History YMMV / TheWestWing

3rd Apr '18 3:54:46 AM jormis29
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** Just a few years before becoming [[Franchise/{{Saw}} Jigsaw]], Tobin Bell was military advisor Colonel Whitcomb in "Process Stories".

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** Just a few years before becoming [[Franchise/{{Saw}} Jigsaw]], Tobin Bell Creator/TobinBell was military advisor Colonel Whitcomb in "Process Stories".
29th Mar '18 1:53:50 PM Jhonny
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*** The same episode also features the new Swedish ambassador Peter Hans, and the mention of the King of Sweden. Hans is a first name in Sweden, not a surname, though at least it is possible in theory. However, Bartlet then refers to the Swedish monarch as "King Gustaf", when it's actually King Carl XVI Gustaf. The mistake is equal to referring to the British monarch as Queen Beth. Especially glaring since, although Gustaf is part of his first name and not a middle name, the numering comes after Carl (as he is - at least according to tradition if not actual history - the sixteenth king of Sweden to be named Carl). So why Bartlet (or Sorkin for that matter) would make that mistake is anyone's guess.
** In the Season 2 episode "[[{{Recap/TheWestWingS02E09Galileo}} Galileo]]", Bartlet is going to a concert by the Reykjavik Symphony and he has Charlie read out the programme: Samuel Barber's Symphony No 2, Stravinsky's "Variations on a Theme" and Arnold Schoenberg's "Enlightened Night" for string orchestra, which Bartlet says "totally blows". The Barber piece is a real piece; Stravinsky did write a set of Variations, but it doesn't have that exact title. Schoenberg's 1899 "Verklärte Nacht" exists in two versions, the original sextet and a version for string orchestra. However, its title translates not as "Enlightened Night" (which would be "Aufklärte Nacht") but "Transfigured Night", and although it's by Schoenberg there's very little in it that a supposed hater of modern music could dislike. It certainly isn't (as he later puts it) "an atonal nightmare of pretention", being squarely in the key of D minor.

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*** The same episode also features the new Swedish ambassador Peter Hans, and the mention of the King of Sweden. Hans is a first name in Sweden, not a surname, though at least it is possible in theory. However, Bartlet then refers to the Swedish monarch as "King Gustaf", when it's actually King Carl XVI Gustaf. The mistake is equal to referring to the British monarch as Queen Beth. Especially glaring since, although Gustaf is part of his first name and not a middle name, the numering numbering comes after Carl (as he is - at least according to tradition if not actual history - the sixteenth king of Sweden to be named Carl). So why Bartlet (or Sorkin for that matter) would make that mistake is anyone's guess.
** In the Season 2 episode "[[{{Recap/TheWestWingS02E09Galileo}} Galileo]]", Bartlet is going to a concert by the Reykjavik Symphony and he has Charlie read out the programme: Samuel Barber's Symphony No 2, Stravinsky's "Variations on a Theme" and Arnold Schoenberg's "Enlightened Night" for string orchestra, which Bartlet says "totally blows". The Barber piece is a real piece; Stravinsky did write a set of Variations, but it doesn't have that exact title. Schoenberg's 1899 "Verklärte Nacht" exists in two versions, the original sextet and a version for string orchestra. However, its title translates not as "Enlightened Night" (which would be "Aufklärte "Aufgeklärte Nacht") but "Transfigured Night", and although it's by Schoenberg there's very little in it that a supposed hater of modern music could dislike. It certainly isn't (as he later puts it) "an atonal nightmare of pretention", pretension", being squarely in the key of D minor.



** In "[[{{Recap/TheWestWingS03E01IsaacAndIshmael}} Isaac And Ishmael]]", Sam says "Not only do terrorists always fail at what they're after, they pretty much always succeed in strengthening whatever it is they're against." He goes on to list a number of failed terrorist organisations. He fails, however, to mention [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umkhonto_we_Sizwe Umkhonto we Sizwe]], the military wing of the African National Congress, which undoubtedly used tactics against the apartheid regime in South Africa which would normally be considered terrorism, including the bombing of civilian targets.[[note]]The US government classified Umkhonto we Sizwe as a terrorist organisation, which Sam should have known.[[/note]] What happened in South Africa? The African National Congress achieved its aims: apartheid collapsed and white rule of the country along with it, and Umkhonto we Sizwe ended up being incorporated into the South African military. Only a racist would say that the collapse of apartheid was a bad thing, but the fact is that terrorists do not always fail, and they certainly do not always strengthen the things they're against.[[note]] Sam's argument that terrorism always fails is very much a No True Scotsman argument, in that he claims that every counter-example anyone brings up is not an example of successful terrorism. One kid mentions the IRA, and Sam says "The Brits are still there. The Protestants are still there." The Provisional IRA did not want to expel all Protestants from Northern Ireland; it wanted to end Protestant domination of Northern Ireland's government. It did aim to create a united Ireland, but it came to accept that it would be wrong to go on demanding one if a majority of people in Northern Ireland didn't want one, which is why it settled for power-sharing. And there is no doubt that the UK government's decades-long policy of not negotiating with terrorists proved to be useless in dealing with the IRA; as long as Westminster refused to negotiate, the violence continued, and when they finally started to negotiate and real changes were made to the government in Northern Ireland, the Provisional IRA called a ceasefire and eventually ended its armed campaign. This is an especially amusing example of a CRF since the necessity of negotiating with the IRA was actually recognised in The West Wing Episode "Dead Irish Writers", in which Lord John Marbury privately admits to Toby that the British government needs the US government to talk to Sinn Fein politican Brendan [=McGann=], which is a reference to how the Clinton administration helped to normalise relations between Sinn Fein and the UK government by granting Sinn Fein's president Gerry Adams a US visa, by President Clinton's repeated visits to Britain and Ireland, and by the appointment of former US Senator George Mitchell as the US's Special Envoy for Northern Ireland.[[/note]]

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** In "[[{{Recap/TheWestWingS03E01IsaacAndIshmael}} Isaac And Ishmael]]", Sam says "Not only do terrorists always fail at what they're after, they pretty much always succeed in strengthening whatever it is they're against." He goes on to list a number of failed terrorist organisations.organizations. He fails, however, to mention [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umkhonto_we_Sizwe Umkhonto we Sizwe]], the military wing of the African National Congress, which undoubtedly used tactics against the apartheid regime in South Africa which would normally be considered terrorism, including the bombing of civilian targets.[[note]]The US government classified Umkhonto we Sizwe as a terrorist organisation, organization, which Sam should have known.[[/note]] What happened in South Africa? The African National Congress achieved its aims: apartheid collapsed and white rule of the country along with it, and Umkhonto we Sizwe ended up being incorporated into the South African military. Only a racist would say that the collapse of apartheid was a bad thing, but the fact is that terrorists do not always fail, and they certainly do not always strengthen the things they're against.[[note]] Sam's argument that terrorism always fails is very much a No True Scotsman argument, in that he claims that every counter-example anyone brings up is not an example of successful terrorism. One kid mentions the IRA, and Sam says "The Brits are still there. The Protestants are still there." The Provisional IRA did not want to expel all Protestants from Northern Ireland; it wanted to end Protestant domination of Northern Ireland's government. It did aim to create a united Ireland, but it came to accept that it would be wrong to go on demanding one if a majority of people in Northern Ireland didn't want one, which is why it settled for power-sharing. And there is no doubt that the UK government's decades-long policy of not negotiating with terrorists proved to be useless in dealing with the IRA; as long as Westminster refused to negotiate, the violence continued, and when they finally started to negotiate and real changes were made to the government in Northern Ireland, the Provisional IRA called a ceasefire and eventually ended its armed campaign. This is an especially amusing example of a CRF since the necessity of negotiating with the IRA was actually recognised recognized in The West Wing Episode "Dead Irish Writers", in which Lord John Marbury privately admits to Toby that the British government needs the US government to talk to Sinn Fein politican politician Brendan [=McGann=], which is a reference to how the Clinton administration helped to normalise normalize relations between Sinn Fein and the UK government by granting Sinn Fein's president Gerry Adams a US visa, by President Clinton's repeated visits to Britain and Ireland, and by the appointment of former US Senator George Mitchell as the US's Special Envoy for Northern Ireland.[[/note]]



** In Russell's case it's heavily implied that he is nowhere near as dumb as he likes people to think he is, and in fact that he is a ManipulativeBastard who has skillfully used ObfuscatingStupidity to make people think him an easygoing, lightweight guy who's useful to have around, which in turn has helped to make it easier for him to climb the ladder. It becomes noticeable when he talks about his own image: genuinely stupid people don't think they are stupid but they also don't realise that they ''seem'' stupid, whereas Russell is very aware of his public image and he seizes the Veep job in an effort to make himself seem more presidential.

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** In Russell's case it's heavily implied that he is nowhere near as dumb as he likes people to think he is, and in fact that he is a ManipulativeBastard who has skillfully used ObfuscatingStupidity to make people think him an easygoing, lightweight guy who's useful to have around, which in turn has helped to make it easier for him to climb the ladder. It becomes noticeable when he talks about his own image: genuinely stupid people don't think they are stupid but they also don't realise realize that they ''seem'' stupid, whereas Russell is very aware of his public image and he seizes the Veep job in an effort to make himself seem more presidential.



** Another example is when a secretary takes offence to Sam telling Ainsley that she's "enough to make a good dog break his leash." Ainsley goes out of her way to tell the secretary that she's not offended and that by complaining she's actually dragging attention away from "real" harassment. However, she seems to miss the point the secretary was trying to make: a sexual comment does not need to be directed at you for you to find it offensive, and in the vast majority of cases Sam's comment ''would'' be considered inappropriate in a workplace. Matters aren't helped by the common view that this character was written as Sorkin's response to several online critics who had accused his writing of being sexist, as these critics simply proceeded to argue that the character only showed that Sorkin had completely misunderstood their point.
** In "Ellie", Sam gets into an argument with a film producer who claimed that Bartlet had denounced a controversial movie of his and was "siding with censors" (in truth, Bartlet had never heard of it and Charlie had simply rejected the producer's offer of a screening at the White House because he simply thought Bartlet wouldn't enjoy it). During the argument, the effects of violence in film comes up, and Sam points out that, since medical experts have claimed that children are negatively impacted by violent films the White House intends to listen to them. The film producer retorts by pointing out that the White House, in the same episode, is clearly gearing up to fire the Surgeon General for offering a politically inconvenient opinion about legalising marijuana despite it ''also'' being advice from a medical expert. The show treats the producer (not entirely wrongly) as a sleazy jerk and we're supposed to leave the scene thinking that Sam has completely trounced this guy, but many viewers might actually come away thinking that the producer had a perfectly valid point about the White House's hypocrisy. Especially since, although the President ultimately doesn't go through with it, Sam never actually responds to the producer's accusation and just kind of brushes it off.

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** Another example is when a secretary takes offence offense to Sam telling Ainsley that she's "enough to make a good dog break his leash." Ainsley goes out of her way to tell the secretary that she's not offended and that by complaining she's actually dragging attention away from "real" harassment. However, she seems to miss the point the secretary was trying to make: a sexual comment does not need to be directed at you for you to find it offensive, and in the vast majority of cases Sam's comment ''would'' be considered inappropriate in a workplace. Matters aren't helped by the common view that this character was written as Sorkin's response to several online critics who had accused his writing of being sexist, as these critics simply proceeded to argue that the character only showed that Sorkin had completely misunderstood their point.
** In "Ellie", Sam gets into an argument with a film producer who claimed that Bartlet had denounced a controversial movie of his and was "siding with censors" (in truth, Bartlet had never heard of it and Charlie had simply rejected the producer's offer of a screening at the White House because he simply thought Bartlet wouldn't enjoy it). During the argument, the effects of violence in film comes up, and Sam points out that, since medical experts have claimed that children are negatively impacted by violent films the White House intends to listen to them. The film producer retorts by pointing out that the White House, in the same episode, is clearly gearing up to fire the Surgeon General for offering a politically inconvenient opinion about legalising legalizing marijuana despite it ''also'' being advice from a medical expert. The show treats the producer (not entirely wrongly) as a sleazy jerk and we're supposed to leave the scene thinking that Sam has completely trounced this guy, but many viewers might actually come away thinking that the producer had a perfectly valid point about the White House's hypocrisy. Especially since, although the President ultimately doesn't go through with it, Sam never actually responds to the producer's accusation and just kind of brushes it off.
27th Mar '18 8:03:38 PM RaineyH
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21st Mar '18 9:07:53 PM nombretomado
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** Andy Buckley is Congressman Mike Satchel in "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet", many years before earning recognition as David Wallace in ''Series/TheOffice''.

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** Andy Buckley is Congressman Mike Satchel in "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet", many years before earning recognition as David Wallace in ''Series/TheOffice''.''Series/{{The Office|US}}''.
10th Mar '18 2:44:01 AM DoctorNemesis
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Added DiffLines:

** In "Ellie", Sam gets into an argument with a film producer who claimed that Bartlet had denounced a controversial movie of his and was "siding with censors" (in truth, Bartlet had never heard of it and Charlie had simply rejected the producer's offer of a screening at the White House because he simply thought Bartlet wouldn't enjoy it). During the argument, the effects of violence in film comes up, and Sam points out that, since medical experts have claimed that children are negatively impacted by violent films the White House intends to listen to them. The film producer retorts by pointing out that the White House, in the same episode, is clearly gearing up to fire the Surgeon General for offering a politically inconvenient opinion about legalising marijuana despite it ''also'' being advice from a medical expert. The show treats the producer (not entirely wrongly) as a sleazy jerk and we're supposed to leave the scene thinking that Sam has completely trounced this guy, but many viewers might actually come away thinking that the producer had a perfectly valid point about the White House's hypocrisy. Especially since, although the President ultimately doesn't go through with it, Sam never actually responds to the producer's accusation and just kind of brushes it off.
19th Jan '18 9:12:48 PM jormis29
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** Joe Quincy, a male version of Ainsley Hayes that offered [[Series/{{Friends}} Matthew Perry]] the chance to successfully [[PlayingAgainstType play against type.]]

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** Joe Quincy, a male version of Ainsley Hayes that offered [[Series/{{Friends}} Matthew Perry]] Creator/MatthewPerry the chance to successfully [[PlayingAgainstType play against type.]]
29th Dec '17 1:38:31 PM SirBob42
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** Also [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TTD5-3fuZE]]
20th Oct '17 1:49:46 PM TheMightyHeptagon
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* MisBlamed: Many critics accuse Creator/AaronSorkin of making the show a liberal triumphalist fantasy, citing the Bartlett Administration's success at reforming Social Security, solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and getting a Democratic successor. All of those plot points happened ''after'' Sorkin left the show, and the Bartlett Administration is portrayed as well-meaning but consistently incompetent during Sorkin's tenure.

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* MisBlamed: Many critics accuse Creator/AaronSorkin of making the show a liberal triumphalist fantasy, citing the Bartlett Administration's success at reforming Social Security, solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict conflict, and getting a Democratic successor. All of those plot points happened ''after'' Sorkin left the show, and show; during his tenure, the Bartlett Administration is administration was consistently portrayed as well-meaning well-meaning, but consistently incompetent during Sorkin's tenure.with more than their share of gaffes, mistakes and failures.
20th Oct '17 1:44:45 PM TheMightyHeptagon
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* HilariousInHindsight: In the Season 5 episode "[[{{Recap/TheWestWingS05E10TheStormyPresent}} The Stormy Present]]" James Cromwell has a guest role as former President of the United States D. Wire Newman (casually called '''D.W.'''), a loose FictionalCounterpart to UsefulNotes/JimmyCarter. Cromwell would later go on to play RealLife former president [[UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush George]] '''[[UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush H.W.]]''' [[UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush Bush]] in the 2008 UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush biopic ''Film/{{W}}''.

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* HilariousInHindsight: HilariousInHindsight:
**
In the Season 5 episode "[[{{Recap/TheWestWingS05E10TheStormyPresent}} The Stormy Present]]" James Cromwell has a guest role as former President of the United States D. Wire Newman (casually called '''D.W.'''), a loose FictionalCounterpart to UsefulNotes/JimmyCarter. Cromwell would later go on to play RealLife former president [[UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush George]] '''[[UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush H.W.]]''' [[UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush Bush]] in the 2008 UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush biopic ''Film/{{W}}''. Season 4 also features actor James Brolin as Robert Ritchie, the Governor of Florida and the Republican Presidential nominee, who was widely believed to be a NoCelebritiesWereHarmed caricature of UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush; Brolin's son [[Creator/JoshBrolin Josh]] would later play Bush in the same film.
30th Jul '17 4:12:03 AM haloinsider
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** Lionel Tribbey
** Oliver Babish
** Bruno Gianelli
** Joe Quincy

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** Ainsley Hayes, an intelligent and even-minded Republican character who was able to have a back-and-forth with Sam.
** Lionel Tribbey
Tribbey, a righteous White House Counsel whose existence allows John Larroquette the opportunity to [[LargeHam bathe in a river of ham.]]
** Oliver Babish
Babish, Tribbey's successor, who adheres to a strict moral code and projects a confidence that allows him to speak candidly with both the President and the First Lady over their respective obstacles during the MS scandal.
** Bruno Gianelli
Gianelli, a Campaign Manager with a high success rate, who - while not deferring to a particular political party - professes himself as someone who listens intently to the wants of the American people, preferring that to telling them what they should want. As a result, he coolly and calmly probing the Bartlet staff on how to function during Seasons 3 and 4, even calling out the President for not giving him proper flexibility to do his job.
** Joe QuincyQuincy, a male version of Ainsley Hayes that offered [[Series/{{Friends}} Matthew Perry]] the chance to successfully [[PlayingAgainstType play against type.]]
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=YMMV.TheWestWing