Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sports Night Rewind: "Small Town" & "Rebecca"

I had hoped to get more than one "Sports Night" review done during my time in California, but... I didn't. And with some vacation time coming up in a few weeks, in the interest of getting as far into the first season as possible, I called on my friend Linda Holmes (who runs NPR's Monkey See blog), a die-hard "Sports Night" fan, to do a pinch-hit review of "Small Town" and "Rebecca."

I do feel a bit guilty that Linda got stuck with two episodes that she's not crazy about (as she notes down below; we'd all be much happier if the request had come for the next two episodes, particularly "Sally"), but in fairness, she says mostly what I would have said about these two, and in fact is more kindly disposed towards the Dana/Casey stuff in "Small Town" than I would have been.

One editor's note: I gave Linda permission to discuss how the Bobbi Bernstein subplot in "Small Town" will play out a few episodes down the line, because there's really no way to discuss what happens here without factoring in how it paid off. So if you're one of those people coming to the series for the first time and aren't much ahead of these reviews, you may want to avert your eyes when you get to the paragraph that Linda will warn you about. (And the comments, too, for that matter.)

Anyway, spoilers for these two episodes coming up just as soon as I thank Linda for filling in...

This is the lowdown on me and Sports Night.

(1) In terms of sheer affection and rewatchability, it might be my favorite show ever, and I've watched a lot of television. (2) Before this, I also loved A Few Good Men and The American President. (3) After this, I hated Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip with a resentment roughly proportional to its having viciously beaten me in a bar fight, and the way I kept being told I was watching it wrong because I failed to understand its genius caused me to develop a condition, bordering on a nervous disorder, in which I prohibitively punched in the face anyone who asked me about it. I apologize if I ran into you during this time. I hope you have healed. (I have.)

And if you forced me to name one thing that drives me crazier than anything else about the way Sorkin writes (otherwise often brilliantly, in an addictively quotable style I draw upon at least weekly, to the moaning of my close associates who are tired of hearing me say "that's what makes it vicious – and a circle"), I would say, "He writes women in a way that makes him sound like he has issues with us." And I've said that a lot, and I apologize in advance for the degree to which I am... about to say it again, though it's in the context of lots of other stuff.

So, "Small Town"! "Small Town" has never been one of my favorite episodes, probably because it tells us so much that we already know: Natalie is good at her job, Dana and Casey are work-obsessed wackadoodles who can't manage their personal lives together or apart, and Dan is eternally baffled by women. He can't live with 'em, live without 'em, or convince 'em that he didn't sleep with 'em in European countries he is quite sure he never visited.

The story of the trade that is, or isn't, or is, makes an interesting data point in the discussion that took place after "Shoe Money Tonight," about the show's tendency to have Jeremy and Natalie fight and Jeremy always win. Certainly, in this episode, Natalie gets to be right, in that her scheme wherein she uses her connections with the Mata Hari of hotel housekeeping to confirm a story winds up being effective.

Two caveats: First, this is a dispute about work. Natalie is frequently right about work, just as Dana is. When there is an issue with work, Natalie is right a lot. To the degree I think there's a legitimate beef, it's parallel to what we talked about in the comments when Jeremy described Dana in "Dear Louise": the sense that when women are competent at work but turn out to be irrational nutbars, it is the cutest and most appealing thing ever, like nothing is as sexy as discovering bats in what appears to be an architectural masterpiece of a belfry.

>Second, there is an odd little dance that takes place at the end of the episode that steals some of the satisfaction of seeing Jeremy actually be wrong for once. Because in the end, Jeremy still gets to be right. It was Jeremy, after all, who said from the beginning that the trade would happen. So in the end, Natalie the dogged investigator merely proves that her own instincts were inferior to Jeremy's.

And in that last scene, after he apologizes for underestimating her professionally, she softens, pulls out five dollars and tucks it into his pocket to pay off their bet, which restores order and allows them to make up. It would mean nothing on its own, and perhaps it does mean nothing, but if you're already bugged by this dynamic in their relationship where he corrects her all the time, then the way she winds up happily reclaiming a "Hey, you still know more than I do, after all" position so that they can go back to normal is a little bit of an eye-roller.

As for Casey and Dana, "Small Town" is actually one of the episodes I like better for them, because it points out the ways in which they are legitimately alike, totally obsessed with their show to the point where they'd both rather be in the studio than out socializing.

All the "Holly Dixon Dance Company" repetition makes my head long for the peaceful respite of being beaten with a rubber mallet, but that's a relatively small complaint. It's a much better character and relationship moment than much of their pointless bickering. And I always love the scenes in which Isaac is wildly exasperated with hearing about everyone's personal lives, too, so I never get tired of Isaac saying, "I can't believe I've been standing here talking to you this long." Because you always knew that as much as he loved them, he meant it. He really, truly wanted everybody to shut up and buzz off in those moments, and Robert Guillaume never got them wrong.

The weirdest thing in "Small Town," of course, is the Bobbi Bernstein story. Now... there's just no way to talk about this without spoiling the future of Bobbi Bernstein. There's not. Fortunately, it's only a few episodes away. So skip the next paragraph if you don't want to hear about it.

Sorkin creates yet another woman who can be trusted in her job but then presents as insane on a personal level, of course, with Bobbi Bernstein. Poor Lisa Edelstein, who's a really good and really versatile actress, is saddled with a woman who appears at this point to be utterly delusional – and who I think was meant to be delusional here. The fact that in six episodes, a wildly implausible retcon – that it slipped Dan's mind that he'd been to Spain – will be used to rescue her doesn't make this any less silly. (How dumb is that, anyway? Dan is the sentimental one who remembers anniversaries, but he forgets what countries he's been to.) Furthermore, the way everyone assumes Dan is lying about not sleeping with her makes no sense either. Dan is... Dan. Dan is maybe the most stand-up guy on Earth. Why would all these people assume he's not telling the truth instead of assuming, as he does, that Bobbi Bernstein is an unbalanced kook who can barely be trusted not to chew on the wires in the studio?

Final "Small Town" thought: Is it realistic that Natalie would completely B.S. the guy about how she supposedly has two sources in his organization telling her about the trade? I'm really asking: even assuming her bluff is successful – as it is – is that in her long-term interests with somebody Sports Night has to deal with that regularly? Isn't he going to eventually maybe figure out she had no such sources, and then what happens to her credibility next time? And does Natalie actually have someone in housekeeping in any given major hotel in the country who can be counted on to be on duty at 11:30 at night (8:30 in Los Angeles, I guess) who will serve as a mole for her at her command? That seems... like a stretch.

Unfortunately, "Rebecca" introduces another annoying Sorkinese habit, which is his firm conviction that it's adorable when suitors ignore polite and firm requests to buzz off. He did this in Studio 60, when Jordan (Amanda Peet) firmly told Danny (Bradley Whitford) to get lost because his behavior was unprofessional and made her uncomfortable. Of course, what that secretly meant was, "Ignore what I'm telling you I want, focus on what YOU want, try harder, and get more aggressive. You might win me over! " Refusal to take no for an answer is not romantic, and it's aggravating when it's presented as such.

Aside from that, though, I do like Teri Polo as Rebecca (though not her hair), once she finally shows up, and I think her scenes with Dan are charming, here and in the future. (Can we discuss the agonizing amount of time it takes for Dan to successfully set up the elevator story with Casey to begin with, with the spreading it out in a nutshell or whatever? Seriously, just wake me up after that part.) The story of Rebecca is a very good one with regard to Dan's need for everyone to like him, and without spoiling anything, it pretty successfully sets up some of what he deals with in Season 2.

And finally, we begin to see, in "Rebecca," the fallout from Isaac's editorial in "Six Southern Gentlemen." The story about the Wall Street Journal quote interests me mostly because I'm such a fan of the way Robert Mailhouse played J.J. He's a bad guy, unquestionably, but in some sense, I always understood that he thought he was doing what his job demanded. Here, I think he didn't plant the quote to harm Isaac or to harm the show; he's just an utterly self-centered guy looking to beef up his own role as a middle manager by making it harder for Isaac and Luther Sachs to talk directly. It's the sort of vacant, amorally pragmatic thing that guys like that sometimes do, and if you've ever dealt with a guy like that, well…then you know.

I love the way this show had such long, lazy arcs with the network-show relationships, how they would deteriorate and then possibly improve, and then maybe not, and then maybe so. It's brilliantly written to capture how capricious an organization like that can seem to be in dealing with creative people. And with that, I will only say I regret that I missed my favorite episode of the series by only two episodes. Next up, if it's a pair: "Dana And The Deep Blue Sea" and (my favorite) "Sally."

Oh... "Sally."

Coming up next: As Linda says, we're gonna do "Dana And The Deep Blue Sea" and "Sally" in roughly a week's time.

What did everybody else think?


Myles said...

First off, props to Linda for filling in so well - Alan's are pretty large shoes to fill, and I thought the recap was great in its focus on the usual focuses (plot, character, arcs, etc.) with insertions of Linda's own point of view so as to add something new to the dimension of these recaps. I don't particularly desire Alan to be so busy as to not be able to write these recaps in the future, don't get me wrong, but having a few guests pop in can only improve (I feel) the breadth of discussion being had.

As for the episodes, I always found Dan a fascinating character when it came to his sense of romantic entanglements - not to go into crazy spoiler territory, but the guy is never really allowed a normal relationship, and for that matter no one on the show ever gets to have one. It seems as if everything is complicated by existing romantic tension, or ridiculous dramatic contrivances (See: Paula Marshall), or just an inability to function within the normal parameters of society (That's Dan, spread in a nutshell). Natalie and Jeremy are obviously the most functional one, and yet as Linda points out the power dynamics within their relationship are so problematic that even Sorkin realizes eventually that romantic fulfillment just isn't something this show is concerned with.

As for Bobbi Bernstein, I think there was a point wherein Sorkin felt as if the idea of guest hosts was an ideal way to provide extra doses of comedy, and that guests in that position needed to be as out of control as possible. As Linda notes, he begins to subvert that expectation with time, but early on it definitely felt as if the uncertainty and disruption of a guest host was enough to throw this well-oiled machine into chaos. Unfortunately, in the process, he wrote them as either blubbering idiots or, here, delusional nutjobs in a way that makes the disruption less about the loss of a co-host (an intriguing question of Dan and Casey's ability to adapt to new partners) and more about the addition of a crazy person.

Zac F. said...

On the how dated the show is scale, the end when Dan tells the viewers that the total contracts of the 7 players totals $120 million is about a 9. Nowadays, if a blockbuster trade happens with big names, one player alone might account for all of that $120 million.

I'm off to order some fennel salad even though I don't know what it is.....

Captcha phrase is booky. Interesting.

JAC said...

I very much enjoyed this, and although I hadn't rewatched specially, the descriptions brought these episodes vividly back for me. I hadn't thought about the second Bobbi Bernstein episode being something of a retcon, but now that I have, it makes perfect sense. And yes, to Natalie having a scarily omnipresent spy network.

May I respectfully suggest, in view of Alan's crazy schedule, that it would be a kindness to Linda to let her cover the next two episodes as well, so that we can learn the basis of her feelings about "Sally"?

BF said...

"If I find out that quote was from you, I'll own your ass. I mean, I'll absolutely own it."

Robert Guillaume has never been better. Never.

Alyson said...

I will have way more to say on Small Town later, after I can get home and re-watch, but to answer your question about Natalie, Linda, the answer is no. To all of it, because frankly, in the real world, Natalie would never have been in that position in the first place. Assuming that Dana actually had the clout to be allowed to take the night of a major trade deadline off (unlikely), producing duties for the show would never have been handed off to someone in Natalie's position on the totem pole. Either Sally, or whoever produces the 6PM show (and yes, I assume they have one, despite no evidence to back that up) would have been called in. Also, generally your reporters and/or bureau staff in the field would have those types of contacts, not someone like Natalie.

filmcricket said...

Supposedly there was some cut-for-time story later on about Dan being drunk in Europe and being taken to Spain by his friends for a night, which he had either totally forgotten or was barely conscious for. I don't know how reliable that is, though.

The whole thing with J.J. and the quote really annoys me. Not the story itself, but that it's totally dropped. We can't know if Sorkin meant to come back to it and was prevented by circumstance, but he's such a pro at dropping storylines that I can't give him the benefit of the doubt. It could have been such a good continuing source of conflict.

I quite like "Small Town," although Dana rolling over and taking Gordon's "there's room for improvement" comment bugs. The only thing I would really have changed is the final shot; I think after Natalie does her little music-spiked fist pump, she should be all "what's next?" and walk off for the beer and/or Scotch she's owed. (I also think it's ridiculous that it's, what, February, maybe? and they're talking about a baseball trade deadline.)

Oh, and I love Teri Polo's hair here. But as a redhead myself, I may be biased.

belle said...

Wow, thanks for introducing me to Linda and her link to her blog.

While I love love love Sports Night and like The West Wing an awful lot, I also carried a hatred (with the intensity of a thousand suns) for Studio 60, as well as a certain huge discomfort in how Sorkin writes women, and a whole lot of other things, for pretty much all the same reasons Linda had listed. I also cannot agree more as to how irritating it was, and still is, to see stalker behavior written off as adorable and romantic. It's easier to swallow in Sports Night, because there are a lot of other great hilarious things that distracts me from things like that, but in shows like Studio 60, all I could see were the irritating stuff.

I'm just glad I'm finally not the only one who felt that way about some of his works.

But, anyway, I also did like Rebecca, and wish she was around longer to help ground Dan as a character more. I like Dan, but I didn't get a sense of who he really is until they had Rebecca in the show.

Linda said...

Thanks, guys, for being so welcoming. I agree about the big shoes.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Linda and I have been talking, and in the interests of getting more of these reviews done before I have to turn my full attention to the fall season, she's going to take on "Dana and the Deep Blue Sea"/"Sally," and I'm going to skip straight ahead to the two after that.

Ellie said...

As much as I love your postings, Alan, it's a delight to have Linda as a temp poster. Linda, I've really missed your recaps and was happy to find you at NPR.

Anyway, thank you for pointing out the ridiculousness of the Bobbi Bernstein story. That has always bugged me.

"As for Casey and Dana, [snip] they'd both rather be in the studio than out socializing."

Hmm, you know, I never really read it that way. I always thought it was just that they'd both rather be anywhere other than that particular dinner--neither of them too crazy about seeing the other with someone else. But yeah, I think the workaholism factors in, too.

filmcricket said...

I'm just glad I'm finally not the only one who felt that way about some of his works.

Just out of curiosity, belle, where have you been hanging out that these feelings are rare? I know there are some Sorkin fanboys and -girls out there who won't hear a word said against him, but I don't think it's hard to find people who'd agree with you or Linda on his annoying traits.

Hannah Lee said...

I love Sports Night, and had high hopes for Studio 60 but came to loathe it.

The S60 "Danny stalks Jordan" storyline was a big reason for my hatred of that show. The SN Danny "stalks" Rebecca storyline never bugged me in the same way. One reason is that his pursuit of Rebecca gives a window into the character, hinting at a complexity that we find out more about in S2. Another big reason is that other SN characters will call Dan out on his behavior. On S60, Danny's friends sent him letters of recommendation, here on SN, as we'll see, Jeremy's the only one that steps in after being emotionally strong armed into it, and even he thinks it's ridiculous. And lastly, SN's Danny never did anything that undercut Rebecca professionally.

I enjoyed 'Small Town'. but then I've always been a sucker for the Dana/Casey banter and their ridiculousness this episode was funny. It was an exaggerated version of how I've seen real people behave. The whole lemon-twist-allergy thing, however, never made any sense to me. (It's not until S2 that their storyline really made me crazy). It's the first we see of the Dana-Gordon dynamic where each one's behavior only exacerbates the others. Never really thought about the Jeremy-Natalie dynamic, but after folks have pointed it out during this rewatch, it does stick out a bit, especially with Natalie here doing a great job, holding her own with Jeremy and, more importantly, Isaac, but still sweet talking Jeremy at the end. Linda, good point on this: "He writes women in a way that makes him sound like he has issues with us."

Did you notice Aaron Sorkin's cameo during the bar scene, sitting next to Casey? (I love DVD extras for pointing out things like that..there's a funny bit in the bloopers where Peter Krause purposely gives a little laugh to set Sorkin off on a giggle fit.)

I do also like 'Rebecca'...she's introduced without craziness (from her, anyway; can't say the same about Dan), I like the Dana/Casey pep-talk scene, and JJ gets put on notice. Plus, Isaac was perfect throughout.

Oh, and add me to the people that like Teri Polo's hair; I'm another redhead filmcricket , so maybe that does figure into it.

Rachel said...

Linda, I feel the exact same way as you do about Sorkin both pre- and post-Studio 60 -- and I've been told that my feelings are completely irrational on multiple occasions by multiple people. All of whom, not to be too blunt about it, suck.

I like Small Town, despite how unlikely it is, mainly for the fact that Natalie is totally professional and right. She does seem strong here, and in the right. Jeremy might have been right about the trade happening -- but he could have never gotten the information. He was distinctly, completely wrong in his conduct, and it's only because he was contrite and fully apologetic that she forgave him.

Also, Jeremy is noted to be a savant about these things on multiple occasions, not just this one. When he calls the impossible play completely correctly in one of the early season 1 episodes, is that emasculating Isaac and Casey? Is it proving they're always wrong? In this, at least, he's not always right -- or at least, his being right isn't a virtue.

(And of course, as soon as I started writing this comment, the lute version of "Fields of Gold" started playing. No one will ever, ever, ever knock my socks off.)

Linda said...

No, I get that, Rachel. It's hard to suss these things out. Obviously, as we've talked about before in the comment sections of other episodes, everybody on this show is a little weird about their personal life, so it's a tough thing to draw firm conclusions about. All I can tell you is sort of how it looks to me when I step back from ten feet away and look for broad patterns. But I agree that there are lots of ways of looking at "Small Town."

Anonymous said...

Another big reason is that other SN characters will call Dan out on his behavior.

I'm also trying to figure out why the Danny & Jordan was so much more awful than the Dan & Rebecca was.

Maybe it was more chemistry between the actors? That Josh Charles was less intense/scary than Brad Whitford? That "I'm coming for you" is very possibly the worst "romantic" line in the history of story telling in any medium?

Rebecca, sadly, also continues the trend of "woman who can be trusted in her job but then presents as insane on a personal level" making it harder to watch now than it was when it originally aired.

Linda said...

For one thing, Jordan was -- sort of -- Danny's boss. They were much more part of the same workplace than Dan and Rebecca. Dan and Rebecca would really professionally never have anything to do with each other.

One of the things I hated about Danny's refusal to listen to a "no" from Jordan was that it was so obvious that pursuing her was not only personally unwelcome, but wildly inappropriate professionally. So in addition to just a general refusal to take no for an answer, he was really putting her in a HORRIBLE position professionally, which she TOLD him, and he ignored her.

I mean, all refusals to listen to "no" are bad and creepy, so in a way, you hate to create degrees of bad and creepy. But I do agree that there was something about the "Studio 60" one that was much more unsettling to me, not because of Whitford versus Charles or anything like that, but because of the actual situations. (I also recall much more direct declarations from Danny to Jordan, along the lines of, "No matter what you say, I will never stop," while Dan R. seemed a little more helpless, like he sort of knew it was bad that he was keeping it up.)

Isaac Lin said...

One thing I liked about Dan's pursuit of Rebecca (and I apologize if this is a mild spoiler as off-hand I cannot remember what episode it occured in) is how all of her co-workers were sufficiently charmed by him to be on a casual, first-name basis, leading Rebecca to exclaim, "Everyone stop being nice to Dan!"

Unknown said...

Linda, TWoP isn't the same without you!

Still missing the weekly recaps....

Alyson said...

Supposedly there was some cut-for-time story later on about Dan being drunk in Europe and being taken to Spain by his friends for a night, which he had either totally forgotten or was barely conscious for. I don't know how reliable that is, though.
I've heard this as well, and given Dan's predilection for harder drugs earlier in his college career, it makes perfect sense. What doesn't make sense to me is how Dan doesn't realize that Bobbi is a diminutive of Roberta. It makes him look a like a complete dumbass, and Dan's no dummy. Much like his real-life counterpart, he is quite proud of his Ivy League education.

Where Sorkin really lost me in this ep is in the reveal of the trade - everything works just fine, up until the point that it's revealed that apparently Major League Baseball has moved its trade deadline to February. In the middle of spring training. It may seem like a minor detail to some, but to me, it's just another example of Sorkin not bothering to get the sports right, because the show's "about sports, the way Charlie's Angels was about law enforcement". It's irritating, and insulting.

Mike said...

Very nice job, Linda. (Or is it pronounced "Linta"?)

A few small comments, all about Dan. First, no way that Dan Rydell doesn't know both that Bobbie is short for Roberta and that Madrid is in Spain. Add that to the way that Bobbie is a crazed stalker in Small Town and perfectly rational and even forgiving in Eli's Coming, and the whole thing is just bad writing, bad continuity, and a bad idea gone even worse.

Second, in the Rebecca situation, Dan is somewhat the victim, having been set up by Natalie to expect a woman who's eager to go out with him. Natalie is another one who's super-competent at work, but less so elsewhere. When she tries to play matchmaker, as she does with Casey and Dana, things seem to go badly awry.

Third, does it strike anyone else that what fascinates Dan is that Rebecca isn't that impressed with him? (I assume that it's not her looks, because on TV office buildings are positively infested with women as beautiful as Teri Polo.) When Dan thought that she was attracted to him, he was ready to let her down gently, because that was his duty as a mensch. (Noblesse oblige, don't you know.) It took her repeated indifference to his wit, charm, and status as a TV star to make him act like the dog who insists on pestering the one person at the party that doesn't like dogs.

BF said...

Did you notice Aaron Sorkin's cameo during the bar scene, sitting next to Casey?

I did not, though I guess it's not surprising. He did bar scene cameos for "A Few Good Men" and the West Wing pilot as well.

Mike C said...

On the realism of the trade deadline story, do they ever actually say that it's a baseball trade? I believe the NBA trade deadline is in February and NBA teams would actually be chartering flights at that time. I definitely could have missed some mention of baseball or a baseball team, though.

While the Casey/Dana restaurant storyline in "Small Town" is pretty annoying to me, I really enjoy when Natalie has Dana pass the phone to Casey, who hangs it up. Always gets a laugh out of me.

Linda, thanks for the great review.

rhamilton said...

Linda is too good at this. Her personal life must be a mess of catasrophic proportions.

filmcricket said...

Mike C, the word "baseball" isn't mentioned, but once Natalie gives Dan the head's up on the charter, Dan asks Bobbi who she knows in the Dodger front office.

Man, I have not been rewatching these - I'm doing this all from memory. Note to self: Go out. Purchase life.

Ellie said...

"Linda is too good at this. Her personal life must be a mess of catasrophic proportions."

And that is why we find her irresistibly adorable.

Mike C said...

filmcricket, thank you! That is impressive. I watched this episode last night and couldn't remember that. :-)

Linda said...

Thanks so much. You guys have been really kind, which isn't always the case when you fill in for somebody who's much-admired by close and regular followers. You made it very easy.

I will see you early next week for "Dana And The Deep Blue Sea" and "Sally," which I am really excited to talk about.

graciela said...

"Rebecca" has always been a favorite for me -- so much going on there:

I love it when Dana tries to make Dan and Casey burst into flames -- how many times have you wanted to do the same to people you work with?

I love it when Danny is telling Casey about his conversation with Rebecca -- how he was being "cute as a button". Imagine his surprise when it didn't have the usual effect?

And then there's that Casey-Dana conversation at the end, which alway takes me right back to the argument they had at the end of "Intellectual Property". Their talk about 'the truth' -- Casey's all for it, but Dana says it doesn't work for women. What does that exchange say about Dana? Casey? Gordon? Sorkin? (Not to mention Rebecca, Dan, Nat, and Jeremy?)

Dana's learned that the truth doesn't work with men -- past experience with Casey has got to be at least part of the reason for that. I love Casey's flat surface speech, but I don't quite believe it. Dizzy Dana is confused so Sorkin writes a killer speech for Casey and she walks away feeling better for having heard it? Or am I spoiling a great moment by overthinking it? Ah, well, that's one of the reasons we love this show, right? Why we're still talking about it ten years later.

Chantal said...

Hoorah for Linda's comments on these two episodes. And extra cheers for the forthcoming goodness that is sure to be her comments on the next two, especially, "Sally." Linda and Alan both commenting on Season 1 episodes = a real treat.

Anonymous said...

Dan wasn't in Madrid. Where did 'Madrid' suddenly come from? Most likely he was in San Sebastian, just over the border from Biarritz. I myself drove around Europe, mostly stoned, in my teens and, if it weren't for the stamps in my passport, couldn't have told you where I'd been. I lost that passport years ago, and now I have no idea. Ergo: I have no problem with Dan's Spain-related amnesia. What I do have a problem with is anyone expecting a random one-night stand to send them flowers. Nice universe she lives in!

- Anna

Hannah Lee said...

So, this is a little late, but I came across this interview with Lisa Edelstein, done at the time Season 1 originally aired. It gives her take on the character of Bobbi, and shows that she never was trying to play Bobbi as crazy, she just played her as being right.(Aaron Sorkin,however, apparently had a different take on it, but changed his mind by her 2nd appearance on the show.)

"When Bobbi Bernstein accused Dan of deserting her after a one-night stand in Spain, it seemed like a case of fatal attraction. But much to our surprise, the vixen has been vindicated. And in an exclusive e-mail interview with ABC.com, actress Lisa Edelstein reveals she knew all along!
Q: How was the character of Bobbi Bernstein first presented to you?
A: I got a call at 10:00 a.m. on a Thursday morning that [executive producer/director] Tommy Schlamme wanted me to come and play some woman on an episode of SPORTS NIGHT. Starting at noon that day. Thankfully, I had played hooky from yoga class that morning so I got the message on time. They messengered over a script . . . I liked the part . . . I loved the writing . . . so an hour later I went to the studio and got right to work.
Q: How have you interpreted the role?
A: I always considered her bright, talented and ABSOLUTELY RIGHT in the situation with Dan. When we did the first episode, I think [show creator and executive producer] Aaron [Sorkin] and Tommy were working from the assumption that she was just psychotic and [Bobbi and Dan], in fact, were never together in Spain. Granted, Aaron wrote the thing but I still disagreed. I always thought she was RIGHT. "

Anonymous said...

>>>be on duty at 11:30 at night (8:30 in Los Angeles, I guess)<<<

Except the Sports Night people are in NYC, and the hotel where the trade was happening was in Vero Beach (Florida), so everyone is on the same time (11:30 at night). The Dodgers GM was in LA, but the maid in question was on East Coast time.

Anonymous said...

The best moment in "Small Town" is Natalie's "YES" moment in the control room after everyone else has left. Just perfect.