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Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Season 1 Episode 14

The Harriet Dinner (2)

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Feb 05, 2007 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
231 votes

By TV.com 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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  • Too cute.

    Watching a show on DVD, knowing it has been cancelled, you look out for signs of what went wrong, especially if you're a fan of the creator's previous hit, The West Wing.

    Though I enjoy the series, I can see why it didn't work. It couldn't make up its mind about it wanted to be. This episode supplies enough proof of that. The romantic scenes never really work. The relationship between Danny and Jordan seems contrived, the one between Matt and Harriet is just plain irritating. I couldn't believe either. What's more, they diverted your attention from the bigger themes of the show. (In the West Wing they came about a lot more realistically. The Matt-Harriet relationship seems to be an excuse for discussions about left and right.)

    The subtle balance between drama and comedy that West Wing achieved at times, is completely missing here. The snake escaping under the floor and all of its consequences, that quickly becomes absurd. Jordan throwing away the stone that contained the key, that's straight from 'I Love Lucy'. And who couldn't see the painful meeting of Tom and Lucy at the dinner coming?

    A big story line is the attempt to keep the Chinese businessman as an investor, with his daughter throwing herself at Tom. This is pure screwball comedy, ... with a Capra-esk ending. It turns out the businessman spoke English all along. He understands the good intentions of the staff of Studio 60 and its network, and is willing to take a chance. A nice feeling to end the episode with. Too cute, not enough bite.moreless
  • He speaks English... knew that was coming.

    Better than the previous episode but not up to their usual standards. Kim acting like a drunk teenager was getting annoying. Steven Weber was great. We need more of him and Ed Asner together. Jordan and Danny was starting to get old until they were rescued. Her faking him out was a nice change of pace.
  • I would watch it again and again and again!

    Great episode! One of the best really. Jordan and Danny were still stuck on the roof for the whole episode. Their dialog up there was great, the writers of this show are very creative, I love them! At the end Jordan confessed to Danny that she was crazy about him with a little note, and then he went after her and the kissed. Very sweet moment right there, loved it. Matt and Harriet were pretty much fighting all the way through the episode. It made me sad really because you can totally tell they're in love. Those two actors have great chemestry. Those were my two favorite storylines really, but all of them were very good and got my interest. Great episode!moreless
  • An interesting installment made me really wonder about Harriet; a new view of her personality.

    OK I have to ask Harriet one thing. Did she really all true for words love Matt? Because if she really did she would know that Matt, the guy who hates hypocrisy, would not lie about love. I mean jeez woman. Now she is an example of why men think that women are complete mysteries. OK I understand that how he tried to tell her that he really loved her again was not necessarily the best way but its the thought that counts. Its as though she doesn't think about how anything affects him but rather on how it affects her and only her. It seems that though out the relationship she thinks that its just about her. In fact I feel sorry for Matt and I hope that the Writers give him a new gf.moreless
  • A predictable, and very disappointing, end to the chase

    This is effectively the final part of a long arc that deals with the evolution of Danny’s relationship with Jordan and the concurrent breakdown of Matt’s relationship with Harriet. While the changes in one relationship make sense, given the situation and the characters involved, the other plot thread seems almost inexplicable. The result is an unsatisfying hour that does not bode well for the future of the series.

    Bradley Whitford is very good at playing arrogant authoritative characters, as his stint on “West Wing” clearly indicates. His long relationship with Donna was marked by a seemingly unending string of comments regarding his superiority and a sense of entitlement a mile long. That’s not to say that the crazy kids weren’t meant for each other. It just means that we’re used to seeing Whitford play the role rather well, and there’s a simply basis for comparison.

    The difference in this case is an important detail. Josh was Donna’s superior, which meant that there was no relationship until they were working for other people and conflicts of interest were resolved. Now, Whitford plays the subordinate, even if he’s a highly paid executive producer. Jordan is his boss, and as she deftly points out, there are issues involved with any potential relationship.

    Jordan actually outlines a long list of reasons why the relationship should never, ever happen, Those particular reasons are still valid by the end of the episode. Nothing Danny says is a good counter-argument to the massive amount of trouble that any relationship between them would create. And more to the point, Danny doesn’t seem all that sincere in his repentant about his methods, which crossed the line. (Yes, he apologized, but it had gone beyond that point.)

    So when Jordan chose to reveal her own interest in Danny at the end of the episode, it doesn’t feel earned. In fact, it seems deeply contradictory to everything leading up to that point. Either we’re meant to believe that Danny won her over through persistence, or that Jordan was testing Danny all along. None of that makes the relationship particularly healthy.

    At least Harriet managed to give Matt the crushing blow to his ego that he so desperately deserved. Matt may have a number of good qualities, but they seldom seem to come out where Harriet becomes involved. This should be interesting because Matt is creatively driven by his unusual relationship with Harriet. So long as he’s struggling to win her heart and respect, he pushes himself. With none of that hope remaining at this point, just how will his ability to write for the show be affected?

    Three other subplots get a sense of resolution before the end. Perhaps the most important is Jack’s attempt to use Kim to get something from her father. After some amusing complications in the previous episode, this falls apart well before the end. The only moment remotely satisfying was the revelation that Kim’s father could speak English. Otherwise, Jack manages to win without really earning it. In that respect, it’s very similar to Danny’s win with Jordan. (Even Tom manages to win with Lucy in a spectacularly unlikely manner.)

    Simon’s issue with Darius gets some minor clarification, but it still feels like Sorkin and the rest of the writing staff tried to tell a story without actually bringing up the topic at the center of the story. I’m also still wondering why Simon needed to be such a massive jerk while making his point, and while Darius thought it was acceptable to be treated so badly. Simon may have had a point, and might have been feeling responsible for getting Darius to step up, but something organic was missing from the execution.

    The final subplot is Cal’s attempt to hide the truth about the snake, ferret, and coyote. While there are some funny moments here and there, especially when Cal starts saying anything off the top of his head. But like the subplot with Kim, it seemed to fizzle out by the end. It led to an interesting enough montage at the end, with an odd song choice (another Christmas selection?), but when the credits finally rolled, it was all less than satisfying.moreless
Columbus Short

Columbus Short

Darius Hawthorne

Guest Star

Raymond Ma

Raymond Ma

Zhang Tao

Guest Star

Casey Sander

Casey Sander


Guest Star

Ayda Field

Ayda Field

Jeannie Whatley

Recurring Role

Julia Ling

Julia Ling

Kim Tao

Recurring Role

Lucy Davis

Lucy Davis

Lucy Kenwright

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • We first find out in this episode that Jack and his wife have separated. This is a new development since she was at the Wrap Party with him, in the episode of the same title.

    • Simon not only knows the drink that Jack refers to (to give to Kim), he even has some in his room. Except that Lucy points out that it is a hangover cure, and will only make someone who is drunk even more drunk.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Jordan: You've never been turned down by a woman before?
      Danny: Not this many times in one night by the same person, no.

    • Cal: Fine! I'm gonna bring in a crew, we're gonna rip up the floor, and when I find these animals...I'm gonna cook 'em, and I'm gonna eat 'em

    • Jack: I wouldn't be too hard on her.
      Tao: No, her mother will take care of that.
      Jack: (pause) You speak English?
      Tao: I speak a few words.
      Jack: How many words?
      Tao: All of them.
      Jack: Why do you pretend you can't speak English?
      Tao: It's fun.
      Jack: (in disbelief) It's fun?! Yeah, I mean... I guess it would be.
      Tao: Considering how much you needed me can you think of a way you could've screwed this up worse.
      Jack: No sir. But I'll tell you what, your daughter's not going to quit the viola - you didn't raise an idiot - but you might consider getting up off her ass for a short time, you commie prick. Did you understand all those words?
      Tao: I did.
      Jack: I know you and the missus think she's going to thank you one day but I think it's going to be in your sleep. Tell her she can take the semester off. She'll go back to school.
      Tao: (after a pause) Alright.
      Jack: Alright. What?
      Tao: You'll hire the best outside counsel?
      Jack: What are you talking about?
      Tao: You'll hire the best outside counsel and the best PR firm?
      Jack: Uh... of course.
      Tao: Then I'm on board. Did you understand all those words?

    • Wendy: What's "Dolphin Girl"?
      Matt: Harriet has a voice that's funny. I don't know how she does it, really - she makes it come out of her socks.

    • Jordan: Don't ever make fun of my magic tricks.

    • Simon: What hotel's she staying at?
      Tom: She met me here! I don't know what hotel she's staying at!
      Simon: Won't Jack know?
      Tom: Jack will know! I'm going to go find Jack... who will kill me with his thumbs.

    • (Kim, mid-conversation, passes out drunk)
      Simon: It was probably the tequila.
      Tom: Thanks, Hawkeye.

    • Cal: Yes... A snake got loose.
      Danny: How many hours ago?
      Cal: Tuesday.

    • Danny: I wasn't gonna lose interest in four months.
      Jordan: How do you know?
      Danny: Because I do. I don't feel sorry for you, I'm not on a sobriety high, I just want to be with you. What am I writing with?
      Jordan: My eyeliner, Chanel Sable.
      Danny: Been locked up on a roof for four hours with a deadly viper at large and it's the best night of my life because I was with you. I wasn't gonna lose interest in four months.

    • Matt: I'll tell you what I think is happening. I think you can't walk away so you're burning down the house.
      Harriet: Yes.
      Matt: All the times I said 'I Love You', all of those times, you think I was lying?
      Harriet: Yeah.
      Matt: Well that's disappointing.

    • After telling Simon to walk around with the passed-out Kim and pretend to be talking.
      Tom: I'll go find Jack.
      Simon: Great, I'll do select scenes from Weekend At Bernies.

    • Wendy: (about Danny) He's paid to worry.

    • Jack: How you doing Kim?
      Kim: I want Tom to take his pants off.
      Jack: Life's full of disappointments, that would probably be one of them.

    • Jack: (about Kim) She's twenty years old Tom.
      Tom: She's Courtney Love, Jack.

    • Nona Pruitt: This is a problem, Mr. Shanley.
      Cal: I know that, Ms. Pruitt. I have the 'axis of evil' animal kingdom in there.

    • Danny: You can reject me or you can be jealous of me, you can't do both.

    • Matt: I never cared that you were a wackjob.
      Harriet: I can't believe I haven't shown more gratitude for that.

  • NOTES (1)


    • Simon: Great, I'll do select scenes from Weekend at Bernie's.

      That was a 1989 film starring Andrew McCarthey as one of two employees trying to pass their murdered boss off as alive by walking with him, propping him up, etc. throughout the party weekend.

    • Tom: Thanks, Hawkeye.

      Hawkeye is a character from M*A*S*H a popular 70s tv show. Hawkeye, played by Alan Alda, was a surgeon at MASH 4077th, Korea.