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Studio 60 Fodder

Studio 60: K & R

Apologies on the lateness of this mini-recap. Your humble blogger has been having computer amnesia. Which is to say both she and the computer have had amnesia this week. Expect your maxi-recap soon.

I enjoyed this episode, but not nearly as much as I had enjoyed "Breaking News." I think it was the increased focus on romance. I think the problem here is largely that I'm not really satisfied with Danny and Jordan's relationship. It never had time to develop properly (And never will, which is really frustrating, because there are moments of brilliance, especially during this episode, when you know it could have been terrific). The scenes with them together were sweet, but too rushed. Still.

That said, the situation with Tom's brother was still quite effective and, I felt, more compelling than the romantic stories.

"K & R" opens up where "Breaking News" left off. The cast has gathered in the writers' room and is freaked out. Danny and Matt come in and tell them about the situation with Tom's brother. This does not lessen their freaked-ness that much. Danny wants to cancel the party, but Cal says that the news hasn't yet reported that one of the hostages is the brother of a celebrity, they want to wait for that news to get out, and breaking up the party would speed that up.

Meanwhile, Tom is in Jack's office, which is probably really informative, but probably not really comforting. A Guy is in the office annoyed that Simon is making a lot of noise out there. Tom wants Simon in the room; he's family. Guy says that the airmen were taken 22 hours ago, but we only found out when al Jazeera put up the tape.

Guy then tells Tom what was happening when his brother and the other two were taken. Tom corrects Guy when he calls them "soldiers." They're airmen. The Taliban members who have Mark and the two others have demands: They want all US and UN forces out of the province. We don't hear the other demands because Jack discovers that they've started reporting that one of the captured airmen is Tom's brother and starts angrily storming around the office. Tom looks stunned. Jack, having stormed out of the office, is saying off camera that he needs to talk to Jordan.

Cut to the emergency room where Jordan is. The doctor is taking Jordan's history, and we learn she's allergic to shellfish and had an abortion in 1999.

The nurse shows the doctor Jordan's blood pressure. Doctor looks concerned and says her pressure is high. He says it like it's no big deal, but he looks like it's a big deal.

Emergency Doctor wants to know if there's any reason why Jordan might be stressed. Jordan goes to call Danny as they wheel her to ultrasound.

Back in the writers' room, Cal is pissed that the news has figured out that one of the captives is Tom's little brother. Jack's trying to shut it down.

Danny gets his call from Jordan. He runs out of the room. Matt tells them that Jordan hasn't felt the baby kick. Harriet kneels and starts to pray.

Matt watches Harriet dumbstruck before dumbstruckedly watching the TV a minute. We crash (it's a subdued crash) to the opening credits. The opening music is also pretty subdued.

Harriet comes into Matt's office. Tom is waiting for a chaplain and casualty officer and commander to come and wait with the family. Mark (that's Tom's brother again) has the fact that he's a soldier (and not a civilian) in his favor, because the armed forces are working towards his rescue. The other thing in Mark's favor is that he isn't Jewish. So if it were Matt, he would already be dead. Harriet makes an off-color joke that's actually pretty funny, and Matt points out that laughing about it is better than crying.

Harriet asks if they haven't had this fight before. Matt points out that they've had every fight once before. This particular fight was the day that the Afghanistan war started. Though Matt remembers it as the day of the Emmys. They're both right!

We have a flashback where Matt's flipping out because he can't tie his bowtie. He finds Harriet in a really nice dress making out with Luke, who's grabbing her ass. Harriet tries to tie Matt's tie without getting too darn close to him. Actually, the Unresolved Sexual Tension in this scene is quite good. I wish we'd had more of this throughout the season, because this I got into.

Matt thinks it's too early to be having an awards ceremony, and the bow tie is looking more like a hair bow, which is how I would tie a bowtie. Matt also thinks it's too early to do a new episode of the show on Friday, and he definitely thinks it's too soon after their breakup for Harriet to be making out with Luke. Matt gets a dig at Harry's Christianity, and Harriet gets a dig in at Matt's date, who quickly proves herself to be about as bright as a bag of hammers.

Matt notices that the music at the pre-Emmy party has stopped. Danny comes into the room looking Smart in a tuxedo. Danny says they're probably going to cancel the awards again because the war just started.

Back in the hospital in the present, Danny comes running to the rescue. After running past Jordan's room, he tries to come back looking suave. He's actually moderately successful. It turns out that the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby's neck. So she's choking, but just a little. It's also messing with her heart rate. Emergency Doctor keeps calling the baby "he," and I was hoping it might turn out that they had discovered Something on the ultrasound that had been missed before, but no, Emergency Doctor is just sort of a tool. The baby will just untangle itself from the cord. Danny is his usual helpful self (he pretty well tells the doctor, "For the love of God, you're just an emergency guy; you're easily replaceable!" which the doctor takes about as well as the prop guys did), and the doc points out that won't help Jordan's blood pressure. Will it give the baby's a little boost?

Jordan wants to know how Tom is doing (I'm sure he's terrific), and Danny calls for the extra special doctor with the Seriously Jewish last name. Jordan doesn't want them to broadcast that one of the airmen is the brother of a celebrity. Can the ultrasound monitor be tuned to a TV station so she isn't 20 minutes behind the rest of the class?

There is a lovely shared look between the two of them before Danny gives Jordan a very sweet kiss and then nuzzles her nose. Okay, I'm a girl, but that nose nuzzle did way more for me than the kiss. Maybe it's that I'm a looney girl. That's a possibility.

Meanwhile, at Stately NBC Headquarters, Jack is still trying to get the news about Mark's relationship to Tom off the air. Tom seems a little perturbed by this. I think his mind may actually be on the bigger picture. Jack offers to strong-arm the people running the B-roll, but then suggests that this information will get Mark's ass "dragged through the streets." Tom, already in a bit of shock, isn't cheered by this. At least Jack has the sense to realize this, though not until it's already been said.

Tom is upset that there are two other captives that aren't being mentioned who also have brothers. Jack says he knows, and then realizes that trying to get the news about Mark's one degree of celebrity separation isn't going to help; "they" already have the news. Jack wants to know why there isn't 24-hour CIA surveillance of every al Jazeera employee. It's a good question, but Tom wants to know if we didn't already win this war once? Um, wow, that's a Pandora's Box. I'd go into it, but then this wouldn't be a mini-recap anymore.

We flash back to the writers' room in 2001. They're watching the fighting on TV, and Luke is giving blow-by-blow of our success in Afghanistan. One of the other writers says the whole thing is about oil. Matt is actually reasonably about what the US is doing in Afghanistan and that it won't be all that satisfying if we bomb the snot out of them. However, he's more worried about how they'll do a funny show on Friday. Luke wants to be politically incorrect and make fun of the Arabs. Matt points out that Arabs aren't who lives in Afghanistan (except for bin Laden, of course). Luke pitches some really horrible ideas and a few halfway decent ones, but Matt can't think of a single joke that isn't in terrible taste.

Andy wanders in the room after having been gone for two days and not knowing about the Emmys or the war (apparently he doesn't wonder about the green explosions going on on the TV behind Matt) and is-gasp-almost smiling (apparently he's always been a Fun Guy. I assumed that was recent). His wife had their baby on Saturday. Cigars are handed out and money is thrown about.

Matt tells Harry about Andy's baby, and Harry doesn't know who Andy is. Well, he never wrote a sketch just to hit on her. Matt is pleased about the accidental Normal this brought. Harriet thinks Matt's annoyed that he can't make fun of George Bush or Christians. Matt goes to tell Wes there's still nothing funny this week.

In the present, Mary Tate, Hot Lawyer, is in Matt's office looking hot. She is supremely confident in her hotness. She also knows about Tom's brother. Well, the control booth is just across the hall, and they do have the news on al the monitors in there. Matt's about to write a new introduction for the West Coast feed of the show. Mary suggests that her firm actually sells kidnapping and ransom insurance (K&R. And....we have show title!). They work with a security company (Trask) that works with the locals in the foreign countries and gets the ransom money to the Bad Guys and gets the kidnap victims back. Matt points out that this isn't really a kidnapping. Mary knows, but she Just Wanted To Mention It. Regardless, Matt wonders if Mary would make a few calls and find out more. She will. And she still manages to flirt. It's that short attention span again.

In the hospital, Jordan wonders if they want to say something at the top of the West Coast feed of Studio 60. Not only do they, Danny says Matt is already working on it. He and Matt share a brain, you know.

Jordan wants to know what Danny was trying to tell her about the ratings issue at the party. Danny thinks this is a bad time to fight (I agree), and he says he was specifically trying not to tell her anything at the party. Danny also points out that Tom's brother being taken hostage probably isn't going to make them much funnier this week.

Back in the past, Matt wonders what Danny will get Andy and his newly larger family. Danny doesn't remember who Andy is, either. At least Harry doesn't work directly with Andy the way Danny does. Some nice Sorkinesque banter follows.

Matt and Danny go to talk to Jack, suggesting they should hold off on the show another week. Jack keeps calling Matt "Danny." Well, at least he doesn't think he's the butler.

Usually Wes would be the one making this pitch to the network president, but Jack just fired the president, and Wes has apparently had a heart attack (I think he's faking so he doesn't have to deal with the Matt and Luke drama). Jack says they don't have a choice; the show has to air on Friday, so important to the network (and revenue and promotion of the new fall season) is Studio 60. Jack thinks "a bunch of Jews entertaining America" would really tick off the Taliban. Danny thinks it will tick off Americans, too. He also says that Mark Jeter joined the Air Force on September 12, and it's hard to ask Tom to try to be funny at the moment. Jack points out that Mark will be in training until Operation Enduring Freedom is over. True, but....

Matt says the show also won't be funny, and Jack says it doesn't have to be. I'm holding my tongue here. Jack also says Studio 60 is the most valuable property the network has ever owned. If that's true, the network is in trouble (any network would be). So I'm hoping this is just the sort of Buttering Up We Do To The Creative People To Get Them To Do What We Want Them To Do. There is more Sorkinesque banter, bless their collective hearts. Jack gives them permission to rip on Hollywood.

In the present, Cal knows that Tom's name has made it on the airwaves. And he's probably been IN the control room this whole time. He just knows this now? Matt starts to tell Cal about the kidnap and recovery group that Mary's firm works with. Cal has actually heard of Trask. The K&R group won't say much until they talk to Tom, and Matt doesn't want Tom involved until absolutely necessary. Mary says that Mark and his associates were taken by a group they worked with before. They were able to get one of those guys back, though the other two were killed. After the kidnappers got their money.

Mary thinks there's a chance of her group having success because the Taliban members aren't expecting money in exchange for members of the military. Matt wants all details, but the K&R group will only talk to Tom and his family. However, with all the new information they have, the ransom is probably going to be closer to $10 million than the 1 million she originally quoted. He needs to find Jack.

At the hospital, Jordan wants to book more country acts on Studio 60 and get younger hosts. Danny says the host that night was Jenna Fischer (Hey, I was right!). Who is younger than Allison Janney. But older than Zach Braff, who hosted the season finale of SNL this year.

Danny says the #1 audience manipulator with women is a pregnancy in jeopardy. Please, please, please, for the love of all that is good and holy, tell me this isn't true and Danny's just being "funny." Because even if their reasons for putting Jordan in the hospital were totally innocent and independent of this fact (if it is indeed a fact), putting her pregnancy in jeopardy and mentioning it as an audience manipulator is just tacky.

Jordan gets nauseated (maybe she realizes the tackiness of this statement in this show), and it turns out she's been having headaches for a few days. She's showing signs of preeclampsia, so they're going to give her magnesium sulfate so she doesn't have seizures. Junior Emergency Doctor actually takes charge and tells them all to cool it because Jordan really, really needs the magnesium, and she seems to suddenly feel better the minute the drug goes in her IV bag. Danny thinks Junior Emergency Doctor would be a good producer, but JED thinks that job is too stressful.

Jack and Tom return to the studio to meet with the chaplain and Mark's commanding officer. Tom wants to make sure that the families of the other two captured airmen are receiving the same treatment that the Jeters are. They are.

Matt rushes in to explain both why the party is still going on and that he's written a new introduction for Harry to read at the start of the West Coast feed. Matt makes a mild joke, which is answered by Tom with a mild chuckle. Matt is reassuring and gives the group his office to talk in. Simon is meeting Tom's parents at the airport.

Mark's CO asks Tom the name of the musical guest. Tom's younger than the CO and chaplain (and me); maybe he knows who this guy is. And maybe he does, but he doesn't remember his name.

Tom wants to know if there's been communication with Mark. The CO says there was beforehand, which is important because it helps them know where the incident happened. Nate Corddry gives a terrific performance here (as he does throughout this episode) as a concerned family member completely stymied by the military's inability to dispense any information whatsoever.

Cal hugs Tom and says they're all right there. Tom wants to talk to Harry. Cal makes another mild joke, which earns him a mild chuckle. Harriet's praying her ass off. I guess that means she's a charismatic. That, or she's doing it wrong.

We do find out that Mark's CO should stay away from comedy. His mild joke is not met with any sort of chuckle at all.

Matt and Cal take Jack aside to tell him about Mary's firm's connections. There's no hard data because the military classifies this sort of information, but Trask estimates that they're more successful with the military, though Cal points out that the military isn't selling anything, either. Cal's a real wet blanket about the whole thing. Jack, however, wants to talk to Mary's "people."

Over in the hospital, Jordan tells Danny she loves him after he updates her on Tom. He goes to kiss her tummy, which conveniently puts his head between her breasts. They talk about how they got together; that he had given up on her until she stuck a note into his watchband, and then he went sprinting after her.

Junior Emergency Doctor comes in; they've confirmed preeclampsia, so it's time to perform a C-section. Yay, c-section! Both Danny and Jordan worry that the baby's lungs haven't developed enough yet. The nurse turns out to be even less comforting that Mark Jeter's commanding officer, and being comforting is actually her job.

Danny proposes to Jordan. It's very, very sweet. Bradley Whitford does sweet very well. Jordan protests that Danny has Suddenly decided he wants to get married, but it turns out he bought her a really nice ring several weeks ago. The song "Have a Little Faith in Me" starts playing, showing off something else Aaron Sorkin shows do very, very well that we haven't seen nearly enough of lately: He mixes music with his drama extremely well, and it's no less true here.

Jordan asks if Danny can do anything in a normal way. Not with her. He tells her how fantastic the diamond is, and she says yes. She was just being coy, though. They make out. The ring is huge, and they take Jordan to surgery as she tells the nurses she's engaged. Danny looks relieved.

At the studio, Matt asks Harriet if praying ever feels like "busy work." Well, when people interrupt you while you're praying, it probably does. He says they've been having this fight for eight years, and she says yes, and he's lost every time. He says Mary is doing Actual Things to help, and Harriet believes praying is helping? She quotes scripture, and we switch back to a flashback, where she's quoting the same scripture. We flash through many different parts of their relationship (and at one point, different parts of Studio 60's set) as they continue to argue, he that Christianity is a futile pipe dream, she in favor of faith. The flashbacks start in 2001 and move forward. They manage to be quite cute through several of the scenes. Though not so much when discussing the Nativity post coitus. Ew. However, her saying that Jesus isn't David Copperfield is pretty cute (And heaven forfend that anyone be David Copperfield. Even David Copperfield).

Finally back in the present, Harriet tells Matt she loves him and invites him to come pray with her.

Matt gets a call from Danny that Jordan's going into surgery. Before leaving the building, Matt looks heavenward. "Show me something." He and Harriet leave for the hospital.

Nate Corddry gives another particularly excellent performance throughout this episode, and a lot of what he does so well is nonverbal. A lot of it is spoken, but the majority is conveyed through his expressions.

Despite my ripping on the romantic stories at the top of this recap, on rewatching this show, I realized how really touching these scenes could be. Aaron Sorkin can do romance really well, and particularly in the last act of this episode, we got a good look at his skill here.

I'm looking forward to seeing how they resolve this story line. We've been promised that the show will end in a "satisfying" way, so I assume that means that there will actually be a resolution. I'm hoping it continues to be at least as touching and strong as it has been. And I'm really sorry it wasn't this touching and strong at the beginning of the season, when it might have attracted (and kept) a larger audience.

Posted by on June 9, 2007 5:18 PM
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