We hop into a time machine set for the go-go 1990s -- 1999, in fact, just in case all the factoids, milestones, and musical cues didn't bludgeon that information into your brain -- as Matt reminisces about his first days on the Studio 60 writing staff, back when there were apparently one thousand writers and cast members working for the show. In particular, Matt remembers his first interactions with a fresh-faced Harriet Hayes. Matt gets to share an office with a fetchingly scruffy Luke after a writer named Tim Batale gets canned for being a pill-popper. Because if there's anything late-night sketch comedy will not abide, it's substance abuse. Matt and Luke almost immediately start jockeying for position with Harriet and write competing sketches for her to star in. At the same time, Matt pitches a sketch about Crazy Christians (sound familiar?) to Harriet, unknowingly offending her, and thus beginning seven-year tradition of annoying bickering. Back in 2007, Danny and Jordan are gross, and Hallie is conveniently manipulative and lacking a moral compass. Also, Tom and Dylan spend the whole episode stalking Matt's office to see if their sketch survives the titular "Friday Night Slaughter," i.e. the weekly pruning of excess skits between dress rehearsal and the live show. ...Oh, yeah, one more thing: Matt's totally hooked on pills all of a sudden, and hallucinated the Tim Batale (anagram: Matt Albie) person altogether. So...romantic comedy? Psychological ghost story? Lost episode of I Love The '90s? Exactly what kind of show is this going to be when it gets cancelled in two weeks?
Previously: Jordan hated Reality TV Cipher Hallie but ended up looooooving Danny. Harriet liked the idea of sleeping with Luke again, while Matt most certainly did not. And Studio 60 was supposed to air a new episode on February 26th before ceding its time slot to The Black Donnellys and going on indefinite hiatus. One of these things is no longer true.
We open with a close-up of a Selena-looking singer whose dress is currently shoving her boobs up nearly to her chin. Her rehearsal performance is being shown on Matt's TV monitor, but he's too busy brooding and making up anagrams in his head (SPOILER) to notice. The camera moves out of Matt's office and begins an extended tracking shot that gives the Studio 60 set designers a well-deserved opportunity to show off. We move past Matt's balcony perch, down the walkway, into the control room where Cal is giving a whole lot of jargon-y direction, and back out to where we look out onto the stage. A different shot begins panning around Singer Lady's admittedly bangin' body, and then over to Danny at his monitor. He gets a phone call, and it's Jordan, who introduces herself, faux-formally, as the "president of NBS West Coast entertainment." She says she's "concerned" that not enough of the cameras are focused on Singer Lady's chest, though the monitor Jordan's looking at only really shows one monitor with a good boob view. Jordan needs to place a call to that dress, I think. So, whatever, there's bantery stuff wherein Jordan is pregnant and hormonal and cute-jealous and Danny's all, "What, me objectify women?" and finally Jordan's like, "Cut away from the cleavage, please!" Any other couple and that might have been cute, but Jordan and Danny are medical-grade obnoxious throughout this whole episode, so: no.
Back upstairs, Matt's looking out on the stage like Michael Corleone as he's waiting for his brother Fredo to get whacked. You think the breakup with Harriet is affecting his mood any? Andy enters the office and remarks, "Dress is going pretty well." Matt barely registers Andy's presence before grunting out a "Yeah." Trying to make some sort of conversation, Andy says that Matt's current office "isn't a bad vertical leap from [his] first one." Matt's still barely verbal in his complete and total grief, so he's all, "Whuh?" Andy says that while he essentially hates all people and all things, he'd be willing to be there for Matt if he ever wanted to talk about why he's gone all "Everybody Hurts" on the rest of us. Not getting so much as a head twitch from Matt in response, Andy goes back to his original small talk -- Matt's office is certainly nicer than the one he started out in. "Remember," he prods, "you could hold out your arms with a pencil in each hand and write on both walls at the same time?" Man, the cleaning people must've loved Matt. Finally, Matt allows his brain to think un-Harriet thoughts for two seconds, if only so that he can be allowed to correct yet another human being. Hey, you start with what you know. He says that was his second office; his first office was the floor outside the writers' room, where he'd sit with a newspaper and a notepad. Well, that's not an office, now is it, Matt? It's no use yelling at him, though, because he's in the thick of a gauzy fade-out to a flashback...