Sports Night

Episode Report Card
Daniel: B | Grade It Now!

Now we go to Dana's office. As glad as I am that Sam's departure didn't send Dana into a dizzying neurotic tailspin, I do find it odd that he is not mentioned at all in this episode. Dana is bustling. Bustle, bustle! Casey comes in while the camera does this full 360-degree revolution. "You sent for me?" says Casey, who thinks that Dana enjoys sending for him, and Dana admits that she does. Casey sits on Dana's desk. I hate it when people plunk their asses down on my desk (unless invited to do so by me). I mean, that's where I have to work. Casey says, "I want to warn you that your neurosis-riddled female power plays aren't going to get you what you want" all smugly until Dana points out, "I sent for you, you're here." Game, set and match for Dana. Anyway, she brought Casey in to tell him that he has been named the ninety-second most influential person in sports. If I were Casey I'd be bagging on this game of Celebrities to go update my résumé with that little accomplishment. Casey makes the (not unreasonable) mistake of thinking that he and Dan are on there together, and he's a little chagrined that they're only ninety-second and that they should be at least sixty-fifth and "that's being conservative," like what kind of idiot would actually count out sixty-four more influential people. Dana informs him that Dan is not on the list.

I wish you could see my television screen right now with the tape of this episode paused. Casey has one eye closed and one eye half open and he looks really stoned.

Anyway, Casey wants to know if Dan knows. Dana tells Casey that he doesn't and that when he finds out is up to Casey, who doesn't relish being passed this buck. Casey calls it delegating. Dana throws his "neurosis-riddled female power plays" quip right back at him. Having finished with Casey, she dismisses him with her trademark "leave now," which I kind of like, and I grudgingly admit that lately Dana has had a few scenes where I didn't want to repeatedly slam my head in a car door quite so much.

Next we get establishing shots of a bar which is pretty much the only other type of set Sports Night ever uses other than the office. We see a shot of some dweeb's hands building some sort of structure with olives and toothpicks. Pan up and it's Paula Marshall looking on with interest, and I hate to say it but given the scheduling problems Sports Night has had, do they want to tempt fate by bringing on Paula Marshall? Let's see -- Cupid with Jeremy Piven. Okay, I can understand that show being cancelled. But Snoops? With Gina Gershon, who is remarkably sexy despite her duck mouth? I meant to watch Snoops when it was on, but I think I was busy that day. We pan back and the dweeb's hands belong to Jeremy, surprise surprise, and he notices Paula Marshall: Porn Star (oh, sorry, she hasn't revealed that yet) watching with interest. As if. Jeremy says it's a parallelogram and PM:PS argues with him about it in that teasing manner people use whenever they really want to do each other. PM:PS moves her stool close (go Jeremy!) and gives him the definition of a parallelogram, and Jeremy says he knows it and that he actually has a degree in applied mathematics, which I'm sure has really served him well at Sports Night. PM:PS contends that they should have made him come to class more often, which was pretty funny. Jeremy blames his crappy parallelogram on lack of a protractor. You know, I wouldn't have thought that people could use geometry for flirtation purposes -- and I would have been right. Silence ensues as Sorkin runs out of parallelogram-themed Witty Banter. So they introduce themselves. Jeremy gives his full name, PM:PS just says "Jenny." Then Jeremy wonders if they've met before, which is a come-on line punishable by death in most places. Jenny doesn't think they have. Jeremy, undeterred, forges on, trying school and camp, which Jenny denies ever attending. Jeremy says camp was great. Jenny says she heard. Daniel says, "I'm outta here until this porn-star plot picks up some speed." Jeremy then asks if she's in sports, and instead of saying "no" like she did for the other possibilities, Jenny says, "Why do you ask?" and Jeremy says she really looks familiar to him. Jenny asks if maybe Jeremy is in sports, and Jeremy says yes, so Jenny asks if he is Sammy Sosa, then realizes he can't be because "Sammy is a big Dominican man in a Cubs uniform." This small talk is reaching Ben Stiller-level annoyingness. I don't even care anymore that Jenny is a porn star. I just want this half-hour to be over. Jeremy says he works across the street as a producer for Sports Night, which really impresses Jenny. Seriously, she thinks it's big-time. But Jeremy plays down his role, explaining that there are a couple of producers above him. Jeremy! Shut up! Ask yourself, WWDD (What Would Daniel Do)? This incredibly hot woman is intrigued by your olive-and-toothpick parallelogram! I repeat, intrigued! Not weirded out! She's yours! So repeat after me: "I'm Jeremy. I produce Sports Night. It's tough work but very rewarding." Jenny makes a joke about whether or not Jeremy's ascension through the ranks has been thwarted by his inability to build a parallelogram and asks if maybe he'd have more friends if he knew how to build one. Jeremy says he has lots of friends, and Jenny says "you just prefer to drink alone," which I am compelled to point out she was also doing. Jeremy says his friends are mad at him since he broke up with "their girlfriend" which sounded really weird. Besides, I don't think anyone (save Natalie) is mad at Jeremy. Jeremy asks again if she's sure he doesn't know her. She says he doesn't and then says the best thing for him to do right now is buy her a drink, which he does.

Back in the office, the gang is about to play Celebrities which I'm told is a real game, like who would think I'd be so out of the loop in Moose Jaw? Natalie picks up an upside-down Seahawks helmet and the rest of the gang is throwing little scraps of paper into it and Natalie explains the rules. Basically, it's like Charades: you have to get your teammates to guess the name that's on the scrap of paper. You can talk, you just can't say the celebrity's name. Chris throws a scrap of paper in, but he misses and it falls on the floor and Dana picks it up. I'm not sure if that was supposed to happen or if Chris was just nervous about being included in this scene. Natalie then holds the helmet above her head, so Kim has to put her arms over her head to put her paper in the helmet, which makes her breasts stick out even more than usual. Have I mentioned lately how much I love this show? Then we notice most of the extras are milling about, going home, like how rude and exclusionary for the gang to play their little game in front of everybody and rub it in the extras' faces that they are not part of the Inner Circle. I also wonder which one of the TCs got the call-up from the minors to play since Jeremy was frozen out. Probably Chris, who says they can't start the game because Will is in the bathroom. Thanks, Chris! Poor, sad Will. I bet he told his parents not to bother watching this episode: "Yeah, I was supposed to be in this scene, but the writers made me go take a dump since Casey and Dana had to bicker a little more about telling Dan he didn't make the list." Casey doesn't want to tell him just yet, and is saved by Will returning from the bathroom and he's jogging for some reason. Let's just hope he washed his hands. Isaac asks if anybody knows the lyrics to the stupid song Dan gave him. Nobody does. Natalie gives a pep talk to her team. Dan's pep talk involves the phrase "reclaiming our manhood" about fifty times which must have been great for Kim, who, truth be told, could claim mine if she wants it. I'm getting enough testosterone from Dan's team to last me a while anyway.

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Sports Night




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