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September 2, 2014

NewsRadio: Big Day

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 8th 2006 8:00PM

NewsRadio(S01E05) This episode has one of my favorite scenes of any sitcom ever. It's a scene that probably wasn't even that funny on paper, but Phil Hartman makes hysterical.

The plot: while Jimmy gives Dave the task of deciding who gets what bonus this year (and who gets "the shaft" - nothing), Bill has to contend with fellow employees leaving food and drink on his desk.

Jimmy has a lot of odd rules for the bonuses though. Some people get $300, one person gets nothing, and one person gets the "big bonus," which is $3000. Bill usually gets it every year, but this year he tells Dave to tell Jimmy (Bill doesn't know Dave is the one handing out bonuses this year) that he needs more than the usual $3000. Meanwhile, Matthew tries to act all busy so it looks to Jimmy like he's a hard worker. Matthew doesn't know that Dave is handing out the bonuses either, and tells Dave not to tell Jimmy that he always "comes in later and leaves early."

Lisa is sure, because she's dating Dave, that she's getting the big bonus. Dave tells her that might not be true, and that wouldn't look right. Beth, meanwhile, is making lewd jokes about Dave giving Lisa "the big bonus" every night, and maybe even "the shaft."

Dave calls a meeting, where everyone is either campaigning to get the big bonus or begging not to get the shaft for the fourth time (Matthew). Catherine comes out of the booth and Dave wants her in the meeting. He wants to know what she thinks of the big bonus situation. Catherine says she doesn't have an opinion, so Dave gives her the big bonus. The others are flabbergasted, and when Dave leaves, Bill tells her that she can drop the act. Catherine says "I'm sorry gang...I guess you just have to know how to play the game!" Catherine gets the $3000, everyone else gets $300.

At the end, of course, Jimmy tells Dave to give Beth an extra $150, Lisa another big bonus, and Joe a little more. When Dave asks Jimmy if there are any bonus decisions he made that he actually agrees with, Jimmy agrees with the one Dave gave himself: the shaft.

(Oh, that scene I mentioned. Bill is trying to explain to Dave that someone keeps leaving food and drink on his desk. Phil Hartman is brilliant in this scene, alternating between paranoia, insanity, and insecurity. Good direction and editing too, as Dave and Bill walk around the office and food keeps getting left on Bill's desk just off camera. Very funny.)

Quotes:

"It's like some cruel magic trick!" - Bill, after showing Dave the food and drink that just seems to appear on his desk all day long.

"You're very sly, but so am I." - Bill, about the guy he doesn't recognize who is walking near his desk.

"Jeez, Beth, were you raised by truckers?" - Dave, to Beth, about her sexual comments regarding the words "big bonus" and "shaft."

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