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October 6, 2015

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Sports Night: Napoleon's Battle Plan

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 2nd 2006 2:40PM

Sports Night(S01E22) This is one of the more soap opera-ish of the Sports Night episodes, because it deals with relationships and secrets and who's sleeping with who and who knows and who doesn't know and will they find out. But it doesn't feel lie it, because it's still Sports Night, and that means it's still funny and smart and well done.

Gordon proposes to Dana, who has accepted, and this ticks off Casey, who knows that Gordon slept with Sally. But he can't tell Dana because then she'll find out that he too slept with Sally. Casey says he's just going to follow "Napoleon's Battle Plan" and just see what happens. Dan isn't sure if this is such a good idea, and has a plan of his own.

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Sports Night: Ordnance Tactics

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 31st 2006 9:16PM

Sports Night(S01E20) While Isaac continues to recover from his stroke in the hospital, Dana is in charge, and the network execs are putting a lot of pressure on her. Meanwhile, Rebecca might want to go back to hubby Steve, which doesn't please Dan too much, and Jeremy wants to break up with Natalie, because there are way too many things happening right now, including his parents breaking up.

Oh, and there's a bomb threat called in to the building.

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Sports Night: Eli's Coming

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 31st 2006 6:37PM

Robert Guilliaume(S01E19) It must be hard as hell to do an episode of a show where something bad happens to one of the characters that actually happened to the actor in real life. In this episode, we find out that Isaac had a stroke after returning from a vacation. Actor Robert Guillaume had a stroke in real-life too. It's a tricky thing for a show to write in a real-life incident into a show, but because of the way this show is structured - a seamless blend of comedy and drama - it actually works.

Before they find out about Isaac, the staff is getting ready for special March Madness coverage. They're working on a Saturday, Bobbi Berstein is coming in to co-anchor (which thrills Dan, since she still thinks they slept together in Spain), and Dan is wondering why Rebecca's ex-husband Steve is in her office. On a Saturday. He thinks it's like "Eli's Coming," the classic Three Dog Night song, that something bad is about to happen. But as Casey reminds him, the song isn't about that, it's about a womanizer. No matter, Dan still thinks it's going to be a bad day.

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Sports Night: The Sword of Orion

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 30th 2006 7:17PM

Josh Charles and Teri Polo(S01E18) At this point, the show is rather complex, with many storylines going on and continuing from episode to episode. There's even a "previously on Sports Night" clip at the beginning, though it's kinda odd. They show a scene with Jeremy telling Natalie that his parents are getting divorced, but I don't remember that from a previous episode.

Jeremy is going to see his parents about the divorce, and Natalie is upset because he hasn't called her in a few days. Meanwhile, Dan is trying desperately to get Rebecca interested in baseball.

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Sports Night: How Are Things In Glocca Morra?

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 28th 2006 7:01PM

Josh Malina(S01E17) Basically, it's all Pete Sampras' fault.

That's what everyone thinks in this, one of my favorite episodes. Pete Sampras is in the middle of a U.S. Open match with a guy he should be beating easily, but the nobody is actually making a comeback against the world's #1 player, which means that Sports Night is delayed (side note: I'd love to find out how CSC got the rights to the U.S. Open). It also means that Dana might have to cancel her date with Gordon, Rebecca won't be able to see her first live broadcast of the show, and Dana might have to hand the show over to Sally's 2am show.

But it gives Jeremy time to write a letter to his sister Louise, who's in college but is thinking about quitting because of boyfriend problems.

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Sports Night: Sally

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 26th 2006 9:30PM

Ted McGinley(S01E16) This episode has one of the great surprise lines in sitcom history (in my opinion anyway, don't want to oversell it).

While Dana is upset that Gordon stood her up last night and Jewish Jeremy is freaking out that he has to spend three days with Natalie's Catholic family, Casey talks to Dan about a shirt of his that's missing, and Dan figures out how and why this particular shirt is missing.

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Sports Night : Dana and the Deep Blue Sea

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 24th 2006 11:03PM

(S01E15) Felicity Huffman - Sports NightWhile Dan tries to get help - from Casey, Jeremy, or anyone, really - on how to go about winning over Rebecca, a nervous Dana agrees to go snorkeling with boyfriend Gordon, even though fish completely freak her out.

I feel the same about the fuzz on peaches. Sends shivers down my spine.

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Sports Night: Rebecca

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 19th 2006 9:33PM
Josh Charles and Teri Polo(S01E14) While Dan and Dana are having relationship problems (Dan isn't sure if he should ask out a woman that Natalie introduced him to in the elevator and Dana is worried that Gordon is going to break up with her because she works too much), Isaac is upset about a Wall Street Journal article that says that station owner Luther Sachs isn't too happy with him (stemming from that on-air defense of the football players a few episodes earlier) and isn't sure if he can trust J.J., Luther's go-between.

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Sports Night: Small Town

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 17th 2006 8:23PM

Sports Night(S01E13) This isn't the "funniest" episode of Sports Night (and I think I sense them using the laugh track less here), but it's a truly solid episode, because it tells a lot about the characters, strengthens the relationships they all have, and has three different plots that work seperately but also work off of each other too.

Casey and Dana have a night off on the same night, so they decide to double date: Casey will be with on a blind date with a lawyer (Lisa, with an "S" but pronounced Liza), and Casey will be with Gordon. Neither Casey nor Dana really want to go on the date (they think they'll be too uncomfortable), but Isaac won't let them work that night just because a trade "may" happen.

Meanwhile, Natalie is in charge for the night, and Dan has to deal with a substitute anchor who insists they slept together in Spain a few years earlier and he never called her afterward. Dan says she's a nut.

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Sports Night: Smoky

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 13th 2006 7:15PM

(S01E12) Sports Night castIsaac knows that one day he won't be in charge at the show forever (especially after embarrassing him by supporting the college players in the last episode) , so he wants to groom Dana to take over someday. But she doesn't even want to talk about it. He wants her to come to the monthly executive meetings, but she doesn't want to. He tells her not to tell anyone what they've talked about.

She immediately tells Natalie.

Meanwhile, Dan thinks it's time to get Casey back into the dating scene.

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Sports Night: Shoe Money Tonight

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 3rd 2006 8:30PM

Brenda Strong(S01E10) The two anchors that do the 2am West Coast update are stuck in Pittsburgh because of a snowstorm, which means Dan and Casey have to give up their night in Atlantic City to do the show. So they put together a staff poker game.

Meanwhile, Natalie is mad at Jeremy for ditching her the other night and playing tennis with a movie star, and she plans on making him pay when they play poker. Dana confronts Sally about the way she's going to produce the 2am update, and Isaac thinks he's shrinking.

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Sports Night: The Quality of Mercy at 29K

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 27th 2006 8:45PM

Josh Charles(S01E09) While the Sports Night team readies for special 2am coverage of a climber's assault on Mt. Everest (not sure if ESPN would break in for that), Jeremy and Natalie come to terms with their growing relationship, Dan tries to figure out what charity to give his money to, and Dana plans to bring her niece to see The Lion King on Broadway.

Of course, she thinks she can get tickets the same day of the show. She calls and the guy just laughs at her and hangs up.

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Sports Night: Dear Louise

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 13th 2006 8:00PM
Josh Malina(S01E07) This episode introduces a tactic that Aaron Sorkin also used on The West Wing, an episode that's framed around having a character write a letter to a family member, explaining what they do and what's going on that week at their job and in their personal life. On The West Wing, the episode had many characters (C.J., Josh, Sam) writing e-mails to family members. In this episode of Sports Night, Jeremy writes an e-mail to his deaf sister Louise, catching her (and viewers) up on what's going on at CSC.

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Sports Night: Mary Pat Shelby

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 29th 2006 8:44PM
Sabrina Lloyd(S01E05) I mentioned in another review that not many people mix comedy and drama as well as Aaron Sorkin does, and this is another good example. On another show, it would have been handled really badly (or not attempted at all).

CSC gets a big scoop when football player Christian Patrick agrees to be interviewed in the studio. Maybe after this interview, CSC won't be the number three network anymore...

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Sports Night: Intellectual Property

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 22nd 2006 7:57PM
Yeardley Smith(S01E04) Did you know that "Happy Birthday" is a copyright-protected song? Sing it on TV or the radio and you'll get a bill from the family of the two women who wrote it. Dan learns that lesson when he sings it on the air and a CSC business affairs woman informs him of how much money it's going to cost. Oh, and the business affairs woman is played by Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson!

While Dan deals with that, Casey deals with a giant fly that is buzzing around the studio. Trouble is, no one else has seen the fly and they think Casey is going loony, which has to be frustrating when you not only know the fly exists but you have to deal with the woman you like dating some Gordon.

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