The West Wing Weekly podcast is an episode-by-episode discussion of the eponymous hit TV show, The West Wing, hosted by Joshua Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway. Every week, Malina and Hirway take listeners through a behind-the-scenes analysis of one episode of The West Wing. They discuss the various plot points in the episode, the actors’ stage directions and the script, and Aaron Sorkin’s little nuances that make this such a brilliant TV show.
Malina appeared on The West Wing beginning in season 4 as Will Bailey, who had various roles in the White House during the Bartlet administration. Malina has also worked with The West Wing creator and writer Aaron Sorkin on several other projects, including the Broadway production of A Few Good Men and Sorkin’s show Sports Night. Hirway is a big fan of The West Wing and met Malina shortly after they both graduated from Yale. Hirway also hosts the podcast Song Exploder.
Malina and Hirway also regularly have guests on the podcast. Some of the past guests have included former cast members of the show such as Bradley Whitford (who played Josh Lyman), Rob Lowe (who played Sam Seaborn), and Allison Janney (who played CJ Cregg). Other guests include former government officials and the writers and producers of the show, including Aaron Sorkin himself. Having guests on the podcast is great because these people are able to give so much more insight and detail about their characters or the creation of the show and you can really see how their personalities influenced the show.
One notable guest was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In this particular podcast, Malina, Hirway, and Trudeau discuss their favourite parts of the show’s third episode, the importance of including women in positions of political power, and Trudeau’s gender-balanced cabinet.
Malina was initially hesitant of considering women for the position of director of the presidential campaign in the episode. In response, Trudeau says, “There’s a mix of things there. It’s a lesson for everyone about getting involved and not sitting back and taking the political world for granted.”
Hirway comments that “It’s hard to feel some of the optimistic political idealism represented in The West Wing.”
While the podcast doesn’t have Aaron Sorkin’s witty banter that the TV show does, Malina and Hirway do great analysis of every episode and they keep the show light and funny, occasionally throwing in running jokes from the series. The West Wing Weekly is a great accompaniment to the TV episodes whether you’re a new fan watching for the first time or if you’re a long time viewer of the show and want to know more about one of the best TV shows, arguably, in the past 20 years.
The West Wing Weekly is currently in the middle of season four with new episodes released on Wednesday nights, the same night that The West Wing was originally on TV.