The West Wing

NBC (ended 2006)



User Score: 687

  • Season 2 Episode 9: Galileo

  • The problem with this ambassador's name was that both names were female.

    The name "Vigdís Ólafsdóttir" is a fine name for a female named Vigdís who's father's name is Ólafur.

    She can also be "Vigdís Ólafardóttir" if her mother's name is Ólöf.

    If it was a male, it could be for example "Vignir Ólafsson" og "Vignir Ólafarson"

  • 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.

  • FYI, if an Icelandic woman has a child out of wedlock, or the father's name is simply unknown, it is permitted to use the mother's first name to form the child's surname.

  • 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.

  • Season 2 Episode 5: And It's Surely to Their ...

  • This is the second episode of "The West Wing" to have a character named Tribbey - in the first season episode "He Shall From Time to Time", Tribbey was the name of the minister of agriculture who was picked to sit out the State of the Union.

  • Season 2 Episode 4: In This White House

  • The phone number Ainsley Hayes reads from her new phone, (202) 456-1414, really is a phone number at the White House. It's listed as an undisclosed number at a company called "The White House" located at 17th And PA Ave NW, Washington DC.

  • C.J.: a half hour with President Bartlet and President Nimbala of the Republic of Equatorial Kuhndu who's representing the African nations.

    Kuhndu is not a real country.

  • During the scene on Capitol Beat, host Mark Gottfried asks "why is this bill better than the Republican package the president vetoed?" But in the season 3 episode "Ways and Means", it is stated that the President has never vetoed a bill before!

  • Season 2 Episode 2: In the Shadow of Two Gunm...

  • In flashback, it is revealed that it was Toby who recruited C.J. to join the Bartlet campaign.

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Politics, Classics