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Studio 60 Fodder

Studio 60: The Harriet Dinner

The show opens on Monday night. The Monday from the previous title about which I was confused. I'm less confused this time out.

Jack comes to the theatre. He's there to see Tom, who is being fitted in his Fruit of the Loom grape costume. Simon is going to be a Mungongo fruit. Evidently the big deal with these is the seeds, but if there were nuts in the Fruit of the Loom ads...well, yeah. Actually, so far my favorite thing about Mungongo is that the trees are male and female, so you have to have both to get fruit. I don't see that coming up in the sketch. I'm just saying.

Tom takes Jack into his personal dressing room and strips. With Jack's help. He wonders if he's done something wrong, and Jack says probably, but that's not why he's there.

There was a lot of the funny in this episode and some nice one-liners. This is good, because it helps to make up for what's going to happen in the middle of it.

While in the room, Jack keeps reinforcing the idea that Tom is a worm. Tom takes this all in stride. Then again, a surprising number of people in show business have terrible self-esteem. That, or Tom is just very easy-going.

Jack tells Tom that Kim Tao's being a viola prodigy at Juilliard is a great source of pride to her father, but if she were to go into comedy (and dress like grapes or nuts or do dolphin voices), that would be a source of shame for him. So it sounds like Tom's and Kim's fathers have that in common, anyway.

Tom absolutely, positively has to talk Kim out of comedy and back into viola. And he'll be doing it on a date with her at the awards dinner for Harriet. So there's not even any question about breaking his date with Lucy. Jack will, of course, be at the very next table to make sure that Tom doesn't fail or otherwise screw up. There is, by the way, to be no sexual touching on this date. Which should be okay, because Kim is too young for him, and besides, he's into Lucy. Right?

Of course right.

Having pointed out how big of a deal it is that he's come to someone as low and piddly as TOM for help, Jack leaves, pushing Dylan, dressed as the apple, on his ass.

Yay, Jack!

I actually don't know what my problem is with Dylan. I think it's just that he was such a doofus in the first episode and I never forgave him.

The next day, at stately NBS headquarters, Jack, Jordan, and Hallie are meeting with some of the other executive-types from the network to talk about All You Need is Love. It turns out they can't use the title, not because the Beatles won't let them have it, but because there was another show with the same name (I'm hoping that even if there hadn't been a show, the Beatles or Sony or--heaven forfend, even Michael Jackson--would have had the sense to deny the rights to the title). However, despite the loss of the title, the show will go ahead. After all, it's Event TV, and the last three two-hour shows NBS ran won their time slots. Hallie has gotten a kid who was paralyzed in a drive-by and the gang-banger who pulled the trigger to meet. The gang-banger, Dusty D, has served his time and is now a born-again Christian. The kid is starting medical school in the fall. They both want to meet and make their peace, but apparently the kid's octogenarian grandmother has vowed to kill Dusty if they ever meet. Hallie explains all this gleefully. If the FCC doesn't like the F word, they'd better be opposed to on-air Born-Again murders. Though they do tend to hate profanity and sex way more than violence. Regardless, Sales loves the show.

After the meeting, Jack and Jordan stay behind to talk. He tells her she WILL be doing the now-nameless show. Already on a roll from beating on Tom's ego last night, Jack blames Jordan for the Dracula movie shutting down. She did oversee it, after all.

He tells her about the TMG board meeting, and Jordan suggests getting Zhang Tao to threaten to take the Macao deal elsewhere, which, what luck, is what he was doing with the whole Tom-talking-Kim-out-of-comedy scheme. See, he's not just an empty suit, he's a problem-solver!

Jordan wants to know why Jack broght Hallie on, but he hedges (better than Danny did at Christmas, by the way) and gives her the standard answer about needing someone to handle alternative television.

Back at the studio, Danny is talking about a videogame ad parody they're shooting. The last shot has to be really creepy, so he wants it shot at night at the botanical gardens. Cal says they can do it at the studio for far less money. It turns out that Danny just doesn't want snakes in his studio, but he finally relents.

He and Matt have a two-level walk-and-talk about the awards dinner and the auction that Matt's been bidding on to go to the dinner as Harriet's date. Danny points out that the auction proceeds go to a teen abstinence program sponsored by Women United Through Faith, but Matt explains that he's offsetting it by giving a matching amount to a group that promotes "polyamorous activities." He doesn't know what those activities are, but he bets they piss of abstinence fans.

Danny opines that the letters of recommendation were a mistake, though he perks up when he decides that maybe the letters will hit her later. He asks for Matt's personal opinion. Matt points out that Jordan asked Danny to stop, so he should stop. Danny wonders how that's been working for Matt and Harriet. Oh, sure. He had to bring THAT up. Danny actually declares that he'll apologize and leave her alone.

Despite all this, Matt says he's liked seeing Danny the way he's been lately. No, Danny, not "in pain." Twitterpated.

Out in the hall, Matt runs into Tom, who tells him about his enforced date with Kim. He wants to tell Lucy the truth, but Matt says not to. Considering that Matt's current track record with women isn't that much better than Danny's (okay, he's not thrice-divorced, but the Harriet thing ain't healthy), Tom takes Matt's advice. Foolish man.

Suzanne The Assistant says that the bidding on the date with Harriet is up to $5300, but at least it's just between Matt and lukes5858. Suzanne points out that Matt doesn't KNOW that lukes5858 is Luke. Ha, Matt says. Luke Scott made a movie in grad school called 58. Only Luke or someone obsessed with Luke would know about it. Suzanne points out that Matt knows about it, but he conveniently ignores her.

Matt points out that Loving More is NOT a sex organization, but an organization supporting the "polyamorous movement supporting the choice to engage in responsible multi-partnered relationships." Hopefully this is closer to what Robin was hoping to see. Any chance they actually talked to someone from Loving More before this episode?

Suzanne says they want to give him an award at the next meeting, but seems to think he should decline. No, an award's an award.

Matt presents the writers with some letters. From now on, everyone who writes a letter to the show gets a personal response. Well of course. The writers weren't overcommitted as it was already. Andy gets one for Matt calling him a god. All I can think of now is another Kids in the Hall sketch starring Mark McKinney, where he compares the fan mail one of the other Kids got ("Dear Dave: You're so hunky-wunky cutie-pootie lovey-dovey sexy-wexy and you're my FAVE! Keep up the good work!") with the mail HE received ("Dear Mark: I thought I was alone until I saw you on TV...). It's probably just as well Andy isn't on-screen talent, or he'd have to demostrate the Secret of Nudity on the show.

Lucy also gets a glowing letter. Darius doesn't read his out loud. Matt says that Simon wanted Darius to have that one. Sometimes Simon gets the "you're a god" letters; sometimes they're more like what Darius has. Darius leaves to go talk to Simon, and Matt opines that Simon is going to "kick his ass slow."

Masi Oka and Harriet are filming a promo for that week's show. Harry is in a cheerleader uniform and wants to know which Hero she is. She biffs her line a little, and in between takes, Masi Oka points out that to play Anita Pallenberg, she'll have to actually Act, not just do funny voices. In the next promo, she does the Dolphin Girl voice. Well, that surely showed HIM.

Cal is asking the snake handler about the snakes for his videogame ad parody. He wants to know that the snakes are harmless. No, they're vipers. But harmless vipers, right? No, regular vipers.

There is a rehearsal going on for the Fruit of the Loom sketch. Simon is being fitted for his costume. Simon calls the apple a "racist mo-fo" before pulling out a "yo' momma" joke.

Tom takes Lucy aside and tells her that he had already agreed to do an appearance for NBS. That's okay, but then he says he's going to be a celebrity waiter. She seems to think he'd look cute as in the suit and the tie and the apron.

This, of course, is going to be very, very bad.

Lucy worries that Tom thought she would be angry. No, but she will be.

Dylan wonders why Lucy was working on the sketch, since it seems more like something Darius would do. As if by magic, Darius shows up to talk about the letter, and the proceed to have it out in front of Dylan and Samantha. Because having a fight in front of uninvolved parties is always a good thing to do. With the dressing room door open. Where you're going to call the other guy a moron AND Uncle Tom's pool boy (there's a pool off that cabin?).

Just as Matt predicted, Simon is kicking Darius' ass slow.

Harriet is rehearsing a scene for the Brian Jones movie. The guy playing Keith Richards is far better-looking than Keith ever was. Even when Keith WAS that young. She still manages to flirt with Luke just a little while rehearsing a fairly intense scene on a bed with Keith.

After the rehearsal, Luke invites Harry to dinner on Thursday, but she can't because she's getting this award because the Catholics think she's good enough to be Catholic. He offers to take her for drinks afterwards, but she worries that Matt was offended that so many of his friends saw them together at New Year's. Luke pointedly points out that even though Harriet and Matt broke up, they still see each other every day. They're broken up, but they aren't Broken Up. Doesn't she want and deserve better?

Cal is working on the ad parody with the snakes. However, one snake is missing. It's a big, old studio. There are a lot of places where a snake could be hiding. Luckily, the snakes leave a trail (though not like slugs do. I hope), so the handler should be able to find them. Plus, the snakes are sedated. So that will be good. For a while.
The auction bidding has closed because the bidding got so high. Now, Matt and lukes5858 will go on the date TOGETHER. Matt is just THRILLED. Plus, Loving More wants clips of him to use for a tribute video. I think he should be sure to use something from that dinner in the pilot where he fell out of his chair.
Cal and the snake handler discover that the missing snake has gone down a grate. They're going to send a ferret down there after the snake. However, the handler wants $6000 to replace the snake. Cal doesn't want to pay it, since after all, HE didn't lose the snake. However, the handler offers to skip the whole thing, so Cal agrees. I guess that means shooting in the studio didn't save as much money as we'd hoped.
It's now Thursday. The ferret has disappeared down the grate, too. The handler whistles for the ferret, but he's been whistling for two days. The whistle does not seem to be impressing the ferret any more than the ferret is impressing Cal. However, the ferret has apparently eaten the snake. Ferret's better than a snake, at any rate. Danny likes the cut of the ad with the snakes. And the fact that they saved money. So hopefully he doesn't get the invoice for the eaten snake.
Matt is upset because they're running the ad they shot where Harriet did the Dolphin Girl voice. They're getting it pulled, but since he's unhappy with the sketch, he's even more unhappy that the voice made it on the air. And the Internet.

Danny's office is being cleaned. Which is convenient. He wants to talk to Jordan, though Matt says he has nothing to apologize for. Harry was going to go to the dinner with her, but decides to go on ahead when Danny takes Jordan aside. Clearly she's read ahead in the script and wants to get out while the getting's good.

Danny wants to talk in private, so he takes Jordan up to the roof. He apologizes, and all the craziness will stop and things will go back to normal (This reminds me of this awful crush I had when I was a teenager. When called on it, I claimed I was over it, but I really wasn't. And I'm pretty sure Danny's the same way. Hopefully he'll cover better than I did, but he hasn't been good at covering up until this point, so I'm not overly optimistic).

Then, something bad happens. Something very, very bad happens.

They go to get off the roof. And the door. Is. Locked.

I wish you all could see the notes I wrote down as I was watching. In letters 4 times bigger than the rest of my notes I have: "Argh! What a cliche!" And it is. I love Aaron Sorkin. I really, really do. But he can do so much better than this. I know he can. I've watched The American President. So this is really, really disappointing. Danny points out that this is a crucial scene in any romantic comedy. Right. It is. Which is exactly why it has no place here, where we expect so much more. Aaron, you're killing me!

He makes it up to me by going to the dinner. Tom tells Simon that Darius wasn't totally wrong, but Simon doesn't really care. Kim shows up at the dinner. She's uber-hot. And slutty. And her breasts have been hiked up to her eyes. This is causing issues for Tom.

Harry shows up to the dinner with Samantha. Matt joins them on the red carpet and sends Samantha away. She's been having to beat feet all night, poor thing. He tells Harriet he won her, which she thinks is sweet. Then they meet lukes5858, who turns out to be a huge Star Wars fan (Luke S.=Luke Skywalker, 5858 is the street address of Skywalker ranch...). He's a 15-year-old professional snowboarder (which is how he afforded to bid that much money) named Cody. He points out that he's at his sexual peak. Classy. Harry points out that she is, too. Even classier.

Kim is still making eyes at Tom, who won't let her have booze because she's only 20. Well, yes, if Jack caught that, he would kill him. She wants to take Tom back to her hotel and dance for him and talk about his cute ass. Tom is getting a little flustered. Simon is not helping things at all.

There's no cell service on the roof of the theatre, so Danny and Jordan are stuck up there. Or at least, they aren't going to get out by calling.
Dinner continues. Harriet wonders how Matt knew about 58 (Luke's movie). Much as Matt said earlier, only someone obsessed with Luke would know that. He says that he's been obsessed with Luke since the "last time" Harriet broke up with him to date Luke. Harriet points out that they aren't going out, so there's no "this time" for them to break up. Matt brilliantly lets slip that he wound up paying $11,000 for the date and has to explain that the other $5500 went to Loving More. Harry seems royally impressed. She's especially impressed that he didn't start bidding until after he thought Luke had. Cody agrees with Harry, which royally impresses Matt.

Since we can't find Jordan, Matt will get to present Harriet if Jordan doesn't make it in time.

Back on the roof, where Jordan isn't presenting Harriet, Danny swears that he didn't do this on purpose. He calls himself a jackass for the way he pursued Jordan. She, meanwhile, thinks that he felt sorry for her for being knocked up and alone, and that's why he pursued her, and made her look foolish. He wonders how someone so smart and beautiful can be so consistently wrong and dumb. Which is a heck of a way to impress a girl. Also, it's worth pointing out that she chose him, so either she isn't always wrong and dumb, or...

About that time, Danny figures out that there is a snake loose in the theatre. Yeah, but he and Jordan are ON the theatre, so they're safe. However, Jordan says that snakes can get up. Sure, take away his feeling of security.

Tom tries to tell Kim how hard it is to get into comedy, but she says that getting into Juilliard was hard, and getting in the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing was harder. Huh. I'm not sure I've ever seen a woman win a, um, peeing contest with a guy. Not THAT impressively and succinctly, anyway.

Darius came to the dinner with Lucy. He tries to talk to Simon, who shuts him down completely. And calls him "Amos." Well, hopefully Darius is getting used to this, anyway.

Lucy, however, has caught Tom on his date with Kim, who is still pretty boobalicious. Tom is quite clearly not waiting tables. She calls him a creep. Oh, I hate to think of the sketches she'll write about this. The last sketch she wrote after a break-up was pretty ugly. And sad. To distract him, Kim hands him a shot, and then moves in to ram her tongue down his throat when Jack, with absolutely amazing timing, breaks in between them. Though if his timing were really good, he would have stopped them before SHE had a shot. He takes Tom aside, who says he's doing his best. Jack tells him to do somone ELSE'S best.

Danny ponders jumping off the roof. Jordan wants to know when he decided he fell in love with her. He says the first time he met her, which is a great answer, but she points out that he hated her the first time they met. Oh, yeah, that's right. That's when he said he had every reason not to trust her because she worked in television, and then thought that she outed him on the drug test (she didn't out him. She just held it over his head. Much better).

He says if he deserved punishment for the way he pursued her, certainly multiple rejections from her, being locked on the roof with her now in this mood, and having a snake loose in his studio certainly qualifies.

On a roll, he gets mad that she ran the Dolphin Girl promo because all it is right now is a voice, there isn't a sketch yet. Everyone is online talking about what the sketch is going to be, and it doesn't matter to her or movie producers that there's no story, they'll make all their money based on the advance chatter, not on the quality of the product. "We elect presidents that way!" he declares, which makes my little West Wing fangirl/liberal heart very happy. The candidate has a name and money, we'll teach him how to be president later!

Jordan says it was just a promo, you doofus. I'm put in mind of the continuing gripe critics of the show have that they treat late-night comedy as if the fate of the world hung in the balance. I don't know if this is intentional, or it's just my general insanity. But I like the idea that this is a deliberate jab at those people. And it's certainly not beyond Aaron to address critics in his show.

Danny then beats the snot out of a cable, assuring that it will never bite anyone again. Danger averted, he says he's not worried about Matt and Harriet. They're surely having fun. Surely.

We go back to dinner, where Harriet wants to know what Matt would have done if he'd won. He thinks she should be flattered. She thinks he wanted her to go home afterwards and think about how much she wanted him. She really lays down the law with him. I liked the sniping, but now she's just pissed. I will say, the angrier Harriet is with Matt, the more believable I find their dynamic. This is probably the most powerful scene the two of them have had together. She tells him that they're going to be done tonight, and he shouldn't be scared. Um, yipe.
Back at the studio, Cal and the snake handler are still figuring out how to get the ferret. It doesn't help that the ferret is in an old heating duct, so it's sealed at the end. The snake handler wants to get a coyote. To get the ferret. That went after the snake. That went after the cat that went after the rat that lived in the studio that Cal built.

Or something like that.

And the story is to be continued. Again.

I loved the additional humor in this episode, but I was totally miffed about the roof ploy. Actually, I'm still miffed about it. However, I'm way more concerned about the previews for next week. It looks like they're going to go ahead and let Jordan fall for Danny. Now, I love Danny. But after the way he basically freaked her out with the letters of recommendation, I have a hard time believing that she would love him yet. Again, it feels like they're condensing this story line. It should have taken weeks or months for her to come around. Then again, it should have taken HIM longer to realize he was falling for her. I'm afraid that it's being rushed because they're worried that there won't be a second season to develop the romance and they're going to lose Amanda Peet for a while after she has the baby. On the other hand, it might be this condensed because that's the way the story is unfolding. But either way, it just feels really rushed to me. I liked the idea that this was part of Danny's addictive personality, though that would have been harder to fix. But even if it had JUST been him being overagressive in his flirting, she really needs to take longer to come around.

At least they aren't declaring their undying love as she's giving birth. Hopefully they won't decide to do that.

At this point, I'm clinging to the hope that NBC just cut the promo to make it look like they're going to get together to draw in viewers, but that doesn't have anything to do with the episode. It wouldn't be the first time NBC pulled that. The did it to the West Wing all the time.

It's practically a cliche.

Posted by on January 30, 2007 9:59 PM
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