The West Wing: Inside Goldfish Gail’s Fishbowl – Season 7

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 and FINAL seventh season! This is sad and exciting. It’s sexciting. Wait, no. Sorry, Gail. I didn’t mean it like that.

Truly, though, Gail experiences the frost of terrifying allegations against her mama, deep loss, and the anticipation of moving. It’s a traumatic season for her, but she handles it like a champ. Let’s do this one last time! Here are Gail’s appearances in Season 7.

(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!)

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Season 7, Episode 1

  • Prop: Gail’s opening the final season with a light bulb in her bowl
  • Gravel: Blue
  • Nod to Plot: I’m not entirely certain. Perhaps it is Gail’s epiphany that C.J. is the focus of the intelligence leak investigation. Gail is hoping that everyone stops and listens to her horrified realization. Gail’s has a lightbulb, people! A lightbulb!

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Season 7, Episode 2

  • Prop: Some little things are stuck in her gravel. Could they be a bunch of little U.S. flags?
  • Gravel: Blue
  • Nod to Plot: Well, maybe Gail is being supportive of candidate Santos’s military service. Plus, ya know, it’s America. So, flags.
    I, for one, am disappointed that Matt and Helen’s absolutely destroyed bed wasn’t in the bowl. Gail usually has more of a sense of humor.


Season 7, Episode 3

No Gail. And I don’t think she’s feeling all the attention that’s going to the campaign trail. We all want more Gail.

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Season 7, Episode 4

  • Prop: Her bowl is full of frosty (hopefully fake) ice crystals
  • Gravel: White, and lots of it
  • Nod to Plot: Well, this episode is called “Mr. Frost”, so Gail’s getting all frosty.

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Season 7, Episode 5

  • Prop: Gail is still frosty.
  • Gravel: White
  • Nod to Plot: Our favorite goldfish is feeling pretty chilly toward Oliver Blabbish and the way he has failed to apologize to her mama. Frost all the way, baby.

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Season 7, Episode 6

  • Prop: Ummm. Well there seems to be 3 white-ish lumps sitting in the gravel. Yeah. I’m open to suggestions here.
  • Gravel: Red
  • Nod to Plot: It’s the Al Smith Dinner. And at the White House Will is feeling haunted by Toby’s legacy. So if I had to wildly speculate on what the lumps could be–maybe little racquetballs so Gail has something to bounce off the side of her bowl? That probably isn’t right. And doesn’t explain the red gravel. Hmmm.


Season 7, Episode 7

No Gail. The writers are trying something clever with debates. If they truly wanted to be innovative, they would’ve allowed Gail to moderate!

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Season 7, Episode 8

  • Prop: It’s the default White House figure that has appeared in Gail’s bowl close to a dozen times.
  • Gravel: Blue
  • Nod to Plot: Bratty Ellie Bartlet is planning her gross White House wedding. Plus the whole show takes place in…the White House.


Season 7, Episode 9

No Gail. Ellie didn’t invite her to the wedding either. Frankly, Ellie, you should be so lucky as to have not only Will Bailey in a tux, but a goldfish among your admirers.


Season 7, Episode 10

No Gail. And that’s just a shame. A thong of solidarity with Helen Santos would have been lovely.

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Season 7, Episode 11

  • Prop: It’s a small plastic clock
  • Gravel: Green-ish
  • Nod to Plot: Well, C.J. seems like she’s battling time the whole episode–running out on two dinners with Danny, facing the time when she’ll have to fall off a cliff, waiting for the Doug Westin-nanny situation to break, and negotiating a U.N. resolution. So, I guess, Gail wants to remind her mama of the late hour.


Season 7, Episode 12

No Gail. She’s in a tizzy about the San Andreo accident and is trying to buy iodine tablets off the black market for her bowl (even though we’ve tried to assure her she is in no peril).


Season 7, Episode 13

No Gail. I’m really missing our fishy little friend.


Season 7, Episode 14

No Gail. Again. Though I’d like to imagine that back in the White House she has either a briefcase in her bowl, or some sort of hand armor for Alan Alda.


Season 7, Episode 15

No Gail. This is bonkers. Do you KNOW how much I want to see her bowl plastered with Bon Jovi pinups?


Season 7, Episode 16

No Gail. Such a sad way to go out. Not nearly enough Gail. And she is plenty worried about where she and C.J. are off to next (she votes no on Prague). 

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Season 7, Episode 17

  • Prop: I’m pretty sure that’s the White House again!
  • Gravel: Red, White, and Blue
  • Nod to Plot: It’s Election Night! And before Gail learned about poor Leo, she was ready to cheer for soon-to-be President Santos.

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Season 7, Episode 18

  • Prop: Gail seems to have a picture of Leo cut into the shape of a heart and posted in her bowl. It could be my imagination, but I could swear I’m also spotting a small little rose sitting upright in the bowl.
  • Gravel: Black and shiny beads
  • Nod to Plot: Rest in peace, Leo (John Spencer). Gail will never forget you.

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Season 7, Episode 19

  • Prop: Whoosh! That was a blurry walk-and-talk glimpse of Gail we got. But at least we can make out that there is a truck in her bowl, presumably a moving truck!
  • Gravel: Mostly white, with a bit of green or black at the top.
  • Nod to Plot: It’s transition time and Gail’s packing up all her props in anticipation of moving day.

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Season 7, Episode 20

  • Prop: It’s the ever-present White House model, and with two different signs attached. Now, most sources *assume* that the sign reads “FOR SALE”, but I am not so sure. The red and white sign we see in the above shot is illegible. And in the next episode there is another sign that contradicts the “for sale” assumption. I think this is a mystery and caution people against assumptions.
  • Gravel: Bright green
  • Nod to Plot: It’s almost moving day!

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Season 7, Episode 21

  • Prop: Super mystery! The White House model is still in place, and the mysterious red and white sign is on C.J.’s side of the model. But now there is a new red sign with yellow bars and white text. What does it say? I have no idea and it’s making me super bonkers. What is that?? It starts with an “M” or “W”. Ach, I just can’t figure it out!
  • Gravel: Bright green
  • Nod to Plot: It’s almost time for us to say goodbye.

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Season 7, Episode 22 – SERIES FINALE

  • Prop: This one requires two photos. The White House is still there, but the mystery signs have been replaced by a simple Looney Toons-style farewell: “That’s All Folks!”
  • Gravel: Bright green
  • Nod to Plot: Inauguration Day

It’s just all so sad and sweet. Gail lived a long and exciting life in the West Wing of the White House. Yes, I’m a little alarmed that she’s still on C.J.’s desk while she exits for the final time. Even if janitorial staff plans on wrapping and shipping picture frames, how is Gail getting to California? Hello? C.J.?

We can only assume that C.J. is coming back with a portable travel container. Damnit.

Well, that concludes the adventures of Gail the goldfish. She has been the sweetest, loyalest character on the whole show, and she has made the West Wing positively magical. Thanks, Gail.

If you need to go back and reminisce over our fishy escapades, here are links to revisit…

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5
Season 6


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