Sports Night/How Are Things in Glocca Morra?

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How Are Things in Glocca Morra?
Season 1, Episode 17
Airdate March 9, 1999
Production Number N-317
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Marc Buckland
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The Sword of Orion
Sports NightSeason One

How Are Things in Glocca Morra? is the seventeenth episode of the first season of Sports Night.

When the show is unexpectedly delayed, Jeremy writes a letter to his sister, and Casey shares a secret with Dan. Gordon gives Dana a relationship ultimatum, and her decision surprises everyone, especially Casey.

Starring: Josh Charles (Dan Rydell), Peter Krause (Casey McCall), Felicity Huffman (Dana Whitaker), Joshua Malina (Jeremy Goodwin), Sabrina Lloyd (Natalie Hurley) and Robert Guillaume (Isaac Jaffe (credit only))

Guest Starring: Kayla Blake (Kim), Greg Baker (Elliott), Ted McGinley (Gordon), Teri Polo (Rebecca), Brenda Strong (Sally), Jeff Mooring (Dave), Ron Ostrow (Will), Timothy Davis-Reed (Chris)

Co-Starring: Suzanne Kellogg (Alyson)


Plot Overview

A few minutes to showtime, and something is not going according to schedule. CSC is airing a live tennis match between top-ranked Pete Sampras and an unknown named Alberto Fedrigotti. Sampras was supposed to have won easily, but Fedrigotti is staying competitive. The broadcast can't begin until the match is over, and the possibly delay has everyone on edge.

In the studio, Dan senses a change in Casey's mood, but Casey refuses to talk about it. When Fedrigotti forces Sampras into a fourth set, Dana takes it personally. She had a date with Gordon tonight, and calls to let him know that the show will be delayed "a half-hour, tops." Jeremy takes advantage of the free time, turning down an invitation to go make out with Natalie to write a letter to his sister Louise.

Jeremy writes that Dan has been on two dates with Rebecca, but baggage from her previous relationship has been getting in the way. When Dan and Casey return to their office, they find Rebecca waiting. She's upset because Dan still hasn't broken off his relationship with Elaine, the woman he was seeing before her. Dan promises to do it, but begs off doing it now because everyone's "in pre-show mode" and can't be distracted. Dana chooses that moment to pop in and invite them to play garbage can basketball.

While most of the staff enjoy their game, Jeremy writes his letter and watches the tennis match. Fedrigotti breaks Sampras' serve, which will likely send the match into a fifth set. Dana, who was supposed to go out with Gordon and his friends after the show, tries to call him at his office, but he's already left.

Natalie tries to tell Dana that Gordon will understand if she has to cancel, but Dana knows that her committment to her job annoys Gordon. Natalie suggests handing over the reins for tonight's show to Sally, the West Coast Update producer, which Dana flatly rejects. Natalie wonders if Dana would be so dismissive if the decision didn't benefit Sally. Gordon has arrived, and he's not happy that the show is delayed.

Sally walks in at that moment, and pretends not to know Gordon when Dana introduces them. Casey, watching from his office, shuts the door and spills his concerns to Dan: Gordon has slept with Sally, and Casey hasn't told Dana because he would have to admit that he also slept with Sally. While Dan ponders this, Jeremy tells them that Dana is considering dumping the show to Sally. Casey's positive she won't do it. He also tells Dan to keep the situation a secret.

Rebecca is hanging around the studio when Dan walks by. He tells her that he's left a message for Elaine, and Rebecca appreciates his honesty. Dan asks Rebecca to stick around for the show as he goes to an impromptu meeting in the conference room. As he walks away, he stops and turns back. Thinking of Dana and Gordon (and Sally), he promises Rebecca that he'd "never make a fool" out of her.

Outside the conference room, Gordon is lecturing Dana on the delay. Seeing him, Dan walks angrily into the conference room and makes a crude joke to Sally. Dana admits that while there's no technial reason why Sally can't take over, she takes pride in her work. Gordon implies an ultimatum: either Dana gives him "a sign," or...

After an agonizing moment, Dana enters the conference room and gives Sally the reins. In his letter to Louise, Jeremy wonders how Dana could discredit herself like that for any man, and remarks how crestfallen Casey looked at the news. Fedrigotti eventually loses the match, and Rebecca is very excited to stay and watch the broadcast. Casey glumly watches Gordon escort Dana out to dinner.


Arc Advancement


  • Gordon gives Dana an ultimatum to start putting the relationship first, or he implies he will break up with her. Dana gives in, and allows Sally to run the show for an evening.
  • Casey tells Dan what he knows about Gordon and Sally's liason, but tells Dan to keep the secret.


  • Jeremy and his sister are worried about relationship trouble between their parents.
  • In this episode, Dana's fear of being alone (that is, of Gordon dumping her) overcomes the love of her work.
  • Casey is forced to realize that he doesn't know Dana as well as he thought.


  • Jeremy wrote a letter to his sister in 1x07.
  • In 1x08, Dana also reacted badly when circumstances beyond her control disrupted the show.
  • Casey learned about Gordon and Sally's liason last episode.


The Show

  • This episode, in which Pete Sampras finds unexpected competition in an unknown (fictional) opponent, uses footage of Sampras v. Paul Goldstein, a real match from the 1998 US Open, where Goldstein unexpectedly took Sampras to a fourth set.

Behind the Scenes

  • Because of Robert Guillaume's stroke in January 1999, Isaac does not appear in this episode, and is mostly absent for the rest of this season's episodes. His name remains in the credits during his absence.
  • The original script for this episode was re-written following Guillaume's stroke. This episode's title comes from one of Isaac's original scenes, where he tries to remember which Broadway musical featured the song "How Are Things In Glocca Morra?" The scene is reused in 2x15.
  • The scene in which most of the crew plays garbage can basketball was shot with a handheld camera. It appears to be one continuous take, but it is actually three shots edited together.

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments

  • Natalie anticipates Dana's instructions.
  • Natalie invites Jeremy, then Dana, to make out.
  • Dan's quick thinking when Rebecca gives him a message from Elaine.
  • Casey tells Dan about Gordon and Sally.
  • Dana's anguished face when Gordon forces her to choose.


  • Recurring line: This guy won't die!
  • Jeremy: (voiceover re: a live tennis match) The crowd filed out to the parking lot a half-hour ago. The match was over. Except nobody told Alberto Fedrigotti.
  • Dana: (re: Fedrigotti) Can you believe this guy is doing this to me?
    Jeremy: I don't think it's personal, Dana.
    Dana: Oh it is personal, Jeremy.
    Natalie: Don't worry, my Pete's gonna take care of him.
    Jeremy: Your Pete?
    Natalie: Pete Sampras has a little crush on me.
    Jeremy: Really?
    Natalie: Yeah.
    Jeremy: In Natalie World or the actual--
    Natalie: In Natalie World.
  • Dana: Alberto Fedrigotti just took Sampras to a fourth set!
    Casey: Oh, why would he do this to me?
    Dana: He's not doing it to you personally, Casey, he's doing it to me personally.
  • Natalie: Wanna get a doughnut?
    Jeremy: I was gonna stay and write a letter to Louise.
    Natalie: Ah. (pause) You wanna go someplace and make out?
  • Dana: Natalie!
    Natalie: Yeah.
    Dana: I have nothing to do.
    Natalie: Wanna go with me to get a doughnut?
    Dana: Mmmm... nah.
    Natalie: You wanna go someplace and make out?
  • Dan: Is this one of those times when you say you don't want to talk about it but you really do?
    Casey: No, but it's shaping up into one of those times when I say I don't want to talk about it but we end up talking about it anyway.
  • (Rebecca wants Dan to break up with a woman via phone, right now.)
    Dan: Here's the thing. I would do it right now. I would do it right this second. But I'm in sort of a pre-show mode. It's a very delicate energy, and it can't be tampered with. All anyone here is thinking about is the broadcast.
    Dana: (entering) Guys! A little garbage can basketball?
    Rebecca: Dan's in pre-show mode.
    Dana: (giggles) That's a good one.
  • Jeremy: (voiceover) Everyone's assuming that Sampras'll finish off this guy in just a few minutes. But there's a look on Sampras's face now that you have to be around sports long enough to recognize. He's the greatest player in the world and he's been on the court with this guy way too long.
  • Dana: And you know what's happening tonight? The world in which I'm confident, is running right smack into the world in which I'm not.
  • Jeremy: (voiceover) While West Coast Update may be considered the ugly step-sister around here, Sally Sasser is considered anything but. And it hasn't escaped Dana's notice that Sally's looks haven't escaped Casey's.
  • Gordon: Natalie can't do the show?
    Natalie: I didn't prep it.
    Dana: She didn't prep it.
    Gordon: But, I mean, at this point isn't it just calling out numbers from a script?
    Natalie: (sharply) You produce a lot of live television at the District Attorney's office?
  • Dan: Hey Sally, you must've slept with this guy Fedrigotti. How long you think he can keep at this?
    Sally: (mock surprise) I was just thinking, it's been such a long time since Dan said something charming to me, and then there it was.
  • Dana: I'm saying this is my show. This isn't my hobby. And I'd appreciate it if you didn't come in here and try to broker deals between Sally and me!
    Gordon: I need to get something from you, Dana. I need a sign. I thought you wanted a life! (pause) I need you to give me something, or...
    Dana: What? Or what?
  • Jeremy: (voiceover) I'll never get it, Louise. I understand what makes a woman think that any man is better then nothing, I'll just never understand what makes a woman think she's got nothing.
  • Jeremy: (voiceover) All right, ready for the lecture now? Under no circumstances are you to leave school. End of lecture, there will be a test on that material.