"What would be a good way for me to blow it?" It's perhaps an odd question to ask when the I'm From Rolling Stone prize of a yearlong contract as contributing editor is on the line.
Talking to one of the magazine's editors, Joe Levy, Russell wonders if his general "dirtbagedness" is an issue, explaining that he harasses women and has a penchant for Internet porn. Joe informs him that harassing women would certainly not be OK, but that he could get away with most everything else as long as he's quiet about it. Gripped by a fear that he'll blow it, Russell struggles to accept that his good opportunity at Rolling Stone will last and later reveals to Joe that he has a bipolar disorder.
Australian writer Peter is nervous about his first assignment, but after speaking with Band of Horses guitarist/vocalist Ben Birdwell about the indie rock band's performances and tour rituals, he feels better. Unfortunately, he enjoys the band's show a little too much, and even Russell asks whether he's taking notes or if he's trying to keep it in his drunken head.
Tika is excited to take on her first assignment to meet veteran hip-hop group The Roots. She knows the Krishtine is annoyed about not getting the assignment, but as Tika sees it "She [Krishtine] ain't been doing sh*t."
Russell quoted a controversial line in his story about Nellie McKay, but can't back it up with notes, so he has to do a swift rewrite with his mentor, contributing editor Jenny Eliscu. Instead of working on the assignment, a resistant Russell plays around.
Tika's excited to watch her videotaped interview with The Root's drummer ?uestlove, who answers questions about the group's unique FORBIDDENand their debut album for Def Jam. At 2:25 a.m., Tika completes her 750-page handwritten transcription, but when she loses those notes on the train, she has to write her article by memory.
When the articles are due, the magazine's editors meet to go over their work. Aggravated that two hours past the deadline Russell still hasn't bothered to turn up, Joe calls him on his mobile phone and finds him chilling out at home. Russell admits he's comfortable being in trouble and less comfortable with the prospect of success. Despite warnings from Joe, Jenny and Krishtine, Russell arrives late the next day, and Joe is too angry to discuss the issue again.
Tika receives good news: her story is number one on the list of stories on the Rolling Stone Web site.
Outside of the office, Jenny warns Russell that he's on thin ice. He counters that he'll buy an alarm clock, show up at 9:50 a.m., pull out his "balls and flap 'em around" yelling "I'm here at 9:50" until 10, then sit down at his desk. Jenny's amuzed and agrees -- as long as he's at work on time.
Tika's article on The Roots was very well-received by the Rolling Stone editors.
Russell's article on Nellie McKay was finally published... three days later. Peter still has not finished his Band of Horses article.