Newsradio (Season 1, Ep 2): Inappropriate

Welcome back to Newsradio, Season 1. I am streaming this for free on The Roku Channel. If you’re worried about spoilers… well, this recap and reaction is going to spoil you for this episode. Continuing to read would be… inappropriate.

For everyone else, though, let’s go.

THE EXTRA DUSTY REVIEW AND REACTION:

The episode begins in the immediate aftermath of a “where are they now?” news update given on the air by Matthew. He was telling the audience where “Long Island Lolita” Amy Fisher is now. We learn that he repeatedly mispronounced the name of her former love, Joey Buttafuoco, in the worst possible way. This leads to an extended argument between Dave and Lisa as to how best to handle the mistake. Joe Rogan makes his debut as the station engineer – also named Joe. He seems to be filling the role occupied by Rick in the pilot. Rick is no longer on the show. Joe of course believes the mistake was on purpose.

Matthew is mortified by his mistake and spends the remainder of the episode practicing the correct way to say the name and also worrying about being fired at any moment. We meet Catherine in this episode (portrayed by Khandi Alexander) for the first time after hearing her mentioned repeatedly in the pilot. She is having workplace tension with Bill throughout the episode because Bill shows her un-reciprocated affection throughout the episode.

The argument between Dave and Lisa, about what to do regarding the Buttafiasco, spills over to an after-work dinner. We do not see how the dinner goes. However, the following day at work, the two interact awkwardly. Beth notices and deduces the cause immediately. Dave confesses to her that he and Lisa made out after Beth calls him out in his office. Lisa and Dave discuss the kiss in his office and have another misunderstanding. They both agree that the kiss was inappropriate. Dave believes that they should never let that happen again. Lisa believes they should never let anyone at work know about what happened but that it should continue happening. The misunderstanding escalates to another after-work meting between the two, wherein they have sex, both at Dave’s place and Lisa’s place in the same night.

Beth again immediately deduces what is going on and has a couple of the best lines in teh episode in short succession:

Beth: Okay, you wanna know what I think? I think in a former life you two were some kind of animals that did it a lot.

Also Beth: You know, I’m beginning to think that Matthew’s slip-up was oddly appropriate in your case.

The newsradio office staff goes out to lunch, at the behest of Bill, to celebrate Catherine’s birthday for the second day in a row. Catherine of course does not attend. While Bill is inviting Dave and Lisa, Matthew continues to be convinced that they are closeted together discussing his employment termination.

Bill: Is Matthew getting fired?
Dave: No.
Bill: (yelling over his shoulder) No decision yet Matthew.

When the office returns, Beth enters the room and asks if they are okay. Lisa is facing away from her and looking at the window the entire time Beth is dropping off their burritos. Not surprisingly, since it is a running gag at this point, we find out that two had sex in the office while their co-workers were at lunch. They seem to finally succeed in keeping the at-the-workplace tryst a secret from Beth, though.

Dave: Oh man. This is ridiculous. I mean, I have never…
Lisa: Done it in the office while everyone else is out to lunch?
D: Yeah. Well, where do we go from here?
L: Newsbooth?

They rejoin the staff outside of Dave’s office. Dave lets Matthew know that he is not fired. Dave also – perhaps from stress – snaps at Bill and Catherine concerning their episode-long bickering and tension. Bill forcefully defends Catherine in the encounter and for the first time in the episode, she seems to warm to him.

As the episode ends, Bill apologizes to Dave – who is standing next to a listening Lisa – for his outburst and confesses that he and Catherine had an ill-advised office romance four years prior. He mentions that workplace romances are a terrible idea.

REACTION:

In keeping with the fast-paced feel of the show, we now also have a fast-moving love interest connection. Typically in TV, if you introduce two characters who seem destined to eventually “get together” it does not happen in the second episode and it does not happen in the way that the Dave and Lisa hook-ups happened. Newsradio breaks convention right away.

Outside of having the intra-office hook-up in the first place, Dave initially reacted exactly as I would have expected him to react from watching the pilot. He is prim and proper. Quiet, hard-working Lisa, though, shows us another and unexpected layer to her personality. She seems to be into the secret office affair. Ultimately, she wins out. We will see how that goes for them.

This is the episode where Joe Rogan debuts. Rick is out, I guess. Joe is in! Imagine a taking a time machine back a quarter century and explaining how influential he would become? “Huh? What’s a podcast?”

Khandi Alexander debuted in this episode, too. She did not get to do much. But what little we did see of her with Bill promised to be entertaining when she gets more dialogue to deliver.

The Joey Buttafuoco running jokes were really funny. Bill’s initial reaction to Matthew was funny even without knowing what Matthew had said, yet. Innocent childlike Matthew’s horror at his mistake was funny. Jimmy James’ matter-of-fact statement to Matthew about losing advertisers was funny. This is just a really funny show with a funny cast.

It’s hard to even explain why Stephen Root’s Mr. James works. He had almost no direct role in this episode’s plot. He seemed in this episode to just kind of wander through the office – the way a real owner might – and say things about what is going on around him. This is another instance where the open concept set layout is really an advantage. His deliver is just always hilarious.

You can see even in two episodes that the Beth character plays an important role for the show’s writing team. In both episodes, she has served as an interpreter to Dave for what is happening beyond his office door. Vicki Lewis again delivers some of the best lines in the episode, too.

That’s all I’ve got. I’m glad I decided to pick up this re-watch.

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