. Just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong and get used to it. Plus, Hrishi brings back a field report from the Democratic National Convention, with thoughts on The West Wing from former DNC CEO Amy…
1.16: 20 Hours in L.A.
Jul 27, 2016 • 42 min
We live in Los Angeles, but no one has offered *us* a development deal. We’re going to the wrong parties.
1.15: Celestial Navigation (with Jay Carney)
Jul 20, 2016 • 76 min
Former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (@JayCarney) joins Josh and Hrishi to discuss Josh Lyman’s secret plan to fight inflation, and other ways press briefings can go horribly, horribly wrong.
0.02: Live with FiveThirtyEight
Jul 13, 2016 • 67 min
Josh and Hrishi team up with the FiveThirtyEight Elections Podcast to discuss how polling is used in The West Wing, by looking at a few scenes from the show. This episode was recorded live at the Crest Theatre in Los Angeles. We talk about scenes from…
1.14: Take This Sabbath Day
Jul 6, 2016 • 40 min
Like Toby in this episode, Josh and Hrishi go to shul to try and learn more about the death penalty and faith. They have a conversation with Rabbi Jonathan Spira-Savett. Plus, we email Aaron Sorkin to ask how Marlee Matlin came to be cast as Joey Lucas.
1.13: Take Out the Trash Day (with Senator Bob Casey and Liza Weil)
Jun 29, 2016 • 75 min
This episode of the West Wing deals with hate crimes, and our discussion comes close on the heels of the massacre in Orlando. So, we asked Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) about the current state of hate crime legislation. We also talk to Liza Weil…
1.12: He Shall, from Time to Time…
Jun 22, 2016 • 45 min
Is it right to defend someone, even when they’ve asked you not to? Josh and Hrishi debate. Plus, a supercut of The West Wing opening theme music with accompanying lyrics, from submissions sent to us by West Wing Weekly listeners.
0.01: West Wing Reunion (Live from ATX)
Jun 15, 2016 • 102 min
Live from the ATX Television Festival, a panel discussion looking back at the West Wing. With Aaron Sorkin, Thomas Schlamme, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, Dulé Hill, Melissa Fitzgerald, and Joshua Malina, moderated by Lawrence…
1.11: Lord John Marbury (With William Duffy and Peter James Smith)
Jun 7, 2016 • 62 min
According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, Josh and Hrishi are joined by William Duffy (@WilliamDuffy_) and Peter James Smith (@PJSActor), who played Ed and Larry.
1.10, continued: Memorial Day Special (with Melissa Fitzgerald)
May 30, 2016 • 22 min
On this Memorial Day, we bring you a special episode with Melissa Fitzgerald (@maffyfitz) talking about her work with Justice for Vets.
1.10: In Excelsis Deo (with Richard Schiff)
May 25, 2016 • 67 min
Richard Schiff (@Richard_Schiff) joins Josh and Hrishi to talk about “In Excelsis Deo.” His performance as Toby in this episode earned him his first Emmy win.
1.09: The Short List (with Ronald Klain)
May 18, 2016 • 50 min
The path to a Supreme Court nomination takes us through a discussion of the right to privacy. Plus, Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) tells us about the real-life short list that he put together for President Clinton that led to the appointment of Justice Ruth…
1.08: Enemies
May 11, 2016 • 48 min
Retribution, romance, and The Antiquities Act. Plus, Josh and Hrishi attempt their own Big Block of Cheese Day.
1.07: The State Dinner (with Lyn Paolo)
May 4, 2016 • 50 min
Josh and Hrishi largely disagree with each other about this episode. Plus, award-winning costume designer Lyn Paolo (@lynpaolo) discusses her work on the series and on this episode in particular, which earned her an Emmy nomination.
1.06: Mr. Willis of Ohio (with Janel Moloney)
Apr 27, 2016 • 60 min
Janel Moloney (@nellymoloney) joins Josh and Hrishi to talk about playing Donna, and Ben Casselman (@bencasselman) gives an update on the state of the census.
1.05: The Crackpots and These Women (with Eli Attie)
Apr 20, 2016 • 49 min
For Big Block of Cheese Day, Josh and Hrishi are joined by Eli Attie, who was Vice President Al Gore’s chief speechwriter before leaving politics and joining The West Wing as a writer and producer. Plus, the truth about David Rosen.
1.04: Five Votes Down
Apr 13, 2016 • 31 min
The limits of practical idealism. Plus, Hrishi sets Leo’s dialogue to music, and Josh unwittingly reveals a secret.
1.03: A Proportional Response (with Dulé Hill)
Apr 6, 2016 • 51 min
Dulé Hill joins Josh and Hrishi to talk about shooting his first episode of The West Wing, visiting the real White House, and losing to Martin Sheen in 1-on-1.
1.02: “Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc”
Mar 30, 2016 • 33 min
Latin, the Vice President, Morris Tolliver, and more.
1.01: Pilot
Mar 23, 2016 • 48 min
Josh and Hrishi discuss the West Wing’s pilot episode, in the pilot episode of this podcast.
0.00: Cold Open
Mar 15, 2016 • 3 min
Introducing The West Wing Weekly.