Season 3 Episode 22

Going Limp

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM May 01, 1990 on ABC

Episode Recap

Ellyn comes to DAA with a request for them to film a public service announcement for the city's new promotional campaign. Elliot pleads with Michael to give him the job of directing it, and Mike agrees. At a meeting with City Hall officials, Elliot's presentation strikes many of them as too far-out, but Michael assures Ellyn things will be OK. Elliot impresses Mike by obtaining the services of the well-known actor Ron DeLisle, a Philadelphia native, for $7500, but one of the City Hall people complains to Miles about a lack of confidence in Elliot. Miles reminds Michael that this project is his responsibility. Ellyn confides in Mike that she thinks the upcoming shoot looks like a "train wreck." Michael reassures her, but alone, he repeats her assessment: it's a train wreck. Even Nancy is getting apprehensive about Elliot's ability to do the job. The night before shooting starts, Ethan asks his dad what a director does. When Elliot fumbles through an explanation, his self-confidence seems to be rapidly disappearing and he spends a restless night trying to sleep.

Arriving on the set in the early morning, Elliot tells Mike "I can't do it!" Michael tries to settle him down. With friends and relatives watching and an impatient Ron and his entourage waiting, Elliot stumbles through a morning of shooting. At the lunch break the director of photography tells Michael they got "nothing" out of the morning's work. Ellyn is pressing Michael for results and Michael is worried because the filming is running overtime. After Elliot finally gets a usable shot, the police come to close down the set. A disgusted Ron and company leave. Miles ask Michael for assurance. Elliot and Michael know they're in big trouble. That night Elliot comes home drunk, telling Nancy that everyone knows he's screwing up. She tries to reassure him.

The next day Michael arrives early at Elliot's house, intent on tightening things up on the shoot, but Elliot balks at any supervision. Finally the filming of Ron's segment begins. After dozens and dozens of takes Elliot is still not satisfied. Ron, who was already testy to begin with, finally unloads on Elliot, upbraiding him in front of everyone, including Ethan. After pleading with him, Ron agrees to do one more take for Elliot, but promises this is the last one. Ron goes through the dialog and there's a dramatic pause before Elliot finally says "print." At DAA the finished version of the PSA is shown and it draws applause from Eliot's co-workers. Miles pronounces it "a superior though deeply flawed piece of work

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