Brow Beat

Every Single Time President Bartlet Flips His Suit Jacket in The West Wing

Few West Wing characters are as loved as President Jed Bartlet, Martin Sheen’s folksy, Nobel Prize-winning commander-in-chief. Bartlet’s charm is partly rooted in his many quirks of personality—his professorial air, his lofty quotation of the Bible, his tendency to pepper staff with impromptu tests of erudition. Another, more subtle character trait is the way the president puts on his jacket: Instead of the usual method, Bartlet swings the garment over his head in one smooth motion, often forcing those walk-and-talking beside him to duck beneath his flailing arms.

Sheen’s sartorial flourish is seen throughout the series, and it now has a proper tribute in YouTube user Simon de Little’s supercut. Interestingly, the move isn’t a put-on: Sheen’s left arm was crushed at birth, rendering it three inches shorter than his right and giving him limited lateral movement. Here’s the actor in Terence Malick’s brilliant debut, Badlands, flipping his denim jacket with flair: