WHOOSH, it's 2001. A less belligerent and confrontational Simon is warming up the crowd for the dress rehearsal, making nervous jokes about getting blown up by terrorists. Backstage, Harriet (in Holly-Hunter-as-Clarice-Starling drag) greets Matt with a whap upside the head. She asks if he heard the mixed reception Simon got for his very mild topical humor. She cites this as a reason for him not to do the Rove sketch. She also cites the fact that Matt got "roughed up" a few weeks ago for defending Bill Maher, and with Matt and Danny essentially in the role of substitute teachers, they really shouldn't stick their necks out unnecessarily, especially when the audience doesn't sound like they're ready for it.
Matt cites the deal he and Danny made with Jack (via Jerry, since Steven Weber took last week off): they perform the sketch at dress, and if any of the ad reps object to it, they won't air it. If no one objects, the sketch goes on. Harriet doesn't think that's enough to protect Matt and Danny from a backlash -- even if the sketch doesn't air, word will emerge from the dress. They pede-bicker a little more about just how "radioactive" the sketch is or isn't, and Harriet finally arrives at the same point she always does: "Are you or are you not doing this sketch to get back at me?" Oh for Pete's...I'd lambaste Harriet for her monstrous egotism, but then I remember that everything Matt does relates back to Harriet in some way, so I'm sure she's right. Matt tells her she's fucking crazy, though, and he delves once again into the merits of the sketch: that the President sent the second most powerful person in the nation to Hollywood to pitch patriotic movies that will win the war. "I'm all for a global war on terror," Matt overcompensates (don't worry, John Edwards, I'll smack him for you). "I'm Jewish, I wanted to kill Arabs long before any of you!" This last part is loud enough to be heard by the audience, and of course everyone is awkwardly silent. I can't tell whether one particularly offended dark-skinned gentleman is supposed to be offended as an Arab or just offended as a human being, but the point is that nobody's laughing. Good to see things are back to normal at Studio 60.
Simon quickly gets the band to start playing again, and Matt puts his pencil to his head like it's a gun. Of course, that bit of awkwardness is not enough to derail his and Harriet's argument. He returns to his idea that "making Rambo Goes To Jalalabad isn't going to do the trick." Harriet says she doesn't think making fun of patriotism helps much either, but she doesn't really care about that right now. Matt tries to score a point by asking, all smug-like, what it is that Harriet does care about. Harriet says she cares about Matt not screwing up his chances to one day run the show, because that's what he wants. Matt gets pissy, saying Harriet doesn't get to sleep with Luke and also care about what Matt wants. Harriet's like, "And yet I still do." Then the universe implodes upon itself because Matt's rules about how the world works have just been violated. She once again tells him not to do the sketch, and Matt tells her to buzz off, and she finally does. A pleasure, you two.