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The Best Time President Bartlet Broke Character On The West Wing

Martin Sheen's President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet spends much of "The West Wing" acting, well, presidential. The character serves as president of the United States for almost the entirety of the series' seven-season run from 1999 to 2006 on NBC (per IMDb) and frequently serves as an inspirational force for other characters on the show. Sheen's portrayal of the character — witty, well-read, and always calm in the face of a myriad of emergencies he's presented with — earned the actor a Golden Globe in 2001 and two Screen Actors Guild awards, according to IMDb.

Through the show's run, Bartlet is shot in a would-be assassination attempt on his staff, clashes with Congress over his public reveal over his multiple sclerosis diagnosis, and even invokes the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to transfer the powers of his office to the Speaker of the House when Bartlet's daughter is kidnapped. That's a lot for any real-life president to manage (Bartlet's adventures don't end there, either!), but Sheen plays almost every scene and episode he's in with grace.

What's left on the cutting room floor, though, are quite a few excellent bloopers from over the years where viewers get to see President Bartlet break character and Martin Sheen let out some hearty laughter.

President Bartlet hilariously breaks character on The West Wing

In a blooper reel for "The West Wing" available on YouTube, fans can catch Martin Sheen break character as President Bartlet multiple times during filming of the show's first two seasons. In one scene, Martin Sheen delivers an entertaining James Cagney impression as President Bartlet during a take between him and another actor. "Look, I've got something to do in the next room, I just need you to do me a favor," Sheen says.

"The West Wing" fans who checked out the blooper reel picked up on the impression, and expressed their approval. "I lost it at 1:42 when Martin Sheen started doing James Cagney," commenter Greg Hudson wrote. Other commenters agreed, like user scaryplague who wrote: "I love his Jimmy Cagney impression."

NBC's hit political drama garnered plenty of fan favorites during the series' seven-year run, but reactions to this blooper reel indicate that veteran actor Sheen still stands just a bit taller than the rest of the cast in fans' eyes for his portrayal of Bartlet. Several comments on the video note that Sheen seems like a great person to work with, and one comment from 2017 even expresses a wish for characters from the show to hold elected office in real life: "We need [President Bartlet] to run in today's election lol," wrote one fan.

 The fact that James Cagney has been noted as one of Sheen's favorite actors makes the blooper even more entertaining (via The Guardian).