The Worst Episodes of The West Wing: When the President’s Team Missed the Mark

Attention all West Wing fans! As much as we love this iconic political drama series, let’s face it – there are some episodes that just didn’t hit the mark. From cringe-worthy plotlines to lackluster character development, we’ve compiled a list of the worst episodes that left us feeling disappointed and frustrated. Now, before you grab your pitchforks and start protesting, hear us out. We’re not here to bash the show, but rather to offer some constructive criticism and maybe even spark some healthy debate. So, let’s dive in and explore the episodes that fell short of our expectations.
Dead Irish Writers

Dead Irish Writers

Season 3 – Episode 15

Air Date: 2002-03-06

Concern arises over the medical board’s decision on Abbey’s actions in treating Jed’s M.S.; Sam tries to get a Senator he doesn’t like to pass a bill for a super-conducter that he doesn’t even understand; Amy tries to influence Josh; Lord Marbury explains to Toby why a member of the IRA cannot be invited to the White House; Donna receives shocking news when the Secret Service won’t give her clearance to attend Abbey’s birthday party.

The U.S. Poet Laureate

The U.S. Poet Laureate

Season 3 – Episode 16

Air Date: 2002-03-27

Toby looks forward to meeting the new U.S. Poet Laureate; Jed fires the first salvo of his reelection campaign when he calls his likely opponent less than brilliant, and the national press just can’t get enough of it; Ainsley gets promoted; Josh overreacts to posts on the message board of a website devoted to “all things Josh”.

We Killed Yamamoto

We Killed Yamamoto

Season 3 – Episode 20

Air Date: 2002-05-15

While Jed, Leo and Fitzwallace grapple with terrorism and moral absolutes, Josh and Amy grapple with each other over a welfare-reform bill; Donna represents the White House at a North Dakota state-party caucus whose goal is to remove the word “North” from the state’s name; Toby doesn’t want Jed to attend a New York fund-raiser because Ritchie will be there; Charlie is assigned the responsibility of finding Jed a new secretary; C.J. discovers that Simon Donovan is a very straight shooter

The Stormy Present

The Stormy Present

Season 5 – Episode 10

Air Date: 2004-01-07

President Bartlet attends the funeral of a former president with other former presidents Glenallen Walken and D. Wire Newman, while monitoring a possible situation in Saudi Arabia. Josh Lyman mediates an argument between a representative from Connecticut and one from North Carolina who wants her state’s copy of the Bill of Rights returned. CJ is concerned about a scientist’s invention which could interfere with privacy.

Undecideds

Undecideds

Season 7 – Episode 8

Air Date: 2005-11-13

Lou and Santos run into trouble on the road when they try to pick up a family’s vote; their child was shot by a Latino police officer. Also, CJ must manage a crisis between China and Kazakhstan.

The Cold

The Cold

Season 7 – Episode 13

Air Date: 2006-03-12

After the near-nuclear disaster at the power plant the polls show surprising, or maybe not so surprising, results for both candidates. The Vinick camp gears up for backlash while the Santos camp hopes for cause to celebrate. Meanwhile Bartlet is still trying to keep the situation in Central Asia under control. Relationships in the Santos campaign, the Vinick campaign, and the West Wing all undergo changes and Vinick and Bartlet attempt to deal with different versions of the cold.

Election Day (1)

Election Day (1)

Season 7 – Episode 16

Air Date: 2006-04-02

Election Day finally arrives, and between analyzing exit polls, and mulling over news reports, a few Santos staff members discover the joys of campaign romance. Meanwhile, C.J. ponders life after the White House; and Annabeth makes a tragic discovery.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow

Season 7 – Episode 22

Air Date: 2006-05-14

After seven seasons of the Award-winning drama series, the Bartlet Administration prepares to leave the White House and The West Wing. While Santos and his winning camp are nervously gearing up for the presidential inauguration, current President Bartlet (Martin Sheen), CJ (Allison Janney) and the others fondly look back as they prepare to leave the White House forever.

An Khe

An Khe

Season 5 – Episode 14

Air Date: 2004-02-18

When five navy E-2C Hawkeye crew members are stranded in North Korea, Bartlet orders a risky Navy Seal rescue attempt. C.J. agrees to one on one with a motormouth conservative talk show host

Full Disclosure

Full Disclosure

Season 5 – Episode 15

Air Date: 2004-02-25

He’s back, Former VP John Hoynes, who resigned in sex scandal, makes a bid for political resurrection by trashing Barlet and Leo in a tell-all book. But it’s C.J. who’s taking the news the hardest,

Eppur Si Muove

Eppur Si Muove

Season 5 – Episode 16

Air Date: 2004-03-03

When a conservative Republican Congresswoman targets Ellie’s research project in an effort to discredit Jed, Toby discovers that the source of the leak is uncomfortably close to home, and Will realizes that they’ve all greatly underestimated his boss; Josh investigates the wisdom of a recess appointment as he tries to convince an old friend to be patient with the Sixth Circuit judicial nomination process and keep his hat in the ring; C.J. completely misreads Ben’s intentions; Donna tracks down an AWOL Ryan; an opening is created on the Supreme Court; in an effort to redefine Abbey’s image with the press, C.J. sets her up to do a public service announcement with the Muppets, which inspires Ellie to stand up before the press in defense of scientific research unhampered by politics.

The Hubbert Peak

The Hubbert Peak

Season 6 – Episode 5

Air Date: 2004-11-17

Hours before the CAFE standards amendment is defeated, Josh succumbs to the lure of test driving a monster SUV while shopping for a Prius and gets into a fender-bender that proves embarrassing to the administration, so he’s saddled with heading up a task force on alternative energy sources; after hosting a surprise graduation party for Charlie, Zoey agrees to his taking her out to a thank-you dinner; Annabeth educates Toby on the art of “charm and disarm” in handling the press; Charlie is offered an attractive way out of his employment dilemma; Kate extents a hand of friendship and support to Donna; C.J. gets some crucial insight from Leo on keeping Jed healthy; Margaret’s plan to redecorate Leo’s former office meets with resistance from her new boss.

The Dover Test

The Dover Test

Season 6 – Episode 6

Air Date: 2004-11-24

The peace mission suffers its first American casualty, whose father is sharply critical of the administration; Santos breaks ranks with the party by signing onto Republican legislation for a patient bill of rights when his own bill dies in committee; Margaret searches for a new office for Charlie; Leo struggles to recover his health, his strength, and his appetite with the help of his nurse, who looks after both his body and his soul with wisdom and determination; Donna, out of her wheelchair and onto crutches, is besieged by the media for interviews; C.J. has harsh words for Toby when he lets his personal feelings take him off-message in the briefing room; Leo contemplates a post-recovery job offer in the private sector before his nurse reminds him why he left there in the first place; Will calls Josh out about the staff’s disrespect for Russell’s candidacy; as Annabeth finds a way to turn around a bad news cycle, Toby admonishes C.J. about micro-managing the press office.

A Change Is Gonna Come

A Change Is Gonna Come

Season 6 – Episode 7

Air Date: 2004-12-01

Hoynes throws his hat in the presidential ring, and asks Josh to join his campaign; Jed’s health begins to deteriorate; Toby and Kate head the protocol negotiations with the Chinese over the arrangements for the upcoming summit, which is jeopardized when Jed mistakenly accepts a Taiwanese flag at the National Prayer Breakfast; Bernard takes his new position as head of the Gifts Unit to heart as he gives Charlie a hard time about retrieving the flag so that it can be returned; Josh has his hands full with a pro-Taiwanese senator holding a hard line on recognizing their independence; Bob Russell crashes an Oval Office photo op with the governor of Pennsylvania, who’s also another potential presidential candidate.

Six Meetings Before Lunch

Six Meetings Before Lunch

Season 1 – Episode 18

Air Date: 2000-04-05

Mendoza is confirmed by the Senate; Mandy needs Toby’s help to replace a dead panda bear; Sam angers Mallory when she reads a position paper that he wrote supporting school vouchers; Josh meets with Jeff Breckenridge, who is irritating certain Congressmen with his stance on slavery reparations.

Constituency of One

Constituency of One

Season 5 – Episode 5

Air Date: 2003-10-29

Will Bailey receives an offer to become Vice President Russell’s top aide. Amy Gardner does some skillful lobbying for domestic violence prevention which gets the wrath of Bartlet. A conservative democratic senator switches parties.

Shibboleth

Shibboleth

Season 2 – Episode 8

Air Date: 2000-11-22

Toby encourages the President to appoint Leo’s controversial sister to a national education post, against Leo’s objections; Bartlet must decide what the do with 83 Chinese citizens who stowed away on a freighter ship and seek asylum on the grounds of religious persecution; CJ has to decide which one of two turkeys the President should “pardon” but then tries to save the other from the chopping block; Charlie is tasked with buying the President a new carving knife which is not as easy as it sounds.

The Warfare of Genghis Khan

The Warfare of Genghis Khan

Season 5 – Episode 13

Air Date: 2004-02-11

An unlikely party comes to the aid of the administration as it seeks to discover the party responsible for nuclear testing in the Indian Ocean; Will is unhappy, but his boss doesn’t seem to mind, when a request to beef up the Vice President’s issue profile results in Toby’s handing him boring, low-level minutae; Josh dismisses a NASA proposal for a manned Mars mission until an agency staffer shows him the error of his ways; a conservative talk show host makes a pathetic attempt to bait C.J. into appearing on his show.

Access

Access

Season 5 – Episode 18

Air Date: 2004-03-31

A documentary camera crew follows C.J. around for a not-so-typical day in the White House.

Talking Points

Talking Points

Season 5 – Episode 19

Air Date: 2004-04-21

Hail the conquering hero. Josh returns after nailing down details for a trade agreement. But the devil in the detail, including information kept from Josh. C.J. fights megamedia ownership of local TV.