Sports Night

Season 1 Episode 10

Shoe Money Tonight

Aired Tuesday 9:30 PM Dec 08, 1998 on ABC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

It's snowing in Pittsburgh so the anchors of the 2 AM West Coast Update are stuck and the staff have to stay to do the show. Instead of going to Atlantic City, Dan and Casey and the staff have a poker tournament.

Natalie is angry with Jeremy because he skipped an outing with her to go play tennis with an old girlfriend who is now an actress. Casey approves a rundown from the 2AM producer, Sally without consulting Dana, making her feel very angry and unappreciated. Isaac is shrinking.moreless

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  • This show is without a doubt one of the best written shows on TV. Sorkin wrote this episode, so that is no surprise, but it's amazing that this show failed. Unbelievable, even.moreless

    This show starts out with Dan and Casey planning to head off to Atlantic City after the 11pm show closes, to do some gambling. Suddenly, it is announced that the two main anchors for the West Coast feed are socked in in Philly, and so Dan and Casey will have to fill in, doing the 2am(ET) show as well after their regular 11pm show.

    They have money, they have cards, and so they invite people to play a friendly poker game after the 11pm show completes.

    Meanwhile, Natalie and Jeremy are having a spat, as Jeremy apparently took a tennis date with an old flame on the one day off they would have had together to share (for anyone who is clueless enough to not know: BAD JUJU! On two counts! Ex-girlfriend PLUS time together? EEEK! Jeremy's lucky she didn't go Bobbit on him).

    When invited to the game, Natalie threatens to clean Jeremy's clock in poker, claiming she used to play all the time with frat buddies (suggesting she was a little sister). Jeremy tells her she doesn't stand a chance.

    During the poker game, Jeremy pretty much cleans everyone out -- then explains to Natalie, on the final hand, why she should trust him, she doesn't stand a chance, and that he knows exactly what she has and that he isn't bluffing when he says he's got her beat. Not quite Matt Damon vs. the judges in Rounders, but that's not what the scene is about, anyway -- it's about Jeremy's relationship with Natalie, and the fact that he sees her getting histrionic about their relationship, trying to make a breakup happen before she gets hurt, whereas Jeremy points out that he isn't "that kind of guy".

    Another point of the show is Dana being protective about her anchors, as the 2am producer(Sally, played by Desperate Housewives' Brenda Strong) does things in a less than spectacular way, and she knows they won't be happy about it.

    She's somewhat short-circuited in her efforts to be protective, however, when she finds out that Casey, apparently too busy looking at Sally's long legs, signed off on her production notes without even looking at them closely.

    Dana pulls Casey aside, and there is a nice bit of back-and-forth about Dana being subconsciously challenged by Sally's looks. While this is almost certainly true (Strong looks particularly fine, and she's a good 6 inches taller than Huffman, and it's all leg), but irrelevant for the case in question -- Dana is right, as she proves when she reels off to Casey some of the things he signed off on so casually. Casey freaks when he hears the list (Puns?), and Casey then has to beg Dana to fix the problems for him so that people over on the Left Coast won't think he and Dan are total Dweebs.

    In the end, Jeremy tries to be strong, to not reward Natalie for not trusting him. She pulls out the sex card, however, by making him think about her wearing one of his dress shirts and nothing else, and it's quite clear:

    In this, she's the one with the winning hand...moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Jeremy's reasoning as to why Natalie can't have a full house is flawed. He mentions how she has 3 7's, but Dan folded one of the 6's she needed and he had the other one. But of course there are many ways to have a full house. In addition to the 7's, any pair would do, not just 6's.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Sally: Anyway, I really appreciate the two of you sticking around and filling in.
      Casey: It's no problem.
      Sally: Oh, please, you think I wanna be stuck doing the two a.m.? This is just a temp gig.
      Casey: Temp gig?
      Dan: (to Casey) Temporary gig.
      Casey: (to Dan) Thanks.
      Sally: My stuff's out there. I talk to a lot of people.
      Dan: Just as long as none of them are talkin' back.
      Sally: CNBC, MSNBC--
      Dan: M-O-U-S-E...
      Casey: Danny--
      Dan: Oh, like she's listening to anybody but herself.
      Sally: Even CNN.
      Casey: No kidding?
      Sally: Oh, yeah.
      Dan: Listen, Sally, we're sort of in the middle of a -- what do you call it? -- a national television show, so maybe you could--
      Sally: (ignoring Dan) But we do good work on the two a.m.
      Dave: (over PA) Sally, we're back in 30 and you're in our shot.
      Dana: I have a keen dislike for that woman.
      Natalie: She's perfectly nice.
      Dana: She is not perfectly nice, and I'd appreciate a little back-up here. Could we have a bond over this, please?
      Natalie: Fine, I'll stop thinking Sally's nice if you'll stop thinking Jeremy is right.
      Dana: I never said he was right.
      Jeremy: Hey, I'm sitting right here.
      Dana: Stay quiet!
      Natalie: Thank you. (into mike) Sally, camera 2's got your butt pretty well-framed, so if you wouldn't mind stepping out of the shot? (Sally starts to move away)
      Dana: (to Natalie) Thank you. (watching Sally on the monitors) And... be sure Casey sees your cleavage as you walk out... there ya go.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Brenda Strong (Sally) and Felicity Huffman (Dana) would work together later in the TV show Desperate Housewives.

    • When Jeremy pulls Dan away and they go to his office to talk, Dan breaks out a pair of Red Bulls for them. In 1998 the beverage was more a colleges fad, making this a possible early product placement.