Christine Lahti is still hanging around Studio 60 as Vanity Fair writer Martha O'Dell, and as a handy device to shovel in giant, steaming forkfuls of backstory. Among other things, we get Harriet's entire biography and the revelation that neither she nor Matt were stars on the show until he started writing for her. Martha also gets a bit of dirt on the whole Harriet/baseball bat/Matt/Bombshell Babies boot debacle from Suzanne the PA, but then Tom and Simon inadvertently make it so, so much worse. Meanwhile, in the network's back office, Jordan gets to serve as a vehicle for Sorkin's contempt of reality programming when she passes on an ethically indefensible show pitched by some guy who is totally not Mark Burnett at all. At the same time, she's trying to persuade a talented young writer to bring his new "quality" show to NBS instead of HBO, and trying to enlist Danny's help in the task. Danny refuses, until he hears about Jordan's declining to bid on the gross reality show. During the Studio 60 broadcast, Matt and Harriet have a little moment on the balcony, but not much comes of it, even with Sting singing live not forty feet away from them (also: rude, much?). As for the show-within-a-show, nothing in it is as funny as Nate Corddry wandering around the set in a lobster suit for the entire first act for no discernible reason.
Previously on Studio 60 On and on and on...: Harriet gave Matt a bat she'd gotten from a baseball player with his name and phone number on it, and Matt took offense, and then later managed to back into a full suit of armor backstage when he stumbled across Harriet getting kissed by said baseball player. Not so many shows on the air right now where a guy can credibly find a full suit of armor to back into. Also, Christine Lahti and her hooters came by to do a "long lead cover" story for Vanity Fair, even though "covering" is clearly not her thing. And Joe R. made fun of fictional utility workers and ended up without power for over a week, so I will steer well clear of making fun of Harriet's God.
We're in Matt's office, panning up from that Darren Wells baseball bat that he's still keeping on his desk, just in case he suddenly feels the need to club a bitch. He's staring helplessly at his laptop screen, muttering, "Oh, holy mother of God, am I eating it." Looks like somebody learned his lesson about using the writers' room last week. Since we don't even see Ricky and Ron in this episode, I'm assuming Matt had that entire section of the building jettisoned into the Pacific. During work hours. Matt tries to blame his writer's block on Martha (the aforementioned hooterific Vanity Fair reporter), who's sitting quietly on the sofa across the room. She's willfully oblivious to her effect on Matt, or to the presence of the heavy wooden cudgel at his elbow, or possibly both. She provocatively asks how he's going to get past his block, and he asks her to stop talking. Adding to the tension is the giant clock behind his head, which is showing less than twenty-one hours until the next broadcast. And here I am recapping a scene in a mezzanine office with a clock visibly ticking away the seconds. Feels like home. Matt tries to get back to not writing, until five seconds later Martha interrupts, "Didn't help, did it?" So Matt tries to kick her out, but she invokes the "full access" clause, which Matt says won't help her if there's no show to have access to. He turns back to his monitor, and she finds a new way to get on his nerves -- namely looking under the rug. I'm serious. "It's a ten-thousand-word piece," she explains. "They're not all gonna be winners." Thanks for managing our expectations for this episode, Sorkin. As for me, every word of the 7,500 in this recap is going to be a perfect, polished...um, thing.