Summary of Mary Pat Shelby
Written by Bethany
When notorious star football player Christian Patrick agrees to a five minute interview on "Sports Night," Isaac and Dana are more than thrilled. They begin to promote the interview widely. Dana goes to tell Dan -- who is debating with crew members on whether or not to grow a goatee -- and he congratulates her when he finds out the interview will not be remote from the locker room, but actually in the studio. Dana then goes to find Natalie and brags about how this interview is going to bring the show up in the ratings, and assures Natalie that this is not something she would joke about. Natalie says Dana isn't usually inclined to joke about much of anything. Dana briefly worries that she doesn't have a sense of humor before telling Natalie to do a "pre-interview" with the star in the locker room a few hours before the show the following night.
The next day, as Dan tells Casey about famous men who have worn goatees, Dana comes in with the guidelines from Chris Patrick's lawyer and agent about that evening's interview. She tells Dan and Casey that they have a total of 5 min, 30 sec, and that Mary Pat Shelby, the former girlfriend of Chris Patrick's who he physically abused, is off limits. They can't ask any questions about her or their relationship. Casey protests, saying Dana got beat and they can't promote the heck out of the interview and then make it nothing but football stats; then they would be telling Mary Pat Shelby that "unless she can catch 80 passes in a season no one could honestly give a damn about her concussion and broken jaw." Dana argues that she doesn't need an ethics lesson from Casey, that she's aware of the moral questions involved, but also aware that "this is a 3rd place show that doesn't deserve to be." Casey tells her she's doing a big thing badly. Dan says he doesn't want to get involved in the debate, he feels it's too much of an effort to be morally accountable sometimes.
When Natalie returns from the pre-interview her wrist is bruised, and when Jeremy asks her about it, she says it got caught in the door of the van. He tells her he got an Indian burn like that once when his sister Louise tied him to a tree.
In a pre-production meeting, Dana attempts to open with a joke but gets shot down. Dan continues to name famous men with goatees, the crew tells him that a goatee would present a lighting problem, and Casey jokes that they already have a hard enough time lighting Dan's nose! Suddenly Isaac interrupts the meeting, saying that there's a story coming down that Chris Patrick was seen exposing himself to a woman in the locker room, and the witness said he also grabbed the woman's arm and there may have been some kind of struggle. Jeremy gets upset all of a sudden and storms out of the room, and Casey realizes the woman was Natalie. Jeremy, Casey, Dan, Isaac and Dana find Natalie in an edit bay, and Jeremy gives her some ice for her arm. Dana questions her, asking if Chris hurt her any where else. Natalie insists she's fine, he didn't hurt her. Isaac tells her they'll have a car take her home when Chris gets there so it won't be uncomfortable for her. Natalie asks if she's being fired, and when Isaac says no, she says she's still senior associate producer and she'd rather stay and do her job. When they leave the edit bay, Dana tells Casey and Dan that everything's changed, and she wants to pursue the interview in a different way, because Natalie deserves to have her story told. Dan argues that Natalie didn't seem to want HER story told, but they should still pursue the overall issue. Seems Dan's "break from moral accountability" is over.
In a meeting with Chris Patrick's lawyer and agent, Dana says she will get Natalie to deny reports that she was sexually assaulted in the locker room, if they will make Mary Pat Shelby fair game for the interview. Jeremy tells Natalie about the agreement and asks if she's okay with it, if that's what she really wants. She says that's what's best for the show, and that she doesn't want to press charges because she worked hard to get where she is, and doesn't want to become famous for being the object of Chris' abuse, and become a cocktail party joke. Jeremy asks if there isn't anything he can do for her, and she says no, to leave her alone so she can do her job. A few minutes later Jeremy sees Chris Patrick in the green room, and tells him if he touches Natalie again, he'll pay someone to have him killed. Chris insinuates that Natalie was impressed by his "presentation" to her in the locker room. Dan goes to see Natalie and asks about her wrist, and Natalie says she wishes people would stop asking that. Natalie asks if Dan came in to tell her she shouldn't keep quiet, and to be strong. Dan says it hasn't been his experience that she needs to be told that. Natalie says she doesn't want the hate mail and dirty comments that would come along with that. Dan says he just wants her to know that no matter what she decides, she's got friends who will support her.
Casey finds Dana alone in her office and tells her the network already has a ratings landslide predicted for the evening. Dana, on the verge of tears, abruptly confesses that she sent Natalie on purpose because she knew how Chris felt about women and she thought it would provoke a better response. Casey says Natalie knew that and she wouldn't complain, she just wants what's best for the show. And that she knows Dana tends to do the right thing.
Five minutes before they go on the air, Dana runs out of her office shouting orders to make a new intro and come up with an extra five minutes of script for the show. After getting permission from Isaac, she announces to everyone that the interview is canceled, and kicks Chris and his agents out of the studio (the crew cheers!)!!
Natalie stops Chris in the hallway on his way out, and tells him tomorrow she's going to swear out a warrant for his arrest. Then she goes to find Dana, who apologizes, hugs her and asks what she can do. Natalie says, "Tell me a joke, Dana."
Back to episode info