This episode opens with the "five minutes to air" warning and Dan and Casey are getting ready, and Dan announces he has some good news: "From now on, Im not Dan, Im not Danny, Im Daniel." Okay, stop it right there. I hope I didnt just hear I think I heard. Dan is now Daniel? We get some long-winded explanation about how when Dan joined the union, there already was a Daniel Rydell, but that guy has since died, and Dan shows a little too much glee about finally being able to inherit the "Daniel." I mean, I agree that its extremely special and all to be called Daniel, but I find it hard to believe that this union has some rule against having two or more people with the same name. ["The Screen Actors Guild does, but I dont know whether a broadcaster would belong to that union." -- Sars] Second of all, has Dan considered all the ramifications of the name change? Im sure as Dan or Danny he has been saddled with a variety of nicknames, including, but not limited to: Danny Boy, Dano (as in, "Book em, Dano"), Danny Bonaduce, Dan the Man, occasionally Dan the Man with the Plan, and once, bizarrely, Dan the Man with the Plan on the Street with the Beat and I still dont even know what the hell that was supposed to mean. I cant even count the number of times someone has started singing to me, "Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling," and then cracked up as if they are the first person in history to think of something so clever. Even the name "Daniel" isnt immune to nickname-ification, since you constantly are subjected to horrifying Pat Morita impressions by people calling you "Daniel-san," as if comparing me to Ralph Macchio will endear you to me.
Anyway. Danny repeats again, "Im Daniel," and I have to say that obviously the Sports Night writers are now checking out Mighty Big TV and this is a big shout-out to me from ABC. The Anchor Twins greet Jeremy, who is getting off the phone, and Dan tells Jeremy, "Im Daniel now," like welcome to my world, Dan, and Jeremy says he was on the phone with some woman whose name he cant remember now, which is weird, but then we realize its a contrived setup so Dan can say, "Was it Daniel?" No, it wasnt me calling to announce my displeasure at this subplot that might be an attempt to fight back against MBTV, like GOOD LUCK. You guys dont scare me. Jeremy says it was a publicist at a cosmetics company that is promising them "five minutes with MJ." Five minutes with Moose Jaw? Now I KNOW this episode is a big ol shout-out to me. But no, for the purposes of this episode, MJ apparently stands for Michael Jordan, so lets all suspend our disbelief that either "Sports Night" the SportsCenter wannabes or Sports Night the ABC show carry enough clout to earn a guest spot from Michael Jordan. Anyway, the fact that it was a publicist from a cosmetics company finally sets off some alarm bells, and Dan figures out that Jordan has a new cologne coming out. The Anchors decide they dont care and theyre happy Jordan called them, except Dan doesnt think Casey looks especially happy, and Casey says he is, just that he has some concerns.