Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip/The Disaster Show

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The Disaster Show
The Disaster Show
Season 1, Episode 17
Airdate May 24, 2007
Writer(s) Aaron Sorkin
Chad Gomez Creasey (story)
Dara Resnik Creasey (story)
Director(s) Thomas Schlamme
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Studio 60 on the Sunset StripSeason One

The Disaster Show is the seventeenth episode of the first season of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. When the prop and cue card guys go on strike, Cal is left with a show rife with sabotage and mechanical failure on his hands.

Guest Stars: Tamala Jones (Claire), Christine Adams (Stephanie), Lucy Davis (Lucy Kenwright), Shawn Michael Patrick (Gino), Ayda Field (Jeanie Whatley), Simon Helberg (Alex Dwyer), Nate Torrence (Dylan Killington), Camille Chen (Samantha Li), John Mahon (George), Austin Basis (Robby), Nick Nordella (Robbie Clark)

Uncredited: Allison Janney (Herself)


Plot Overview

It's the night of the show and the studio is in a panic because the local prop master's union walked out of contract negotiations to hold a wildcat strike. Because Danny implies that the prop people are easily replaceable, they've decided to hold him to that statement. Cal attempts to calm down the crew and show the cast where all of their stuff is without breaking any picket lines but accidentally breaks the table with all of the premade, laid out props on it. Not only that, the cue card guys are also striking because they're part of the prop master union as well.

To overcome the cue card problem, host Allison Janney is fitted with an earwig so that Cal can talk to her from the booth if necessary. Meanwhile, Simon's girlfriend Stephanie just dumped him in his dressing room after she "asked around" about him, meaning that she found out that he's never with one woman for much more than a month. He tries to talk to Harriet about his problem, but she quickly leaves to do a Nancy Grace cold opening. During the sketch, she takes a swig out of the cup on her desk and quickly spits it out when the "water" turns out to be grain alcohol. Backstage, Tom suggests that Simon go hit on one of the girls in the green room so that their plans for Hawaii won't be ruined.

The monologue goes poorly, as expected by Janney considering that she didn't have time to memorize it and there are no cue cards to go off of. She keeps making the mistake of thinking she's on Saturday Night Live instead of Studio 60, and eventually just dumps the monologue entirely in favor of not looking like more of a fool. During the commercial break, Cal gets word from Jack Rudolph and another person from the network that there was a credible bomb threat which is tied to a sketch about Mohammad. Jack suggests that they broadcast the dress rehearsal and evacuate the studio, but the dress wasn't recorded in the full spectrum of color.

But, the show must go on and Simon is still trolling the green room for a woman to take to Hawaii with him. There, he finds Claire, a girl who he had a date with but didn't call afterwards. After a long conversation about how he's a womanizer and bad news, she finally agrees with him. In the booth, Simon is called out to sign off on the bomb squad taking the dog around the studio to make sure there's no bomb in the studio. This will take about an hour, so if there is a bomb, it won't be found until the good nights.

Backstage, the relationship drama continues when Jeannie says that none of the cast is sure if they can take the "will they/won't they" relationship between Harriet and Matt, which Harriet takes offense to. In Simon's dressing room, Stephanie shows up to rescind their break-up and asks to go to Hawaii with him. And, they've discovered who phoned in the bomb threat in the first place and are in the process of tracking him down. Of course, Simon's attempts to rectify things blow up in his face when Claire slaps him for bailing on her and Stephanie finds out that he invited another woman while they were broken up.

Robbie Clark, the guy who made the bomb threat, comes back to the studio to pick up his cell phone and is arrested (along with his friend) for making a false threat. The two clearly are not criminal masterminds and admit to the threat being a joke. With that sorted out, Janney says her good nights as well as a long rant about how much of a disaster the show has been, but Cal cut her mic before any of it was broadcast.


Arc Advancement





The Show

  • M.I.A.: Neither Matthew Perry nor Bradley Whitford appear in this episode, though they are mentioned briefly. Ostensibly, Matt Albie was in the writer's room the entire time, and Danny Tripp was outside negotiating with the prop union. Also missing was Amanda Peet.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments