Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sports Night rewind: "Thespis"

I continued my streak of never making it even as far as voir dire in the jury selection process, and while I sat in the jury room, I got to do my latest "Sports Night" review, which I'm posting a day early for reasons that I'll explain at the end.

Spoilers for "Thespis" coming up just as soon as I rehearse the route...
"Ladies and gentlemen, Thespis has left the building!" -Dana
There are deeper episodes of "Sports Night," and probaby even funnier ones (I laughed more at the running gag with the water glasses in "Dear Louise" than I did at anything here), but "Thespis" is probably my favorite episode of the series. Just pure fun, a supremely confident farce that still finds time for a few heavy moments without ruining the tone.

Sorkin's fond of this Murphy's Law structure (he did a similar storyline on the "Studio 60" episode with Allison Janney, which was one of the less-bad episodes of that series), and where I think he finds the alchemy here is the decision to so quickly set up the idea of Thespis and have everyone buy into it. I think if everyone were in denial about it for more than the few minutes it takes Dana to slip and fall, it might have felt labored, but because we and the character understand by now that Jeremy knows of which he speaks, we and they just go with it. Whether there really is a Greek ghost in the studio or not doesn't matter, because it's in everybody's heads. And once the premise is accepted, Sorkin and Schlamme can quickly accelerate the level of disaster, from Dana's slip, to the falling turkey, to the entire signal dropping out for several minutes(*).

(*) Time to call on the expertise of the commenters who say they worked on cable sports shows during this period: is that really plausible? What combination of factors would have to happen for a national cable sports network to just drop off the face of the earth in the middle of a show?

What also makes it work, I think, are those serious moments I mentioned earlier -- the idea that the bad luck afflicting Sports Night doesn't just involve defrosting turkeys, but could lead to a tragic event for Isaac's daughter. (That, I think, is the most significant difference between "Thespis" and the "Studio 60" episode, which was played entirely for laughs, when the genius of Sorkin is the mix of jokes and pathos.) That storyline, or Dan's lecture to Casey about his decision not to take the job that went to Conan O'Brien, don't get in the way of the laughs; if anything, they make the laughs bigger, because they're a respite from thoughts about what might be happening in that labor and delivery room 3000 miles away.

And once again, how great is Robert Guillaume? The scene where Isaac is refusing to let Dana comfort him was expertly set up with the earlier scene about his son-in-law not rehearsing the route. Because Isaac is, like most Sorkin characters, smarter than the average bear, we know that he's already thought of all of the myriad things that could go wrong for his daughter, and the way Guillaume plays that moment of mental torture is a reminder of the bliss that ignorance can provide.

But really, I just feel happy when Dana says the line I quoted at the top. As I've said before, what makes "Sports Night" cool is that it creates this vision of a fantasy workplace where everyone is like family to one another. And more than most episodes of the series, "Thespis" creates the illusion that we're part of the family, sucked into the wacky hijinks and possible darkness, so the feeling of relief when Thespis allegedly attacks Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford across town is palpable.

Some other thoughts on "Thespis" (and say that five times fast, why don't you?):

• We get a bit of background continuity, as the telecast mentions Jason Grissom's no contest plea; Grissom was the guy whose arrest was a hot topic in the pilot.

• Note how turned on Natalie gets when Jeremy is answering all the questions about the Greco-Roman pantheon of deities. She's kind of the ultimate geek fantasy: a pretty girl who's attracted to men for their command of trivia.

• Sorkin's repetitive dialogue can get irritating at times, but I always laugh at Casey's run of Alberto Salazar/New York Marathon guesses to Dan's question about the anniversary.

• "Sports Night" takes place in a parallel universe for a number of reasons, not least of which is the idea that Lorne Michaels, given the power to pick Letterman's replacement, would have thought to hire a sportscaster with no national profile. (Conan had no profile of any kind, of course, but he had worked on "SNL" for years.)

Coming up next: As I mentioned last week, the summer is about to derail any hope of keeping on a strict schedule. I'm taking my first real vacation in what seems like forever next week. Then late in the week after that, I'll be in California, first for Comic-Con, then for the Television Critics Association summer press tour. And I'll likely be taking some more days off in late August. (Between unused vacation days and mandatory furloughs, I'm required to take a lot of time off in the second half of this year.)

So we're going to have to play things by ear for the rest of the summer, with me doing the reviews whenever I'm able, and just posting them when they're done (as I did here). If it makes you feel better, this is how I did the "Freaks and Geeks" reviews two summers ago (several of which were written at press tour), so I imagine I'll still get a fair number done between now and Labor Day (or between now and Premiere Week of the new TV season, depending on how productive I am with these and how many other things wind up on my plate).

Short version: bear with me. They'll come when they come. But to make up for these disruptions, I'm going to try to double up the rest of the way, whether the episodes are thematically linked or not. So at the very least be up on "The Quality of Mercy at 29K" and "Shoe Money Tonight" before the next review goes up, whenever that is. Heck, thanks to the short/productive jury duty stint, I might (repeat: might) be able to do another before the end of this week.

What did everybody else think?

39 comments:

Linda said...

I don't think there's a line in the entire series I laugh at any harder than, "There's a god of gymnastics?" I don't know why -- it's not THAT funny, but the delivery is sublime, and I always, always giggle.

twmiller01 said...

Thanks for reintroducing me to Sport Night. I did not remember a lot from the original run of the show, just that I vaguely remembered liking it. This is a great episode, but living down here in Tobacco Road, I could not help but notice the reference to the UNC-Duke game taking place in November. The first match-up takes place in February and the second (and sometimes third) in March. A small thing to forgive for such a wonderful show though.

Mike C said...

I've always enjoyed the little string of logic that Jeremy uses with Dana to arrive at "Your mom loves you even though she annoys you" (or something like that).

Dana's anxiety about her mom's visit also has that nice tie-in when Isaac demands to know why his 8-months pregnant daughter was cleaning the kitchen. Dana quickly says "Because she's trying to please her mother" and we know that is currently hitting close to home.

sc said...

Have a great vacation Alan....you certainly deserve it!!

filmcricket said...

This episode is often one of the ones I skip when re-watching season one (for me, the show really kicks into high gear with "Shoe Money Tonight" and keeps going strong until the end of the season).

A big part of my irritation is with Dana thawing a turkey on the light grid. Studio lights are ridiculously hot, such a move is an incredible fire hazard, how Dana could not foresee water dripping on her anchors' desk is beyond me, and in any case, the exercise doesn't even make sense. Unless Dana's got a light grid at home, how is thawing it out in the studio going to tell her how long it'll take to thaw when it's time to cook the turkey for real?

However, I will agree that the Isaac storyline and the Dan/Casey anniversary storyline are very well done, and I kind of love the idea of Casey reciting the St. Crispin's Day speech, both in a hotel lobby and on the air.

I also like Dana reciting the hits available on the compilation "Thanksgiving of my Mother's Disappointment" because spoofs on those K-Tel ads always make me laugh.

Eyeball Wit said...

Didn't love this episode.

But here's one of the things that drives me crazy about this show: the freaking Alberto Salazar gag.
It's November 23, and Casey guesses it's some kind of New York Marathon anniversary? The New York Marathon takes place on the first weekend of November, partly because it's sometimes snowing on November 23.
And Alberto Salazar only won three New York Marathons.
For a show that's all about "being smarter than the average bear" these kinds of stupid errors and lapses of logic --including the ones twmiller01 and filmcricket pointed out-- are a huge buzzkill.

It's entirely possible that The West Wing is full of these kinds of problems and I just don't catch them because I don't work in government/politics. But it may be one of the reasons why real sports guys were less than taken with this show. (Read Rich Sandomir's NY Times review of the box set.)

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/arts/television/23sand.html

Did you notice the "hug it out" scene between Isaac and Casey? Sorkin reprises this to better effect in The West Wing with Leo and Josh.
I absolutely love the look on Spencer's face when he says to Josh who's standing there awkwardly with his arms in the air. "Boy did you read that wrong."

And remember that Conan put in some time as a writer/producer on the Simpsons.

MDT said...

I love that episode, and great stuff Alan. One quick aside though: was the reference to Lorne Michaels' hire in this episode telegraphing Craig Kilborn's (a SportsCenter anchor with limited national profile) move to the Late Late Show (a David Letterman production) four months later? I always figured it was, but looking back at the airdate of the episode and when it must have been taped, I don't see how the dates can work out. Still: proof that the scenario there is not *completely* out of left field.

Isaac Lin said...

For me, this is the episode that shows us the strength of the bond between Dan and Casey -- he essentially chose Dan over his marriage. The ghost part I can do without, but that moment of revelation between Dan and Casey at the anchor desk is what I rewatch this epsiode for.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Eyeball Wit, I'm well aware of Conan's time on The Simpsons ("Mono... d'oh!"), but that wouldn't have factored in much, if at all, to Michaels trusting this job to someone with limited performing experience and no national profile. He picked Conan because he'd worked with Conan and trusted him.

MDT, as you note, Kilborn didn't get the "Late Late Show" job until after this episode. But beyond that, Kilborn at the time was arguably the third most popular anchor (after Dan and Keith) on "SportsCenter" (a national show) during a period when it was almost universally beloved. That's a much bigger deal than a guy with the mostly local resume Casey rattled off in the "Sports Night" pilot.

Anonymous said...

People -

Kilborn didn't get Late Late Show until he did five years of The Daily Show. He didn't jump from Sportcenter.

--bad dad

Alan Sepinwall said...

Well, there is that, anonymous, but I try to block that out of my memory, despite having done at least one behind-the-scenes story during the Kilborn "Daily Show" era.

Susan said...

For those keeping up with SportsNight/West Wing comparisons:

* The idea of Thespis - a ghost who brings bad luck - is somewhat similar to the idea of Bast, the Egyptian cat who torments CJ for an episode after she breaks (or loses) a statue someone gave her.

* The work anniversary conflict between Dan and Casey definitely corresponds to the work anniversary conflict between Josh and Donna.

I do love this episode, mainly for the turkey falling down on the desk and the moment where Dan realizes what Casey gave up to continue working with him.

Hannah Lee said...

It never struck me that Casey chose working with Dan over his marriage.

It always read to me like Casey chose working with Dan over working on Late Night. The fact that his wife couldn’t understand or accept that, and that Casey couldn’t convince her, was symptomatic of the differences that caused their marriage to fail. And the blow-up over it was when those differences really came to the surface.

And Linda, the "There's a god of gymnastics?" line always cracks me up, too. I love that whole bit with Jeremy spouting trivia, people in the control room and studio having fun trying to stump him and Natalie’s enjoyment (as Alan mentioned). I also love Dan and Casey's reaction to Dana's turkey falling. And Dana's geek-teasing respect for Jeremy:

For a guy who's read The Hobbit fourteen times, you're not so dumb.

Alyson said...

Alan, to answer your question about the plausibility of the network's entire signal going kablooey for several minutes - no, it's really unlikely for that to have happened in real life. But let's not forget that this is a third-rate show on a fourth-rate network, so might as well go with it. :)

Eyeball Wit said...

*For me, this is the episode that shows us the strength of the bond between Dan and Casey -- he essentially chose Dan over his marriage*

Which shows that Casey is an idiot.
And remember, it's not that Casey decided to *stay* with Dan. He turned down Conan's gig to *start up* that local gig with Dan in Dallas.

I guess we can assume they were friends for some time before that (but not as long as Casey and Dana) Still, Casey could have taken the Conan gig and brought Dan on as a writer or something.

When you're married and you have kids like Casey, your first responsibility has to be to your family. The people you work with may feel like family, but they get fired, move, get new jobs. Casey was being a selfish jerk, not to mention just plain stupid, and his wife was right to call him on it.

Turining down a million a year (Conan was making $1.2 m in 1997 and $8 million by 2002) so he could banter with Dan in Dallas: that's an awfully expensive hobby, Casey, you moron.

Isaac Lin said...

I worded it dramatically for effect -- it's not so much that Casey consciously chose Dan over Lisa, but that the choice he made crystallized the irreconcilable differences between Lisa and him.

Jim said...

Another Sorkin link: the young TV writer Amanda Peet is courting on Studio 60 had written a play about Thespis.

As for the blackout, remember technology advanced at an incredible rate for a decade and Red Sox and Rays fans still had to suffer through The Steve Harvey Game last year.

Anonymous said...

You managed to write up Thespis without even mentioning the Casey-Dan relationship ("He feels like a consolation prize." "He's not."), or Isaac's marvellous "The rest is all vanity" speech. How is that even possible?

Alan Sepinwall said...

How is that even possible?

Magic.

Linda said...

"t's entirely possible that The West Wing is full of these kinds of problems and I just don't catch them because I don't work in government/politics."

Believe me, The West Wing was incredibly ignorant about government and politics. Not so much in factual detail as in the overall tone, which was ridiculously focused on the idea that every time people had to do anything distasteful or make a deal where horse-trading was involved, they acted like it was the most offensive, shocking thing they'd ever heard in their lives.

As for Casey being a "selfish jerk," the idea that you're a selfish jerk any time you don't do absolutely whatever job has the highest salary is not one I would adopt. It's okay to not take a job because it's not anything you want to be doing. There's no indication that Casey was ever at risk of not having a job, or of his family starving. My impression has always been that Casey truly loves working in sports, had little interest in being a talk-show host, and found working with Dan really satisfying. Money is not the only way responsible people choose between two job prospects, I don't think. If Casey were sending his kid out without shoes because he didn't want to take over Late Night, then I'd understand. But I don't think being a responsible adult requires that you take whatever job pays the most. Nor is any job that isn't as high-profile as being the host of Late Night a "hobby."

For a lot of people, their work is a huge part of their identity. They don't benefit from leaving something they love to do something they hate. They make more money, but they are miserable.

Eyeball Wit said...

Linda
I figured as much about the West Wing.

Well, in that same the real world, no one turns down a million dollar a year job to take one that pays $50K, with just as little job security. (Of course, as Alan pointed out, in the real world he doesn't even smell that job offer.)

The assumption is that Casey's wife Lisa is *fill in the blanks." I think she's just being a sensible human being who lives in the world where houses and cars and colleges cost money.

I'm not suggesting that everything has to center around money. But to turn down job A which pays *20 times* what Job B pays, well, Job B had better be really something. Or you'd better have a very serious man-crush on your partner.

It must be nice to be independently wealthy.

Hannah Lee said...

*How is that even possible?*

*Magic.*


Or maybe you were just giddy after escaping jury duty?

I thought of another part of this episode that made me smile: Isaac doling out the cigars at the end. He has a little moment with each of the named characters (after Dan and Casey crack up with theirs) while Elliot VO's about poor Kathie Lee and her Thespis tapioca tragedy.

On the "Casey turned down Late Night" front, none of the SN characters seems focused on money or fame as their primary motivators, so his decision, crazy as it may seem to some, kind of fits.

Also, I've got to say that if I had a job I loved, that I knew I was good at, that more than provided for my family AND could be a springboard to my dream job? Well then I might turn down a higher profile, higher paying job, especially if I thought I'd fail (be embarrassing) at it.

Miranda said...

I disagree with the commenter upthread who said Casey was an idiot for choosing Dan over his marriage. It's been well established by now (I hope -- I'm not trying to post a spoiler!) that Casey's ex-wife, Lisa, was never any good for him, and that their marriage was in bad shape by the time Casey chose Dan over it.

LA said...

I totally loved Jeremy in this episode. I totally get why Natalie is into him.

filmcricket said...

Well then I might turn down a higher profile, higher paying job, especially if I thought I'd fail (be embarrassing) at it.

I think Hannah Lee hits it on the head. It's not just that Casey likes Dan/sports/Dallas more than Lisa/talk shows/New York, it's that he genuinely didn't believe he'd be any good at the "Late Night" gig and, if Dan is to be believed, Lisa's to blame for that.

So yes, Casey's choice can be seen as choosing Dan over his marriage, but it could also be seen as a guy with almost zero confidence in anything other than his sportscasting ability choosing to do something he liked rather than fail spectacularly and feel crappy about himself yet again.

Eyeball Wit said...

So yes, Casey's choice can be seen as choosing Dan over his marriage, but it could also be seen as a guy with almost zero confidence in anything other than his sportscasting ability choosing to do something he liked rather than fail spectacularly and feel crappy about himself yet again.

I like the theory. There's only one problem. Casey's crappy at sports casting, too. And Dan might be worse. There's a *reason* why these guys are a distant third. They're *bad.*

It's largely a show of taped highlights that all the networks have equal access to, and, well, Dan and Casey are last in a three-horse race because viewers don't like them. Most of the time, these guys remind me of Josh on The West Wing on his worst episode *ever*, without CJ and Toby and Leo to counterbalance that winning combination of arrogance and incompetence.

I'm not remotely suggesting that Casey would have been *good* at the Conan job, just merely that he would have had the better part of a million dollars in the bank to put his children through college, after he got fired and ended up back at Sports Night.

And, of course, Dan hates Lisa. He's jealous.

Linda said...

Well...if the fundamental basis for your argument is that Casey is completely incompetent and viewers hate him, then he would have bombed on Conan's show anyway and it makes no difference. If your analysis of the show and the storylines is based on the assumption that Dan and Casey are utterly devoid of talent or appeal, then that explains why we don't see the story the same way.

"It must be nice to be independently wealthy."

I don't even know who's supposed to be independently wealthy in this scenario, but I hope it's me, because that would be awesomely hilarious.

Alyson said...

@ eyeball wit: Casey may very well be a crappy sportscaster. However, since that's not what Casey and Dan actually DO, (as Dan will quite emphatically point out to Rebecca later in the season, and he's 100% correct) it's irrelevant to the discussion. Casey and Dan are sports ANCHORS, and that's a whole different ballgame. And they are quite good at what they do. The reason they're on a third-rate show on a fourth-rate network is the fact that Continental Corp has absolutely no business running a sports network. The people actually running CSC are well-meaning business folks who are completely out of their element.

Eyeball Wit said...

Alyson
Pardon me. Casey and Dan are crappy sports anchors. That's the reason why the viewers didn't watch the show-within-a-show

(Why blame it on CBC? Do you really think that the visionary management at the Star-Ledger is the reason why you like Alan's columns?)

And it's also the reason why Sports Night the series died a quiet death after two seasons. To paraphrase David Chase, you want your characters to be good at what they do. And Casey and Dan aren't, which saps the life out of the show.

graciela said...

When I watch this episode I'm always touched by Dan's reactions. First, his disappointment bordering on anger that Casey doesn't remember or value this anniversary which obviously means so much to him.

But more than that, the later, much subtler reaction as he realizes that he's not a consolation prize, that Casey chose being on a show with him over being on Late Nite, and the almost instantaneous realization of what this tells him about Casey and the state of mind he must have been in at that time, which is what Dan goes to, what he focuses on -- the kind of concern for one another that has made them friends in the first place.

You can almost see the tumblers clicking into place in Dan's head -- filling in so many pieces of the Casey puzzle. Casey must have agonized over that decision, probably still doubts himself because of it. And then there's the thing Casey just did -- telling him, revealing something
so important -- not a Casey-like thing to do and no one knows that better than Dan. And then they find out they're going back on the air and Dan does what Casey did for him in the Apology . . . he leads them away from the "fond wishes" to the "Are you nuts?" aspect of the whole thing.

About the quality of their anchoring abilities: I've always been disappointed that Sorkin -- who says he was inspired by Sportscenter's Patrick and Olbermann -- didn't do a better job of writing for the two anchors. Sportscenter at that time had such a manic sort of pace to it, but Dan and Casey's show comes across as much slower, not as smart or exciting. I always thought Sorkin missed a chance there -- the rest of the show often has a breathtaking pace, but it seems to slow down when they go to the show-within-a-show.

Eyeball Wit said...

About the quality of their anchoring abilities: I've always been disappointed that Sorkin -- who says he was inspired by Sportscenter's Patrick and Olbermann -- didn't do a better job of writing for the two anchors. Sportscenter at that time had such a manic sort of pace to it, but Dan and Casey's show comes across as much slower, not as smart or exciting.

What annoys me most is the snarky, above-it-all tone that they take. While SportsCenter had plenty of edge and humor, the anchors always came across as real sports guys and always (well, almost always) remembered that the real reason why people are tuning at midnight is because they love sports.
I don't get that sense with Dan and Casey or the crew in general. There's some token sports talk, but I get the sense that if they all got transferred en masse to The View, no body would mind much or hardly even notice.

Alyson said...

Eyeball, out of curiosity, why do you even watch the show, much less comment on it, since you seem to have no affinity for either of the two lead characters?

And as to why I blame CSC - I worked for CNN/SI for four and a half years and watched that network's demise. We had plenty of funny, smart, talented folks who LOVED sports pass through our doors, and the real-world folks who ran the network had no more clue than the fictional honchos of CSC as to how to build and run a sports network that could reasonably compete with the likes of ESPN and its eight bazillion offshoots.

Hannah Lee said...

Alyson, based on your CNN/SI experience, are there any things about Sports Night that particularly ring true to you? And what was the most egregious example of something happening on Sports Night that would never happen in the real world?

Graciela, Good points about Dan’s state of mind, and how he works through different emotions. (once again a nice performance by Josh Charles.)

Linda said...

@Alyson: Thanks for your perspective. I completely agree with you: bad management at a corporate level -- or just cluelessness -- can utterly destroy a creative enterprise. It happens all the time.

There's absolutely no evidence, for instance, that JJ had any experience or training that qualified him to make editorial decisions, and yet there he was, making editorial decisions.

They put, as Isaac so memorably mentioned, "the sensitive hand of finance" in editorial meetings. They gave notes that were terrible and unhelpful, pretended that one pair of writers can be ordered to write (and be) like another pair of writers and, as Sam Donovan so memorably mentioned, didn't know anything about how to manage creative people to get the best work out of them. Among other things, they tried to set one member of a creative team against another in situations where the loyalty between the people they were trying to make enemies should have been obvious and was an asset to protect, not a problem to solve. They tried to play Dan against Casey, the guys against Dana, Isaac against Dana, Sam against Isaac...just stupid. (Side note: I had a manager tell me one time that THE FIRST RULE of managing a group of people is "divide and conquer." I did not agree.)

Sorkin gets a lot of things wrong, but the way business-oriented people can complete wreck creative work with their big, clumsy, greasy, buzzword-spouting, market-research-clutching paws is not one of them, in my opinion.

Alyson said...

Alyson, based on your CNN/SI experience, are there any things about Sports Night that particularly ring true to you? And what was the most egregious example of something happening on Sports Night that would never happen in the real world?

Well, Dana thawing out the turkey on the light grid is pretty high up there, mostly because she'd never be allowed to actually touch the light grid. Jeremy mucking about with the systems in advance of Y2K is another one. I mostly get irritated by the smaller, but more glaring actual sports screwups - the aforementioned Duke-UNC basketball game occurring the week before Thanksgiving, and the MLB trade deadline happening in March. (Small Town) I actually have a long rant pre-loaded for when (if?) we get to Small Town. Great Natalie-Jeremy episode, but completely unrealistic.

That said, they get a lot of the TV-related stuff right, even if the whole crew works far longer days than even Dan and/or Keith ever would have, even in the heyday of the "Big Show".

Shel said...

The thing about Dana's perching her turkey in the light grid that bugged me the most was that it was a rehearsal for Thanksgiving, not even the real thing. She was supposedly trying to find out how long it would take when she did it "for real." And if she had thought about it that much ahead, she would have thawed the turkey according to the directions, in her kitchen. And Dana isn't that dumb. No one is (I hope). However, Sorkin has launched into the astonishingly implausible just for a sight gag before--the Studio 60 coconut snow comes immediately to mind.

graciela said...

Yes, I know the light grid thing makes no sense, but I love it anyway. If Dana had practiced thawing the turkey at home, no one would know about it, which isn't what she needs. The woman is crying out for help and reassurance, and thank goodness Jeremy comes through for her.

Besides, her dry run is a nice little echo of the dry run that Isaac wishes his son-in-law had made, and having both Isaac and Dana hysterical in the same episode is interesting, plus her attempts to calm him actually lead -- as Mike C points out -- to a bit of self-realization of her own.

There are plenty of things about Sports Night that drive me crazy -- the window in Dana's office, for instance (though I think I understand how that impossibility evolved) -- but the turkey thawing on the light grid isn't one of them. I've always considered it a tribute (planned or otherwise) to the "Turkeys Away" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati -- a series that I love for many of the same reasons I love Sports Night.

Mark B said...

While it is unrealistic that Dana would try to thaw a turkey that way, similarly, if Arthur Carlson knows that turkeys can't really fly, you don't have an episode.

Rory said...

Hey, I've been reading your blog on and off since I caught your freaks and geeks roundoup two years back. It prompted me to rewatch the entire series having just got through watching it a first time and made it an awful lot more interesting the second time round.

Being in the UK, I caught Sports Night for the first time on ABC1 during a lazy sunday afternoon. I was hooked, I quite like Thespis, but I'm a much bigger fan of the next episode.

My favourite Sorkin carry over from Sports Night, is the conference room with both doors. Although, they do use the roosevelt room to a greater effect in TWW.