The West Wing

Season 3 Episode 16

The U.S. Poet Laureate

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Mar 27, 2002 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • When announcing his discovery of internet crazy to Donna, Josh comments that they were debating whether or not he was making fun of Egyptians by referencing Sanskrit. Either Josh didn't read the posts carefully or else the people on have roughly the intelligence of every other internet troll.

      Sanskrit is an ancient language of northern India, holding a place in Indian culture like Latin has in the western world being the language of religion and academia.

    • President Bartlet received his Bachelor's degree from Notre Dame University, and Masters and Doctorate degrees from the London School of Economics.

  • Quotes

    • (Talking college sports.)
      Sam: By the way, my Princeton Tigers could whip your Cal Bears any day of the week.
      C.J.: At what?
      Sam: Logarithms possibly.

    • Tabatha Fortis: You think I think that an artist's job is to speak the truth. An artist's job is to captivate you for however long we've asked for your attention. If we stumble into truth, we got lucky, and I don't get to decide what truth is.

  • Notes

    • Music: Bartlet sings "Makin' Whoopee" a 1928 jazz/blues standard that debuted in the Broadway musical Whoopee! starring Eddie Cantor. It has proven very popular over the years and has been covered by many notable artists including Frank Sinatra, Dr. John & Ricki Lee Jones and memorably Michelle Pfeiffer in the 1989 movie The Fabulous Baker Boys.

    • The storyline of is a result of an altercation that Sorkin had with some posters on the Television Without Pity forum.

  • Allusions

    • C.J. (to Toby): Knock 'em dead, De Bergerac.

      "Cyrano De Bergerac" is a play written by Edmond Rostand in 1897. It is a celebrated romance in which the titular character helps a fellow soldier woo a woman they both love.Usually, it is cited to illustrate that triangular relationship, which is not the situation here, but there are several relevant parallels between the characters of De Bergerac and Toby. They are both excellent writers who have trouble with women, though Toby's "deformity" is his fatalistic attitude rather than a giant nose.

    • Josh Lyman: "It's "Lord of the Flies" in there!"

      William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" tells the story of several young boys stranded on a deserted island. It's an unflattering study of how people act as a group when they are removed from civilization. Josh's comparison of "" to this book is a comment on how the cyberspace environment creates a similar type of mob rule.