Rob Lowe’s Son Reflects on ‘Annoyed and Uncomfortable’ Experience Filming ‘The West Wing’

Matthew Lowe recalls discomfort on “The West Wing” set

Rob Lowe's son Matthew remembered working with his dad on "The West Wing." (PHOTO: VIA FOX NEWS, GETTY IMAGES)
Rob Lowe’s son Matthew remembered working with his dad on “The West Wing.” (PHOTO: VIA FOX NEWS, GETTY IMAGES)

Rob Lowe’s son, Matthew, recently opened up about his experience on the set of “The West Wing” during an episode of the SiriusXM podcast, “Literally with Rob Lowe,” hosted by his father.

While Matthew Lowe is primarily known for his behind-the-scenes work in the entertainment industry, he made a memorable appearance in one of the show’s most iconic episodes.

Rob Lowe portrayed Sam Seaborn, the Deputy White House Communications Director, for the first four seasons of “The West Wing.”

The show, created by Aaron Sorkin, was a critical and commercial success, known for its sharp writing and engaging portrayal of political life in the White House.

Lowe left the series in 2002, and his character was written out with a storyline that saw Seaborn running for Congress in California.

Matthew was only a child when he appeared in one Christmas episode of "The West Wing." (PHOTO: VIA FOX NEWS, GETTY IMAGES)
Matthew was only a child when he appeared in one Christmas episode of “The West Wing.” (PHOTO: VIA FOX NEWS, GETTY IMAGES)

Matthew joined his father on the podcast to reminisce about his cameo in the beloved political drama.

Despite being a big fan of “The West Wing” and having watched the series multiple times, Matthew admitted that his on-set experience as a child was less than glamorous.

“I think actually I’m your biggest fan in the family of ‘The West Wing.’ I’ve seen it multiple times, the seasons. I’m in it,” Matthew said during the podcast. Rob Lowe responded, “You are in it. Oh, you are in it,” highlighting the significance of his son’s appearance in the episode “Noël,” which is often cited by fans as one of the series’ best.

The episode “Noël” is renowned among “The West Wing” enthusiasts. It is a Christmas-themed episode that earned Richard Schiff an Emmy for his role as Toby Ziegler.

In it, the White House staff are treated to a performance by Christmas carolers, one of whom was a young Matthew Lowe.

“Not only, Matthew, are you in ‘The West Wing,’ you are in, arguably, without a doubt, any ‘West Wing’ fan will tell you it’s in the top five ever made and it’s a lot of people’s favorite episode,” Rob Lowe told his son.

Matthew, however, shared that his memories of that day are tinged with discomfort.

Rob Lowe starred as deputy White House communications director Sam Seaborn. (PHOTO: VIA FOX NEWS, GETTY IMAGES)
Rob Lowe starred as deputy White House communications director Sam Seaborn. (PHOTO: VIA FOX NEWS, GETTY IMAGES)

“I remember being really, really annoyed and uncomfortable because I had to wear dress shoes, and they were really tight and being uncomfortable in dress shoes, and that’s my little snippet memory of that day,” he recalled.

He also fondly remembered playing chess with Martin Sheen, who portrayed President Josiah Bartlet in the series. “I mean, that’s a pretty cool memory. You got to play chess with President Bartlet,” Rob remarked.

Rob Lowe has been candid about his reasons for leaving “The West Wing.” Last year, he discussed his departure on the “Podcrushed” podcast, explaining that he felt “undervalued” on the show.

“Whenever I talk to actors who complain about, you know, their relationships on their shows, it happens. It happens in any workplace,” Lowe said.

He revealed that the environment on set had become untenable for him. “You could be in an environment where people sandbag you, want to see you fail, don’t appreciate you, whatever it is,” he explained.

Martin Sheen portrayed President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet while Rob Lowe starred as the deputy communications director in "The West Wing." (PHOTO: VIA FOX NEWS, DAVID ROSE/NBCU PHOTO BANK/NBCUNIVERSAL VIA GETTY IMAGES VIA GETTY IMAGES)
Martin Sheen portrayed President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet while Rob Lowe starred as the deputy communications director in “The West Wing.” (PHOTO: VIA FOX NEWS, DAVID ROSE/NBCU PHOTO BANK/NBCUNIVERSAL VIA GETTY IMAGES VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Despite his challenges, Lowe’s exit from the show was publicly framed as amicable, with storylines justifying his character’s departure. However, he later admitted that staying on the show had become impossible.

“I did not have a good experience,” he stated. Lowe tried to make the situation work but ultimately decided that leaving was the best decision for his well-being and for setting an example for his children.

He drew a parallel between his decision to leave “The West Wing” and teaching his children about self-respect in relationships.

“My kids were getting to a certain age where I could see them having first girlfriends or friends and being in a relationship that was abusive and taking it,” he said.

Lowe wanted to demonstrate to his children the importance of walking away from unhealthy situations, no matter how popular or appealing they might seem on the surface.

Lowe’s return for two episodes in the final season and his participation in an HBO special in 2020 indicate that while his experience on “The West Wing” had its challenges, he remains proud of his work on the series and its enduring impact.

Matthew’s reflections on his brief but memorable appearance on “The West Wing” highlight the complexities of working in the entertainment industry, even as a child.

His anecdote about the tight dress shoes offers a glimpse into the less glamorous side of filming, reminding fans that even iconic moments on television come with their own unique set of challenges.

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