U2 Pop Culture Database
First Aired September 21, 2003, Season 1, Episode 2.
No writer credited. This is ad-libbed with a few real actors among real-life Washington insiders.
Steven Soderbergh [Sex, Lies, And Videotape; King Of The Hill; Out Of Sight; Pleasantville; The Limey; Erin Brockovich; Traffic; Waking Life; Ocean's Eleven; Far From Heaven; Solaris] and George Clooney [ER; From Dusk Till Dawn; One Fine Day; Batman & Robin; The Peacemaker; Out Of Sight; The Thin Red Line; The Limey; South Park; Bigger Longer & Uncut; Three Kings; Fail Safe; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; The Perfect Storm; Rock Star; Ocean's Eleven; Far From Heaven; Solaris]
Maggie Morris.....Mary McCormack [Law & Order; ER; Murder One; Private Parts; Deep Impact; Getting To Know You; K-PAX]
Tommy Flannegan.....John Slattery [Will & Grace; Sex And The City; Homefront; City Hall; Eraser; Sleepers; From The Earth To The Moon; Traffic; Ed]
Francisco Dupre'.....Roger Guenveur Smith [Oz; School Daze; Do The Right Thing; King Of New York; Malcolm X; Poetic Justice; Get On The Bus; Eve's Bayou; He Got Game; Final Destination; Unchained Memories: Readings From The Slave Narratives]
Himself.....James Carville [King Of The Hill; The War Room; The People Vs. Larry Flynt; Old School]
Herself.....Mary Matalin [The War Room]
Herself.....Representative Mary Bono [D-CA 45th District]
Herself.....Tamara Haddad [Executive Producer of "Larry King Live"]
Himself.....Senator Orrin Hatch [R-Utah]
James Carville joins new firm member Francisco Dupré (Roger G. Smith) at a Branford Marsalis performance at the Ritz-Carlton. After the show, Marsalis talks to them about the threat that music file sharing poses to musicians.
The next morning, Francisco introduces himself to Tommy Flannegan (John Slattery) and Maggie Morris (Mary McCormack) at the firm. He gives Maggie an autographed copy of Branford Marsalis' new CD. Carville announces to the staff that he wants the firm to pitch their public relations services to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). While Carville scoffs at Maggie's concern that this might conflict with an ISP they represent, Francisco quickly arranges a meeting with RIAA president Mitch Bainwol. Carville asks how he knows Bainwol--"Ultimate frisbee."
Maggie, Tommy and Francisco have lunch at Butterfield 9. Francisco's idea about using a shopping mall kiosk to get the RIAA message out is rejected and he counters with a pitch for a pro-RIAA political ad featuring rapper Ice Cube.
Maggie is having trouble getting someone to return her messages. In the firm's kitchen, Tommy and Maggie discuss their suspicions about Francisco's background. Maggie thinks he is a "completely passive-agressive, whispering freak!"
Mary Matalin calls Carville from the Dallas airport and he tells her about the RIAA pitch. Tommy visits Rep. Mary Bono to discuss the music file sharing problem and she brings up the limitations of the Copyright Millenium Act. Maggie talks to Sen. Orinn Hatch about the issue. Hatch sides with the artists, one of whom--Bono--was just in his office, he notes. Maggie asks about Hatch's own musical projects and gives him the Marsalis CD that Francisco gave her earlier.
Tommy runs into Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz in a Starbucks and tries to get him to write about the RIAA story in his next column. Kurtz rebuffs him: "I'm not going to launder your propoganda this time." Tom then catches a ride with Rep. Dreir and asks him about the issue.
Maggie meets TV producer Tamara Haddad for coffee and pitches the idea of having Bono appear on one of her shows speaking on behalf of the RIAA. Haddad wants to know the details of a rumor she has heard that someone in Maggie's firm is speaking with Prince Bandar (of Saudi Arabia).
Maggie runs into "Gail" dining outside of Bobby Van's Steakhouse and curses her for not returning her phone calls. Gail's lunch companion asks if Maggie was an ex-girlfriend. "I wouldn't say that," Gail replies.
Members of the firm watch a test RIAA political ad. Francisco hedges when asked to defend the ad and Maggie pointedly asks him if he has met with Prince Bandar. Later, Maggie, Tommy and Francisco observe as employees of a political research company conduct a focus group session with teenagers about music file sharing. Tommy (who seems pensive) sees a woman in a red outfit sitting behind the focus group. He looks again--she is gone.
The morning of the pitch. As Wesley Clark announces his presidential bid on TV, the firm members argue about their lack of focus just an hour away from RIAA president Bainwol's arrival. Maggie suggests a "ticketing" policy for illegal downloads and Carville thinks it's a great idea, one they should not give away, but instead sell to the RIAA. Francisco has bad news--Bainwol has to cancel. Carville wonders if Francisco may have been bluffing about the appointment all along. Matalin calls and confirms that the appointment had been set but the imminent arrival of Hurricane Isabel played a part in the rescheduling. She chides the others for their hasty judgement.
Maggie leaves an apologetic phone message to someone (Gail?). Tommy watches Francisco make a cellphone call while standing outside in the storm. He sees the woman in red outside his office, goes to his doorway--she is gone [From hbo.com]
U2 Pop Culture Reference:
[Showtime 13 minutes] Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is talking with Political Consultant Maggie Morris (played by Mary McCormack) outside the Senate Office Building in the rain. (Soderberg has been banned from shooting inside the Building.) Hurricane Isabel is bearing down on Washington DC in November 2003.
Hatch: If you don't protect the copyrights, you don't protect the rights of us who are creating these beautiful things, they're not going to create 'em anymore.
Maggie: I completely agree.
Hatch: If a young person went into a record store and they, and they stole a CD, they know they're breaking the law. They know they're probably going to get their hand slapped pretty hard for doing that.
Hatch: And yet they think absolutely nothing about downloading, downloading the same music and sending it to maybe millions of people over the internet. You know? It's just wrong.
Maggie: I know.
Hatch: So the RIAA, of course, is up in arms about it and they feel the only way they can bring this home to these young people is to, you know, actually sue some of them.
Hatch: And I hate to see that happen because that's not good for anybody but I can't blame them.
Maggie: I agree.
Hatch: I just had Bono in the office, he was here just a few minutes ago.
Maggie: Did you?
Hatch: Oh yeah.
Hatch: Bono would be the first to say "look, if we can't get compensated for the, the hours and weeks and months and years that we've struggled to make it..."
Maggie: You're right.
Hatch: "...if we can't get compensated for that, we can't keep, we can't keep making the tours and doing the things that we're doing.
Maggie: I may call you back to get Bono to deliver our message for us.
Hatch: You know I think deep down we've got to get it across to them that this is pretty important stuff.
Maggie: Right. And I know you care about it personally. How's your music coming?
Hatch: It's doing all right.
Maggie: Is it good? I got you a little something.
Hatch: Actually, I just got a new Christmas CD off yesterday.
Maggie: Did you?
Hatch: Uh huh. I wrote seven new Christmas songs.
Maggie: Oh, well you're going to have to trade me because I've got one for you. [Hands him CD that she got as a gift about sixty minutes prior.]
Maggie: I went to this foundation last night--this is Branford Marsalis' new CD--he did a little thing for the foundation--he signed it.
Hatch: Well, I'll love this, I'll listen to this first thing in the morning.
[Showtime 17 minutes] Maggie and Tamara Haddad are having coffee at a Washington DC Starbucks. Maggie admires the Whitehouse-shaped purse that Tammy has brought along. It is beyond tacky. She is trying to get her client, the Recording Industry Association of America on a talkshow that Tammy produces.
Maggie: Golly, that is beautiful.
Tammy: Oh, thank you. I went to the Larry King Cardiac Foundation dinner.
Maggie: That is some purse.
Tammy: Is that great? Only 177 made.
Maggie: Well...here...you know...I was wondering if Bono on your show would sort of appeal talking about this issue.
Tammy: Do you actually have him? Do you actually have him that you can deliver him?
Tammy: Because we'd want him in studio.
Maggie: No, I know, of course, no doubt.
Tammy: Because I can't imagine...not doing...
Maggie: I think we can, I think we can, I mean, I'm pretty sure we can...
Tammy: OK, ok, all right so we'll do it, you'll let me know, we'll make it a soft...you'll give me a date...we'll do that...
Tammy: Now, I have to ask you, what is going on with the meeting with Prince Bandar? Tell me about the Algerian, or at least I think he's Algerian or North African, someone working for you guys. What are you not telling me? Tell me the big story now...All right, I'll take Bono (pronounced BoneOh), tell me what else.
Maggie [having no idea what she's talking about]: Tammy, it's delicate...I can't...you know...
Tammy: What do you mean, you can't...
Maggie: You know I'll come here first...
Tammy: What can't you tell me?
Maggie: When I want it on the street, we'll come to you first.
Tammy: No, no, you've got to tell me now, tell me now.
Maggie: It's just delicate.
Tammy: Why? Who says so? Who says so? Let's get 'em on the phone, come on, let's call them now...
Maggie: You call Mary and James, you straighten it out...
Tammy: No, Mary and James will tell me if I call but you tell me, you're sitting here with me. They won't mind, believe me, I've known them a long time, they won't mind if you tell me.
Maggie: I'll tell you when I can tell you, I'll call you...
Tammy: When can you tell me? When can you tell me?
Maggie: I don't know, I don't know. I'll call you this afternoon about Bono.
Tammy: All right, call me this afternoon and tell me at that time, tell me if you want to get Mary and James on the phone, orone of them and we'll do it all at once.
Besides U2, is it worth watching?
This was only the second episode, but I like it. I may be a fan because I'm a complete political junkie. When I lived in DC (during and after Clinton's first win), my roommates and I actually got a pizza and gathered around the TV to watch the NAFTA debate and Congressional vote. Producers Clooney and Soderbergh can't be accused of taking it easy. They will get the Sunday papers, watch the Sunday talkshows, then shoot the show Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and have it ready for broadcast on HBO on Sunday night. So each week is timely. So far the topics have been James Carville helping Democratic Presidential Candidate Howard Dean prep for a debate (we see him learn the much publicized line about Trent Lott being Martin Luther King); The Recording Industry's fight against illegal downloads; and the controversy of representing a coalition of Saudi business interests. They hold up late issues of Time and the New York Times, we see actual elected officials, and in this episode, Hurricane Isabel is bearing down on the city while we watch. I like when chances are taken, even if the results aren't spectacular. There is something strange about watching Carville and Matalin talk about politics with three actors. The actors seem nervous when the real people talk because they obviously know more than they do about politics and public policy. In this episode, actress Mary McCormack isn't about to interrupt the Senior Senator from Utah, so she's forced to just sort of react. I've read that, although Soderbergh isn't allowed to film inside the Capitol or Congressional office buildings, DC insiders are bending over backwards to appear on this show. It provides a good showcase for issues important to leaders. Hatch uses his time to plug both his friendship with Bono and his new Christmas CD. I find it hard to imagine that college kids are trading Orrin Hatch mp3s. One thing becomes clear. These politicians love to talk, even on a fictional TV show. The cast can usually just stand there and nod or say "I agree." The end of the credits has a "purely fictional" tag.
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copyright © 2003 Michael Warner Cummins
Most recent update: 10/3/03 7:58:22 PM
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