Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Season 1 Episode 13

The Harriet Dinner (1)

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jan 29, 2007 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
226 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Danny and Jordan cannot get down from the roof of the theater; staff members attend a dinner honoring Harriet; Harriet and Matt's relationship begins to unravel.

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  • More like a middle chapter than pure set-up

    According to various sources, the previous episode was the first part of a three-episode arc. Now this episode is listed as the first part of a two-episode arc. Someone needs to make up their mind and figure out how they want to promote the current episodes, because this is only leading to confusion among the TV critic community.

    On the other hand, the structure of this episode suggests that it is, in fact, the middle of a three-part story, regardless of how it is referenced. After all, the majority of the plot and character threads are directly dependent on the set-up from the previous episode, and all of those items remain unresolved at the end of the hour. That leaves the episode on somewhat shaky ground, as is the case for most middle chapters.

    The most controversial element of the previous episode had to be Danny’s stalker-esque behavior. Many people objected to his methods and unapologetic manner, while others steadfastly refused to judge it beyond the confines of romanticism. This episode manages to correct some errors and compound others. While Danny recognizes that he stepped over the line, he still acts with an inflated sense of entitlement (which is, to be fair, inherent to his character). Unfortunately, the oldest trick in the romantic comedy book is employed to force Danny and Jordan into a bubble to work things out.

    Now, it doesn’t count as clever just because Sorkin and the writing staff admitted to the fact that they were falling on cliché. It’s a fairly common way to gloss over the lack of originality: point out the cliché in a knowing fashion to make it seem less egregious. I’m hopeful that Sorkin is willing to avoid the most obvious resolution to this particular plot thread, though it is almost certainly going to end with Danny and Jordan in a relationship.

    The only person who seemed to think Danny should stick to his guns was Matt, which is a fairly good sign of his own lack of perspective. Certainly no one would mistake his efforts for anything remotely mature (and he would likely be the first to admit it). It’s good to see him called on his ridiculous antics, even if it was painful to watch. Harriet finally came to the realization that she was aiding and abetting Matt’s jealousy through her own comfort with the behavior, and it was not a pretty sight.

    Of course, this could lead to an interesting change of pace. Danny’s effectiveness is tied to his decisiveness. He’s all in on whatever he does (which, in turn, explains much about his addictive personality). He decided he wanted Jordan, so he went way over the top. He might very well succeed, which would put his universe back in order and make him that much more effective.

    On the other hand, Matt’s creative flow is fueled by his antagonistic relationship with Harriet. He needs to be caught in that obsessive and jealous state to get his job done. It’s not even remotely healthy or sane, but it’s something inherent to the character. Without the hope of winning her affection, Matt doesn’t have that desire to raise the bar. If Harriet really is ready to shut Matt down once and for all, it could have a profound effect.

    All that said, both Matt and Danny have been so open about their respective relationship-fueled neuroses that it’s hard to imagine that anyone would listen to their advice. Yet Tom walks right into the most obvious mistake in the book. Sure, Tom would have sounded like an idiot by telling the truth, absurd as it is, but at least he could have gathered witnesses and support to convince Lucy of his honesty. Now he’s been caught with his pants down (well, not quite yet, but Kim’s working on it rather persistently).

    The remaining material is split between two minor subplots. Cal’s struggle to keep the snake situation under control is very funny, and surprisingly, it originates with an idea that I found quite amusing. The tension between Simon and Darius is far less entertaining. The point that Sorkin is trying to make is largely lost, because Simon is being a complete jerk in the process of making it. One gets the impression that this is an important statement about the minority voice in entertainment, but when it’s buried under all the relationship angst and dominated by a petulant attitude, I fear that message is being lost.moreless
  • I love this episode for the same reason I love this series. It throws you into what appears to be another normal (i.e. hilariously hectic) day at Studio 60 and yet they still manage to throw yet another curve ball out from left field straight at you!moreless

    In this episode, we see where the promise Jack Rudolph made to Zhang Tao actually leads and it is the funniest part of this episode which is why I'll focus on it. For those of you who are just tuning in, in last weeks episode, Jack asked Zhang for a favor: to cancel the deal NBS is about to make with him regarding Macao. In exchange for this favor, Jack told Zhang that he will get Zhang's daughter, Kim, to not leave Julliard (she's a viola prodigy) and start doing improvisational comedy much to the horror of her father who is very proud of her. Her we get to see Jack lay it all out to Tom Jeter, whom, we all know, Kim Tao has a major crush on. Jack tells Tom to take Kim as a date to the awards banquet, where Harriet is getting an award on Thursday, where he will not touch her in a sexual manner and tell her that a life in comedy is a life of rejection, unemployment, blah, blah, blah. But none of this goes according to plan. Tom sees Kim at the awards banquet but UH-OH!!! Kim is not the cute, little 20 year-old she was whence we last saw her. Now she is wearing red lipstick, did something with her hair although I'm not sure what it was exactly, and she's wearing a sexy-ass dress that clearly accentuates her cleavage, of which she has plenty of. Needless to say, Julia Ling, the wonderful actress that plays Kim Tao, is Smokin' Hot! In her case, that phrase ought to be trademarked. Here are two quotes from the episode which I got of the quotes page here at for this episode. Tom: Kim, you're twenty years-old, right?

    Kim: Uh huh.

    Tom: Well, just 'cause I'm a little responsible for you tonight, I wanted to tell you that the legal drinking age in California is twenty-one.

    Kim: What's the age for taking you back to my hotel room and dancing for you?

    Simon: Eighteen.

    Tom: Thank you. And then theres:

    Jack: Hi, Tom.

    Tom: Tell him I'm being a gentleman!

    Kim: He's an animal.

    Tom: I'm not an animal!

    Jack: Progress report.

    Tom: I'm doing my best!

    Jack: Your best isn't going to do it, Tom. You're going to need to do somebody else's best. At this point I was laughing pretty hard. Kim goes on to say to Tom, “Let's talk about that cute little ass of yours.” at which point I just started laughing so hard I almost cried. This is one of the best episodes of this series so far, right next to the pilot and s01e11 which is the episode where Wilson White gives his perfect monologue completely and totally dissing the FCC and their spineless ass. Whoo-hoo!!! That means you know it's good! Oh, by the way; all of this is happening while Matt and Jordan are stuck on the roof, Tom is lying to Lucy about why he can't make their date, and there's a poisonous viper on the loose in the studio. How do they do it?! Watch the episode. I gurantee, you're gonna like what you see ;)moreless
  • Danny and Jordan get stuck on the roof when he tries to apologize. Matt and Harriet fight over Matt bidding because he thought Luke was going to win. Tom has to cancel his date with Lucy and Lucy finds out the real reason.moreless

    This episode didn't have much action, but you can tell everything was setting up for the next episode. I thought the Danny and Jordan stuff was great, but I'm a huge fan of them as a couple, so that's probably why. I love Matt and Harriet together, so I'm sad that she ended things officially, but I can see her reasons. Matt was bidding on her because Luke was bidding on her, even if Matt really does like her (which he obviously does) And poor Tom!!! I felt so bad for him! I mean, he finally gets up the courage to ask Lucy out, she says yes, and then everything gets screwed. Even so, great episode that I know is going to lead to a major one.moreless
  • Cliches abound, marring otherwise good stories as the Darius/Simon storyline takes a bad turn too.

    Aaron Sorkin is an incredibly talented writer, we all know that. So it hurts immensely that he is bringing himself down to such ridiculous cliches as in this episode:

    *Danny and JOrdan locked on a rooftop.

    *Matt finding out Luke wasn't the other bidder and Harriet fighting with him over it. *Tom lying over his date and getting found out about it.

    *The date TOm didn't want fawning over him. And the snake? Oh man...that was just too, too ridiculous.

    The thing is, the show can work. I was annoyed as hell at the last ep when Jordan tells Danny that she won't respond but Danny says he won't stop, which is just stalker behavior. But now they really talk about it with her bringing up his problems with his behavior, which is good. I just wish there were better circumstances to do it.

    As for the Simon/Darius story, I liked how it started, Darius standing up for himself. But now it looks like Sorkin thinks Simon is the one in the right, that Darius is "Uncle Tom" for not wanting to do black sketches which is just wrong. Masi's cameo was good and I liked how they used one of the "joke" takes as the real thing over Harriet's objections. I thought that once they got off the soapbox and focused on characters, things would improve but now it just shows how weakly fleshed out the characters are. Hopefully this can improve but I'm still disapointed Sorkin has come down to such trite stuff.moreless
  • oooh I love it!

    It was a very good episode for me. We had a few things going on, first we had Danny and Jordan with their thing that they have now. By the end of the episode they were stuck on the roof of the studio, and it looked like they weren’t really having all that fun. Then we had Mat and Harriet, who were together at some party that was being thrown to honor Harriet. Mat had won her as a date after bidding against, who he thought was, Luke but who actually was just some 15 year old kid. Harriet did not like that one at all, and by the end of the episode it looked like she has definitely had enough of this Mat stuff. The episode was to be continued so I obviously can’t wait to see what will happen on the next one.moreless
Columbus Short

Columbus Short

Darius Hawthorne

Guest Star

Stephanie Childers

Stephanie Childers


Guest Star

John Mahon

John Mahon


Guest Star

Mark McKinney

Mark McKinney

Andy Mackinaw

Recurring Role

Merritt Wever

Merritt Wever


Recurring Role

Julia Ling

Julia Ling

Kim Tao

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Guest Host: Masi Oka
      Musical Guest: John Legend

    • Bevo, or the writers seem to have confused a ferret with a mongoose. They have a similar appearance, but the mongoose is well known for hunting and killing snakes. Ferrets are not.

    • Bevo mentions that ferrets hunt snakes. However, although ferrets are carnivores, they are not known to hunt snakes. In the wild, they usually only eat prairie dogs, small mammals such as rodents, and birds. Although some are known to eat small reptiles, there is no way a ferret would be able to defeat a larger, venomous snake such as a viper. An animal wrangler would know this and would not have sent a ferret.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Danny: How can someone so smart and beautiful be so consistently wrong and dumb?

    • (Harriet is dressed as a cheerleader standing next to Masi Oka from Heroes)
      Harriet: Save me, save the world.

    • Cal: Hey, it turns out Danny Tripp is afraid of snakes. These are harmless, right?
      Bevo: No, they're vipers.
      Cal: Harmless vipers?
      Bevo: No, regular vipers.
      Cal: Uh-huh. So if they bite you you'd, what?
      Bevo: Go into anaphylactic shock.
      Cal: But they would only bite if they were provoked?
      Bevo: They'll strike at any kind of movement.
      Cal: OK, you know what? Let's get this done.

    • Jack: Hi, Tom.
      Tom: Tell him I'm being a gentleman!
      Kim: He's an animal.
      Tom: I'm not an animal!
      Jack: Progress report.
      Tom: I'm doing my best!
      Jack: Your best isn't going to do it, Tom. You're going to need to do somebody else's best.

    • Tom: Kim, you're twenty years-old, right?
      Kim: Uh huh.
      Tom: Well, just 'cause I'm a little responsible for you tonight, I wanted to tell you that the legal drinking age in California is twenty-one.
      Kim: What's the age for taking you back to my hotel room and dancing for you?
      Simon: Eighteen.
      Tom: Thank you.

    • Cal: There's a loose poisonous snake in the theater?!
      Tom: What?
      Cal: (reassuring) Nothing. It's slang.

    • Beevo: Cal, I can go to my place, get him, be back here in 45 minutes, this will all be over.
      Cal: Alright, alright get the coyote, to get the ferret, that was sent after the snake, but Beevo here's my question just so I know.
      Beevo: Yeah?
      Cal: What goes in after the coyote?

    • Jordan: When did it happen?
      Danny: What?
      Jordan: When did you, you know...
      Danny: Fall in love with you?
      Jordan: You're not in love with me, so stop saying that.
      Danny: I'll be in charge of whom I'm love with... if that's okay?
      Jordan: It's not okay.
      Danny: Then call the cops.
      Jordan: When did you decide this?
      Danny: It's not a decision... you're not buying a snow blower.
      Jordan: So, when did you...
      Danny: The first time I met you.
      Jordan: The first time you met me, you hated me. You didn't trust me, you thought I was a network bitch, you thought I was blackmailing you.
      Danny: You proved me wrong.
      Jordan: So your only recourse was to fall in love with me?
      Danny: Ironic.

    • Jordan: How are we going to get down? Is there a way to climb down the wall?
      Danny: I think I left my bat-rope in the office.
      Jordan: Well, think of something.

    • Tom: Let's talk about you and the viola.
      Kim: Let's talk about you and your cute ass.

    • Tom: But I have a date Thursday night.
      Jack: A date with destiny Tom.
      Tom: No, a date with Lucy Kenwright

    • Jordan: Anything?
      Danny: No service.
      Jordan: No service.
      Danny: No service
      Jordan: No service.
      Danny: ...and no service. You know what, maybe my the wireless company should take a quick break from putting movies to my phone and spend a little time seeing to that I can make phone calls with my phone.

    • Harriet: Gentlemen. Which one of you two would like to escort me to our table?
      Cody Kyle: I call it.
      Matt: ...huh...
      Harriet: Sorry Matthew, he called it.

  • NOTES (1)

    • On the 2/7/07 episode of "Last Call with Carson Daly", guest Timothy Busfield was asked if there was ever any problems with playing Studio 60's director during episodes in which he himself was directing. He mentioned one shot during the filming of this episode in which (as Tim) he said "Action" to begin the scene, but at one point within the scene when (as Cal) he said "Cut!" as a line in the script everyone broke character and started to talk among themselves.


    • Simon: (to Darius) Well, go back to your table, Amos.

      Simon is referring to Amos 'n' Andy, a comedic radio show from the 1930s and 40s about a pair of African Americans. It later became a TV show of the same name that ran from 1951 to 1953.

    • Harriet: Save me, save the world.

      This line and the following conversation with Masi Oka about superpowers are references to the NBC show, Heroes, starring Masi Oka among others. It is about a group of people who have to deal with newly discovered superpowers. Hero's tag line is, "Save the cheerleader, save the world." Harriet is dressed as a cheerleader when she says her line.

    • Jordan: How are we going to get down? Is there a way to climb down the wall?
      Danny: I think I left my batrope in the office.

      Danny is alluding to the popular comic book character Batman who utilized a batrope to swing amongst the buildings of Gotham City.