Harriet rushes out to the stage, gives her script one last look, takes a mug of water from some stage hand, takes her seat at her Nancy Grace chair, adjusts her Nancy Grace wig, and waits for her cue that she's on air. Cal, meanwhile, bounds up into the control room in time to count down to live air. And, here's the thing: Sarah Paulson does a decent Nancy Grace impersonation, and props to her for doing so. I think one of the positive things we'll be able to cull from the steaming pile of ruins that is this show will be that Sarah Paulson is a surprisingly good celebrity impersonator, especially in terms of subtly dead-on renditions of actresses you don't usually see impersonated (Holly Hunter, Julia Roberts). However, now that I've seen Amy Poehler's take on Nancy Grace on real, actual Saturday Night Live? I really can't go back. The only better parody of Nancy Grace on TV is Nancy Grace herself. Anyway, Harriet's Nancy goes on about a botched boob job, blah, blah, setting up the sketch. We don't get to see the payoff, because when Harriet takes a sip from the mug of "water," she spits it right out again in a fairly textbook spit take. It wasn't planned, however, and Harriet has to cover that "the propmasters here at The Nancy Grace Show" filled her mug with "what sure tastes like grain alcohol." The audience laughs, undoubtedly grateful for any reason to find a Studio 60 sketch funny.
Backstage, Tom asks Simon if he just saw the water-spiking incident. Simon thinks they're in for a whole night of propmaster sabotage. Okay, maybe Lech Walesa would approve. More importantly, for Simon, Stephanie just broke up with him. "She's kinda got your number, huh?" says Tom. Simon says he's not that guy. Tom's more pressing concern is how Simon's breakup affects their upcoming trip to Hawaii. He, Lucy, Simon, and Stephanie were supposed to leave tomorrow morning. Simon doesn't want to go alone, and it seems like it's still too soon for Tom and Lucy to do the whole "vacation alone" thing. Tom suggests Simon scope out the green room for someone he could take along with them. "I'm not a dog!" protests Simon, but when Tom reiterates that there were some pretty fine-looking ladies in the green room last he checked, Simon's face brightens up and he agrees to have a look. Right about here is where I started to suspect that, despite Simon's protestations that he's not a dog, he actually is a dog. Who's with me?
While Don Pardon't voices over the opening credits, Jack Rudolph meanders through what I think is Matt's office (it's empty) and instead heads to the control room, where Cal is getting to the business of directing the show. Jack's accompanied by some guy in a suit, and when Cal sees the both of them, he's none too thrilled. But they'll have to wait until after the monologue. Allison slinks onto the stage , as best a woman of approximately eight feet tall can "slink" (hey, she manages better than Jordin Sparks, God love her), and while she's still basking in the glow of a grateful audience, Cal starts squawking in her ear. He says to say "Thank you" if she can hear him, and she obliges, with a giant smile of panic on her face. He says she's probably noticed by now that there are no cue cards (Allison: "Thank you!"), and he lied to her about that so she wouldn't get freaked out. Allison: "Thank you, very much." As you might expect, Allison's tone leads you to believe she'd rather be replacing a few letters in that reply. Cal offers to read through the script with her but she declines, in code of course. Allison then proceeds to spectacularly fuck up the monologue, specifically by repeatedly thinking she's at Saturday Night Live. If anybody still cared about the internal logic of this show, here's about where their brain would start to do backflips about how SNL, NBC, and Allison Janney can all exist in a world where Tim Busfield is Cal and Bradley Whitford is Danny Tripp. Fortunately for everyone involved, nobody cares about a dead show, so: moving on! So Allison thinks it's great to be in New York ("Los Angeles!") for her first ("Third!") time hosting Saturday Night Live ("Studio 60!"). At that last one, Jack starts to fugue out from rage. Allison says the first time she did this show, she was on a little show called... "The West Wing!" Danny yelps, helpfully. ["You mean 'Cal,' right, Joe? You're Allison Janney! In this scene!" -- Miss Alli] Allison screams that she knows the name of that show. To all the world, it looks like Allison Janney is having a stroke, so Cal suggests she drop the musical act's name and cut the monologue short. "We have a great show tonight," Allison begins, reading from the SNL script verbatim. "Macy Gray is here. So stick around, we'll be right back." Heh. That last bit was just subtle enough to be funny.