TODO: Make this a flagship page
One of the true cornerstones of UgPFolk cultural literacy. Viewed during its original run by Nick and Renee; later spread to include all sorts of people, but particularly Dan, who was hooked via the Comedy Central syndicated run.
Sports Night was a short-lived half-hour comedy-drama that suffered from poor promotion and handling on the part of ABC, which was unable to disabuse viewers of the impression that it was either a sports program or a sitcom. The creative force came from Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme, and the show was defined largely by Sorkin’s fast-paced dialogue and his penchant for interwoven comedo-tragic plot elements, as well as by a stellar ensemble cast.

  • Isaac Jaffe (Robert Guillaume): The curmudgeony boss, whose title varies widely from episode to episode. Isaac began working as a stringer for the Atlanta Journal, won a Pulitzer for his coverage of the Gemini missions, and retired as London Bureau Chief for CNN. He provides most of Sports Night’s racial diversity.
  • Dana Whittaker (Felicity Huffman): The brilliant and competent, but sometimes slightly crazed top producer, with a penchant for sudden revelations regarding musicals and church. She comes from a “good family” and attended a series of all-female schools; given that she knew Casey in college, one of these - most likely undergrad, but possibly her MA in broadcast communication - was in proximity to the Great Lakes. Her brother plays in the NFL.
  • Natalie Hurley (Sabrina Lloyd): Senior Associate Producer, also somewhat wacky. Natalie hails from a small town in {{(Ohio?}}, is probably a Catholic (her family is devoutly Christian, and she was taught by nuns in elementary school {{... of Perpetual Sorrow?}} She’s kinkier than the average Sorkin character, and enjoys benevolently meddling in others people’s business. Possibly attended Northwestern.
  • Casey McCall (Peter+Krause): Senior anchor; conversationally anal retentive, trapped in doomed love cycle with Dana. Casey graduated Phi Beta Kappa from a college which is probably somewhere in the Great Lakes region. (Possibly Ann Arbor?) He has, however, an envy of post-graduate degrees. He’s divorced, has a 10-year-old son, and routinely screws up his romantic life.
  • Dan Rydell (Josh Charles): Junior anchor, not a “framed picture of mental health,” Tom Waits and Baltimore Orioles fan. Graduated from Dartmouth. A bit Jewish. Has a tendency to misuse phrases, though not so strong as Natalie’s.
  • Jeremy Goodwin (Joshua Malina): Junior producer, intense dork, fairly Jewish. Probably went to Amherst.
  • Sally Sasser (Brenda Strong): Runs second-tier CSC program “West Coast Update.” Competes habitually with Dana professionally, sexually, or is perceived to, or both.
  • Sam Donovan (William H. Macy): Ratings consulant brought in by Isaac to stave off a network takeover. Cultivates assholity as a professional virtue. Recovering alcoholic; member of the Anti-Handgun Coalition.
    h2. Episodes
    1. Sports Night Pilot
    2. The Apology
    3. The Hungry and the Hunted
    4. Intellectual Property
    5. Mary Pat Shelby
    6. The Head Coach, Dinner and the Morning Mail
    7. Dear Louise
    8. Thespis
    9. The Quality of Mercury at 29K
    10. Shoe Money Tonight
    11. The Six Southern Gentlemen of Tennessee
    12. Smoky
    13. Small Town
    14. Rebecca
    15. Dana and the Deep Blue Sea
    16. Sally
    17. How Are Things in Gloca Morra?
    18. The Sword of Orion
    19. Eli’s Coming
    20. Ordnance Tactics
    21. Ten Wickets
    22. Napoleon’s Battle Plan
    23. What Kind of Day Has it Been
    24. Special Powers
    25. When Something Wicked This Way Comes
    26. Cliff Gardner
    27. Louise Revisited
    28. Kafelnikov
    29. Shane
    30. Kyle Whitaker’s Got Two Sacks
    31. The Reunion
    32. A Girl Named Pixley
    33. The Giants Win the Pennant, the Giants Win the Pennant
    34. The Cut Man Cometh
    35. The Sweet Smell of Air
    36. Dana Get Your Gun
    37. And the Crowd Goes Wild
    38. Celebrities
    39. The Local Weather
    40. Draft Day: Part I – It Can’t Rain at Indian Wells
    41. Draft Day: Part II – The Fall of Ryan O’Brian
    42. April is the Cruelest Month
    43. Bells And A Siren
    44. La Forza Del Destino
    45. Quo Vadimus
      h2. Quotes about Sports Night
      • “Dude, I finally understand Aaron Sorkin’s Sports Night. It’s a comedy that’s too good to be funny.”
        h2. Music
        The show’s theme and music are by WG Snuffy Walden (also of West Wing, Thirtysomething, etc.) The show also occasionally features songs from outside sources. Dan and later Nick have invested a certain amount of effort in compiling a master SN playlist. Here’s Nick’s current version (I’m calling it 0.8):
      • 1 Theme (WG Snuffy Walden)
      • 2 Afternoon Delight (Starland Vocal Band)
        in “The Apology”
      • 3 Hymn to Her (The Pretenders)
        in “The Hungry and the Hunted”
      • 4 Someone to Watch Over Me (Keith Jarrett)
        in “The Head Coach, Dinner, and the Morning Mail”
      • 5 Boogie Shoes (KC and the Sunshine Band)
        in “Dear Louise”
      • 6 The Weight (The Band)
        in “The Quality of Mercy at 29k”
      • 7 Never Been to Spain (Three Dog Night)
        not in “Small Town”
      • 8 Crimson and Clover (Tommy James and the Shondells)
        in “Sallly”
      • 9 How are Things in Glocca Morra
        not in “How are Things in Glocca Morra
      • 10 Sloop John B (The Beach Boys)
        in “Sword of Orion”
      • 11 Eli’s Comin’ (Three Dog Night)
        in “Eli’s Comin’”
      • 12 She Will Have Her Way (Neil Finn)
        in “Special Powers”
      • 13 It’s in His Kiss (Betty Everett)
        in “Special Powers”
      • 14 Walking on Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves)
        in “Shane”
      • 15 It Hurts So Bad (Susan Tedeschi)
        in “The Giants Win the Pennant, The Giants Win the Pennant”
        Note that this version is missing Todd Thibaud’s “Sweet Destiny,” and probably some other things.

        Here’s a crappy LightScribe label I made for this so I could give Rosie a copy.

        See also: Sork English, Sorkin