The West Wing: Inside Goldfish Gail’s Fishbowl – Season 5

Gail the Goldfish, friend and companion to C.J. Cregg and the rest of the gang at The West Wing, has a splashy season 5. Gail plays Monopoly (to help Donna, of course), goes overboard for cabbages, and rightfully panics over C.J.’s new fishing hobby. It’s a rough season for the whole gang, since we start with Zoey missing and end with Donna being blowed up. So it’s anything but calm waters for our favorite little goldfish.

Here it is, a list of Gail sightings from season 5.

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!

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 1.59.43 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 1

  • Prop: Maybe…probably…a little elephant figure
  • Gravel: Blue
  • Nod to Plot: GOP President Walken is in charge and Gail might just be showing a nod of respect to the new Commander-in-Chief.


Season 5, Episode 2

No Gail. She is too worried about Zoe Bartlet to make an appearance.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 2.20.58 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 3

  • Prop: A HUGE American flag
  • Gravel: Blue
  • Nod to Plot: It’s the Fourth of July!


Season 5, Episode 4

No Gail. And thus, I have han.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 2.36.37 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 5

  • Prop: A model of the White House. 
  • Gravel: Blue
  • Nod to Plot: Ummm…well, the show takes place…in the White House.


Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 2.40.42 PM.png
  • Prop: It’s one of Toby’s message calendars! Notice that there is a blank column for Fridays, because Toby says no one watches news on Fridays.
  • Gravel: Blue
  • Nod to Plot: Toby and Will have been working hard to push a positive message to move the agenda forward, mostly via a series of color-coded message calendars. Gail is on board!


Season 5, Episode 6

No Gail. Her mama is off comforting tornado victims.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 3.12.04 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 7

  • Prop: A black book with a white label on the front
  • Gravel: White
  • Nod to Plot: Well, Angela Blake [blrrp] is leading budget negotiations, so I suspect it may be a copy of the budget that Gail is reviewing. She thinks the tuition initiative is a great idea and should be a much higher priority. I also heard through the grapevine that Gail doesn’t like Angela Blake at all.


Season 5, Episode 8

No Gail. She’s been furloughed during the shutdown.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 3.41.17 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 9

  • Prop: Gail has a Christmas tree! Just like Mama.
  • Gravel: White (I think), you know, like snow!
  • Nod to Plot: Christmas episode!

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 3.52.23 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 10

  • Prop: Some sort of flag prop. It almost looks like…could it be a little flag-draped coffin? Morbid, Gail. Morbid.
  • Gravel: Unknown
  • Nod to Plot: President Lassiter died. So probably the flag…object…is some sort of tribute to him.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 4.19.19 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 11

  • Prop: A business card holder is propping up a “Get Out of Jail Free” card from the game Monopoly. 
  • Gravel: White
  • Nod to Plot: Poor Donna is reviewing pardon candidates. Gail seems to think that this might help some of the people on the list.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 4.27.09 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 12

  • Prop: A bowl full of cabbages
  • Gravel: None
  • Nod to Plot: C.J. had a very interesting conversation with an Argentinian diplomat about cabbages. Gail thought the diplomat was really handsome, so she’s hoping to lure him back with lots and lots of mini cabbages.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 4.39.52 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 13

  • Prop: Is that a cow or a horse?
  • Gravel: Green
  • Nod to Plot: If I’m right and there are some farmyard animals, they could be a nod to Taylor Reid taunting C.J. that she is a chicken.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 4.57.01 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 14

  • Prop: It appears that Gail has some plants and maybe a tree or two
  • Gravel: Brown
  • Nod to Plot: This is probably a facet of Leo’s ‘Nam flashbacks. Gail sees “Charlie” in her trees, too.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 5.10.27 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 15

  • Prop: A familiar sight! It’s the same schoolhouse figure with a pencil flagpole that we saw in Season 3, Episode 12.
  • Gravel: Green
  • Nod to Plot: Gail is interested in the school voucher debate that is ongoing.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 5.23.47 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 16

  • Prop: Dang, for the life of me I just can’t figure it out. There is some type of blue tower. What IS that?
  • Gravel: Green
  • Nod to Plot: Completely uncertain. There are two main themes to the episode–Sesame Street and science. Couldn’t they have just put Snuffy in the bowl? It would’ve saved me a lot of squinting.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 5.50.18 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 17

  • Prop: Double dang. This is another head scratcher for me, mostly because of the angle of the bowl–I keep getting a double image from the curve of the glass.
  • Gravel: White
  • Nod to Plot: Wellllll, there is the Supreme Court nomination up for grabs. And Donna’s mom’s cats. And cookies. And the song “American Pie”. But all I see is a horse or some upright dolphins.

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 6.08.04 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 18

  • Prop: It’s a movie camera on a tripod.
  • Gravel: White
  • Nod to Plot: I guess in this hellscape of an episode, Gail thinks she should get a mockumentary, too.

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 3.47.44 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 19

  • Prop: Gaaa! We never get a really good look, which is nutty because we spend so much good time in C.J.’s office this episode.
  • Gravel: Royal Blue
  • Nod to Plot: C.J. is taking on the FCC and heading off to Brussels while trying to date Ben. Josh is at odds with tractors. I think there’s something small in the bowl, but there’s just no way of knowing what the heck it is.

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 4.03.07 PM.png

Season 5, Episode 20

  • Prop: It looks like there’s a palm tree and a rickety sign that I *think* reads “No Fishing”
  • Gravel: Dark Green—maybe. It’s a very dark episode in C.J.’s office and she needs to declutter her desk.
  • Nod to Plot: Donna brought C.J. some fishing gear for the big Ben camping trip, and (if I’m right about the sign), Gail wants to make sure the rules are in place. No fishing! Or maybe it’s more of a general protest. Fish deserve to live.


Season 5, Episode 21

No Gail. It’s the Gaza episode and Gail is terrified for Donna.


Season 5, Episode 22

No Gail. She does send condolences out to Admiral Fitzwallace’s widow, who also happens to also be named Gail.

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 4
Season 6

What’s next for Gail? Hopefully C.J. will clean off some of that desk clutter before Season 6. Us Gail fans personally want the geode bookends removed, along with the fuzzy-topped pen in the pen cup. Let’s see if we can make that happen. Oh, it’s already been filmed? A long time ago? Well, here’s hoping for the best.

Oh, and if you just can’t get enough West Wing (like me), then check out my personal list of Every West Wing Episode Ranked! (It took yeeeeears to compile.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: