Hey, now we're talking. So Matt releases his iron grip on the writing long enough to let ninety seconds of show content trickle down to the writers' room. The result is a joke for "News 60" where Simon sorta takes a page out of Chris Rock's playbook and wonders why kids can't just be called stupid anymore. Appropriately, the story is that this joke was purloined by a writers' room hack from an L.A. standup comic, and since we don't find this out until the live show has ended, we have to re-do "News 60" for the west coast feed, complete with an apology and a...cricket score. It's all very frantic and enjoyable. Ricky and Ron take one small step towards redemption by refusing to sell out Hacky McJokestealer...of course, they also kept a plagiarist on their writing staff, so the jury's still out. Everything turns out okay in the end when it's discovered that the L.A. comic stole the joke as well...from an old Studio 60 writer. All better, then! Elsewhere, Harriet's dating a baseball player, who signs a bat for her that she gives to Matt as a well-intentioned (or so she says) gift. Unfortunately, he also wrote his phone number on the bat, which sends Matt off on a stupendously ill-advised quest for payback, with Tom as his yappy wing-pup. Also, Jordan's reporter friend, played by Christine Lahti, wants to do a long-lead feature on the show for Vanity Fair, which means that she and her Breasts of Distraction are around a lot, taking notes, and will be next week as well. I'm actually looking forward to it.
Hello! Poor Joe R had to go and live in Buffalo and get snowed all in, so I'll be your tour guide for the week. Joe has promised to buy me a pony for my services. And by "pony," he obviously meant "Mercedes." Thanks, Joe!
We open in the writers' room. Everyone silently eats lunch as Ricky (or is it Ron? The bald one, in any event. Let's go with Ricky) stalks the room and tells the writers that Matt has, patronizingly and veiled-insultingly, asked for ninety seconds of material from them. He says that not being able to contribute ninety seconds for a ninety-minute telecast is a good way to demonstrate that they should be insulted, so...they need to get their asses in gear. No one is paying attention; they're all chomping away on their sandwiches and licking their fingers and basically being really gross. Ricky, in an amazing display of strength for such a tiny, tiny man, physically lifts up the end of the table and slams it back down on the ground. "We have to produce something!!!" he screams. The writers tear themselves away from their troughs and start pitching ideas. Unfortunately, everything they suggest is immediately shot down by Ricky or Ron. Finally, a little sad-looking writer timidly speaks. "I've got something." Ricky tells him that it had better not blow. "Hal" passes his laptop over to Ricky and Ron at the end of the table while explaining that it's for Simon, and that he can do it as a sketch or an editorial. Ricky sets the computer down and starts reading: "In schools today kids are diagnosed with stuff like dyslexia, hyperlexia, ADD, ADHD. In my day you were just stupid." All the other writers laugh, and Ricky keeps reading these really sort of awful jokes that aren't all that funny, but everyone laughs and Ricky says, "This is it. Everybody get to work on this." Hal gets a cute little silent clap from Ron, and he blushes. I hope it's because he's embarrassed that his jokes suck.
Matt's office. Harriet knocks and enters, and asks him if he's busy. Matt: "I'm...choking." Harriet says that she can come back, but Matt is now all ears. Harriet is holding a bat, which might make me a little bit scared if I were in Matt's situation, but -- okay, you guys, I have to confess something: I think Matthew Perry is totally hot. Even with his jowls and undereye bags. Yes. I'm sorry. Moving on -- he doesn't even seem to notice. Anyway, Harriet says that she wants to move on and get some closure. Matt's all, "Uh, we broke up. How much closure are you looking for?" Harriet wants to know that Matt has no intention of trying to win her back; Matt has to take some Tums at this, and says that they might have a little problem there. Harriet reminds him that he's a northeastern Jewish liberal atheist (quite a mouthful!), and she's a Southern Baptist who believes he's going to burn in hell. Also, he's her boss. Matt understands that, and says that it's not going to be a problem. Harriet: "So...we have closure." Matt: "Yeah." Harriet then totally, totally Jennifer Anistons her next line: "We are cllloooosed." Uh, hello. Matthew Perry is standing right there. Could you be more derivative? (Who remembers Rachel's hilarious drunken answering machine message that she left Ross when she was on a date with someone else and then ended up trying to erase, and it was really funny? Everyone does, Aaron.) Matt repeats that they have closure, and Harriet says that she would feel a lot better if he were just a little ambivalent. Matt says that he's extremely ambivalent; what he's exhibiting are leadership skills. Heh. Harriet congratulates him on a job well done.