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Danny Franks

Sam Seaborn: Sam, Sam, the Sunshine Man

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The resident idealist and dreamer, I always thought Sam was more interested in creating beauty through his writing than he was in scoring political victories.

Not that he didn't have his own firmly held beliefs, but he just seemed like a guy who wanted to win the right way. Something of a naif, when compared to seasoned operators like Josh and Toby.

Burdened with seasonal quasi-romances with characters who disappeared without trace, I don't think Sam ever really reached his potential on the show. And sadly Rob Lowe felt he wasn't being paid enough, and decided to vamoose anyway. I do think the show lost something, once he did leave, and I wish they'd come up with a better exit than a doomed election campaign that he (presumably) lost.

Rob Lowe was good with the Sorkinese, and I think he was one of the best on the cast at the fast-talking, rapid-fire dialogue. And while those quasi-romances went nowhere, the antagonistic chemistry he had with Mallory and Ainsley was always enjoyable to me. 

I always loved his little speech in Galileo, about exploration:

"'Cause it's next. 'Cause we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill and we saw fire; and we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the west, and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration and this is what's next."

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SAM
Ah...Well, that's my office over there. (points to his area)
And the President works in that round room over there. (points toward the Oval Office)
And nobody else really matters.

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I fell in love with Sam in the first episode. First, for his insistence that he accidentally slept with a hooker. (Toby: "I don't understand. Did you trip on something?")

Second, his encounter with "the president's daughter's first-grade class." Having fobbed them off with a fake tour, he excuses himself with a self-incriminating tirade to the teacher, whom he then discovers to be that same president's daughter. His response? a smiling "This is bad on... so many levels." I instantly adopted that phrase for my own use. It fits a lot of situations.

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Sam really had a lot of pearls, when it comes to dialogue.

"Let's forget about the fact that you're comin' a little late to the party and embrace the idea you showed up at all." That can get so much mileage in real life.

"I am less visually observant than others, but I make up for it.... With cunning and guile."

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Rob Lowe and Sam is the reason why I statrted watching the show, and why I stayed watching the show. I adored him and the show lost something pure when he left.

 

 

I always loved his little speech in Galileo, about exploration:

"'Cause it's next. 'Cause we came out of the cave, and we looked over the hill and we saw fire; and we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the west, and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration and this is what's next."

When NASA basically shuttered I always remembered this. It's just beautiful and inspiring.

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I fell in love with Sam in the first episode. First, for his insistence that he accidentally slept with a hooker. (Toby: "I don't understand. Did you trip on something?")

Second, his encounter with "the president's daughter's first-grade class." Having fobbed them off with a fake tour, he excuses himself with a self-incriminating tirade to the teacher, whom he then discovers to be that same president's daughter. His response? a smiling "This is bad on... so many levels." I instantly adopted that phrase for my own use. It fits a lot of situations.

Respectfully, Sam didn't fob off the President's daughter's elementary school class (in which he somehow thought she was a student); he fobbed off Leo McGarry's daughter's elementary school class--again thinking the daughter was a student, not a teacher or an aide. I know, sometimes, Sam strayed into being "not the brightest bulb in the lamp", despite his normally visible intelligence level, but I never understood how he could think, at their apparent ages (he knew both of them personally/had physically been around them, remember), Leo & Jenny McGarry could've had a child who was still in elementary school (even through adoption). I get the confusion made for an interesting scene though, especially at the reveal she was the teacher. Part of me has thought they should've just made her their granddaughter, which could've also made sense. (shrugs)

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With the time people spend together on campaigns, there is no way Sam wouldn't know the age of Leo's daughter.  I realize they aren't peers, but you just come to know that stuff about the people with whom you are working.

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Rob Lowe is the new voice of The Lion King's Simba, opposite actress Gabrielle Union, the new voice of Simba's wife, Nala! (an excellent reason to watch cartoons with your kids beginning late this year & going through at least next year... Ha-ha.)

This November, The Disney Channel (I think both in the US & internationally--check the information in the linked article to confirm) will air a new "sequel" movie to the originals The Lion King & The Lion King II (& a previous Saturday cartoon that apparently aired on TV), titled The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar.

This movie is a precursor to/sets up a daily version of The Lion Guard, which is scheduled to begin airing on The Disney Channel & the Disney Junior channel, both in the US & international markets, in 2016. Rob gives voice to Simba in both the movie & upcoming series version of The Lion Guard.

The movie & upcoming series focuses on Kion, Simba & Nala's second-born cub, as he & his friends form The Lion Guard (apparently a real-life jungle thing & normally an all-lion entity, but the movie/series version will include Kion's non-lion friends among its membership). So Rob may not be in it heavily, but he will be in it since, I'm sure, Kion will need guidance/correction/assistance from his father periodically.

The Lion Guard helps to protect the Pride Lands, where the original The Lion King characters which will be in the new show (& some will be "voiced" by the same actors as in the previous/original incarnations of The Lion King) & the new characters created specifically for The Lion Guard live.

There's a screen with a preview scene (I'm not sure if it's from the movie or an episode of the series) at the page linked below; it doesn't include Rob/Simba, though Simba is referred to in it by Kion. It's still a cute scene & worth watching.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/lion-king-sequel-series-taps-814718

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I recently read Rob Lowe's autobiography (Stories I Only Tell My Friends) and it's very interesting. Apparently he took a YOOGE pay cut (50-65%) to be in TWW, because he loved the script so much and really wanted to be in it. Then, as the show became more and more popular, the other actors got pay rises and he did not. (Though he said they were very deserving.) That, with a few other factors (secrets, photo shoots without him, etc) I think all led up to his decision to leave.

He wrote it that Sorkin's departure around the same time was coincidental.

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I just finished listening to the audiobook version of Rob Lowe's memoir.  He's a great mimic, so listening rather than reading adds a fun dimension.  According to Lowe's telling, Sorkin initially did not want "name" actors in the cast and he heard Lowe read for the part of Sam Seaborn somewhat reluctantly.  The network then said Sorkin had to have at least one big name.  This was before Martin Sheen signed on, so Lowe was the casting choice that got NBC to give the show a shot.  Then he kind of got shunted aside, with very few storylines that focused on his character, and no serious consideration of adjusting his compensation once the show took off.  After four  years, he was ready to move on again.  Can't say I blame him.

 

BTW, Lowe was at a stage of his career where he never read for anything -- he had enough work out in view that producers could tell whether they wanted him for a part or not on that basis.  So doing a reading at all was a big concession and something he did only because he really wanted the part.  I heard John Mahoney speak about this phenomenon recently.  He said the only director he would read for is Mike Leigh because he'd like the experience of working with him, and Leigh's style (with a lot of improvisation by actors he knows well) could legitimately require a "try out."

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I have just finished the second season of this wonderful series, and knowing that Sam/Rob will be leaving soon is like a dark cloud on the horizon.  I love how easily Josh and Sam banter back and forth. 

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Rob Lowe was the reason I started watching.  I liked the show after he left, but it always felt like something was missing.

 

My son watched with me on Netflix.  In 8th grade his English class read The Outsiders and watched the movie as a follow up.  He came rushing home all excited one day and wanted to know if I knew that Sam Seaborn was in it. 

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I recently read Rob Lowe's autobiography (Stories I Only Tell My Friends) and it's very interesting. Apparently he took a YOOGE pay cut (50-65%) to be in TWW, because he loved the script so much and really wanted to be in it. Then, as the show became more and more popular, the other actors got pay rises and he did not. (Though he said they were very deserving.) That, with a few other factors (secrets, photo shoots without him, etc) I think all led up to his decision to leave.

He wrote it that Sorkin's departure around the same time was coincidental.

 

I remember tracking this online, as it was developing in the summer after season 3. I was so disappointed that Rob Lowe ended up leaving, because Sam was definitely my favourite character, and the one I felt was easiest 'entrance character' to the show. 

 

For a while, there was talk that they'd get a new deal done, give him a pay rise and keep him on the show, but it never materialised. And the other actors didn't go to bat for him, like the Friends actors did for each other. In hindsight, you can see that Sorkin was never as interested in Sam as he was in Josh, and that makes me sad. There was so much more mileage for a character like Sam than for Josh.

 

I tried to stick with the show after Sam left, but by the end of season 4, I realised it just wasn't going to be the same. Will was fine, but he had an energy that never quite clicked with the rest of the cast. But more than that, I felt the writing was really suffering. Josh's romantic mishaps, Donna's romantic mishaps, the tedious idea of them perhaps one day screwing, Toby becoming a father. It was just too much drama for a show that I preferred when it was about the political wrangling of the first two seasons.

 

Another Sam Seaborn bit that I adored, was in 100,000 Airplanes, where Jed raises the idea of them committing to curing cancer in the State of the Union Address, and all the political operators tell him he shouldn't because it will be seen as a cynical ploy and it won't play well. Then he turns to Sam, who is the only one who says he should do it. Because government should be optimistic and hopeful.

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Rob Lowe is being honored tomorrow (Tuesday, December 8th), by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, with star #2,567 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his many years of work in television. The star is located outside Musso & Frank Grill (a famous, & historic, Hollywood restaurant), 6667 Hollywood Boulevard.

The unveiling ceremony will take place at 11:30AM Pacific Time/2:30PM Eastern Time & will be live-streamed on the walkoffame.com website. It should be over by 12:15PM Pacific Time/3:15PM Eastern Time (in case anyone wants to try to "sneak watch" from work, or anyone wants to watch but is on a tight schedule tomorrow).

Speakers at the ceremony will be Rob's friends & present/past co-stars, Fred Savage, Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow, & Miramax Studios Chairman Tom Barrack (Rob is either an investor in, or full-fledged owner of, Miramax).

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If anyone's interested, Rob's Hollywood Walk of Fame Star unveiling ceremony is on YouTube.

There's a "highlights" version, which lasts 6 minutes & a few seconds, here:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kolngL1itMQ

The full version, which lasts almost 28 minutes (but is worth watching, if you have/wanna take the time, for the speeches made in Rob's honor by the guest speakers--his friend/business partner Tom Barrack, his friend/former co-star Gwyneth Paltrow, & his friend/co-star in The Grinder, Fred Savage--as well as for Rob's own acceptance speech) is here:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pvVdqnu7ouQ

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I initially watched The West Wing thanks to Rob's first autobiography. I had always meant to and never gotten around to it, and then his stories made me finally do it. When he released a second book, a friend and I went to the signing and I told him that I hadn't watched The West Wing until I read the first, to which he said "you're KIDDING!" in THE most Rob/Sam voice. I thanked him for opening that world for me, which was cool to get to do! 

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I think that the show definitely lost something when Rob left the show. I think I might have thrown my remote when Sam uttered the phrase, " I just realized something...Josh is smarter than me." I think I also yelled "Really, Sorkin?" Not that I know if Sorkin had anything to do with that line or not, but by that time, the writer's love affair with Josh seemed to be at all time high, and Sam Seaborn was the guy being sacrificed for it.

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I think that the show definitely lost something when Rob left the show. I think I might have thrown my remote when Sam uttered the phrase, " I just realized something...Josh is smarter than me." I think I also yelled "Really, Sorkin?" Not that I know if Sorkin had anything to do with that line or not, but by that time, the writer's love affair with Josh seemed to be at all time high, and Sam Seaborn was the guy being sacrificed for it.

 

That definitely annoyed me, and is not something I think was close to being true, given what we know of their backgrounds. Sam was a high-flying lawyer, close to making partner, who could also write wonderfully well. Josh was someone who admitted that he had to work extra hard in college because his "IQ doesn't break the bank". 

 

But also, this idea that Josh spent his days 'counselling the President' and being a sounding board for him on tough decisions was something that had never been borne out in the show. Josh didn't do that. I've always liked Sorkin's writing style, and the way he puts things together, but his tendency to just throw whatever he liked in, or take whatever he didn't like out, and then pretend it had always been that way, could really get on my nerves.

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I am rewatching and Sam is currently running for Congress....now I liked Sam Seaborn and I like Rob Lowe but President Bartlet told him following a game of chess that he (Sam) was going to run for President one day???  then Leo calls him one of the great minds of his generation?  Does this make sense to anyone?  He always seemed to be easily confused.

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I thought Sam was the least intelligent of The Big Six (Jed, Leo, Toby, Josh, CJ, Sam). Of course, he was still very smart. I did like the scene where Jed predicts that he'll run for President. He has the other building blocks for mass electoral appeal- conventional handsome WASP looks, likability, diplomacy, much of his professional life ahead of him with his youth, a proven track record of being endearing to corporate interests. Leo saying Sam was one of the great minds of his generation didn't resonate as much- but it's plausible. Sam is brilliant and he's a senior political aid with the ear of the President- that's rising to the top of his generation even if he's not as inner-circle or smart as his colleagues. 

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I don't have the same kind of adulation for Sam as most other posters on here. I liked the character a great deal, and fitted in quite well with the other senior staff. But it also played on my mind that I was watching Rob Lowe: the actor, rather than Sam: the character. And that for me was a distraction, especially with the opening scenes of the pilot, with Sam in a bar talking to a reporter off the record while eyeing up Laurie - and then shortly afterwards they're both getting out of bed! My initial thoughts after seeing that was one of some lightweight drama with the politics more incidental to the show because it's really a vehicle for Rob Lowe's acting profile than anything else.

And I think that nagging doubt stayed with me throughout those 4 seasons with Sam: I just couldn't quite believe in the character compared to the likes of Josh, Charlie, CJ, Toby and Leo - possibly because they were not huge stars compared to Lowe (despite his controversial past). And when Martin Sheen made his first appearance, it didn't take long for me to "see" the character rather than the actor playing it.

But I was sad to see Sam/Lowe leave: both he and Josh worked well together, with Sam being far more pragmatic and approachable compared to the aloof and arrogant Josh. It's just a shame that Sorkin didn't give Lowe more prominent storylines - although then again if Sorkin didn't want big stars in the show to begin with, then perhaps that's one reason why he wasn't too interested in Lowe.

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I liked Sam a lot. But I'll agree that his long term storylines were poor. The prostitute story was just bad. The actress who played Mallory was poorly cast as a love interest even though she was good as a daughter in her scenes with John Spencer. Also the storyline neutered the most interesting part of the story- she was Leo's daughter. The California 47th story was a good idea but it just flopped in execution as a respectable exit for Sam. It was far better as a way to introduce Will and Sorkin's greater enthusiasm for this new character played by a favorite actor in his troupe (spelled with a u/ Josh voice) was palpable. His long standing flirtation/battle with Ainsley Hayes was great but it wasn't really a story. 

It also became evident to me that Rob Lowe and Brad Whitford didn't get along past S2. Rob Lowe still played very well with Richard Schiff and Allison Janney through the end. I was disappointed that there wasn't more Sam/Jed after Jed predicted Sam would run for president. 

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11 hours ago, Melancholy said:

I thought Sam was the least intelligent of The Big Six (Jed, Leo, Toby, Josh, CJ, Sam). Of course, he was still very smart. I did like the scene where Jed predicts that he'll run for President. He has the other building blocks for mass electoral appeal- conventional handsome WASP looks, likability, diplomacy, much of his professional life ahead of him with his youth, a proven track record of being endearing to corporate interests. Leo saying Sam was one of the great minds of his generation didn't resonate as much- but it's plausible. Sam is brilliant and he's a senior political aid with the ear of the President- that's rising to the top of his generation even if he's not as inner-circle or smart as his colleagues. 

That fits well with Bartlet's advice to Roger Tribbey, should the worst happen:

"Do you have a best friend? Is he smarter than you? That's your chief of staff."

In my opinion, Bartlet there was distinguishing between pure academic intelligence (which we know that Bartlet had in abundance) and political nous and strategic thinking ability (which was Leo's forte). So Sam may have certain types of intelligence that outstrip those around him, but still be politically naive and in need of guidance and counsel. What the show seemed to be going for was that Sam had the ideal qualities to be president, and Josh had the ideal qualities to be the man behind the president.

If they'd kept Rob Lowe, I'd have loved to see them come up with a storyline that had him win a congressional election, and then have his own staff, but still work closely with the White House. It would have been a really cool way of taking the show in new directions.

16 minutes ago, Melancholy said:

I liked Sam a lot. But I'll agree that his long term storylines were poor. The prostitute story was just bad. The actress who played Mallory was poorly cast as a love interest even though she was good as a daughter in her scenes with John Spencer. Also the storyline neutered the most interesting part of the story- she was Leo's daughter. The California 47th story was a good idea but it just flopped in execution as a respectable exit for Sam. It was far better as a way to introduce Will and Sorkin's greater enthusiasm for this new character played by a favorite actor in his troupe (spelled with a u/ Josh voice) was palpable. His long standing flirtation/battle with Ainsley Hayes was great but it wasn't really a story. 

It also became evident to me that Rob Lowe and Brad Whitford didn't get along past S2. Rob Lowe still played very well with Richard Schiff and Allison Janney through the end. I was disappointed that there wasn't more Sam/Jed after Jed predicted Sam would run for president. 

Sam seems to have suffered more than any other character from Aaron Sorkin's short attention span. He brought in a string of women to be possible romantic foils for him, then lost interest. Laurie was an awful idea, and I'm glad she was dropped. I did like Mallory, and I thought the idea of Sam dating Leo's daughter had a lot of potential. But again it was dropped, if occasionally revisited for an episode.

I've said before that my favourite of Sam's possible interests was Ainsley. Just as a character, she brought a new energy to the show, and she had great chemistry with Rob Lowe. If I'd been in charge, I'd have made Emily Procter a regular, and built storylines around the idea of her working in a White House that doesn't represent her own political views. Try to show conservative values in a positive light, where possible, give people a look at what true bipartisan governing could be like.

In the end, it was Sorkin's buddy, Bradley Whitford, who got the actual romantic storylines, with Amy and then Donna. And I didn't care about either.

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4 minutes ago, Danny Franks said:

Sam seems to have suffered more than any other character from Aaron Sorkin's short attention span. He brought in a string of women to be possible romantic foils for him, then lost interest. Laurie was an awful idea, and I'm glad she was dropped. I did like Mallory, and I thought the idea of Sam dating Leo's daughter had a lot of potential. But again it was dropped, if occasionally revisited for an episode.

I've said before that my favourite of Sam's possible interests was Ainsley. Just as a character, she brought a new energy to the show, and she had great chemistry with Rob Lowe. If I'd been in charge, I'd have made Emily Procter a regular, and built storylines around the idea of her working in a White House that doesn't represent her own political views. Try to show conservative values in a positive light, where possible, give people a look at what true bipartisan governing could be like.

In the end, it was Sorkin's buddy, Bradley Whitford, who got the actual romantic storylines, with Amy and then Donna. And I didn't care about either.

Sam and Ainsley was inspired, and far more believable compared to his half-baked couplings with Laurie and Mallory. The latter being completely ridiculous and would have been a major handicap with any working relationship twixt Sam and Leo.

Ainsley was like a Amy-Lite: she could stand on her own two feet and fight her own battles, but wasn't quite so hostile, defensive and perplexing as Amy.  Obviously when CSI came along, it was an opportunity for Ms Proctor to ignore, despite the critical acclaim TWW had at the time. So off she went to Mandyville!

Seems like Sam/Lowe got hung out to dry; which perhaps was one of the biggest mistakes the producers of the show made!

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I really wanted Sam/Ainsley to happen. I love the idea that they both came back to the WH for the Santos administration and got together, though that would mean Sam broke another engagement.

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This Tweet contains the trailer for The Lowe Files, Rob's new A&E show about investigating weird phenomena (think stuff like Bigfoot) in which his sons Matthew & John Owen also co-star. It premieres on August 2nd.

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19 minutes ago, BW Manilowe said:

This Tweet contains the trailer for The Lowe Files, Rob's new A&E show about investigating weird phenomena (think stuff like Bigfoot) in which his sons Matthew & John Owen also co-star. It premieres on August 2nd.

 
Sounds intriguing
 
I just hope this is at least remotely serious, and not just some silly piece of fluffy entertainment!
 
Thanks for the heads-up though!
 

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2 hours ago, Only Zola said:
2 hours ago, BW Manilowe said:

This Tweet contains the trailer for The Lowe Files, Rob's new A&E show about investigating weird phenomena (think stuff like Bigfoot) in which his sons Matthew & John Owen also co-star. It premieres on August 2nd.

 
Sounds intriguing
 
I just hope this is at least remotely serious, and not just some silly piece of fluffy entertainment!
 
Thanks for the heads-up though!
 

I've already seen/read some interviews with Rob (& his sons) about the show (it was announced this spring, as I remember, & I think was originally scheduled to premiere this month but was apparently pushed back to August 2 like it says in the trailer & I said in my original post). They seem to be totally serious about checking these unusual things out. Like Rob, 1 of his sons is a believer in all the weird stuff they're gonna talk about on the show while the other son is apparently a little more skeptical about it, despite having grown up around Rob's fascination with this kind of stuff & having grown up hearing about a lot of the things they're gonna be exploring in the show. They said that in an interview, but I've forgotten which son's the believer & which is the skeptic.

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Rob will be on the Ellen show TODAY, JANUARY 18, 2018--CHECK HOUR LOCAL TV LISTINGS FOR THE CORRECT TIME & CHANNEL IN YOUR AREA!

He'll be talking about the recent brushfire & subsequent mudslide(s) in the Santa Barbara/Montecito, California (Rob's family, Ellen & her wife, & Oprah Winfrey & her partner, Stedman Graham, are among the celebrities living in the affected area or very near it). He & Ellen will apparently also be talking about what everyone can do, in regards to helping with relief efforts in the area.

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On April 18, 2017 at 10:05 AM, Danny Franks said:

What the show seemed to be going for was that Sam had the ideal qualities to be president, and Josh had the ideal qualities to be the man behind the president.

YES! This is why I always get upset when I see t-shirts that are Lyman/Other Name (Insert Election Year). Lyman is not on the ticket. It should be Seaborn /Other Name (Insert Election Year). Josh isn't the guy. He's the guy behind the guy. 

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