The West Wing: Inside Goldfish Gail’s Fishbowl – Season 4

Gail the Goldfish, friend to C.J. Cregg and the rest of the gang at The West Wing, is in for a bowlful of drama during season 4. Boats, cows, flamingos, and more major closeups than ever before. Her Papa, Danny, is back and he’s bringing all sorts of new stress into C.J.’s life. It’s the beginning of President Bartlet’s second term and things are about to get crazy.

Here it is, a list of Gail sightings from season 4.

If you think that you can identify one of the mystery props, please do comment and if you can convince me, I will happily give you full credit for the spot!

By the way, if you’re enjoying these posts I’m doing about Gail, a great way to say thanks is to head over to Heifer International and make a donation. Thank you!

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Season 4, Episode 1

  • Prop: A boat labeled “Washington D.C.” is dominating Gail’s space
  • Gravel: Dark green
  • Nod to Plot: Josh, Toby, and Donna missed the motorcade. So either Gail’s building them a boat to get them home to D.C., or she’s making sure she’s covered for transport in case she’s ever left behind.


Season 4, Episode 2

No Gail. We believe she has launched her D.C. boat to retrieve Toby, Josh, and Donna.


Season 4, Episode 3

No Gail. Again. She was too busy out rockin’ the vote.


Season 4, Episode 4

No Gail. Again! I know she’s busy living her life out-loud, but we miss her.


Season 4, Episode 5

No Gail. This is ridiculous. I hope C.J. reminds Carol to feed Gail while she’s away at debate camp.


Season 4, Episode 6

No Gail. Listen, I get that C.J. is preoccupied with the re-election campaign, but I’m trying to make a post for my website here. BRING BACK GAIL!


Season 4, Episode 7

No Gail. We now have an A.P.B. out for a cute goldfish on the loose. Name’s “Gail”. We believe she may have been abducted. She may be armed and dangerous. Approach with extreme caution.

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Season 4, Episode 8

  • Prop: Uncertain–may be a coffee cup
  • Gravel: Dark green
  • Nod to Plot: She’s BACK! And just in time to celebrate in the House of the Rising Sun. Tough to say who Gail thinks might need a little sobering up with some coffee–C.J.? Josh? Or maybe it’s for Gail. We know she can hit the sauce pretty hard.


Season 4, Episode 9

No Gail. We should let her sleep it off.


Season 4, Episode 10

No Gail. This season is noticeably light on scenes inside C.J.’s office. And we’re all the poorer for it.

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Season 4, Episode 11

  • Prop: Mystery! It appears to be transparent. And though it appears in the still frame to have two holes in it, when you watch the camera pan around the bowl, the holes seem like an illusion of the light and what we’re seeing are stripes (trust me, I watched it at least a dozen times). My best guess? It’s a cricket ball.
  • Gravel: White, like snow
  • Nod to Plot: It’s a Christmas episode and Gail gets a special closeup while Danny is enthralled with the Shareef story and the lead he has on it based on the tale of a Bermuda cricket devotee. This leads me to believe that the odd crystal-like sphere in her bowl is a cricket ball. Also note: This is the episode where C.J. receives and wears a goldfish pin from Danny. Awww!

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Season 4, Episode 12

  • Prop: Cows, and maybe a lamb
  • Gravel: Green, like grass in a pasture
  • Nod to Plot: It’s the Heifer International episode! Gail supports this group completely and is making friends in the process.

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Season 4, Episode 13

  • Prop: What appears to be two flamingo figures
  • Gravel: Unknown–can’t quite see it.
  • Nod to Plot: Hmmm. If my guess is right that it’s two flamingos, it isn’t a big stretch (pardon the tall pun) to tie it to our favorite Press Secretary with the codename “Flamingo”. This is her episode entirely, and we watch her go home to visit her dad and explore the promise of a generation.


Season 4, Episode 14

No Gail. 

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Season 4, Episode 15

  • Prop: The Presidential lectern is back!
  • Gravel: Blue
  • Nod to Plot: It’s inauguration time. Here comes the second term!


Season 4, Episode 16

No Gail. I’m a little worried. Gail isn’t on C.J.’s desk at all. Hopefully she’s vacationing at Carol’s desk while C.J. heads to California.


Season 4, Episode 17

No Gail. The California slog continues.


Season 4, Episode 18

No Gail. She’s afraid of Mrs. Marion Coatesworth Hooter-Tooter Marblehay.


Season 4, Episode 19

No Gail. Again! We need to keep C.J.’s feet on the ground so Gail doesn’t feel ignored. This is goldfish neglect!

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Season 4, Episode 20

  • Prop: It’s the White House grounds
  • Gravel: Various shades of green
  • Nod to Plot: Oh no! There’s a shooter outside the White House! Gail’s on guard, though. 

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Season 4, Episode 21

  • Prop: No effing clue. Despite an extraordinary amount of time spent in C.J.’s office, Gail is barely visible. And whatever that is (some sort of erotic mermaid scene?), it has me baffled.
  • Gravel: Green, possibly with some blue
  • Nod to Plot: No idea. There’s talk about water on Mars. The Veep resigning. A bird tapping at a window. Toby eats a salad. I don’t know.

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Season 4, Episode 22

  • Prop: Nothing. It’s an empty bowl
  • Gravel: No gravel.
  • Nod to Plot: That’s the head-scratcher. Zoe graduates and is kidnapped, Charlie digs up champagne, the Shareef story is breaking, Donna and Amy share awkwardness, President Bartlet lifts his graduation gown, and Toby’s babies are born.  Are the life events and drama causing Gail to go through some kind of nihilistic angst? 

A single season of Gail’s adventures is never enough, of course. Be sure to check out her other adventures in…

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 5
Season 6

Let’s just hope that Gail gets back to her materialistic ways by the time the new season begins!


12 thoughts on “The West Wing: Inside Goldfish Gail’s Fishbowl – Season 4

Add yours

  1. Season 4, episode 11

    The object is a silver Christmas ornament on its side. You can see the metal rim on the left where the hook would attach.


    1. Mark, thanks for the suggestion! I’m not totally convinced it’s an ornament, though. It COULD be, and it would match the holiday theme. BUT I don’t know that what we’re seeing is a metal rim for the hook. And, despite the Christmas theme, it would be an odd choice to decorate Gail’s bowl–if the props dept. was going to merry up the bowl, wouldn’t they have grabbed a red, green, or gold ornament?

      Then again, the same could be said for my cricket ball theory.

      Ah, this is a weird one no matter how you slice it.


    1. Thanks again, Mark! Putting that spin on Gail’s absence does make sense; I bet you’re right. Of course, I think nihilistic angst is more fun and speaks to Gail’s inner turmoil. But your way’s good too….I suppose.


  2. Season 4 episode 11. I just found your list and love it. One of the reasons I wanted to search for “Gail’s Fish Bowl” is because it’s been bugging me since I started to figure these out and I saw what I identified as a flower arrangement frog, in the episode where we first meet Jean-Luc. Could someone have pulled out a slur?


    1. Hello Sue! A flower arrangement frog?? Now I need to go look at the clear orb again to see what’s INSIDE of it. Right? Yes, I do think someone could have been that cheeky, but it needs another look!


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