The West Wing: Inside Goldfish Gail’s Fishbowl – Season 6

Gail the Goldfish, friend and companion to C.J. Cregg and the rest of the gang at The West Wing, is back for an exciting sixth season. Gail moves offices, hosts a visitor, gets snubbed for an invitation to an ice cream party, and ponders classic literature. She also explores a little nihilism. That is one deep fish.

Here it is, a list of Gail sightings from season 6.

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!


Season 6, Episode 1

No Gail. She’s as appalled as we all are about the beginning of season 6. Since it looks like the gang is heading to Camp David, I fear we might be missing Gail for quite some time.


Season 6, Episode 2

No Gail. But she has a bad feeling that Leo’s in trouble. 

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 9.17.15 PM.png

Season 6, Episode 3

  • Prop: Gail’s back, and she has a pair of doves!
  • Gravel: Blue and green
  • Nod to Plot: Gail is rooting for a successful peace brokering at Camp David.

WW - Liftoff.png

Season 6, Episode 4

  • Prop: A swim-through suitcase. I think. It’s a bit curvy for a suitcase, and there’s a hole in the center. And I’ve been staring at several screen shots of this, not to mention replay of Gail’s scenes over and over and over. I’m sticking with a pinkish-brown swim-through suitcase. 
  • Gravel: White
  • Nod to Plot: They’re not in Kansas anymore. Gail and C.J. have moved into Leo’s old office.

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 10.24.14 PM.png

Season 6, Episode 5

  • Prop: It’s a windmill! 
  • Gravel: Green. Like all White House initiatives should be
  • Nod to Plot: Gail believes in wind power. Or any alternative energy sources. It’s odd she isn’t more into the whole hydro-power sector, but if Gail wants wind, she gets it. And never an SUV.

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 10.40.01 PM.png

Season 6, Episode 6

  • Prop: It’s the White House! Again. This prop has been dragged out a dozen times before.
  • Gravel: Dark Green
  • Nod to Plot: See, this is a show that largely takes place in the White House, and involves the trials and cameraderie of the White House staff.

Screen Shot 2019-08-02 at 2.01.55 PM.png

Season 6, Episode 7

  • Prop: It’s the White House! Again. Again. 
  • Gravel: Dark Green
  • Nod to Plot: More like a nod to the set design guys that they feel about this season the way I do. Meh.


Season 6, Episode 8

No Gail. That’s okay. I don’t want any part of the China summit episodes either, Gail. 


Season 6, Episode 9

No Gail. C.J.’s still in China. Ugh.

Screen Shot 2019-08-02 at 2.13.17 PM.png

Season 6, Episode 10

  • Prop: Another goldfish! Gail has a friend!
  • Gravel: White-ish
  • Nod to Plot: The press is peppering C.J. with questions about her sexual preferences, and Gail intends to demonstrate that love is love. No need to even ask if the other goldfish is male or female!


Season 6, Episode 11

No Gail. The episode is more interested in the new Santos campaign. Gail wanted some privacy with her new bowlmate anyhow.

Screen Shot 2019-08-02 at 2.32.17 PM.png

Season 6, Episode 12

  • Prop: It looks like Gail’s got nothing. Maybe her team is also prepping for redecorating her office.
  • Gravel: White-ish
  • Nod to Plot: Eh, I could say something about blank slates being a theme, but I think this is all just leftovers from episode 10, sans the extra fish. Gail must be lonely. Or glad to have her bowl back to herself. Anyway, she’s very excited for Margaret’s visibly baby bump!


Season 6, Episode 13

No Gail. The odd episodes of later season 6 are all about the Dem primary campaigns. Gail thinks they need a fish.

Screen Shot 2019-08-02 at 2.50.03 PM

Season 6, Episode 14

  • Prop: It’s a string of hearts
  • Gravel: White
  • Nod to Plot: It’s Valentine’s Day!


Season 6, Episode 15

No Gail. And it isn’t because she’s a chicken.

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 7.54.37 PM.png

Season 6, Episode 16

  • Prop: Nothing
  • Gravel: Nothing
  • Nod to Plot: No freaking clue. Gail is being deprived of any material comforts…and frankly her water level is extra low. Maybe it has something to do with Cliff’s water bill? Probably not.

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 8.19.48 PM.png

Season 6, Episode 17

  • Prop: We barely get a glimpse of Gail’s bowl, but it looks like a model of the Capitol Building
  • Gravel: I think I glimpsed dark green gravel
  • Nod to Plot: Eh, Santos is staging a sugary sweet legislative slumber party. I guess Gail is watching the legislative shenanigans carefully.


Season 6, Episode 18

No Gail. It’s a campaign trail episode.

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 9.04.54 PM.png

Season 6, Episode 19

  • Prop: Tough call. There appears to be rocks or debris on top of the white gravel. Or, if my imagination isn’t tricking me, I think that might even be some debris from a little rowboat wreckage. See what looks like a wooden hull toward the back of the bowl? 
  • Gravel: White-ish
  • Nod to Plot: Now, just bear with me–if what I’m seeing really is a boat wreckage, this could easily (if loosely) tie to the Ernest Hemingway/Cuba references in this episode (Leo is failing to bring Cuba into the fold and wastes our time). So could it be that this is the boat from The Old Man and the Sea? Was Leo trying to bring in his Castro marlin and failed? And was Gail mocking him by setting up a wooden boat wreckage as fishbowl metaphor?

Screen Shot 2019-08-04 at 7.29.39 PM.png

Season 6, Episode 20

  • Prop: It appears to be a jam jar. Or, maybe, could that be a jar of ice cream topping?
  • Gravel: White
  • Nod to Plot: I admit to watching the entire episode, holding my breath waiting for a mention of jams or jellies. No luck. So perhaps this is ice cream topping (like hot fudge) as an incentive for President Bartlet and Vinick to invite Gail to their ice cream party in the White House kitchen.

Screen Shot 2019-08-04 at 7.49.18 PM.png

Season 6, Episode 21

  • Prop: We have a little model of a spaceship with a hose leading from it for a spacewalk. Now, the “man” figure in the bowl looks like a diver to me, instead of an astronaut. But I think we’re supposed to overlook that and think “spacewalk”.
  • Gravel: Blue
  • Nod to Plot: The International Space Station is in crisis and is losing oxygen. I think Gail must be running simulations on repair procedures the astronauts might try.


Season 6, Episode 18

No Gail. Silly Toby kept blocking our view of her. I would like to imagine that she has a picture of dreamy Alan Alda in her bowl with little fish lipstick kisses all over it.

There it is! A full sixth season of campaigning, romance, and Margaret’s baby bump, all within the confines of Gail’s itty bitty glass home.

Don’t be shy–be sure to go back and revisit Gail’s adventures in:

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4 and
Season 5

Only one more season to go before Gail and the rest of the gang wrap up their White House adventures.

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.)


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