Thanks to zapatos for providing me with tapes of Season 1.
Sports Night kicks off with sports show lingo in the control room. On this first episode, we see the regular cast of characters we've all come to know and despise. There's even an extra bald Tertiary Character whom we've never seen before. I mean, I realize this is the first episode of the first season, so if I'd been doing these recaps from the start, all these people would be new to me, but I'm not going to pretend I haven't already done a full season's worth of recaps. The bald guy is sitting where Dave normally sits, so this doesn't bode well for Dave being in the show. Chris is checking something, and Dana is asking Natalie to get her Judy in Alameda.
At the desk, Dan and Casey are being fussed over by the fluffers. Danny is telling Casey that Casey needs to get out of his house. Casey points out that he has in fact been out of his house for six months: "I don't live at my house," he says. Casey's hair is way more skater-ish in this first episode. It's brushed to the side and I think it's longer; it practically covers his right eye, and he looks more like one of the Thompson Twins than a sports show anchor.
Isaac shows up in the control room, and because this is the first episode, we get to hear people's full names used a lot to establish the characters, which is still a pretty weak reason to get Dana to say, "Isaac Jaffee's in the house." Yes, yes, y'all, and you don't stop. Dana tells Natalie to ask the boys something, so she yells into the microphone. Casey does this really annoyingly over-exaggerated reaction to it. And he bitches about the decibel level at which the human head will explode. Isaac wants to know if Casey's in a better mood than he was this morning. So Dana asks him, and he tells her to "shut up." "Pretty crappy, yeah," she tells Isaac. The bald TC gets a line, like, shut up, you bald not-Dave TC.
Dan, looking over his script, has a question about the segment about unnamed Swiss Olympic officials commenting on Helsinki's Olympic bid. Dana wants to know what the problem is. "Helsinki's in Finland," he says. Dana wants to know if he's sure, and Dan seems a little annoyed that she would even question him. Will and Chris bitch about this mistake a little, and now Casey is trying to convince everybody that Helsinki is in Finland, and he does so by yelling, because, oh yeah, we're supposed to be able to tell on the first episode ever of this show that Casey is out of sorts, even though we would have had no other experience with Casey to compare this with. And no one gets mad at him for yelling while he's miked like he did with Natalie. Natalie yells at Elliot to "get something up on the 'net" to find out if Helsinki's in Finland. First of all, how is it that only Casey and Dan know where Helsinki is? Helsinki is in goddamned Finland. Second, it's called an atlas. You have no idea how that "get something up on the 'net" line annoyed me. And, at this point, without subjecting myself to hate mail from Sports Night fans, I'd like to say that if I'd seen this first episode when it was originally on, I would have switched channels about now and I doubt I would have ever come back to it. Before I did the recaps, I thought I had seen the pilot. But it was the second episode I saw, where Dan has to apologize for his comments on marijuana.
Anyway, Dan, in the midst of all this Helsinki hubbub, is trying to get Casey to come out with him tonight. Casey says he doesn't need a "cruise director." Having never seen Sports Night before, one could wonder if "cruise director" was some sort of euphemism as far as Dan's sexuality is concerned, because Dan then gets bitchy-quiet and says, "Forget I said anything." The show goes live. When Casey says the "You're watching Sports Night, so stick around," he cheesily points at the camera. Commercial break. Elliot, who I'm assuming got something up on the 'net, confirms that Helsinki's in Finland. Good thing that didn't take like half an hour or anything, Elliot. Also, the national bird is the whooping swan. Oh, that Elliot and his national birds! Dan and Casey, in unison, look up from the desk and say, "Thank you." From this shot, we see that Dan doesn't have pants on. Wow! Good job! Already, we can tell that Casey is the serious stuffed-shirt type and Dan's the insouciant merrymaker! What a crazy pair! Commercials.