A few questions about the West Wing (Spoilers!)

So I just finished watching the last season of the West Wing for the first time, since I for some unexcusable hadn’t seen it before. It’s one of my absolute favourite series, which makes it even weirder. And since I made a deal with myself that I had to watch it before the Prez Election on Tuesday, I’ve been watching 4-5 episodes a day untill now.

But watching it has brought a few questions to my mind, questions that I’m absolutely certain you guys can answer.

First. Charlie and Zoe Bartlet had a relationship for a few seasons. I don’t remember them ending that relationship on the show, or did they?

Second. I remember reading/hearing somewhere that Vinnick was supposed to win the election. But since John Spencer (Leo) died while they were filming, they decided it would be better to let Santos win. Is that correct? And would that be why they did the San Andreas Reactor episode?

Third. Who was Bartlets predesessor? By which I mean, when did the WW-timeline break from the real world? Who was the last real president they mentioned (I seem to remember someone mentioning Reagan in some episode, but none after him).

And since I managed to make it three questions (of variable importance and significance), I don’t have to greet Opal :wink:

Charlie ended it unilaterally. I think it was shortly after the shooting at the end of Season 1, but it may have been later. When Zoe was later kidnapped for reasons that had nothing to do with Charlie, it was strongly implied that, once she’d gotten rid of that French twerp, the two got back together. I never saw a rerun of the “Flash Forward” sequence of the gang reuniting years later at the Jeb Bartlet Presidential Library, but there was a hint that the two would marry.

A Vinick victory was always held out as a possibility; I’m not sure Spencer’s death had anything to do with the actual outcome.

I like to think it was Andrew Shepherd. They never actually said, or addressed why their election calendar was two years off.

Would that be the “don’t hold you breath”-line he says to him?

Cause I was pretty sure they got gotether again, after the French twerp (as you so nicely put it), but wasn’t as sure if they’d broken up again.

I heard/read (don’t remeber where) some rumors that they just didn’t have the heart to let Santos loose both his VP and the presidency.

It was, right. Probably just to throw confusion as to where the timelines split up.

Barlet suceeded the Republican Owen Lassiter. I don’t believe it was mentioned whether Bartlet beat Lassiter when he ran for a second term or whether Lassiter completed two terms and Bartlet beat some other unnamed Republican candidate.

Lassiter’s predecessor was D. Wire Newman, a one-term Democratic President.

I believe Nixon was the most recent “real world” President mentioned on the show.

You are correct, though I believe they didn’t want Josh losing both rather than Santos. The San Andreas episode was before John Spencer’s though, so it had no effect on that.

Yeah, that makes more sense.

And I was so sure Sheen giving his eulugy before the San Andreas-episode, but that’s what I get for watching them back-to-back.


So they chose to go so far back. That’s kinda nifty.

It’s been suggested that there was no VP when Nixon resigned and Congress held a snap presidential election in 1974 rather than having the House Speaker finish out his term thus shifting the cylce by 2 years. This was never said on-air; it’s just something a fan came up with, but it does make sense.
Was anyone else pissed off about that wedding episode they did in the last season? :mad: Instead of using Charlie and Zoe the used one of Bartlet’s daughters who we never saw before? Why did they do that? Ealier they even went so far as to have Charlie ask Bartlet’s permission to propose to Zoe! Did the actors not want to do a guest shot or what?

We’ve seen all three of Bartlet’s daughters. Ellie, IIRC, was the one he felt the least closest to, although he did try.

Well, she was the one they “understood” the least. Thinking she might have “teh gay” or something.

And Bartlet really thought they only were getting married due to the pregnancy, which his son-in-law-to-be disproved.

But she has at least been mentioned before, in earlier seasons.

Ellie was her mother’s daughter…she went into biological research, IIRC. Zoe was her father’s daughter…the youngest, and the one he was most protective of. Ellie got in trouble for talking to the press, saying her father would never fire the Surgeon General for saying marijuana should be legalized.

The oldest one (I forgot her name) was married with children by the time Bartlet took office.

Liz. She had the bozo husband that tried to run for office.

I’ve always taken it that the 22nd Amendment reads differently in the Sorkinverse, in that a full-out presidential resignation (as opposed to Bartlet’s temporary relinquishing of authority) sparks a special election. That would explain the two year discontinity between the WW election cycle and that of the real world.

ETA: It could also be the 25th Amendment that differs.

I believe Sorkin has actually come out and said that was in the case. They were concerned having John Spencer die in real life THEN have the Democratic candidate lose would leave a bad taste in viewer’s mouths. I don’t have a cite though.

I think the more interesting question would have been if they ever intended the series to go beyond the Bartlett administration. The producers say no, but you can’t tell me it wasn’t considered. While I think Martin Sheen was special, I think Santos/Josh/Donna/Al Bundy/Hottest first lady ever Terri Polo could have made a go of it.

Yes. They even had a conversation about the marriage finally confirming what they were never completely sure about.

The President caught Charlie sneaking out of his daughter’s White House bedroom in the middle of the night late in Season 7. I kind of assume that we were supposed to understand that they were back together at the end of the series.

It wasn’t of course. They invented about four previous presidents in an episode with a state funeral, & I don’t think Shepherd was one of them.

But considering who played Shepherd’s Chief of Staff, it’s a surreal idea.

Yeah, that would’ve been my fourth question :wink: But how long could they have gone on without it turning into a “burning pile of …”? I think they made the right decision.

That must’ve been in season 6, cause I didn’t catch that in my season 7 marathon. But now you mention it I do remember seeing it.

What about West Wing: The Santos Administration???
Aaron Sorkin Announces New ‘West Wing’ Animated Series

god I love the Onion…