West Wing Continuity Guide
path: home / About the Series * Miscellaneous Overlaps between Sports Night & West Wing
By Peter Vetsch

Groups of Crossovers:
  1. Names
  2. Embarrassment
  3. Psychological Problems
  4. Romance
  5. Family
  6. Grammar and Quotations:
  7. Additional Miscellaneous Crossovers:

  1. Names
    • The name Alberto Fedregotti is used in both series
      This does not feature the repetition of an actor, but rather a character name. What makes it even MORE obscure is that the "Sports Night" half of the character does not even make a flesh-and-blood appearance on the show! Allow me to explain. In episode 1-17 of "Sports Night", "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?", the "Sports Night" crew is stuck waiting around in the studio. The time they usually go on the air has come and gone, and the show is on indefinite hold because of a tennis match that CSC is broadcasting that's going longer than anyone expected. The match, which everyone talks about but which we only get to see snippets of, features Pete Sampras against an unknown unseeded Italian named Alberto Fedregotti. The reason the show is late is that Fedregotti just won't die. Eventually, Fedregotti loses and the show goes on the air two hours late. Now, in episode #51 of the West Wing, "The Indians In The Lobby", Josh has to meet with the charge d'affaires from the U.S. Italian Embassy about a boy who shot his teacher in Georgia and is being detained in Italy. The liaison tells Josh that Italy will not send the boy back to the U.S. to face the death penalty...and in the course of conversation, we find out that his name is none other than Alberto Fedregotti.
    • Ex's Named Lisa
      Both shows feature a main character with an ex named Lisa. Sports Night's pilot episode features Casey still reeling from his recent divorce from his now-ex-wife Lisa, and throughout the rest of the series we find out that she is cold-hearted and manipulative, even though we never officially meet her. Sam of the West Wing also now has an ex-fiancee named Lisa, as is pointed out in episodes #23-24, "In The Shadow of Two Gunmen". Furthermore, the reason why both Lisa-related relationships failed is remarkably similar. At the end of episode #55 of the West Wing, "100,000 Airplanes", Sam's Lisa reveals that he essentially left her to take a job on the President's campaign, abandoning his more lucrative position at the huge Gage/Whitney law firm. In Sports Night, the beginning of the end of Casey's marriage to Lisa is when he passes on the opportunity to host a late night talk show that ends up going to Conan O'Brien because he wants to stay in sports and with Dan. Lisa flips out at this and their marriage never recovers. Admittedly, the two situations aren't identical, but a career crossroads ends the chances of a marriage involving a woman named Lisa in both cases.
    • S. Donovan
      The character names might be a little different, but it seems slightly more than coincidence that Sports Night had a Sam Donovan and West Wing a Simon Donovan. Sam Donovan is a ratings expert brought in to help Sports Night's performance early in Season 2 of the show, while Simon Donovan makes his appearance as CJ's personal Secret Service bodyguard protecting her from a homicidal fundamentalist stalker at the end of the West Wing's third season. Aside from their names, the two Donovans are involved in similar bizarre relationships with female lead characters: both Dana on Sports Night and CJ on the West Wing are continually irritated by Sam/Simon at first, but that annoyance gives way to sudden and short-lived romance. Sam walks away from a potential relationship with Dana because he's never comfortable staying in the same place for too long, and Simon is unexpectedly shot and killed in a botched robbery right after his professional obligation towards CJ ends, leaving him free to see her personally. (overlap pointed out by E. G.)
    • Cliff Gardner
      Sports Night episode 2-3 is titled "Cliff Gardner", the name of the brother in law of the inventor of the television, Philo Farnsworth. Sam Donovan tells the story of how Gardner made glass tubes to help Farnsworth's work, knowing he would need some. Both Gardner's first and last names are appropriated in the West Wing as names of romantic interests. Cliff Calley is a Republican who becomes involved with Donna in season 3; Amy Gardner comes into Josh's life in season 3 as well. (overlap pointed out by Sarah Spooner)
    • Elsie Snuffin
      Joshua Malina, a Sports Night alumnus, is Rob Lowe's replacement on the West Wing as Will Bailey, a speechwriter Sam Seabourne discovers in California. In charge of many of the jokes in Will's speeches, is his step-sister, Elsie Snuffin, played by Danica McKellar. Elsie gets her name from Sports Night's Kayla Blake, who played Kim on the show and whose alternate screen name is Elsie Sniffen...slightly different perhaps, but far too similar for coincidence. (overlap pointed out by Anthony Stasi)
    • More Names
      • SAM
        West Wing: main character, Sam Seaborn
        Sports Night: Sam Donovan, ratings expert in season 2
      • ABBEY/ABBY
        West Wing: Abbey Bartlet, the President's wife
        Sports Night: Dan's psychiatrist
      • CASEY
        West Wing: Donna's friend from college in episode #57, "Night Five"
        Sports Night: main character, Casey McCall
      • CHARLIE
        West Wing: Charlie Young, the President's personal aide
        Sports Night: Charlie McCall, Casey's son
      • Also, JOSH, the name of a main character in the West Wing, is the name of the actor who plays Dan in Sports Night, Josh Charles.
      • There seems to be a similarity between Dan (SN), Dana (SN), and Donna (WW).

  2. Similar Embarrassing Situations
    • Bragging about impressing someone leads to realization of mistake
      Both shows contain a situation where a misspoken word turns a victorious meeting with someone a character really wants to impress to total humiliation. Episode 2-2 of Sports Night, "When Something Wicked This Way Comes", features Dan finally getting to meet Hillary Clinton, whom he has a crush on. He later informs Casey how he connected with the First Lady by impressing her with his argument in opposition of public funding for secular schools, to which Casey responds: "you mean non-secular..." Similarly, in episode #33 of the West Wing, "The Leadership Breakfast", Sam feels confident in having impressed daunting and influential reporter Karen Cahill by discussing with her the nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan...except that he later realizes he may have accidentally said "Kurdistan" instead of "Kazakhstan". (overlap pointed out by Marybeth I.)
    • Women's panties turn up in odd places
      Believe it or not, women's underwear features prominently in both episode 2-4 of Sports Night, "Louise Revisited", and episode #33 of the West Wing, "The Leadership Breakfast". In the "Sports Night" case, Dana takes her panties off in a restaurant during a terribly boring dinner with an acquaintance from high school, then puts them in Casey's desk drawer as a token of her affection. In the West Wing, Donna goes to meet Karen Cahill at an art exhibit (to try and amend Sam's Kurdistan/Kazakhstan blunder mentioned above), and a pair of her panties caught up in her clothing falls out on the floor right in front of the reporter (without Donna noticing). Cahill then couriers them back to Josh's office, much to Donna's dismay. (overlap pointed out by Marybeth I., who adds: "I'm not quite sure if Aaron Sorkin has some kind of issue with women's panties...")
    • Main Characters on Television without Pants
      Both shows have had scenes where main characters went for an extended period of time without pants. . . in fact, where main characters were on national television for an extended period of time without pants! In Sports Night episode 1-22, "Napoleon's Battle Plan", Dan and Casey are pantless for the start of their broadcast as part of Dan's punishment from Natalie for withholding information about Casey and Sally. In West Wing episode #35, "Bartlet's Third State of the Union", CJ sits in paint and is forced to do a segment on the show Capitol Beat live from the White House without a full array of clothing. As Mrs. Landingham puts it, "Is it possible CJ isn't wearing any pants?". (overlap pointed out by Jeff Fuller)

  3. Psychological Problems
    • Guilty feelings about a sibling's death
      Both Dan in "Sports Night" and Josh in the "West Wing" are still haunted by feelings of guilt due to the premature death of a sibling. Dan's remorse first surfaces in episode 1-2 of Sports Night, "The Apology", where it is revealed that his younger brother was killed while driving and copying his older brother's habit of doing drugs (Dan was into drugs while in high school). Later on, in "Shane", episode 2-6, we find out that Dan thinks his parents blame him for his brother's death. In West Wing episode #5, "The Crackpots and These Women", we find out that Josh is suffering from almost identical feelings stemming from the premature death of his sister Joanie. Joanie was killed in a house fire while babysitting Josh, and Josh escaped by running out.. . Even though he was very young when it happened, he still feels guilty for not trying to save her. (overlap pointed out by Marybeth I.)
    • 'Hit and Run' used to describe major characters
      That's a nickname used to describe both Dan of Sports Night and Josh of the West Wing, and it refers to their tendencies to be uncomfortable in conversations with people that last long periods of time. In episode #54 of the West Wing, "H-Con 172", Josh's new love interest Amy makes this clear when she states: "If this went five minutes longer than you wanted it to, you'd run for the hills. You're 'hit-and-run Josh'." Josh's case seems to be more controlled than Dan's, however, for early in the second season of Sports Night discussions with Abby, his therapist, reveal that his condition often makes him physically ill after such social encounters.
    • Paternal Trauma
      Sports Night's Dan and President Bartlet in the West Wing have both seen psychiatrists for mental problems stemming from the fact that their fathers didn't like them. Dan's visits to his therapist Abby are a big feature of most of Sports Night's second season, and when we meet his father in episode 2-11, "The Cut Man Cometh", we start to see the reason behind his nervous collapses. In episode #57 of the West Wing, "Night Five", Josh's ex-trauma therapist is called in secretly to help the President deal with his filial issues, which, thanks to Toby, have begun overshadowing his re-election campaign. We met Bartlet's father in #44 "Two Cathedrals". Both of the fathers in question were abusive to their sons due to a lack of feeling for them; in Dan's case the abuse is mostly mental, while in the President's case it is mostly physical.

  4. Romance
    • Similar romantic encounters
      Sports Night episode 2-13, "Dana, Get Your Gun"
      • Dana knocks on the door of her own office; Sam is already there. Dana enters and claims the office is hers. Sam agrees, and asks her what she is coming in for. Dana says that she forgets and then leaves. She later returns and picks up her scotch tape dispenser, claiming that it was what she wanted to get. She and Sam have a poignant conversation and almost kiss. As Dana is leaving with the scotch tape dispenser, she stops and tosses it back to Sam. She leaves the office.
      West Wing Episode #12, "He Shall, from Time to Time"
      • Danny is in CJ's office, looking at the fishbowl. CJ knocks on the door, requesting permission to enter. Danny points out that this is her office. She enters, and they discuss their social history and the possibility of kissing. They finally kiss, and then CJ starts to leave the office with the fishbowl. She stops, returns the Fish bowl, and, after walking into the door, leaves the office.
      (overlap pointed out by Peter Sugarman)
    • Being Hit over the Head
      In the West Wing episode #52, "The Women Of Qumar", a new female character named Amy Gardner (played by Mary-Louise Parker) and potential love interest for Josh tells him that "guys like you want to be hit on the head" and subsequently drops a water balloon on him to get his attention.
      In the Sports Night episode 2-15, "Celebrities", Jenny, a new female character and potential love interest for Jeremy is told by him that "girls basically have to hit me on the head and make a sign" and she subsequently makes a sign (on a bar coaster) and hits him on the head with it to get his attention.
      (overlap pointed out by Luna)
    • "Legs that go all the way down to the floor."
      In episode #55 of the West Wing, "100,000 Airplanes", Amy Gardner is having a drink with Josh in a piano bar, and in the course of telling him off, she points out to him that her legs "go all the way down to the floor". This exact quote is used by Casey to describe Sally during a conversation he has with Dana in Sports Night Episode 1-10, "Shoe Money Tonight".
    • A whack on the side of the head
      In Sports Night episode 1-10, "Shoe Money Tonight", an annoyed Dana summons Casey into a private conversation by whacking him upside the head while he's playing poker with other members of the crew. Casey pauses, goes "...Ow.", and then follows Dana outside. A very similar thing happens in West Wing episode #55, "100,000 Airplanes", after Josh has irritated Amy Gardner. He's talking to Donna at the State of the Union reception when whack!...he gets cuffed in the back of the head by Amy, and follows her off to talk. (overlap pointed out by Marybeth I.)

  5. Family
    • A Child makes parents happy by coming home.
      In "The West Wing" episode #37, Ellie, the President says the same thing to his daughter that Casey says to his son Charlie in "Sports Night" episode 1-23, What Kind of Day Has it Been: "All you ever had to do to make me happy was come home at the end of the day". (This is also discussed under Actors).
    • Parents divorcing because of father's long-term affair
      Episode 1-18 of "Sports Night", "The Sword of Orion", features Jeremy trying to cope with his parents' impending divorce. He finds out that his father has been having an affair with a woman for 27 years. Jeremy doesn't know her, and his mother only discovered the affair after his father finally told her. This has an eerie resemblance to episode #38 of the West Wing, "Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail", where Sam is a wreck because of HIS parents' upcoming divorce. Sam's father has been keeping a woman in an apartment in Santa Monica for 28 years; we don't find out how his mother discovered the affair, only that it was from some stupid mistake of his father's. The situation is both cases is almost identical, even to the number of years, and in both cases the men affected pursue some project at work to secretly try and cope with the situation. For Jeremy it's discovering what caused the disaster of The Sword of Orion, a racing yacht; for Sam it's building a case for the pardon of Daniel Galt, a suspected spy.
    • Fathers wanting to lock daughters in a Dungeon
      Overprotective fathers and medieval urges combine in both shows when the daughters of main characters are approached by potential suitors. In the "Sports Night" episode 1-7, "Dear Louise", Isaac is concerned about his youngest daughter dating a sixteen year old Republican named Chad. When Dana asks him what he's going to do, he replies: "What any reasonable man would do. I'm calling a building contractor and installing a dungeon. . .and a moat." Fast forward to West Wing episode #11, "Lord John Marbury", when the President's youngest daughter Zoey asks Charlie out, and Bartlet contemplates the same thing: "'I should have locked her in a dungeon.' 'I don't think you have one, sir.' 'I could have built one.'" (overlap pointed out by Jannik Bork)

    Additional Miscellaneous Crossovers

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