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Game On

Original Airdate 10-30-02


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Descriptions  |  Credits  |  Information Links  |  Awards  |  Media Quotes

Descriptions

From TVGuide.com:
President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) finally meets GOP foe Robert Ritchie (James Brolin) in a campaign debate that also brings back cantankerous State Department veteran Albie Duncan (Hal Holbrook). Duncan, who's no fan of the president, is designated the White House's foreign-policy "spinner" for the event. Meanwhile, Leo (John Spencer) and Jordan Kendall (Joanna Gleason) meet with a UN diplomat about the escalating Qumari crisis; Sam (Rob Lowe) tries to persuade the staffers for a just-deceased Southern California Congressional candidate to end their election campaign; and Toby (Richard Schiff) once again tries to persuade his ex-wife, Rep. Andrea Wyatt (Kathleen York), to remarry him.
From NBC:
Bartlet engages in the final debate of his career.
From Warner Bros.:
One day before a debate between Bartlet and his Republican rival, Governor Robert Ritchie (James Brolin), even skeptical Toby must admit that Bartlet is ready. After a debate rehearsal, Toby meets with his ex-wife, Congresswoman Andrea "Andy" Wyatt (Kathleen York), who is advising on the campaign. Toby also tells C.J. that Albie Duncan (Hal Holbrook), a rather old, slightly crazy Republican, will help Bartlet deal with the aftermath of the debate. Later, the staff joyously watches Bartlet trounce Ritchie in the debate. Meanwhile, Leo and attorney Jordon Kendall (Joanna Gleason) negotiate a peaceful settlement to the escalating Qumar-Israel conflict. And Sam attempts to persuade an idealistic campaign manager, Will Bailey (Joshua Malina), to remove a recently deceased Democratic candidate from the Presidential ballot.
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Credits

Rob Lowe as Sam (Samuel Norman) Seaborn Deputy Communications Director
Stockard Channing as Abbey (Abigail Ann) Bartlet M.D. First Lady
Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Personal Aide to the President
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Press Secretary
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff
Richard Schiff as Toby (Tobias Zachary) Ziegler Communications Director
John Spencer as Leo Thomas McGarry Chief of Staff
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Deputy Chief of Staff
and
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
     
Special Guest Stars    
Hal Holbrook as Albie Duncan Assistant Secretary of State
James Brolin as Robert Ritchie Republican Candidate for President
Joshua Malina as Will (William) Bailey Orange County Campaign Manger
Guest Starring    
Kathleen York as Rep. Andy (Andrea) Wyatt Congresswoman
Joanna Gleason as Jordon Elaine Kendall Special Counsel /
misspelled Jordan Kendall
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
Danica McKellar as Elsie Snuffin Orange County Campaign Staffer
Tony Amendola as Ali Nissir Qumari U.N. Ambassador
John Aniston as Alexander Thompson Debate Moderator
     
Co-Starring    
Ashleigh Olden as Sharon Orange County Campaign Staffer
Paige Orr as Karen Orange County Campaign Staffer
Trent Trail as Lawrence Orange County Campaign Staffer
Tomiko Martinez as Staffer Orange County Campaign Staffer
Amy Bruckner as Sally Girl with PSA
Gia Cross as Girl "Suffragette"
Ashley Benson as Girl "Suffragette"
Alison Robertson as Carrie Clothing Committee
Jason McCune as Jonathan Clothing Committee
Ted Davis as Bobby Clothing Committee
Michael Raysses as Ted Willard (last name) /
Orange County Post-Gazette Reporter
Stephanie Venditto as June Wheeler (last name) /
San Jose Mercury News Reporter
Anita Dashiell as Joe Reporter in Orange County
Ross Shimabuku as Derek Wentworth (last name) /
Reporter in Orange County
Mary McDonough as Beth Reporter in Orange County
Nick Jameson as Chet First Debate Question
Scott Facher as Stage Manager  
Kim Webster as Ginger Assistant to Communications' Director
Timothy Davis-Reed as Mark O'Donnell (last name) / Reporter
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
Kris Murphy as Katie Witt (last name) / Reporter
Amy Parks as Tammy Bartender
Stacy Reed as Girl in Bar  
Steve Stapenhorst as Martin Debate Spin Prep
Tim Van Pelt as Congressman Harry / Debate Spin Prep
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Information Links

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Awards

Golden Reel Awards

Best Sound Editing in Television Series - Dialogue and Automated Dialogue Replacement Nomination for
Supervising Sound Editor:
Walter Newman
Supervising Dialogue Editor:
Catherine Flynn
Supervising ADR Editor:
Thomas A. Harris
Sound Editors:
Constance A. Kazmer
Karen Spangenberg
Denise Horta
Assistant ADR Editors:
Lisa Wolf Grove
Kevin Barron
Deron Street
Kenny Fewell
Damon Cohoon
Eric Moss
Jeff Cranford
Original Production Mixer:
Patrick Hanson
ADR Mixer:
Eric Gotthelf
Re-Recording Mixer:
Dan Hiland

WGA Awards

Episodic Drama Nomination for
Aaron Sorkin
Paul Redford
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Media Quotes

He [Aaron Sorkin] also hopes to put Bartlet on a train for the first six episodes of that fourth season, taking the show on the road for a series of whistle-stops "all over the country."

"Sorkin's drug subplot ending"
by Ed Bark
July 22, 2001
Dallas Morning News

"When candidates are on the stump or in debates and you're watching, how often do you say, 'He should have said this,' or, 'Why didn't he say that?' We're going to have some fun with that." - Aaron Sorkin

"Reality intrudes on West Wing"
by Tom Jicha
January 21 2002
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

AS "The West Wing" gears up for a re-election battle next season, the show's creator is preparing fictional President Bartlet to run against a character that sounds an awful lot like President George Bush.

"I want to have two characters in which I can dramatize that conflict [between] the know-it-all and the guy without gravitas who somehow relates to the everyman," says creator Aaron Sorkin.

"Isn't That George W. in 'West Wing' Plot?"
April 24, 2002
New York Post

He hasn't even begun writing the text for the fifth episode, which was due Aug. 29 and starts filming soon ("If you have any ideas for the fifth episode, I'd be glad to take them," he cracked).

"Shaking the chill of the attacks"
by Eric Deggans
September 8, 2002
St. Petersburg Times

Ross Shimabuku, former KGMB-9 sports anchor who's now with KTBK-TV in Phoenix, has just completed a bit part on NBC's "West Wing." He plays a TV reporter named Derek Wentworth and tosses out a tax-related question ...

"Former island TV guy turns up on 'West Wing'"
by Wayne Harada
September 26, 2002
Honolulu Advertiser

While he's in New York, the cast and crew are in California shooting Season 4's fifth episode. And they're waiting for Sorkin to finish the next installation.

"'West Wing' wizard"
by Heather Salerno
October 6, 2002
Journal News

"This is something new. I'm very excited. It's a very grown-up role, a chance to be a young professional," says Ms. [Danica] McKellar, 27.

...

"I'm just thrilled to be working on this show. I'm a huge fan. If I could pick any show to work on, it would be this one," she says.

...

When she auditioned for The West Wing, Mr. Sorkin told her, "I'm crazy about you," she says. "It was the coolest moment."

...

"Mostly the roles I play are still high school students or love interests," she says. "This role is something quite grown-up, and it's a strong transition for me being seen as a professional woman."

"She's past 'Wonder Years'"
by John Kiesewetter
October 29, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

Sam's heading out to Orange County, Calif., where he happens to be from, to persuade the campaign manager of a recently deceased Democratic congressional candidate to stop campaigning because it's an embarrassment to the national party. But the campaign manager (played by Joshua Malina, the nerdy Jeremy on Sorkin's Sports Night) is no dummy...

...

Bartlet (Martin Sheen) gets the chance to take plenty of shots at him tonight, when the two square off in their only campaign debate. It's the episode's centerpiece, but it, too, is treated in a sidelong manner (though Sorkin definitely imparts its flavor). More directly treated is the way debates are "spinned" by the two sides, and this gives Sorkin not only another opportunity to be a policy wonk (the subject: trade with China), it opens up another guest spot for Hal Holbrook as the enjoyably cantankerous State Department veteran Albie Duncan, who's a wary Bartlet advocate.

"Executive Decision"
by Paul Droesch
October 30, 2002
TV Guide Online

"I won't pretend that I don't know who Bush is," says [Aaron] Sorkin, "but I was interested in writing about a demonization of intellect. Which didn't start with Bush-Gore -- it didn't even start with Eisenhower-Stevenson. It's peculiarly American: Being tagged as the smartest kid in your class turns into both a sense of arrogance and a sense of weakness -- that an 'egghead' [can't] see us through a world war."

"How the 'West' Was Undone"
by Ken Tucker
November 8, 2002
Entertainment Weekly

"I think some of that was the election [story line], some of these were not our best episodes, some of it was that we got hit with 'The Bachelor' and people started to leave, given an excuse," [Thomas] Schlamme said.

"Shedding light on murky look of 'West Wing'"
by Phil Rosenthal
January 15, 2003
Chicago Sun-Times

"I always expected that I would end up on the show at some point, though I never talked to anyone about it," the actor says. "When I first got called in to do the show it was only for a five episode arc and the studio told me that they would see where it went from there. At that point though it was just a big score to do five episodes cause I was such a huge fan of the show."

Malina's run on the Emmy award-winning series, it turned out, would be for much longer than five episodes. Now a series regular, the 37-year-old New Yorker is well aware of the fact that his relationship with the series' creator played a hefty role in him landing the job. To date Malina has starred in every project Aaron Sorkin's been involved in, including the Broadway run of A Few Good Men. However, Malina isn't embarrassed or ashamed that much of his career is indebted to the man his cousin attended high school with- in fact, he's quite proud of it.

"Aaron's had a long career of hiring me," Malina says with a laugh, "but I don't mind saying that if my friend hadn't written a certain play I wouldn't have been in it. Or that if my friend Aaron didn't create "The West Wing" I wouldn't be on it. I'm comfortable with that. Aaron writes for me in a way someone who doesn't know me may not be able to, and he's given me the opportunity for my work to go out there and be seen. I can't complain about not getting my fair share. In fact, I feel guilty sometimes because I have talented friends who are struggling to find a job and I got one of the most coveted jobs on TV. I only wish more people had friends like Aaron who were talented and got jobs for you."

"Joshua Malina Goes Inside "The West Wing""
by Heather Wadowski
January 24, 2003
Hadley Media

"I started out with a five episode contract," the 37-year-old [Joshua Malina] tells TV Guide Online. "It was 'five and we'll see' - and finally, we saw. ..."

"Sports Night Star Replaces Rob Lowe"
by Daniel R. Coleridge
February 5, 2003
TV Guide Online

"When it was really looking like Rob would be leaving, which got us all very sad, we had a meeting and started talking about people," Sorkin said. "In the two minutes it took me to get back to my office, I called Tommy (Schlamme, a co-creator) and said I'm absolutely convinced we have to get Josh Malina.

"And, amazingly, after that phone call, I opened my e-mail, and there was an e-mail from Josh."

"Just that day," Malina said, "I read in Variety that Rob was planning to leave. I thought I'd do a little fishing expedition. I think I said, 'What about using someone who's less attractive and would work for less money?' "

"I e-mailed him back," Sorkin said. "I said, 'Yeah, OK. I'll have you on the show.' "

"I'm like, really? Really?" said Malina. "I called my wife in to read it. I said, 'This sounds like there might actually be something there.' "

"White House rookie"
by Rick Kushman
March 2, 2003
Sacramento Bee

That episode was patterned after actual presidential debates. We had access to thousands of feet of documentary and newsreel footage. Before we shot the debate scenes, I saw an amalgam clip that the editors put together of the debates between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater and Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. We studied details, including their mannerisms and other subtext that audiences might interpret. - Thomas Del Ruth

"A Conversation with Tom Del Ruth, ASC"
by Bob Fisher
Date Unknown
ICG

"There were some decisions made about the election that didn't have much dramatic punch," says [John] Wells. "You knew Bartlet was coming back. And that story line coincided with a wave of successful reality-TV programming."

"The West Wing"
by Allison Hope Weiner
September 12, 2003
Entertainment Weekly

As for the other big change on the show, Rob Lowe's departure, the guy who replaced him said he actually initiated his hiring. Joshua Malina had worked with Sorkin many times before. Malina read in Variety that Lowe was leaving and called Sorkin.

"It's just a pitch," he said he told Sorkin, "but what about someone who's less attractive and would work for less money?"

"The Donald trumps CBS chief"
by Bill Goodykoontz
January 15, 2004
Arizona Republic

Alan started by telling Sorkin that he had attended the first book signing and at that event he had asked Sorkin when Josh Malina was going to appear on TWW since he had appeared in everything else Sorkin had written. Alan then reminded Sorkin that two days later the announcement was made that Lowe was leaving the show and shortly thereafter, that Malina would be joining the show. Alan told Sorkin that because of the timing of everything, he now gets credit from his friends for planting the idea that Malina should be on the show. Sorkin said that that whole thing had been brewing for a while and that the decision to hire Malina had been made by that time.

Posted at televisionwithoutpity.com Forum
by mjforty
January 29, 2004
Notes from a second L.A. book signing with Aaron Sorkin

Malina himself no longer needs glasses, having undergone laser eye surgery, but he's kept his specs on the show. "I think that was an Aaron decision with which I concurred. Any prop or costume piece that will help me appear as smart as the character, I like it," Malina says with a grin.

...

"He was a classic sort of Aaron creation," says Malina, remarking that Sorkin is incapable of writing characters who aren't "very, very, very smart and hyper-articulate and - most of them - incredibly dedicated to what they do." Malina was initially signed for a half-dozen episodes. "The way Aaron put it originally, probably to spare my feelings, was, 'We'll see whether you're happy. Whether we're happy.' As if there was much chance that after six episodes I was going to go, 'You know it's not working out from my point of view. I don't want to continue!"'

"Josh Malina has been clever add to West Wing"
by Bridget Bynre
April 19, 2004
Canadian Press

He [Joshua Malina] told the story of how one day when he and all of his poker buddies (Malina is the creator of Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo) from the original broadway cast of A Few Good Men went bowling one night. Aaron Sorkin took a bite out of a burger and began choking. Malina then performed an impromptu heimlich on him, and cracked three of Sorkin's ribs. "It's funny, in retrospect, because he's alive," he said.

And as history would have it, Malina has been in every Sorkin project Since then.

The moral of the story, according to Malina, is that if you want to break into show business, "heimlich someone more talented than you."

"Josh Malina Talks Post-Sorkin WEST WING!!"
by "Leo"
October 26, 2004
Ain't It Cool News

Q: When you came onto The West Wing, you were joining a cast that had already been working together for three years. Was it hard to insert yourself into that dynamic?

A: It sounds really cliché, but the cast couldn't have been nicer. After the first reading, John Spencer [who plays Chief of Staff Leo McGarry] came up to tell me that he had been watching re-runs of Sports Night, everyone was welcoming.

"A West Wing-er's Washington"
by Monica Hesse
March 2005
On Tap

And executive producer John Wells is promising this election will be nothing like President Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) re-election victory over a dim-witted GOP governor (James Brolin).

"I think if there was anything we regret doing it was the way we staged the last election," Wells said. "The character that we created . . . was really a straw man, and there was no suspense to it. And he was someone you desperately wanted to have defeated. I think for many Americans, it's not that easy a decision, as we saw in this last election."

"Liberal leanings - Can Republicans get a fair shake in 'West Wing' elections?"
by Scott D. Pierce
March 18, 2005
Desert News

How does it feel to be playing a character that isn't Jewish in such a fiercely political context?

When Aaron [Sorkin] first talked to me about this role, he told me a bit about it and then got very serious, stopped, and said: "I do have to tell you, the character is not going to be Jewish."

I said: "I don't care, I'm an actor." - Joshua Malina

"'West Wing' actor looks east"
by Talya Halkin
June 27, 2005
Jerusalem Post

Joshua Malina's first day of work on the set of the West Wing, where he plays White House speech writer Will Bailey, fell on Rosh Hashanah. Malina chose to observe the holiday instead.

"West Wing actor to help launch UJA Federation campaign"
by Frances Kraft
August 25, 2005
Canadian Jewish News

TVGuide.com: Do you consider your West Wing gig the start of a "career resurgence"?

[Danica] McKellar: That was the beginning of people going, "Huh, she's not a washed-up child star." [Laughs] This business is pretty unpredictable in that you never really know when you're going to be busy or not. This entire year was pretty darn busy for me. When it rains, it pours.

TVGuide.com: Your West Wing arc was the same one that ushered Rob Lowe off the show. Was he at all melancholy on the set?

McKellar: No, I didn't notice that. I think he was really excited about the future. The Lyon's Den didn't do very well, but.... He's in London right now doing A Few Good Men on stage. One day I would love to play the Demi Moore role.

TVGuide.com: Was it hard to escape being pigeonholed as Winnie?

McKellar: Before The West Wing? Absolutely. Now people are like, "We loved your work on The West Wing," which is so good to hear. It's nice to have people talking about things besides The Wonder Years" not that I'm ashamed of or want to forget that or anything. I am grateful to have been on such a wonderful and obviously beloved show.

"Danica McKellar's Win-Winnie Situation"
by Matt Webb Mitovich
September 23, 2005
TV Guide Online

Q: Switching gears, I read when you were hired for The West Wing, someone on the Internet referred to you as that "horrible little man who's replacing Rob Lowe." What was your reaction?

A: Well, I'm one of those people who has as thick a skin as you can have. I sometimes get a kick out of reading the horrible, horrible, awful things people write about me. If you Google yourself, you have to be willing to take what you find.

Q: Was Rob a tough act to follow?

A: He was in one sense. I definitely didn't go into it thinking 'Oh my God I have to turn every Rob Lowe fan into a Josh Malina fan.' I had no angst about it. But I did know that he was very popular as an actor and his character was hugely popular, so I didn't really concentrate on whether I could replace him, per se. I also think if you look at the two of us standing next to each other, it's quite clear who's the good-looking leading man and who's more the supporting actor type of player. I don't think there's any danger of me really replacing him.

Q: Why does everyone talk so fast on The West Wing?

A: (laughs) That's a good question, too. To start with, if you compare one of our scripts to your average one-hour drama, we have more pages. We have to fit more dialogue into the same amount of time.

Q: Your first day on the set of The West Wing fell on Rosh Hashana. You chose to observe the Jewish holiday. Did that cause any problems?

A: It really didn't ultimately. I was aghast when I found out. This is one job I certainly didn't want to jeopardize. But by the same token, I knew I wasn't going to work that day. I had never before in my life. Being Jewish is who I am, being an actor is what I do, so the priority was clear to me. I gathered my courage and called the producers and said while I was delighted to be offered this role, I had a problem with the first day of work. Luckily they couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating. I definitely got a little bit of ribbing from the cast when I showed up.

Q: What'd they say?

A: I remember Allison Janney saying, 'Oh, so today is not a Jewish holiday? You can actually do some work?'

"A familiar face, a singular faith"
by Kevin D. Thompson
November 30, 2005
Palm Beach Post

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For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
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