Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
The Harriet Dinner, Part I

Episode Report Card
Joe R: C | 1 USERS: A+
Up On The Roof

Backstage, Simon and the crew are rehearsing for the Ladysmith Black Mongongo whatever whatever Fruit of the Loom skit. Simon's the only one in fruit costume as the "Mongongo," looking like a cross between a kiwi, a prune, and a hunk of poop, all adorned with ammo and a kicky militaristic beret that says "When the revolution comes, I'll be looking fabulous." Lucy happens by, and Tom interrupts the read-through to lead her by the hand (aw) off to the side, so that he can let her down easy, employing the Matt Albie Elaborate Ruse technique. Tom's excuse for why he can't go out on Thursday? He has to put in a personal appearance as a "celebrity waiter" at a dinner NBS is hosting for the TCA. "That's adorable," says Lucy, and I would have to agree. To the point where I wish this waiter thing hadn't been a cover story but instead a future subplot. Tom's kind of thrown off by how easily Lucy is buying this -- clearly underestimating the stupidity of women in general, and the women on this show in particular -- but she's already kind of wrapped up in picturing Tom in his cute little waiter's uniform. She's also very close to Tom's face right now as they make plans for Saturday instead. "Now relax," she tells him. "Did you think I would be upset?" Tom doesn't actually answer before Lucy leans in and kisses him. I want to airlift the both of them right out of this show and gently place them into one that isn't irritating and doomed to cancellation.

Cruising through the bowels of the studio, Simon -- still bereted but free of the poop suit -- answers Dylan's and Samantha's questions about why Darius, and not Lucy, is working in the Ladysmith Black Mongongo sketch. Sam is dressed in this weirdly tight yellow track suit, and I honestly cannot tell if it's for a Kill Bill-inspired sketch or not. Darius busts in on the party, racist diatribe letter in hand, and says that if Simon wants to say anything to him, he should say it to Darius's face. Simon opts to tell Darius to his face that he's a moron. Dylan and Sam take their cue to leave as Darius says that all he meant yesterday was that he can do more than just the "Black Sketch." Simon says that he doesn't see Darius getting much of anything on the air at the moment. Darius snaps, "Look, I didn't want to write your damn Mongongo fruit sketch!" Simon pulls rank and tells Darius to watch his tone, which is shitty, but gets Darius to back down long enough for Simon to hit below the belt: "If you don't want to work on my sketch, that's fine. But if you don't want to work on it because it's black? Well, that makes you the pool boy at the Little House of Uncle Thomas." Darius manages to look both chastened and pissed off as Simon exits. I have to give props where props are due for this scene: both Darius and Simon hold positions that are highly understandable, and the show is more or less giving the audience the benefit of the doubt to parse it for themselves. Darius doesn't want to be pigeonholed into a career niche before that career even gets off the ground. Simon -- who got Darius his job in part because he wanted another black voice on the show -- is now being told that his comedy is too black for the black writer. I'm finding Simon obnoxious with the seniors-versus-freshmen rank-pulling, but I'm definitely willing to see how the conflict plays out -- in a manner, I hope, that's not (wait for it) preachy.

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Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip




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