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#103 : Premier Test

Résumé : Chaque émission est testée par un groupe pilote formé de gens tirés au sort. Le groupe doit répondre à un questionnaire dont les questions sont fournies par toutes personnes concernées : scénaristes, réalisateurs, PDG de la chaîne etc. Les résultats de ces questionnaires peuvent destabilisés l'équipe de l'émission et Jordan ne veut pas que les résultats arrivent sur le studio alors qu'ils sont entrain de préparer la deuxième émission.

Titre VO
The Focus Group

Titre VF
Premier Test

Première diffusion
02.10.2006

Première diffusion en France
20.04.2007

Vidéos

video promo (VO)

video promo (VO)

  

video promo 2 (VO)

video promo 2 (VO)

  

Plus de détails

Scénariste : Aaron Sorkin 
Réalisateur : Christopher Misiano

Guests : Rob Reiner (Lui-même), Rob Nagle (L'homme en charge du Focus Group), Wendy Phillips (Shelly), Michael Hyatt (Maisie), Lucy Davis (Lucy), Simon Helberg (Alex Dwyer), Nate Torrence (Dylan), John Carpenter (Herb Shelton), Camille Chen (Samantha Li), Kirstin Pierce (Marilyn Rudolph), John Ennis (Denny), Ayda Field (Jeannie), Nathan Dana Aldrich (Fan) et Mircea Monroe (Crystal)

1x03
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Episode 1x03: The Focus Group
Written by: Aaron Sorkin
Directed by: Chris Misiano

Original Airing: October 2, 2006 (US)



Disclaimer: Studio 60 is produced by Warner Bros. Television and Shoe Money Productions, and is distributed by NBC, CTV, and other international companies. This transcript is not official, and must not be copied or distributed, especially for commercial use, and/or personal profit.



[Focus Group]
MODERATOR
You can put your dials back in the seat pockets, thanks. Yeah, just stick them back in the pockets. You won’t need them anymore. We’re just gonna talk about the show you just saw. I want to start by talking about what you didn’t like. Who’s got something they didn’t like? Yes, sir.

FOCUS GROUP GUY
Well first, on the whole, I thought it was terrific. Much better than it’s been in recent years.

MODERATOR
Was there something you didn’t like?

JORDAN
Commedia dell’arte.

GUY
I wasn’t wild about the Comedy Arts.

JORDAN
Commedia dell’arte.

GUY
Where the girl played the Pantalone Bassoon.

JORDAN
Pantalone Bisignosi.

JACK
Knock it off.

MODERATOR
French clown?

JORDAN
Italian. Commedia dell’arte is Italian.

JACK
Who cares. He didn’t like it.

JORDAN
He didn’t get it.!

JACK
No problem then. Just give America a tutorial in 15th century Restoration comedy before each show.

JORDAN
Seventeenth century and Restoration comedy is English. And what’s the guy doing starting off with “Tell me what you didn’t like?”

JACK
He’s a professional.

JORDAN
Can I ask? Are you troubled at all by the spectacular lack of success these things have had in predicting success?

JACK
That’s not true.

JORDAN
They blew “All in the Family”, they blew “Seinfeld”, they blew “Hill Street Blues”.

JACK
Look at the data on “ER”. Clooney broke the needle.

JORDAN
Yeah, I need a damn focus group to tell me Clooney’s good looking.

JACK
There’s important information in this data that needs to get to Matt and Danny.

JORDAN
Can I also say that LA focus groups are the most useless? Listen to them. Those are unemployed writers and directors in there who are trying to impress me because they know I’m standing back here. They’re unemployed for a reason and they’ll stay unemployed. Even if they could properly place Commedia dell’arte in 17th century Italy.

JACK
There’s no other television network at which this conversation is taking place.

JORDAN
I know.

JACK
This focus group data is from New York, Atlanta, Columbus, Seattle and Phoenix. You’ll find it identical to the data being gathered in there right now.

JORDAN
And?

JACK
I want it to get to Matt and Danny.

JORDAN
We’re paying people forty dollars and a sandwich to tell us how to do our jobs?

JACK
Aw get off my back, would you? The tests are great, they loved the first show, 88 percent in the top two boxes. Christian right’s gonna amp up the heat but at least we’ve got bullets in our gun with the sponsors and affiliates.

JORDAN
Then what’s the problem?

JACK
Look at page 7 on the bottom.

RON
Is Studio 60 patriotic or unpatriotic?

JACK
Went 50/50 right down party lines.

JORDAN
I don’t believe it.

RICKY
You’re surprised?

JORDAN
No, I don’t believe that we asked the question. I don’t believe that we asked the question. I don’t believe we only gave them those two choices for an answer. And since when did Democrat or Republican become a demographic distinction we care about in the entertainment industry?

JACK
Since the first plane made a left turn and gunned its engines into the North Tower, Kitten. I just want to make sure that the guys remember it’s still an extremely polarized country they’re writing for.

RICKY
They remember. They remember from the first time they got the hell beaten out of them. But I’ll take this to them.

JACK
Make sure they understand it.

RICKY
Yeah.

JACK
Good. Then we’re done. What are you staring at?

JORDAN
My mugshot.

JACK
I’ve been meaning to ask. How do you like the job so far?

----------CREDITS---------------
CUE CARD: MONDAY
[Set]
TOM
Welcome to Science Schmience. The game show that tests our players’ willingness to stand by what they believe to be true in the face of irrefutable scientific evidence to the contrary. Today’s contestants are Shlomo Levy, a member of the ultra-orthodox Meir Kahane followers. Mufti Mohammed from the Taliban controlled border region of Afghanistan. Cora Rae Barker, a junior from Liberty Bible College in Lynchberg, Virginia. Tom Cruise, and a witch.

DANNY
And they’ll be animation on top of this.

MATT
And find out if Liberty Bible College, I don’t think it’s… Bible I think I’m getting that wrong. I think it’s just Liberty college or university.

SCRIPT GIRL
You’ve got to have bible in there.

MATT
I don’t want anything in the sketch that’s even a little bit wrong. If it’s not Liberty Bible College, find a sketch that has Bible in it. I mean find a college that has “Bible” in it. Go ahead.

TOM
From the top?

MATT
No, just keep going.

TOM
Our categories today are World History, Anthropology, Meterology, Geology and Psychiatry.

CAL
We’ve got the boards, lighting, we got sound.

MATT
Change psychiatry to medicine.

DENNY
You’re gonna get a laugh on Psychiatry.

MATT
It’ll be the last laugh you get up there, because if Tom Cruise is up there, I’ve already got the joke.

ALEX
Not necessarily with my Tom Cruise.

MATT
How’s it coming?

ALEX
I can do Ben Stiller and Ben Stiller can do Cruise, so…

MATT
Let me see your Ben Stiller.

ALEX
Whoa whoa whoa whoa. I don’t know, Jack.

MATT
Okay, let me see Tom Cruise.

ALEX
You know I’m a very very very very physical actor.

MATT
The Tom Cruise will get better?

ALEX
Yessir.

HARRIET
Matthew?

MATT
Yes.

HARRIET
I can do the whole thing as Holly Hunter if you want.

MATT
I don’t.

HARRIET
Would you like it if I spent the rest of the day talking to you like Holly Hunter

MATT
Not at all.

HARRIET
It’s hard for me to advise you since you personify something I truly think is dangerous.

MATT
Stop it now?

DANNY
Can we get her a witches hat that isn’t two sizes too big?

HARRIET
This is how we’re wearing them today.

DANNY
Tom?

TOM
Our first category is anthropology. Cora Rae, this question is for you. The first evidence of man can be dated back to this time.

JEANNIE
6,000 years ago when God breathes into a handful of dust and created Adam, Eve and the garden of Eden.

TOM
You understand that archaologiests are in possession of a three million year old human skull found near Johannesburg. Which would put your answer off by two million nine nundred and ninety four thousand Years. Do you stand by it.

JEANNIE
Archeologists can be wrong.

TOM
You bet they can. Audience?

CREW IN THE SEATS
Science, schmience!

DANNY
And they’ll be good and warmed up by then.

CAL
Yeah, give me a good look at the first six center rows. No t-shirts with writing, nothing that’s gonna pull focus.

MATT
Tom.

TOM
Shlomo, how old is the Earth.

ROB REINER
I refuse to answer that question until the gentile girl covers her arms which are an abomination.

SIMON
I agree with the Jew and according to Syrian law, I could cut the witches fingers for wearing nailpolish.

TOM
Reasonable positions, both of you, but let’s stick to our game. Shlomo, the first evidence of man.

ROB
Abraham, who lived to 175.

TOM
175.

ROB
That’s right, Noah lived to 600.

TOM
600 years is a pretty long time for a human. That would be a record by quite some margin. What say you to the anthropologists that tell us that early homosapiens had a life expectancy of 17 years.

ROB
Well, let me ask you this? Were they there?

TOM
Well argued, sir. Audience?

CREW
Science schmience.

MATT
Okay-

(Power goes out)

MATT
…we lost power.

DANNY
You think?

MATT
Harriet, you say a word, any word at all about God not liking to be mocked…

HARRIET
(Holly Hunter) You know what, I think you’re the devil.

DANNY
And that’s lunch.

FLOOR MANAGER
Back in an hour

[Danny’s office]
JORDAN
It was eight years ago. I was driving back to the city from Sag Harbor in the middle of the night and I couldn’t find the entrance to the Long Island Expressway. Saw a police car, I pulled over to ask directions, the guy gave me a breathalizer. You think if I had known I was over the legal limit, I’d have pulled over and presented myself to law enforcment? It’s not like I was partying.

SHELLY
So where were you coming from?

JORDAN
A party.

JACK
Yeah.

JORDAN
How did it get out, SHELLY? Somebody had the time and resources to do a background check?

SHELLY
It doesn’t take a lot or a lot of time or a lot of resources.

JORDAN
Yeah, it does. I don’t have a record. The judge gave me a DEJ, that’s a Deferred Entry of Judgement. I complete an alcohol diversion program and the court dismisses the charge. It’s not part of my record, it doesn’t exist.

JACK
Does now.

JORDAN
How did they get it?

JACK
The same way you got Danny Tripp’s drug test. Disgruntled ex-boyfriend, a co-worker, they don’t even have to be disgruntled. The cop who booked you recognizes your picture, someone else in your Alcoholic diversion. You’d be amazed what 500 dollars can buy. So now you know. Thieves get rich, saints get shot, and God don’t answer prayers a lot.

[Backstage]
SIMON
Where did we get these candles from?

HARRIET
PAs ran out to the store.

SIMON
Did they got the Phantom of the Opera House of Crap?

HARRIET
They went to Magicopolis, it’s a magic store, it’s down the street.

RICKY
How are our two new anchors?

SIMON
I’m scared out of my mind.

RICKY
Well, you should be. News 60’s been the centerpiece of the show for 20 years. Makes or breaks stars, and the show lives and dies with its success or failure. Plus, Simon, you’re the first black actor we’ve ever had.

SIMON
I meant that I was scared of the dark, but now it’s what you just said.

RICKY
Nah, pairing you two was a good idea. We’re building a fresh set too. You know where Matt and Danny are?

HARRIET
Upstairs probably.

RICKY
Tom’s gonna work with you a while. Then Ron and I will come in. Then we’ll show it to Matt. Throw everything out and start again.

HARRIET
We figured.

RICKY
Upstairs you think?

HARRIET
Yeah.

RICKY
Thank you.

SIMON
Okay.

RON
Be funny.

SIMON
Yeah, okay.


[Matt’s office]
RICKY
Matt?

MATT
Well, we need to find out why this is happening.

RON
Yep.

MATT
Electricity plays a pretty big role in what we’re trying to do.

RICKY
Matt, do you really think it’s a good idea to have Tom overseeing the writing on the news?

MATT
Yes.

RICKY
I’m sorry?

MATT
Yes. I think it’s wise.

RICKY
Cause it’s what we usually do.

MATT
Yeah.

RON
We could do it for Simon and Harriet too.

MATT
No, you can’t.

RICKY
You think there’s any chance you might come down off your horse and stop being pissed at us for something that happened four years ago and work with us?

MATT
Not a big chance no.

RICKY
You want us to quit?

MATT
Badly. You think it’s gonna happen?

RICKY
Not a big chance, no.

MATT
You need to see me?

RICKY
And Danny, he’s meeting us here.

MATT
What’s in your hand?

RICKY
We’ll wait till Danny gets here.

[Backstage]
SIMON
We could have a damn séance in this room.

TOM
Here we go. This is from Saturday’s times. Four people in Ealing Missouri objected strongly to the local high school’s recent production of Grease.

SIMON
Why?

TOM
Because Rizzo sneaks out the window at Frenchie’s slumber party to go off with Kenicky.

HARRIET
Leave it alone.

TOM
No, cause here’s where it gets good. As a result of the controversy, the school’s superintendent has cancelled their planned school production of Crucible.

SIMON
Why?

TOM
It casts Christians in a bad light.

HARRIET
Yeah, Salem wasn’t our finest hour.

TOM
They’re replacing it with A Midsummer night’s Dream.

SIMON
Have they read A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Everybody swaps partners with everybody including a man who metamorphosed into a donkey.

HARRIET
Can we leave it alone?

SIMON
No

HARRIET
Please

SIMON
There’s a lot of comedy here, Harriet.

HARRIET
I understand that but we’re already doing

TOM
Here it is. You do the intro. Ealing High School in Ealing Missouri after blah blah blah has cancelled their planned spring production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible saying it casts Christians in a bad light and replaced it with Shakespeare’s immortal romantic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other plays that were considered and discarded include Damn Yankees for its comedic portrayal of the Devil.
Bye Bye Birdy for its Elvis like rock star gyrations…

SIMON
And a stage adaptation of the film Astro Glide Asses for its depiction of homosexuals sodomizing each other on crystal meth.

TOM
Yeah!

SIMON
Beat me daddy, eight to the ball.

HARRIET
Oh brother.

SIMON
Top it.

HARRIET
I don’t have to. God loves me and hates the both of you.

SIMON
Prove it.

(lights go on.)

SIMON
Okay, seriously. I’m scared out of my mind.

TOM
Yeah, that was strange.

HARRIET
All right, moving on.

[Matt’s office]
DANNY
Cal’s guys are trying to figure out what’s going on.

MATT
Good, cause everything we do here plugs into a socket.

RICKY
Jack Rudolph asked us to speak to you, to relay some information.

DANNY
What are you talking about?

RICKY
This is focus group data on last weeks’ show.

DANNY
Get it out of here.

RICKY
Look --

DANNY
Get it out of here, Ricky.

RICKY
You had to know they were gonna focus it.

DANNY
They can focus it all they want but they can’t make me care so get it out of here.

RICKY
Danny --

DANNY
Get it out of here. This thing’s gonna get around, the cast is gonna see it, and everybody’s going to lose their brains. And what the hell are you doing being the go between for Jack and the show.

RICKY
I was doing as I was told.

DANNY
You work for me.

RICKY
Excuse me, Danny, but you don’t sign my paycheck, the network does.

RON
Mine too.

DANNY
Damn Ron, I didn’t even know you were here.

RICKY
Listen to me --

DANNY
Get out of here --

RICKY
It’s all good, okay? It’s incredibly good. 88 percent in the top two boxes. There was only one thing Jack wanted you guys to see.

RON
One thing.

RICKY
They were asked and this is five different samples, by the way,from all over the country. They were asked if the show was patriotic or unpatriotic and Jack wanted you to see the results.

DANNY
They were what? They were asked if it was patriotic or unpatriotic?

RICKY
Yeah

DANNY
It’s a television show, it’s not the Iwo Jima memorial. Those were the only two choices they were given?

RICKY
Jack wanted you to see the results.

DANNY
Get it out of here. I don’t want the cast to see it, the staff, the crew, the critics, and mostly I don’t want him to see it.

RICKY
All right.

MATT
No.

DANNY
What?

MATT
I want to see it.

RICKY
Page seven at the bottom.

--------------------

DANNY
What’d you expect it to say?

MATT
Hm?

DANNY
What did you expect it to say?

MATT
This. I expected it to say this.

DANNY
So what do you care?

MATT
I care because Jack put the question in. Not sales, not marketing, not whatever focus companies they use.

DANNY
Viewer Strategies.

MATT
Not Viewer Strategies, it was Jack telling me I’m not American enough.

DANNY
Actually it was 50 percent of respondents telling you you’re not American enough. Throw it out.

MATT
They want to see my passport?

DANNY
They want to see you take fewer whacks at Bush, and it looks like they’re getting their wish, so throw it out.

MATT
It’s four years ago all over again.

DANNY
What did you think it was going to be?

MATT
Four years later. And by the way I’d be happy to take shots at the Democrats too, if only one of them would say or do something.

DANNY
Can I make a suggestion?

MATT
What?

DANNY
Throw it out.

MATT
I’m getting back to work.

DANNY
Good.

MATT
Wait.

DANNY
What?

MATT
What did you mean by it looks like they’re getting their wish.

DANNY
To see the show not take so many shots.

MATT
They’re getting their wish?

DANNY
Looking at your board, I see one political sketch.

MATT
Yeah?

DANNY
12:55

MATT
Yeah?

DANNY
The dump the garbage spot.

MATT
What are you saying?

DANNY
I’m not saying anything.

MATT
Okay,

DANNY
It’s just I can’t remember sometimes… are you a boy pussy cat or a girl pussy cat.

MATT
What the hell?

DANNY
You’re a boy pussy cat.

MATT
Look-

DANNY
You’re a pussy boy!

MATT
Because I put a Bush sketch at 12:55?

DANNY
Yeah.

MATT
You know what else started at the 12:55? Wayne’s World!

DANNY
Good for them. You think that you’re a pussy boy? Ricky and Ron said you rejected every Bush sketch you got pitched last week.

MATT
They weren’t funny.

DANNY
They would’ve been after you got done with them.

MATT
You think I’m gun shy?

DANNY
I think four years ago you saw your career flash in front of your eyes.

MATT
I did.

DANNY
And?

MATT
It wasn’t an easy career to come by.

MAISIE
Danny.

DANNY
Yeah.

MAISIE
Cal says he’s got some word on the power outages and the stage wants to know when you want the cast back.

DANNY
I’ll talk to Cal in thirty minutes before the cast.

MAISIE
You need anything? Matt?

MATT
Move the Rumsfeld sketch to the first half hour, get me the staff, a copy of every newspaper and a transcript of this morning’s White House press briefing. Please.

MAISIE
Yeah.

[Backstage]
HARRIET
You know what they do in Ealing ,Missouri?

SIMON
I know they don’t do The Crucible.

HARRIET
Yeah, they don’t appreciate Arthur Miller so let’s go get them.

SIMON
Look.

HARRIET
Bread. They make bread. It’s a company town, there’s a Hanover factory there. They make, slice, package and ship bread.

TOM
Jean-O!

JEANNIE
Listen-

HARRIET
Hang on. “Under proposed legislation, hunters can now carry automatic weapons and guns with silencers to hunt bears. When asked to comment, a bear said rrrrraaooorrr.” …I can be funny while I’m doing it.

SIMON
No you can’t and we’re not going to Matt with “and the bear said Roar.”

TOM
Roseanne Barr is releasing an album for children.

JEANNIE
I flatlined.

HARRIET
What?

JEANNIE
I flatlined in the focus group.

TOM
How do you know?

JEANNIE
Ricky and Ron gave me the dial groups.

SIMON
Man!

JEANNIE
It’s all good and they’re crazy about everybody, but Commedia Dell’Arte flatlined and that was my only sketch last week.

SIMON
You can’t look at it.

JEANNIE
Well, too late.

HARRIET
It’s a great character.

JEANNIE
Not according to the people watching it. But the point is, I guess, that I’m the one who convinced Matt to do it. I pitched it, I wrote the first draft-

TOM
Jeannie

JEANNIE
And I told him it wasn’t gonna be ha ha funny, but I did say it was going to be funny, and he believed me.

TOM
Did it actually flatline or are you just…

JEANNIE
I look like an idiot and I made him look like an idiot.

TOM
“Didn’t get it.”

JEANNIE
Yeah

TOM
“Boring.”

JEANNIE
There’s a word the networks like to hear.

TOM
“Too smart.”

JEANNIE
That’s another word for boring.

SIMON
Smart is a pejorative.

JEANNIE
Look

TOM
She flatlined, except for one guy in St. Louis and one guy in Atlanta.

JEANNIE
Well, I’ll have plenty of time to personally perform it for both of them in their living rooms.

SIMON
You can’t look at it.

JEANNIE
It’s not the fault of the focus data, Simon. You’ve got to catch the ball when you ask for it.

SIMON
You make more than your share of catches around here.

JEANNIE
Damn it! (slams the wall, power goes down again.)

HARRIET
I don’t know what to tell you guys. Either God’s a little sweet on me today, He doesn’t like Simon at all, or Jeannie, He disapproves of you sleeping with my ex-boyfriend.

JEANNIE
Harry…

TOM
She’s kidding.

HARRIET
I am, baby. It’s cause He doesn’t like Simon at all.

DANNY
Cal!

CAL
Yeah!

DANNY
What the hell?

CAL
Well, here’s the story, Danny. Last weekend’s rainstorm loosened the soil and a sixty year old palmtree fell on a transformer next to the studio.

DANNY
Are they fixing it?

CAL
In a manner of speaking, yeah.

DANNY
What does that mean?

CAL
They don’t know how to fix it.

DANNY
How much about this do I wanna know?

CAL
As little as possible.

DANNY
Okay (walks into his office) …Whoa.

JORDAN
Electricity problems?

DANNY
How’d you guess?

JORDAN
Oh, I’ve got eyes everywhere.

DANNY
What, did they let you out for good behavior?

JORDAN
Make all the funny jokes you want, but mine was booze five years ago, yours was coke two weeks ago.

DANNY
How’d it get out?

JORDAN
I don’t know.

DANNY
Well, you’re in it now.

JORDAN
Like I wasn’t in it before. Will you come with me to see Matt?

DANNY
How’s the news division covering it?

JORDAN
I’ve asked them not to cover it any differently than the other networks, not that they were waiting for my permission?

DANNY
Can I ask, on any floor on any corridor of any office in your building next door, has the possibility been brought up that your DUI eight years ago is not news, it’s entertainment?

JORDAN
I don’t know, but that’s why I’m here.

DANNY
Why?

JORDAN
To make sure you guys are covering it? I don’t want any special treatment.

DANNY
Well you’re not getting any, but I can also bet you that Matt’s not planning on writing a sketch about it either.

JORDAN
Why not?

DANNY
Tough to locate the humor in drunk driving. Tough to locate the humor in cocaine addiction too, though sounds like given enough time, you’d have no problem at all.

JORDAN
Hey-

MATT
What I’m working! Oh sorry. Hi.

DANNY
I’ll be out of your way in a minute.

MATT
Sure. What do you need?

DANNY
She wants us to make fun of her.

MATT
Okay, well, your teeth are pretty big.

JORDAN
No.

DANNY
She wants you to know it’s okay with her if you want to make fun of her arrest.

JORDAN
Thanks, I can speak for myself.

DANNY
Go ahead.

JORDAN
My teeth are fine.

MATT
Okay

JORDAN
I’m saying you shouldn’t give me special treatment.

MATT
No, cause I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was a pussy boy.

JORDAN
You’re a pussy boy?

DANNY
Don’t worry about it. I’ll be around.

MATT
I’ll be here, trying to be more American.

DANNY
Throw it out, would ya?

JORDAN
You saw the focus data?

DANNY
Don’t worry about it. Come on.

JORDAN
You say “don’t worry about it” a lot.

DANNY
Yeah, listen. What are they saying over there? What does our retention need to be on Friday?

JORDAN
You put up great numbers last week. Run your show.

DANNY
That was a look in audience. Wes, Matt and me, coming back, “Crazy Christians”. That was a fake number. What percent do we need to retain this week?

JORDAN
To do what?

DANNY
To keep you out of trouble.

JORDAN
That’s nice.

DANNY
What percent, Jordan? What are they saying?

JORDAN
Don’t worry about it.

CUE CARD: FRIDAY CAMERA DRESS
[Set]
TOM
Well argued sir. Audience?

ALL
Science, Schmience.

TOM
Tom Cruise, what causes depression?

ALEX
Have you studied the history of psychiatry?

TOM
I have not.

ALEX
Well, then you don’t know what you’re talking about.

TOM
I haven’t said anything.

ALEX
Now you’re just being glib.

TOM
Don’t misunderstand. I like the certainty that the entire international medical community is wrong, But I’m gonna need an answer.

ALEX
You lost the galactic of seventy five million-

[Backstage]
DANNY
We’re in the middle of dress rehearsal.

RICKY
I know but Matt’s already posted the final board.

DANNY
Yeah, we got our show.

RICKY
We don’t have a sketch on this week.

DANNY
You and a lot of other people. What can I say, guys? It happens.

RICKY
Yeah, it happens a little more with Matt, though, doesn’t it?

DANNY
He didn’t take the job to be a traffic cop, he took it to write.

RICKY
He took it cause he had to.

DANNY
No, I took it cause I had to. He took it voluntarily. ...Can I help you?

RICKY
Can we cut to the chase?

DANNY
Yeah, if it were up to me, we'd even cut the chase.

RICKY
What problem do the two of you have with the two of us, and when is it gonna stop?

DANNY
Well, first of all, Matt and I are two separate people, don't paint us with the same brush. Matt has a problem with you. I am completely indifferent towards you.

RICKY
Was that supposed to be funny?

DANNY
Guys, I gotta get back in there.

RICKY
Danny --

DANNY
Bill Maher. He made a politically incorrect observation on his own show helpfully titled Politically Incorrect, and the sky fell down on him. Matt was one of the first guys to take up his side and so the sky fell down on him, and when AP asked you for a reaction quote do you remember what you said?

RICKY
It was more than four years ago, Danny, I have no earthly idea what I said.

RON
I do.

RICKY
Ron.

RON
You said “Matt Albie certainly doesn’t speak for the cast, crew, and staff of Studio 60, whos thoughts and prayers are with the brave men and women who lost their lives on September 11th.”

DANNY
See, he got it word for word. Were Matt’s thoughts and prayers not with the brave men and women who lost their lives on September 11th?

RICKY
It was 9/11. Everyone was out of their friggin minds and by the way, I’m the one pushing the Bush sketches.

DANNY
Yeah, I imagine now that the president’s approval rating is two guys in Tupelo, Mississippi, the water feels a little safer. Anyway, he asked the question, so…

RICKY
And how long is this gonna go on?

DANNY
That’s entirely up to him.

RICKY
He needs us and you know it too. Nobody can write ninety minutes of television every week by themselves. He’ll be dead by his sixth show.

DANNY
And when that happens, I’m sure you’ll be ready to take his job. I gotta go now.

ROB REINER
Is it possible that Haji here and I are the two least crazy people on this panel?

TOM
It’s a pretty tight race on my scorecard, Shlomo. Cora Rae.

[Jordan’s office]
JACK
Good evening.

JORDAN
Jack, SHELLY, this can only be good news.

JACK
Nah it’s nothing. SHELLY drafted a brief but courteous statement to the shareholders and I need you to sign off on it.

JORDAN
We can’t use the same brief but courteous statement I gave to NBS Sunrise, NBS Nightly News, CNBS and FM NBS?

SHELLY
It should be different for the shareholders.

JORDAN
It’s gotten pretty mangled in the last 48 hours. The Post has a picture of me in New York last May at one of the parties for the up-fronts, I’m holding a dirty martini, rocks, two olives and the caption says the arrest occurred hours after this picture was taken at Cipriani. The picture was taken five months ago, the arrest was eight years ago and the restaurant I’m standing in is Twenty One. This is fine.

JACK
This is one of those things that’s reached a critical mass. At least I hope it has.

SHELLY
He means, it’s a lot easier to play defense if we know what’s coming.

JORDAN
Well, I didn’t know this was coming.

SHELLY
You should’ve.

JACK
You can send this out now. (she leaves) I think you know how the Smoking Gun got tipped to the DUI. A guy named Ryan Mulrooney?

JORDAN
When I was 25, we were married for nine months. I pay him alimony, or I did until the court said I didn’t have to anymore.

JACK
Something you didn’t mention during any of your five interviews for this job?

JORDAN
Can you blame me?

JACK
He’s found a new source of income.

JORDAN
A five hundred dollar tip off?

JACK
No, he’s shopping a book.

JORDAN
What are you talking about?

JACK
“Confessions of a Network Husband, My Life With Jordan McDeere.” …Do you need a minute?

JORDAN
No. When did this happen?

JACK
SHELLY’s been putting the pieces together. He’s been taking stories to the gossip guys in the hope he’ll generate some heat for the publishers. If not he’ll self-publish.

JORDAN
What does that mean?

JACK
He’ll put it on the internet, and charge for people to read it. Is it gonna be worth paying for?

JORDAN
Yeah. He wanted me to go to clubs with him.

JACK
What kind of clubs?

JORDAN
Golf, tennis, wine tasting-

JACK
Hey, Jordan-

JORDAN
The kind where you watch other people having sex. I was 25 and I married a slug.

JACK
So did my wife, but I don’t make her go to Plato’s Retreat.

JORDAN
You make her go to the People’s Choice awards, that’s not bad enough?

JACK
You think this is the right time to adopt a playful attitude?

JORDAN
I think it’s my pants everyone’s standing in, and I’ll adopt whatever attitude gets me through the day.

JACK
Yeah, all right. You’re right. First thing Monday, you sit down with Shelly, your lawyer and our lawyer and you tell them every detail you can think of.

JORDAN
Okay, but there’s gonna need to be an open bar.

JACK
And keep the whimsy.

JORDAN
Jack?

JACK
Yeah?

JORDAN
What percent of Studio 60’s audience do I need to retain to keep playing tough with the Christian right?

JACK
You need to retain 90% to keep playing at all.

[Matt’s office]
HEADSET
Standby for final soundcheck.

DANNY
Good dress.

MATT
Yes.

DANNY
It’ll be another good show.

MATT
How important is the ratings drop off gonna be?

DANNY
Don’t worry about it.

MATT
Well, that’s good enough for me.

DANNY
You know you have to do?

MATT
What?

DANNY
Let Ricky and Ron off the hook.

MATT
Well no, I don’t think I have to do that.

DANNY
Yeah. It’s time.

MATT
You know what? A hundred years ago Gary Marshall rewrote an episode of Happy Days, or something, kept their name on it and they won an Emmy. They’ve been eating lunch off it ever since.

DANNY
I think Ricky and Ron were about ten when Happy Days was on, but I get the idea. Use them anyway.

MATT
Why?

DANNY
Cause you’re gonna burn out.

MATT
I’m not.

DANNY
Then do it cause I’m smarter than you and I’m asking you nicely.

MATT
The drop off, you think inside ten percent, ninety percent retention or better?

DANNY
Don’t worry about it.

JEANNIE
Excuse me

DANNY
You should be downstairs.

JEANNIE
Matt, you gotta take it down off the board.

MATT
No

DANNY
What’re you talking about?

MATT
She saw the focus data on Commedia Dell’Arte.

DANNY
Aw man, this is exactly why-

JEANNIE
You can’t keep it in the show, Matt, there were three sketches that got bigger laughs at dress, which isn’t saying much because Commedia got no laughs at dress.

MATT
Which just means it’s not that kind of funny.

JEANNIE
Or it means it’s not funny at all and I’m dragging the show down.

DANNY
Can we have this conversation, moving?

JEANNIE
I flatlined. Boring was a word that was used to describe it.

DANNY
Some people just don’t get Moliere parodies.

MATT
He’s right, even though Moliere was a French playwright from a different century who had nothing to do with Italian Commedia Dell’Arte.

JEANNIE
Matt.

MATT
It’s an acquired taste, Jeannie, but once you acquire it, it’s like barrel smoked whiskey.

DANNY
What’s that?

MATT
I don’t know. I may have just made it up. What gets smoked in barrels?

DANNY
Scotch.

MATT
Scotch is whiskey. It’s Scotch Whiskey.

JEANNIE
Look

MATT
How can you think that Moliere who wrote in rhyming couplets was even remotely connected to-

DANNY
You’re wrong about that, he does have a connection-

JEANNIE
Idiot boys!

DANNY
She’s talking to us.

MATT
Yeah.

JEANNIE
I flatlined. Nobody liked it.

MATT
That’s not true, one guy in St. Louis and one guy in Atlanta.

JEANNIE
Could you please be serious?

MATT
Look at me. The network’s doing another dial group tonight, because, wee, because they just can’t help themselves. They’re doing it during the live show so we’ll have the results roughly the same time we have the ratings. The focus group is made up entirely of people who saw last weeks’ show. The two people that liked it last week is going to go up to three. That one person is going to represent an additional five hundred thousand viewers. If it doesn’t go up to three, I’m gonna give you ten thousand dollars cash. That serious enough? If the two doesn’t go to three, I give you 10,000 dollars. If it does, you have to wear a t-shirt at the wrap party that says “Matt is my Hero and Danny thinks Moliere was Italian.” I’m having Wardrobe make the shirt right now.

JEANNIE
Matt --

DANNY
Commit to it. You’re gonna feel a strong instinct to make it bigger. Fight that with everything you’ve got. No comedian you admire, was ever afraid of silence.

JEANNIE
Yeah.

DANNY
Don’t forget to breathe before you go out there.

HEADSET
Ten minutes to showtime. Ten minutes to showtime.

MATT
Hey, you know what worked at dress, the Ealing, Missouri joke.

SIMON
Yeah.

MATT
The school play, the whole run, it was all you. I didn’t even touch it.

SIMON
Yes, it worked very well.

HARRIET
We want to cut it.

MATT
I’m sorry?

HARRIET
We want to cut it.

SIMON
Because we’re just that stupid.

MATT
Somebody tell me what’s going on?

HARRIET
It’s a funny joke but it’s not a good joke and I’d like fifteen seconds to tell you why.

MATT
Okay.

HARRIET
Ealing is a town of fewer than four thousand people. More than half the adult population work in the Hannover bakery plant. And the average income is eighteen thousand dollars a year, or roughly the same thing I’ll be paid to perform this show tonight. Why are we making fun of them? Crazy Christians, Science Schmience, Bush and the republicans, that’s all fair game. That’s hypocrisy and power. These guys are just trying to raise their kids. Why can’t the school do whatever play it wants?

MATT
You let her win this argument?

SIMON
She can make the lights go on and off by herself.

TOM
It’s true.

MATT
When you find yourself losing one of these, shout my name. I will come. She was my girlfriend for a while, and I’m very good at demonstrating to her that she’s wrong.

SIMON
She’s not this time. And it’s our first shot at the desk so…

MATT
All right, what are you gonna fill it with?

HARRIET
“New legislation in Wyoming will allow bear hunters to carry automatic weapons with silencers. When asked to comment, a bear said “Rrrraoorr.””

SIMON
You know she’s gonna make it work.

MATT
I know. …We’re cutting the Ealing high school joke from “News 60.”

DANNY
Why?

MATT
Because they make bread or something. Listen --

DANNY
Anybody else have something funny they want to cut?

MATT
Tell me the truth. You’ve talked to them, tell me the truth. How important is audience retention tonight?

DANNY
It’s important. Matt, we can’t lose more than 10 percent. What do you think, the sponsors, the affiliates, the press, the right, our jobs, Jordan’s job, everybody’s job. It’s important.

MATT
All right, lie to me next time.

DANNY
That’s what I’m saying. ALL RIGHT, huddle up!

[Montage of the show]
HERB
Live from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, it’s Friday night in Hollywood! Harriet Hayes, Simon Styles, Tom Jeter, Jeannie Riley, Alex Dwyer, Dylan Killington, Samantha Li, with musical guest Gwen Stefani. And guest host, Rob Reiner. Ladies and Gentlemen, Rob Reiner.

ROB REINER
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much!

ALEX
Welcome to the Nicolas Cage show. I’m… Nicolas Cage!

JEANNIE
…courses through these veins, to conquer this demon, as I conquered the league of cognac in the sack of Rome.

SIMON
Nobody here knows what you’re talking about.

HARRIET
Simon?

SIMON
Roseanne Barr is releasing an album for children. We don’t have a joke here, we just mention this as a public service announcement to parents.

HARRIET
At the UN today, Kofi Annan called on participants at a peace conference for an immediate ceasefire and unleavened bread.

CAL
Here we go. One up.

ROB REINER
Ladies and Gentlemen, Gwen Stefani.

DYLAN
Get in the hole!!! Get in the hole!!! Get in the hole!!!

TOM
Now I’ll take your questions. Yes, David.

SIMON
Sir, what is the White House’s response to Republican Congressman Robert Ivers plea for a plan to withdraw troops from Iraq?

TOM
I have great respect for Congressman Ivers, which is why we’re so surprised to hear him take up a position shared by Michael Moore.

SAMANTHA
And what about the Senator Richman no longer supporting the president-

TOM
Cora Rae, what caused Hurricane Katrina?

JEANNIE
Warm moist air rising to meet high altitude winds along the differences of air pressure or pressure gradients.

TOM
No, I’m sorry, that’s incorrect, we were looking for “secularists eroding God’s protective shell over America.” Tom Cruise.

SIMON
Welcome to Pimp my Trike ,boys and girls, bringing you a candy apple flavor flav to your fly three wheeler, hydraulics for the big wheel and funky speakers for your Huffy custom.

ROB REINER
Thank you everyone! Thank you Gwen Stefani! To the cast, to the crew, to Matt Albie, Danny Tripp, thank you! Thank you everybody! Good night! We love you!

[Wrap party]
SIMON
Hey, we down on the West Coast.

BLONDE
Hi.

SIMON
Hi.

BLONDE
You were great tonight.

SIMON
Ah, I had some timing problems.

BLONDE
Did you?

SIMON
Have we met?

BLONDE
No I’m crashing the party.

SIMON
How’d you get in?

BLONDE
Look at me.

SIMON
Good point.

BLONDE
So how long does it usually take you to get over your timing problems?

SIMON
Heh, a little while, but it was nice meeting you.

CROWD
Danny! Danny! Sign this for me?

DANNY
Yeah. Hey, good show. (signs a newspaper article about his drug lapse) Here’s your pen. …Are they in yet?

JORDAN
What?

DANNY
Are they in yet?

JORDAN
Do you see me standing near a fax machine?

DANNY
I see you standing by a concierge desk of a hotel, I didn’t immediately put together-

JORDAN
The west coast just came down three minutes ago, then it gets electronically routed through some central computer that- ...I don’t know.

DANNY
Oh, I can tell.

JORDAN
Jack gets them before me, they’ll fax it here. I’m sorry about the stupid thing I said in your office. About the drugs.

DANNY
Thirty thousand people died in car fatalities last year. Seventeen thousand of them weren’t wearing seatbelts.

JORDAN
What does that have to do with anything?

DANNY
No, it’s just, you read it all the time. Two guys in a car. One wearing a seatbelt, the other one isn’t. They’re doing sixty down Mullholland, they blow into a telephone pole. The guy wearing the seatbelt, the guy’s got two bruised ribs, a cut on his forehead. And the guy without the seatbelt gets decapitated.

JORDAN
I was wearing a seatbelt.

DANNY
I’m sure you were, I’m just not as sure everyone else on the Long Island Expressway was. When I put a life in danger, it’s my own. Anyway, I appreciate your standing up for “Crazy Christians”. I know you only did it to get Matt and me back and I know it’s what’s keeping you in trouble.

JORDAN
I didn’t only do it to get you and Matt back, and the Christian right isn’t why I’m in trouble today.

DANNY
We’ll see you outside. You know, you look like one of them, but you talk like one of us.

(inside party)
HARRIET
You know, I did Midsummer Night’s Dream in the park two summers ago.

MATT
You think they know in Ealing, Missouri that the play’s about a bunch of people who basically take ecstasy and all sleep with each other.

HARRIET
I was Helena.

MATT
I was there.

HARRIET
(Holly Hunter) So, uh admiring of his qualities, things base and vile, holding no quantity. Love can transpose to form and dignity. What, ho, Puck…

MATT
(chokes)

HARRIET
I knew I’d get you.

MATT
I knew you’d get me too.

HARRIET
Matthew, you gotta see that the focus group stuff doesn’t get out to the cast anymore.

MATT
That shouldn’t have happened. Danny talked to Ricky and Ron. I’m sorry about that.

HARRIET
How does it work? Who does it?

MATT
Focus groups?

HARRIET
Yeah.

MATT
They contract it out. NBS uses a group called Viewer Strategies.

HARRIET
They make up the questions?

MATT
Yeah, but then anybody can feed them questions they want answered. Jack, Jordan, Sales, Promo, Danny and I can ask questions. If I want to know what people think of…

HARRIET
What people think of what?

MATT
Excuse me.
(TACKLE!)
I’m three years younger and I’m faster than you, old man.

DANNY
I’m three years older and I’m stronger than you, little boy.

MATT
You put the question in there!

DANNY
Yes, I did!

MATT
Why?!

DANNY
Because it worked! It’s not gonna be like it was four years ago, I won’t let it happen! After what you did for me, I won’t let it happen!

MATT
Are people looking at us right now?

DANNY
I think they are.

MATT
Well, could you punch me in the face or something, because to the casual observer, this appears a little homoerotic for my comfort.

DANNY
I definitely hear you on that. What should we do?

MATT
Get off me.

DANNY
All right, just play it cool.

MATT
Yeah.

CONCIERGE
I think this is what you’re waiting for, Miss McDeere.

JACK
Do you remember Vernon Williams. Station owner at WTIH in Terra Haute.

JORDAN
Yeah.

JACK
Poor guy’s gotta keep calling us on his cell phone because his station lines are jammed with angry calls. 497 tonight.

JORDAN
Oh God, Jack, Terra Haute didn’t even carry the show tonight. Why the hell are the callers complaining?

JACK
Because Terra Haute didn’t carry the show tonight.

JORDAN
Audience retention? Did we stay inside ninety percent?

JACK
We actually did a little better than that. We retained 109 percent of last week’s audience. Five-seven in the households, nineteen share, three-one in the demo.

JORDAN
We kept the kids.

JACK
Yeah, and then some. It’s our biggest Friday night in fourteen years. Go ahead and spread to the word.

JORDAN
We built by nine percent over last week including over a point and a half in the demo. (kisses them) Thank you. What the hell happened to the two of you?

MATT
He’s a Machiavellian control freak who purposely and premeditatively-

JORDAN
I don’t care. Harriet!

(secret handshake)

DANNY
It’s going well.

MATT
Yeah.

DANNY
What are you thinking?

MATT
That we both know the same thing.

DANNY
What’s that?

MATT
There’s only one direction this story can go from here.

(Song montage… )
Tonight you’re mine, completely.
You give your love so sweetly.
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes
Will you still love me tomorrow…

Is this a lasting treasure
Or just a moment’s pleasure?
Ooh, can I believe the magic of your sighs,
Oooh, will you still love me tomorrow…

Tonight with words unspoken
You say that I’m the only one.
Oooh, but will my heart be broken,
I don’t know
When the night
Meets the morning sun?

I’d like to know that your love
Is a love I can be sure of. Oohhh
So tell me now and I won’t ask,
I won’t ask again
Will you still love me….
Tomorrow…

 

Kikavu ?

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