Sports Night
April Is The Cruelest Month

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April Is The Cruelest Month

This episode starts off with Dana frothing at the mouth and pacing back and forth and saying, "This is idiotic!" and "This is no way to run a network," and someone from off-screen says, "Dana," and we go to a wide shot and Dana is in Isaac's office, and Isaac is standing up, and sitting down is some guy whom we've never seen before. The new guy says, "Don't call me idiotic," even though she didn't. Then he says, "I'm a full-grown adult, lady, and I've heard about you at these meetings. I am not other people, I am the network CFO," and he couldn't be any more condescending. The full-grown adult's name is Bert, and Dana is saying something about the Olympics and that whatever Bert thinks of her decorum, she's doing her job, and I am glad that for once in Isaac's office, Dana is yakking about something work-related. Bert then makes a sarcastic comment about Dana pointing to the tree upon which money grows. Sarcasm: always the preferred managerial method of dealing with underlings. It's effective and builds loyalty and morale. This is a weird thing to notice, but Bert has really big lips, like I'm talking Angelina Jolie lips, and speaking of Angelina Jolie -- ahh, forget it, I had a pretty good line that was based on a foundation of Jolie's inherent hotness and a devilishly wicked misinterpretation of the movie title The Bone Collector, but I should have used it before the Oscars.

Anyway, Dana says, "This sucks," which is certainly a good point. Bert makes another snide remark. I hate Bert already. Dana says this happens every week, and then this guy hugging a binder and leaning against the door says this doesn't happen every week. I would have noticed this guy earlier, except Jane was partly in front of him and his head was covered by the PG label in the corner at the start of the show, a label no doubt earned through Dana's casual usage of "sucks." Dana bitches about looking for change under sofa cushions while "Luther Sachs has just cashed a seven hundred and forty million dollar bonus" and if you ask me, Dana might have led with that argument instead of with "this sucks." Of course, both the suits try to hush Dana up as if Luther is listening in on the conversation. Dana can't believe they have one of the highest-paid CEOs in the country and they're still cutting back on Olympic coverage. Bert says the budget was reviewed at the network level and then went to the corporate level. Then Binder-Hugger, Door-Leaner says a thirty-four-man team to cover the Olympics is a bit ambitious, like God forbid they should be ambitious. And Dana says, "Well, God forbid we should be ambitious!" yelling at BHDL, whose name is Ray. Isaac suggests lowering the volume a little and tells the suits that cutting down from thirty-four to twelve is "off-the-charts ludicrous" and that CSC will look like local news and I winced at that, since I can't imagine CSC ever being as bad as local news. I also hope Isaac is referring to local broadcast news, which I often think should be renamed "Our Top Story Tonight: Whatever Is In The Local Newspaper," based on my experience.

Then Ray starts explaining about a deal with an Australian carrier named OzTech, and now I'm envisioning a wicked crossover season finale in which the SN gang is sent to a maximum-security prison and has to form their own gang to survive. I think we all know who everyone's bitch would be: Cough cough Jeremy Goodwin cough. Notice how when Isaac speaks, Bert listens respectfully instead of delivering non-stop sarcasm like he does to Dana? Anyway, Ray (who, based on the one scene I've seen, is a complete weenie) explains that OzTech will share costs in Sydney and supply supplementary manpower. Dana craps on that plan. Bert lectures her condescendingly about how they keep her employed, not interested, and tells her to watch her mouth, even though she didn't say "sucks" or "crap" or anything this time. Isaac says he's angrier than Dana is and wants to know why Bert is even in this meeting, and I think it's because this guy is another of Sorkin's favoured Feature Players who previously did a guest spot on the West Wing as a pollster who got to sample Marlee Matlin's primary date, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. I'm also told this guy was on Star Trek, so my guess is that he's entered Career Rehabilitation mode. ["He's John de Lancie, and he's a minor Hey, It's That Guy!." -- Sars] He says, "I'm in it because I'm in it," and I don't know which is more annoying, Bert's sarcasm or his little Zen koan. Isaac's point is that it's odd for finance to take such a hands-on role in the operation, and Bert says finance is going to take more of a hands-on role, a revelation that doesn't set Isaac's toes a-tappin' (I love that phrase). Time for Isaac's Duelling Sarcasm: he comes up with a pretty good line about the sensitive hand of finance always leading to prizewinning coverage. Bert blah blahs about Sports Night's prizewinning coverage running a deficit (a deficit that's roughly one-sixth of their CEO's bonus, I might add). Isaac asks how the deal will work. Weenie Ray explains that the travelling staff will be limited to on-air and support, since Dana wondered why they would need any producers at all (they won't). Weenie Ray sarcastically asks if she really would do a better job as producer if she was producing from the back of a truck in Sydney instead of back home, which I have to say is a REALLY dumb question, even for a bean-counter. Bert gets up to leave after explaining that this is the way it is, and he shakes Isaac's hand and leaves. Isaac kicks Weenie Ray out after WR tries to sell him on the plan.

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