Sports Night
The Quality Of Mercy At 29K

Episode Report Card
admin: C+ | 2 USERS: A+
Take a load off, Sorkin, and you dump the load right on us

The show opens with Casey reminding viewers to set their alarms tomorrow if they want to catch "Desmond Corey's assault on Mount Everest." He says the first live footage will be coming back from Corey's team at 2 a.m. Eastern, and he hopes viewers will join Dan and Casey live at that time for what he's sure will be a very exciting event. Yeah, I would have this marked in my day planner too: "Watch umpteenth person climb Everest." Do these dingbats know it's been done before, hundreds of times? They go to commercial.

In the control room, Jeremy is laying out Everest's vital stats. "29,000 feet," he says. "Do you know how tall that is?" And Will says -- wait for it, this is great -- "It's 29,000 feet." No, seriously. That is the funniest line ever delivered on a television show. Ever. Chris says it's actually 29,029 feet, and I was premature in saying Will's line was the funniest of all time, because Dana comes up with, "It's those last ten yards that'll kill ya," raising the bar in terms of general hilarity. Jeremy then expresses the size in terms of metres (8,848), but when Natalie tells him it sounds more impressive expressed in feet, he goes back to Imperial. Then Natalie and Dana share another one of their weird "isn't he great?" smiles, like, what kind of weird criteria do these women have for an ideal boyfriend? Jeremy's looking for something than he can use as an example -- you know, a certain number of these laid end-to-end to give a sense of the size of the mountain. Elliot suggests 29,000 rulers, which I thought was pretty damn funny (I'm not being sarcastic this time). Jeremy complains that they're not getting into the spirit of it, but maybe it's because the rest of the gang knows it's been done many times before. Dana then threatens Jeremy with violence and he says, "I'm just saying it's a big mountain." Dana says, "And I hear ya!" and then...that's it. The opening scene is over. It ends with "And I hear ya"? The music was even different. It didn't punctuate the punchline (not that "And I hear ya!" is much of a punchline) with that little bam bam! thing; there was just this little organ flourish that left me with a vague sense of unease. And at the risk of alienating SN fans for whom this is potentially their Favourite Scene Ever, I'd just like to suggest that maybe Sorkin could have done a second or third draft to make it, you know, good.

The next day, Danny has brought his mail to work so Casey can ask him if there's "any good mail," and Dan flips through several envelopes from charities and organizations looking for money. "I'm on the mailing list to end all mailing lists," he says. Well, I see endless plot possibilities here. Dan makes a joke about how he'd love to give them all money but then he'd have no money and he'd need his own mailing list to ask people for money. And Casey calls it a "vicious circle," and Dan agrees, and they keep repeating it because it's a vicious circle, you get it? I know, it took me a while too. Anyway, Dan wants to know what he should do; he's inactive, he just sits around. "Ah, like the trusty basset hound," says Casey, like, what is he talking about? Seriously, why does Casey even bother speaking if he can only come up with inane comments like "like the trusty basset hound," and further, why do people even talk to him when he makes no sense whatsoever like this? Then they revisit the "vicious circle" repetitive dialogue thing again, fortunately more briefly this time. Casey says, "You know, while we've been having this conversation a couple of people have probably died from something you could have cured," and I thought to myself, "Lucky them," but Danny only thanks Casey for cranking up the pressure. So Casey takes the various solicitations, tossing aside one from the Montgomery (Ala.) Symphony Orchestra, but Danny suggests that music is a worthwhile cause and says, "Music, culture, arts, these things shouldn't just be confined to New York and Vienna," and maybe someone should point out to Danny that they're not. Casey sort of sighs and tells Danny to write them a cheque, then, but Dan wants to go through the rest of them first. Next up: the American Heart Association. Casey suggests Danny get his new friends in Alabama to play them some Beethoven. Heh. Danny needs more time to think about this one, like the remainder of the episode.

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Sports Night




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