The West Wing

NBC (ended 2006)




  • Season 2 Episode 12: The Drop In

  • CJ's fishbowl has a missile half buried in blue rocks that look like the ocean. A background story is about a missile defense shield that failed and the missile landed in the ocean.

  • When the Swedish ambassador is presented the name of the Swedish king is wrong. His number is missing. It should be 'King Carl the 16th Gustaf'. They could easily omit the numbers but the British ambassador is presented by 'Queen Elizabeth the 2nd'.

    The Swedish ambassador's family is presented very stereotypically, they are all blond and tall.

  • Speaking of Sydney Ellen Wade and the movie The American President, who played the president's Chief of Staff? The answer: Martin Sheen!

  • Season 2 Episode 11: The Leadership Breakfast

  • It is mentioned in this episode that the 107th Congress is about to have its first session. At the time of the original broadcast the 107th Congress had in fact just started. Apparently in the alternative world of The West Wing congressional elections are concurrent with the real ones. The presidential elections, however, are not.

  • Season 2 Episode 10: Noël

  • During the initial briefing on the rogue pilot in the Situation Room, a general mentions scrambling F-16's out of "Edwards".

    Edwards Air Force Base is a massive operational air base in Edwards, CA, in the Mojave Desert. It is one of the largest air bases in California, but is most notable for historical flights including Chuck Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier in 1947 as well as the location of the first landing of any space shuttle in 1981. It is also the home of the Dryden Flight Research Center, the Air Force Flight Test Center and the Air Force Rocket Research Laboratory.

    However, Edwards is primarily a test and training facility and would be unlikely to have armed F-16s available for missions such as this.

  • Instead of using recorded music and just mimic, Yo-Yo Ma actually played the song for each take. He did it about 45 times.

  • When Josh talks to Sam in his office, there is a Christmas stocking on the wall beside the chalkboard. Twenty minutes later, when Leo is there, the stocking has disappeared.

  • Season 2 Episode 9: Galileo

  • Dioscorea is the scientific name for the genus including the yam. The word is, in fact, Greek. The yam's genus was named after Pedanius Dioscorides, who was a Greek physician, though, as he was a Roman citizen, his five-volume book of drugs (c 77 AD) is known by its Latin translation, De Materia Medica. This work was used up through the 15th century with additions made to it over the centuries.

    It is a different plant from the sweet potato, which is sometimes called a yam in the US and is more commonly consumed as part of the Thanksgiving Day feast. Sweet Potatoes (Ipomeoa batatas) are native to the new world and thus there is no Latin word for sweet potato. Ipomeoa is Latin but means "resembling bind weed" and batatas is the Taino word for sweet potato.

  • CJ's fishbowl has red rocks on the bottom. A reference to the Mars mission that is one of the sub plots of the episode.

  • The episode focuses on a "Galileo 5" mission to Mars. In fact, there was just one Galileo mission, to Jupiter and its main satellites.

  • Leo McGarry tells the President of Iceland's Ambassador, Vigdis Olafsdottir, that "he's very excited to meet you." But Icelandic surnames are formed from the father's first name plus "-son" or "-dottir", so a name finishing in "dottir" is always a woman's name. Also, Vigdis is a female forename.

  • Season 2 Episode 8: Shibboleth

  • The man representing the Chinese refugees names only 11 of the 12 apostles. "Peter, Andrew, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, Thaddus (aka Jude or Judas), Simon, Judas (Iscariot), and James." The oversight is understandable because there are two apostles named James: James, son of Alpheus (aka James the Less) and James, son of Zebedee and brother of John.

  • Title: Shibboleth is any language usage indicative of one's social or regional origin, or more broadly, any practice that identifies members of a group.

  • Ironically enough, Toby tortured history when he complained about torturing history. Jamestown was incorporated in 1607, which was the seventeenth century, rather than the sixteenth, as Toby claimed.

  • Season 2 Episode 7: The Portland Trip

  • When Charlie hands C.J. the lyrics of the "Notre Dame fight song", Jed tells C.J. she will lead the press corps in singing all five verses. The Notre Dame Victory March has only two verses and a chorus. The two verses are sung together, though they are often omitted and the chorus is sung alone. Jed is likely having a joke at C.J.'s expense, and the lyric sheet contains the two verses.

  • Although the episode occurs after the midterm elections in November (heavy coats worn by characters and comments by Leo confirm the season), an upcoming Notre Dame-Michigan football game is a recurring topic of the episode. Since the renewal of the rivalry in the late '70s, the Notre Dame-Michigan game has always been played in mid-September and is usually either the first or second home game for each school.

  • The gay Republican Congressman may be an acknowledgement of the real organization called the Log Cabin Republicans. It is for gay Republicans to lobby for gay rights within the party.

  • At the beginning of this episosde, White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney) is wearing an Ohio State "Block O" pin on her coat's lapel. This is a connection to her character's fictional and Janney's actual birthplace of Dayton, Ohio. In addition, the President's alma mater Notre Dame is playing Michigan in football that week, and Michigan is Ohio State's arch-rival.

  • While briefing Leo on the tanker that the Navy plans to board, Col. Chase says that they'll use a "CH-47 Seahawk". The CH-47 is the tandem rotor Chinook, and the Seahawk is the SH-60. The Navy doesn't use Chinooks, at least not from warships, because of their size -- they'd use the CH-46 Sea Knight instead.

  • Season 2 Episode 6: The Lame Duck Congress

  • Goof: Senator Tony Marino states that he had ten weeks of his term left to serve after being voted out in the general election.
    US elections are held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November and a Senator's term expires on January 3. If Senator Marino had ten weeks of his term left to serve after being defeated in the election, he would have been defeated in late October not early November.

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Politics, Classics