Studio 60: How to Stalk Your Boss

In my last post about Studio 60, I complained about the way Danny declared his interest in Jordan. I didn’t think I’d need to again, it seemed like a clear cut case of ‘some man told her what she wants, and that’s how it’s going to be’. I know of at least a couple of women who did actually find that scene romantic, so apparently it’s not as out there as I personally believe. Whatever. I’d washed my hands of this relationship.

Until this week. They decided to make things worse by making Jordan sane, and turning Danny into a stalker. The show opened with Danny calling Jordan repeatedly. First to ask why she wasn’t at the cast party, she told him she was too tired, he asked her out and she told him she was going home for Christmas and then on vacation for two weeks. Then he called her again- on Christmas Eve- to ask her out and she reminded him that she was with her family. Calling again, she’s in St. Lucia, no she’s not back yet. Called again, she asks if he changed his number, he says yes because he figured she was using caller ID on him (she was). Calls again, she sends it to voicemail.

Then everyone’s back at work post-hiatus, and she’s still avoiding him. Jordan’s having problems at work- there’s about to be a lawsuit with the FCC, she hates reality TV and the new VP of ‘Alternative Programming’ appears to be gunning for her. And Danny STILL won’t let up. He gets the genius idea to flood her with letters of recommendation about how great he is, completely disregarding the fact that she has shown no interest, is avoiding him, and her job is in jeopardy. This wasn’t just some goofy idea where he gets his best friend to write up how fabulous he is, as Jordan reported to Matt when he asked if she’d gotten his letter:

“Yes I did. Along with 38 others including Martin Scorsese, Lauren Bacall, and Lord Dickenson the 3rd Earl of Kent.”

Danny has gone out of his way to contact people in the industry that Jordan needs respect from. (Well, except the Earl- that was just pompous.) She’s a young woman in a position of power, and having someone like Danny going around undermining her like this could do serious damage to her career- not to mention how childish and egotistical it is. No one who’s matured past the age of 15 thinks calling someone repeatedly and having other people tell them how awesome you are is a viable way to get them to date you. That’s what she tells Danny:

“You have to stop. This was embarrassing to me, Danny. Everyone you did this with now knows that…

This was unprofessional. You made me look silly at the worst possible time. The worst possible time. Between the two of us we have three marriages, a DUI, a cocaine addiction, and a baby by another man. And I’m your boss. You asked me out once, I said no, you asked me again- I said no, you asked me out again- I said no. Will you please stop?”

His response? “No.”

Then he just walks away, leaving Jordan speechless. Oh, he did say he was sorry for embarrassing her in the middle there, but the blatant disregard for everything else she said takes any value out of that apology.

Interesting fact- California, where this show takes place, was the first state to criminalize stalking. This is turning into a textbook case of it, and of sexual harassment. We already know Danny has an addictive personality, and this is what happens when you replace a substance with a person. Jordan has explicitly asked him to leave her alone. (I would have preferred it if she had told him rather than asking, but she still made herself clear.) In return he’s basically told her that he knows what she needs better than she does. No woman capable holding her job would put up with this kind of treatment, and I don’t think viewers should have to either.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    *scratches head*

    Okay, I know I shouldn’t be discussing Sorkin’s other work – this show should stand alone on its own merits or lacks thereof – but I can’t help noting some crazy similarities to Sports Night. And the temptation to armchair analyze Sorkin is just too strong for me. :P

    In Sports Night, Sorkin had another Danny who had issues with women. He desperately needed every woman he met to fall for him, so if one showed no interest, he couldn’t stop pursuing her. It was never very close to stalking – maybe harassment, but not quite stalking. Eventually, he realized just how deeply screwed up he was and sought therapy (while trying to delude himself into thinking he was dating the therapist, of course – she, thankfully, would have none of that).

    It sounds like maybe Sorkin’s trying to resurrect this old item and make it more dramatic without taking into account that “borderline harrassment + more drama!!! = felony stalking”. He should know better than that.

    Unless later episodes turn around and treat this as what it is and deal with it sensitively, which I wouldn’t hold my breath for.

  2. MaggieCat says

    From what I hear, it’s kind of impossible to only talk about one of Sorkin’s shows at a time- there’s even a thread on the TWoP forums about stuff that’s appeared on more than one show. That said, I can’t say much about his other work. I saw maybe half of 2 episodes each of TWW and SN, so the only thing other than this that I’m really familiar with is from the time I costumed a production of A Few Good Men.

    But I’ve heard from some WW and SN fans that AS seems to rely frequently on The Grand Gesture, as if there is no other way for A Man to prove he’s in love with someone. It took some effort to see that from a neutral POV since I personally hate The Grand Gesture- I think it’s a cheap and easy stunt although I can see the appeal from the “show, don’t tell” perspective of TV and movies. The problem is that if you keep using that idea and being forced to top yourself it’s eventually going to cross a line into “creepy and deranged”. Once Danny started putting Jordan’s professional reputation at risk he crossed that line.

    I was so shocked by this behavior (Danny was almost slightly manic when he got the idea for the letters) that I broke my ‘no spoilers ever’ rule to find out if I was going to have to retract everything next week (it’s supposed to be a 3-ep arc) and the internet rumour mill at least is making me feel pretty secure.

  3. Purtek says

    I only got around to watching this last night, and I was thinking about writing this exact rant on my blog. Two points I wanted to add:

    -when he apologizes for embarrassing her, it comes off as one of those “I’m sorry you were embarrassed” non-apologies, without really acknowledging that what he did was wrong at all, let alone the depths of wrong to which it truly dives (I yelled at my TV “How about apologizing for stalking her, dude???”)

    -I’m under the assumption that not only are we actually supposed to be on Danny’s side here and really feel this is romantic, but Jordan will be convinced of that very shortly (based on some of the previews). I’m glad she had a brain for one episode, but this may be the camel-breaking straw in terms of my being able to watch the show.

  4. says

    Hi MaggieCat,
    You said, We already know Danny has an addictive personality, and this is what happens when you replace a substance with a person.

    And that made me go “Hmmmm….”

    It’s really, truly scary, I agree, but I think could turn into one heck of a storyline if your analysis above is the way the show’s going to go. What if we’re supposed to be scared?
    Although I’ve spoken to some male friends, and they don’t see it as stalking. They see it more as The Grand Gesture that you reference in another comment.
    I have to disagree. I’m finding both Danny’s and Matt’s approach to relationships rather frightening.
    Ciao,
    Amy

  5. Jennifer Kesler says

    He does use grand gestures a lot, but in SN, they were at least fairly well backed up by actual, you know, connections people made to one another. Sounds like he’s off his rocker on this one.

  6. Jennifer Kesler says

    It’s been my experience that guys are far less likely to see “stalking” in a murky portrayal of TV romance than women are. Which may just mean that guys go with what the show appears to mean without taking questionable execution into account while women look at it more deeply.

    On the other hand, I think men and women sometimes just interpret these situations differently, because women go through their whole lives taking precautions against rape, and it’s just not on most men’s mental radar. But then, take that same guy who doesn’t think it’s stalking and ask him what he’d think if Jordan was his daughter…. ;)

  7. MaggieCat says

    Heh, I’ve used that strategy. ‘Okay, so you don’t see why she should be afraid? Now if it was me would you still think it was totally okay?’ It works more often than I ever thought it would.

    Amy Reads:
    You said, We already know Danny has an addictive personality, and this is what happens when you replace a substance with a person.

    And that made me go “Hmmmm….”

    It’s really, truly scary, I agree, but I think could turn into one heck of a storyline if your analysis above is the way the show’s going to go. What if we’re supposed to be scared?

    If this is what happens, I’ll apologize for alllll of the mean things I’ve said about this show, its writer, and the people I know who thought Danny was being romantic back in December with his “I’m coming for you” speech. That would be a damn good storyline. Unfortunately I really doubt it’ll be happening. Using Danny’s addictive personality as background, it means this behavior is in character and that character is scary and territorial. According to Sorkin, this is the ‘romantic comedy’ part of the season. One of these things is not like the other.

    Purtek
    His “I’m sorry I embarrassed you” does rival that non-apology to top all non-apologies ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’. I hate that.

    I just can’t believe this means I now have to keep watching this show. I already had to watch this episode twice because I’d hate to try and pull quotes from memory since I starting smacking my head against the end table during the last scene. There’s some sort of cognitive disconnect happening for me between what’s on screen vs. how it seems we’re supposed to feel about the characters. Not that my opinion matters. ;-)

  8. sbg says

    Maggie:

    His “I’m sorry I embarrassed you” does rival that non-apology to top all non-apologies ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’. I hate that.

    I’ve only liked that once, ever, and it was done in CSI. Can’t remember a thing about the episode, just the ending with Nick saying it. ;)

    For the record, I’m glad you’re making posts about this. I’d thought about trying Studio 60… because AS is sometimes pretty good. Now I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. Heh.

  9. MaggieCat says

    Ooh, I did love that line when it was used in CSI. But that detective was so far out of line assuming that kid was guilty that he was actually darn lucky he was right or he would have gotten sued, and Nick is never rude and was ‘actually’ right (exploring all possible suspects, even if you think you know who did it) as opposed to ‘technically’ right (okay so the kid did do it)… Well I just removed any lingering doubt that I am a huge CSI geek- at least through season 5/6. Heh.

    (For the extra geek points, that episode also guest starred an unrecognizable Wil Wheaton. Okay I’m done now. ;-))

    And thanks. The only reason I’m still watching S60 is that I still love almost all of the actors involved and keep hoping they’ll get material good enough for them. Every once in a while they get thrown a good bit (I still snicker when I remember the crack about guest host Jessica Simpson having to ad-lib to fill time so she wished for peace in the Midwest). That and it’s kind of turned into a grudge match.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>