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October 06, 2005

What Happened to Rob?

I've had a couple folks e-mail in to tell me that, contrary my allusion at Tapped yesterday, Sam Seaborne actually won his quixotic campaign in Orange County. My recollection was that he got crushed and we last saw him sobbing into the arms of Toby and Josh, who, on Bartlett's orders, were wresting control of Sam's candidacy from the Big Business apparatchik plotting strategy. But my understanding was that they just helped him shift towards Dean and away from Lieberman on the lefty tone continuum, not that they pulled off the impossible and won the sort of district that requires massive ballot fraud to even dent. E-mails rushing into my inbox, however, are taking the opposite view and assuring me that Rob Lowe was actually shunted off the show and into a cushy congressional seat in a make-believe world where Democrats turn around terrible campaigns in their final days and shred the Orange Curtain.

Is this true? And if so, how fully lame.

October 6, 2005 in Television | Permalink


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» Sam in the OC from Handful of Sand
Ezra Klein's wondering whether his West Wing memory is faulty, and his e-mailers correct when they assert that Rob Lowe's exit from the show was due to Sam Seaborne actually winning his congressional race in Orange County. As is usually... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 6, 2005 11:28:42 AM

» Sam in the OC from Handful of Sand
Ezra Klein's wondering whether his West Wing memory is faulty, and his e-mailers correct when they assert that Rob Lowe's exit from the show was due to Sam Seaborne actually winning his congressional race in Orange County. As is usually... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 6, 2005 11:30:35 AM

» Sam in the OC from Handful of Sand
Ezra Klein's wondering whether his West Wing memory is faulty, and his e-mailers correct when they assert that Rob Lowe's exit from the show was due to Sam Seaborne actually winning his congressional race in Orange County. As is usually... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 6, 2005 11:32:35 AM

» Advisors don't get West Wing offices from Common Sense
There is some discussion in the blogosphere today as to whether Sam Seaborne (Rob Lowe's character on The West Wing) won his Congressional race. Now I am a West Wing-ophile, so I can end the debate. Sam lost. They aren't [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 6, 2005 7:49:30 PM


Yeah, it really did happen! It did!

And pigs fly. I don't know where your correspondents are getting their info, but as a pretty diehard West Wing fan (I own all 4 seasons on DVD, and I've got both Bartlet and Santos campaign posters), my recollection is that Sam, Toby, and Josh all collectively decided that Sam was going to lose, and therefore, instead of going down meekly, they were going to go down fighting.

That, and Sam didn't help matters by making a politically suicidal move in a speech introducing Bartlet during the special election. IIRC, it was something about a tax--I think it might have been the estate tax, but I won't swear by it.

Posted by: Raf | Oct 6, 2005 10:43:23 AM

Sam definitely lost. It led to one of my favorite lines

Sam: So you think I'm going to lose?
Toby: You're going to get killed.
Sam: So why are you here then?
Toby: Because they're going to be thowing rocks and I want to stand next to you when they do.

Posted by: bg | Oct 6, 2005 11:04:51 AM

He got crushed.

Posted by: Total | Oct 6, 2005 11:07:46 AM

Re: your Tapped piece:

Didn't Loretta Sanchez upset B1 Bob not so long ago? Demographics in the OC are still changing. Maybe not as fast in the old Cox district. But, it'll get there. And when it does, a few Dems who run now will have built name recognition.

Posted by: Roxanne | Oct 6, 2005 11:15:06 AM

Loretta lives in a fairly anomalous, vastly Hispanic district. The demographics of the county aren't so much changing as that one area shifted -- housing prices are too high for much low income settlement to occur.

Posted by: Ezra | Oct 6, 2005 11:22:08 AM

Oh, but Loretta's district wasn't always that way. You're just too young to remember. ;-)

Posted by: Roxanne | Oct 6, 2005 11:30:39 AM

As I remember, they never actually said whether he won or lost. Just that he was running, they were fighting for him, they expected him to lose, and then he was off the show. No mention of him ever again.

Posted by: Stu | Oct 6, 2005 12:21:28 PM

I agree; that's what happened there.

Posted by: Kimmitt | Oct 6, 2005 12:39:06 PM

Rob Lowe was in a contract dispute with the show (he wanted to be the highest paid guy on the show or something) and when it wasn't resolved they wrote him off the show by having him win the special election.

Posted by: Jake | Oct 6, 2005 12:52:25 PM

Supposedly Lowe is coming back in Nov., so we'll find out then. They never said whether he won or lost, but someone from the production crew has said that he won.

Posted by: Drew Miller | Oct 6, 2005 1:49:46 PM

Of course, there was The Lyon's Den.

Posted by: Jim Madison's Dog | Oct 6, 2005 1:56:35 PM

I definitely thought he lost - and yeah, the "team" all went out to the OC for the chance to play dirty when the playing was good, and there was nothing to lose. I don't miss Rob Lowe, I do miss Sam. I've heard rumors he would be back too.

Posted by: Brew | Oct 6, 2005 2:52:32 PM

I don't think they ever mentioned specifically whether he won or lost, but the strong implication was that he would lose (se the aforementioned quote of the exchange between Toby and Sam).

Posted by: Matt F | Oct 6, 2005 2:54:18 PM

I was under the impression that he won. But I guess they never revealed it. I guess I just assumed it because I knew they were writing him off the show, and you'd assume that if Sam had lost he would have come back to the White House.

That kind of makes me feel better, because I always thought it was ridiculously improbably that he could turn a campaign around in a week and win.

Posted by: Royko | Oct 6, 2005 3:14:42 PM

Nope - They never said whether he won or lost. It seems likely that it would have been mentioned if he had won.

Posted by: Barringer | Oct 6, 2005 4:06:40 PM

If I remember correctly, and when I get home I'll check the DVDs, but Seaborne was down 10 point in the last 10 days or so with 11 points left in the undecided bin. Or something like that according to Toby.

I also remember Bartlett telling McGarry to give Sam some more substantial work when he came back to the White House; put him in the White House Counsel's office and make him an advisor to the President.

Of course they never said whether he won or lost, but you would've thunk that Toby, Josh or CJ would've made some sort of off-hand comment about how great they were for pulling off such a tremendous upset if they had won.

Then again, if he were in the Counsel's office, maybe he would've saved us from having to see Oliver Babish's face over the last several episodes.

Posted by: Cincinnatus | Oct 6, 2005 4:16:46 PM

It was never explicitly said, but the implication, in the last conversation that Toby and Sam had at a bar was that Sam was going to lose - a fact that Sam was unhappy about but went along with because, as the plot went, the only way for him to win would be for him to speak out against the a new economic policy the President was about to announce... he was a good soldier, and didn't do it, and that precipitated his defeat.

As far as writing goes, the "Sam runs for congress" plotline was mainly there to exit Rob Lowe off of the show and to bring in Josh Molina's character (who was then wasted so aggregiously that it should have been a criminal offense).

Posted by: Dylan | Oct 6, 2005 4:17:50 PM

with sam possibly returning to the show maybe it's about time for them to also bring back aaron sorkin to resume writing the show...

Posted by: anthony | Oct 6, 2005 4:49:16 PM

Sam definitely lost the race because he got a cushy Senior Advisor role with the White House, per Toby's request.

Posted by: Greg | Oct 6, 2005 5:23:00 PM

Judging by this thread the Seaborn campaign's relationship with the netroots was lacking. No Paul Hackett he.

Wikipedia says I am rembering this wrong, but I thought the episode where Bartlet wins re-election also displayed graphics on-screen showing the results in Sam's congressional election. Wikipedia also says the election was in the 47th district, which is Sanchez's, but I'm almost sure that's incorrect.

I would guess that Sam, having lost, didn't want to come back to the WH but rather decided to become a lobbyist or something. He's clearly not WH council, and he's not in Congress because episode 1 of this season has Will Bailey representing that district in the future.

The West Wing has all kinds of bizzare continuity issues in general.

Posted by: SamAm | Oct 7, 2005 11:03:13 AM

Dylan -- Josh got brought in because he's an actor Sorkin is fond of working with. Then Sorkin left & the new guys screwed him over.

I stopped watching WW very quickly after Season 4t. I don't even know what's happening on it this season. Which sucks, because it was a must-watch once upon a time.

Posted by: fiat lux | Oct 7, 2005 1:24:19 PM

Was it clear that Will Bailey's district was in Orange County? Someone addressed him as a congressman, but I don't remember whether it specified which district he was from. Just because he was a campaign manager in the OC doesn't mean that would be the most natural place for him to run for office.

Posted by: calicajun | Oct 7, 2005 1:29:44 PM

Dylan -
I suppose Josh Molina's character was wasted, but then is he really all that good anyway? I find him so flat, not much going on behind the words. Or maybe he just seems average because his part is so average. If, as fiat lux says, Aaron Sorkin likes him, that's a pretty good recommendation.

Posted by: bobbo | Oct 7, 2005 6:10:21 PM

All I want to know is where can I get a Seaborn for Congress poster!

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Posted by: casimira | Oct 11, 2006 1:52:56 PM

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