sam_storyteller: (Default)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-12 10:15 am
Entry tags:

Status; Studio 60, R.

Rating: R
Fandom: Studio 60
Summary: Matt and Danny have very complicated lives, but they have big hats, too. Matt/Danny, Matt/Harrie, Danny/Jordan.
Warnings: Infidelity.

First Posted 12/05/06, following episode 1.11, The Christmas Show

Also available on AO3.


The truth is, when Matt and Jeannie don't have anyone else they do sometimes end up together. It's just the definition of "anyone else" that's a little off. "Anyone else" is anyone else to take to the wrap party, anyone else to have crazy teenage-style sex with which (sometimes, now) gives them muscle cramps, anyone else to take out at one in the morning and pretend that it's a date because who else except kids in love eat breakfast at one in the morning? That's crazy talk!

Matt's life is very complicated.

Danny, who is the one who thinks this, also sort of thinks it's unfair to say that, because his own life is complicated too. He has two failed marriages, one entirely Matt's fault -- the failure, not the marriage, though come to think of it Matt's the one who set them up in the first place. He has a coke problem, now a coke recovery problem, that he picked up partying with Matt in the early nineties. He doesn't blame Matt for the coke, but he'd never tell him that he blames him for the divorce just a little. And now Matt has an overwhelming obsession with Harrie, who is a very good actress but a little bit of a television test-pattern, mentally speaking.

Danny's okay with the obsession. He's got Jordan to think about now. He likes Jordan a lot, thinks he's maybe falling in love with her, and he loves the idea of having a kid, too. And Matt's done him the favour of being graciously unjealous about Jordan, which is good after what Danny has distinctly not said about him and Harrie. That's the deal they made, when Matt was seeing Alicia and Danny was getting really serious (some might call it disturbingly serious) about Denise, his first wife.

No jealousy. No risk-taking, either; they were far from being famous, but even if they were out alone together people could talk and the theatre scene in New York -- the theatre scene anywhere -- was tightly-knit and surprisingly small. Clubbing was fine, even the gay clubs, but Matt couldn't give Danny a blowjob in the bathrooms at the club anymore and Danny definitely couldn't do lines off Matt's shoulder -- thigh -- ass. Not in semi-public, anyway.

Matt and Danny aren't Anyone Else. They're "I need you tonight" and "I broke up with Alicia - Robert - Benjamin - Erica" and "If I go to LA, she'll serve divorce papers".

That was Denise; the marriage to Margaret, after they went to LA, ended when she walked in on them. It wasn't like sex was a huge deal, but Danny couldn't have explained that to her in a way that would make anything seem better. The immediate, powerful intimacy of reading Matt's scripts and the way they talk together should have been what ended it. He'd been cheating on her with Matt for weeks into their marriage before he and Matt even kissed again. Every time he went to Studio 60 in the morning and spent a few hours in the writers' room, every time he sat with Matt during a show, every time they spent the wrap party quietly canvassing together to get this script or that joke on the air, that was a much bigger infidelity. People were so obsessed with sex, like it was some kind of line in the sand. Matt, easy and casual about his bisexuality, blurs the line; Danny, who often somehow feels like he's letting the side down by being a closet case, follows.

"Lily Tomlin," Matt said to him once, "Never bothered hiding her sexuality. She says the reporters back in the seventies just wouldn't talk about it."

"They'd talk about it now," Danny answered, a little bitterly. "They do talk about it now. That's not what matters."

"What does matter?" Matt asked, looking kind of young.

"People see sex itself as the point where friendship becomes infidelity. They see it as the point where a person stops being an individual and starts being a sign that screams I'm gay. Which I'm not, anyway; I like women, I married two of them. I'd be happy to be a rallying point for people who self-identify as intelligent and reasonable, but I don't want to be a banner because of who I sleep with. Nobody's saying hey, let's applaud and defend this guy for producing a movie his best friend wrote."

"You're a coward," Matt had said, and Danny knew he was right, but once they paid their dinner bill and went up to the London hotel room Matt fucked him anyway, which was nice.

The point is, Danny hates the fact that spending fourteen hours a day with Matt isn't considered cheating but spending ten minutes rubbing up against him in a dark bedroom is. He enjoys the sex, he likes the way Matt is absolutely wordless in his arms, but the endorphine rush of orgasm doesn't have anything on the moment when Matt, sitting next to him, starts conducting the scene. He knows where every actor's line will hit, keeps the rhythm with his fingers in the air, and twitches his hand as Harrie nails a punchline that sets the audience off so long they have to hold for laughter. They talk all the time; sex is a break from talking, like getting a coffee after rehearsal.


Matt caught up with him as he was heading for his car to go to the wrap party.

"I kissed Harrie," he said. Danny kept walking; Matt danced around him like an impatient puppy.

"I figured," he replied casually.

"You what?"

"Well, with some other guy around, you had to do something monumental sooner or later, and Harrie doesn't usually gaffe when we're live, especially when that gaffe is your name. Tom probably noticed too. Simon's always got nerves when he does News Sixty, you probably don't need to worry about him."

"But this is huge! What does it mean?" Matt demanded. "What'd Jordan say when you told her, by the way?"

"I think it's telling that you're asking me what it means that you kissed someone, and she didn't say anything, her mouth was full."

"Her mouth was full?"

"With a sandwich, pervert," Danny said, waving goodbye to the security guard. They stepped out into the humid, still LA heat.

"Okay, say you're a girl," Matt said, still following.

"I'm a girl," Danny said obediently.

"Say you're Harrie. What would you think I meant? What would it mean to you?"

Danny stopped, tossing his keys in one hand. "I'd say it meant you were jealous of other men who want to ask her out, but you're not willing to actually put up and take her out on a date to prove your bona fides. The fact that you're standing here talking to me and not off at the wrap party with her already would further tell me that you're as scared as she is."

"Well, crap."

"Yeah. You remember those status games you used to play in improv workshops?" Danny asked.

"Sure. Whoever has the biggest hat has the most status and everyone else needs to act that way."

"You just gave her the biggest hat."

Matt shoved his hands in his pockets and stared at his shoes. "I figured."

Danny watched him for a while. "You coming to the cast party?"

Matt continued to stare at his shoes.

"You coming home with me?" Danny asked. Matt said "Yes," almost before he'd finished speaking.

In the car, Matt tapped his fingers on his knees. Danny resisted the urge to lean over and kiss him (rule #2).

"Hey, can I tell you something?" Matt asked.

"Wait for a red light," Danny said. A stoplight obliged with alarming speed. "You do have serious mojo."

"I kissed her because I don't like him coming with flowers for Harrie and 'cause I'm in love with her and just a little bit because I'm jealous of you and Jordan. It's that -- that first part, you know? Where it's all possibilities and nobody's called anyone else a bigot yet."

"You and Harrie have a history," Danny replied. If the light had been green, he might have swerved in shock, but since they were sitting still he could afford to pretend he was calm.

"Yeah. Listen, I've built up a considerable head of nervous energy and -- "

"We'll be home soon."

" -- I'd really like to have loud, rough sex."

Danny grinned, not taking his eyes off the red light. It turned green and he pulled forward safely. He signaled before all of his turns and obeyed every speed limit. They had green lights the rest of the way home.

He locked the car after them, locked the door to his house after them, set his keys on the table, and took off his shoes. As he passed Matt their fingers brushed, and Matt whined in urgent frustration. They made it all the way to the living room before Danny turned, pulled Matt down onto the wide, deep leather sofa with him, and bit his shoulder hard.

They were almost asleep in Danny's bed -- California King, extra wide, taking up not half the space offered because he was curled against Matt with his arm around his waist -- when Matt spoke again.

"Anita Pallenberg ran off with Keith Richards," he said.

"Yeah? So?" Danny asked sleepily.

"You ever worry about how we'll end up?"

"I'm pretty sure you're not going to elope with Anita Pallenberg."

Matt sat up. Danny rolled onto his back and watched him curiously.

"Wait -- does that make me Keith Richards?" he asked.

"Well, someone's got to be Mick," Danny replied with a smirk. Matt waved it off.

"You ever worry about how we'll end up? Are we just going to keep leaving women for each other our whole lives?"

"Well, I don't leave them unless I absolutely have to."

Matt rubbed his face. "Sonny and Cher divorced. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis didn't speak to each other for years. Abbot and Costello broke up the act."

"Over taxes," Danny replied, staring at the ceiling. "Lewis left Martin because he was a drunk. Cher's solo career kicked Sonny Bono's tiny little ass all over the industry. Besides, they were performers. We're backstage. We're used to our friends getting famous. Anyway," he added, "we're past all that."

"Yeah, my singing career really took off and I totally left you when you checked into rehab," Matt said. Danny glanced at him.

"Abbot and Costello were only partners for ten years. Sonny and Cher lasted nine."

"You know way too much about Cher to be a heterosexual."

"Martin and Lewis only made movies for eight years," Danny continued. "Count backwards. We met in what, ninety?"

"Eighty-nine," Matt said. "We were roommates in ninety."

"Yeah, 'cause I saw your freshman stand-up act at the school cafe's open mic-night," Danny said, laughing. "Christ, what was that joke, the one that made that girl spill her coffee?"

"Something about Pete Rose -- " Matt's voice modulated slightly, and Danny recognised his performing voice. "You all hear Pete Rose was on campus the other day? Yeah -- I bumped into him outside the cafeteria. He wanted me to get him a sandwich. They banned him for life when they found out he was betting. Good thing, too. The macaroni salad took him to the cleaners. Never bet on the mystery meat."

Danny laughed, but Matt wasn't smiling.

"What's your point?" he asked.

"We've been working together for seventeen years. We're past the breaking point."

"Overdue, you mean."

"Someone needs to start spiking your water supply with anxiety medication," Danny sighed. He pushed himself up on one elbow. "Okay, let's try it this way. Status. Who wears the big hat?"

"You do," Matt answered without hesitation.


"Because you -- well, you know..." Matt sketched vague shapes in the air.

"Because I top?" Danny asked with amusement.

"Because you're the producer. You have the power -- I just write stuff, you can change it or cut it. You make it into something."

Danny sat up and pushed Matt down onto the bed. He kept his hand there for a moment, making sure Matt would be quiet, then rolled on top of him and rested his elbows on the mattress on either side of Matt's ribs. Matt arched a little, instinctively, but Danny didn't respond. Well, most of him didn't.

"You want to know what I think?" he asked. Matt nodded. "I think you wear the big hat. You're the writer. You make things -- I just use them. I don't create, not in the way you do. I take something that exists and just add decoration."

"Queer Eye for dramatic dialogue?" Matt asked. He blinked. "Hey, that'd make a great sketch -- "

"Matt -- "

"No, listen, Queer Eye for the Gay Guy. The Queer Eye guys walk into a perfectly decorated apartment, give a stylish, inteligent man the once-over, and give up in despair. Then -- "


"Then Martha Stewart shows up and kind of sidles over to him and whispers, I can help. Hallelujah chorus..."


Matt looked at him. "You remember that later, 'cause I'll forget it if I don't write it down."

"Queer Eye, gay man, Martha Stewart, got it," Danny replied. "Now listen. We both think the other is wearing the big hat. Possibly a gay cowboy hat, I don't know. But that's what keeps us going. Even if this stops, even if I make it work with Jordan and hell freezes over so that you can make it work with Harrie. The big hats."

"Are you saying we've been partners this long because we each have massive insecurity complexes?" Matt asked.

"If it helps you to think of it that way," Danny replied, thudding his head lightly against Matt's chest. He felt Matt shift his weight, felt Matt's hands slide up his arms to his shoulders.

"You think we're gonna make it?" Matt asked.

"I thought we just did," Danny said, and Matt slapped the back of his head.


"I just can't do anything! It's gorgeous!" Jeannie sobbed, putting a hand to her mouth. "The colors are fabulous! His sofa came from the gods!"

"Actually, from France," Tom answered sheepishly.

Harrie, in a Carson wig and hideous clothing, held Jeannie and patted her back gently. "His clothing is more fashionable than mine," she sighed, leading her away with a bitter look at Tom.

"Can you make a perfect creme brulee? CAN YOU?" Dylan demanded. Tom guiltily opened an oven. Dylan fled the stage.

Alex and Simon looked at each other in despair.

"His hair is perfect," Simon said. "And he smells like sunshine and sandalwood."

"I never do anything anyway," Alex replied. As they left despondently, Simon looked back over his shoulder and gave the international "Call me!" signal to Tom. Tom held for laughter, then crossed to the middle of the stage.

"What's a gay man to do? How can I be more perfect than I am?" he asked. Upstairs, Cal cued the hallelujah chorus. Harrie, not looking at all as though she'd just done a quick-change and climbed two flights of stairs, descended on cables from the flyrail.

"My son, do not despair," she said. "I can help you. Come with me. We will throw fabulous dinner parties and legalise gay marriage."

Tom reached out for her hand. "Are you an angel?" he asked.

"No," Harrie replied. "I'm Martha Stewart."

The audience laughed and Cal cut to commercial. Matt gave Harrie a big thumbs-up as they landed her on the stage and began removing her fly-harness. She beamed back at him and ran off to get out of the way of the crew, who were changing the set.

Matt glanced at Danny, who was sitting at the monitor console with his headset half-cocked over one ear. He pulled it down around his neck and leaned sideways to kiss Jordan, who was sitting in the director's chair next to him. Then he turned around and caught Matt's gaze.

"Slam dunk," he mouthed.

"Big hats," Matt replied. Danny grinned.


[identity profile] 2006-12-05 07:36 pm (UTC)(link)

I love you.

I like the sketch!

I like the dynamic, I like the fact that they are together because they're not fighting for power but appreciate one another's qualities, I like Matt interrupting the Serious Relationship Talk to discuss his sketchbunnies.

And I love Matt saying, "-- I'd really like to have loud, rough sex."

[identity profile] 2006-12-05 07:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh! And the bit where the sex being what counts as cheating bothers Danny? Yes. Yes, I love that, I love that attitude and it also seems an extremely Danny attitude to me.

[identity profile] 2006-12-06 03:19 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks! I had fun with the sketch :D

[identity profile] 2006-12-05 07:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, I liked that! Especially the sketch at the end . .

[identity profile] 2006-12-05 08:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, I love this. Awesome explanation/look at the Danny/Matt BFF/Maybe More dynamic. And I love how it's kinda dysfunctional, but also really really works for them. Without much conflict or angst. It just is. And you make me wonder, like Matt, where they'll end up. If Danny and Jordan work out (and how freakin' awesome and cute is Jordan?) and Matt and Harriet...uh, something. What will happen with Matt and Danny? Will they always somehow end up together and finally admit that they should just, you know, be together? Hmm. *ponders*

[identity profile] 2006-12-06 03:18 am (UTC)(link)
Danny/Jordan actually makes me like Jordan more than I did. It's like adding him makes her make sense. :D

[identity profile] 2006-12-05 08:44 pm (UTC)(link)
You wear the big hat.

[identity profile] 2006-12-06 03:17 am (UTC)(link)
HAH! Thank you! I need to make an icon.

[identity profile] 2006-12-05 09:12 pm (UTC)(link)

love, lore
kangeiko: (teacup)

[personal profile] kangeiko 2006-12-05 09:24 pm (UTC)(link)
this is fabulous and perfectly in character!

[identity profile] 2006-12-05 09:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Brilliant. And again, you come up with a sketch that would fit perfectly into the show, but more than that, you really make all the ships and snogs *work*. And I don't think Sorkin makes Harriet/Matt work *at all*.

[identity profile] 2006-12-06 03:16 am (UTC)(link)
Aww, thank you :)

I'm so all over Matt/Suzanne. She's oddly bitchy now that she works for him, it's fantastic.
trinity_clare: (papercrane)

[personal profile] trinity_clare 2006-12-05 11:17 pm (UTC)(link)
This almost makes me want to watch this show. I think I might be better off reading the fic. Because this was perfect, and the idea of cheating being so much more than sex? You nailed that. Along with everything else.

[identity profile] 2006-12-06 03:16 am (UTC)(link)
Hey trust me. My fic is not as good as the show -- at least, not as good as the episode it came after. That episode was AWESOME.

You can watch this week's episode on the Studio 60 website at NBC, btw.
trinity_clare: (orange watersparkle)

[personal profile] trinity_clare 2006-12-06 03:23 am (UTC)(link)
I am still not used to the idea of networks putting their shows online. Thanks for the tip.

[identity profile] 2006-12-06 01:46 am (UTC)(link)
Oh so Matt. Oh so Danny. Oh so perfect.
ext_17435: (Default)

[identity profile] 2006-12-06 03:13 am (UTC)(link)
"Wait -- does that make me Keith Richards?"

Ha. That line made me laugh out loud.

This is amazing; the voices and the timing are perfect. The interaction is so them.

[identity profile] 2006-12-06 03:15 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you! I had fun writing all their amazing digressions :D

[identity profile] 2006-12-06 05:55 am (UTC)(link)
Ohhh man. I haven't seen the new episode yet (I torrent), but this makes me miss the show liek woah and the break's barely even started yet! Everything about this is just really, really lovely. I think I tend to like it better when writers don't actually show the sex--it makes things, um, somehow hotter. (That doesn't really make sense. I don't care.)

Fic: Status

[identity profile] 2006-12-06 12:31 pm (UTC)(link)
Get argument about sex and infidelity, too, I really get Danny's confusion about the idea of lines and understanding.
I love the way they come back together. And their arguments about it are perfect.

[identity profile] 2006-12-06 04:24 pm (UTC)(link)
I've started to write feedback for this six times and each time I sound so dumb--I'm going to go with OMG yes, the voices! The patter!" and leave it at that before I sound even dopier. ^_^

[identity profile] 2006-12-07 01:44 pm (UTC)(link)
*grins* Thank you! OMG will suffice :D
boxofdelights: (Default)

[personal profile] boxofdelights 2006-12-12 09:43 am (UTC)(link)
I don't watch the show but

The truth is, when Matt and Jeannie don't have anyone else they do sometimes end up together.

is that supposed to be "Matt and Danny"?

[identity profile] 2006-12-13 01:17 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks for the note, but it is actually Jeannie -- it's from the second episode. Matt and Jeannie have a fling, which annoys Jeannie's best friend (who is Matt's ex). Jeannie explains it to her thus: "When we don't have anyone else, sometimes we end up with each other." :)
boxofdelights: (Default)

[personal profile] boxofdelights 2006-12-13 02:06 am (UTC)(link)
Ah! I should have known it was just me not being familiar with the source.

[identity profile] 2006-12-13 11:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I totally blame you for giving me a new addiction.
I'm reading your story Laocoon's Children (awesome, btw) and I saw this.
So now I'm reading Studio 60 fic..
But anyway, this is great.
Please do more.

Danny hates the fact that spending fourteen hours a day with Matt isn't considered cheating but spending ten minutes rubbing up against him in a dark bedroom is.
I love it.

[identity profile] 2006-12-14 12:20 pm (UTC)(link)
Glad you enjoyed it! :)

[identity profile] 2006-12-14 08:08 am (UTC)(link)
I'd love to leave a coherent comment, but I think I'm just going to go with


Because that's what this fic has reduced me to. Amazing.

[identity profile] 2006-12-14 02:26 pm (UTC)(link)
You know, all I can think of reading this is the symposium and that whole gay sex and intellectual discussion as a couple notion. That's unsettling.

[identity profile] 2006-12-14 05:13 pm (UTC)(link)
I loved this fic. The way you show the emotions between those two are wonderful. Love Danny's musings on what is and isn't cheating.

[identity profile] 2006-12-15 11:13 pm (UTC)(link)
I am grinning from ear-to-ear. I had to wait until I could catch up with the show to read this, but I'm glad I remembered it was here. :)

If only Sam's Three Things were tagged so I could find them...

[identity profile] 2007-08-28 12:16 pm (UTC)(link)
I came to this a bit late, as I was reading some of your Harry Potter work earlier, and I was browsing around looking for other fandoms you might have written in that I share. And in spite of the fact that I didn't actually like Studio 60 that much, I seem to have a weird and inescapable soft spot for it, and a similar weird and inescapable fondness for S60 fic.

This was lovely and I really enjoyed reading it! You're very talented.

[identity profile] 2007-08-28 12:20 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't think anyone liked S60 by the end of it :D Glad you enjoyed the fic!

[identity profile] 2008-07-16 04:00 am (UTC)(link)
I'm having moment here, because I completely stumbled on this fic by accident... OMG Studio 60!!! *squees* You have no idea how happy this made me tonight.

Danny's and Matt's voices are so in character and I love Danny's whole take on cheating and sex :) It was fantastic!