Michael and Nancy go to a writing class together while Michael and Elliot get hired at D.A.A. as a creative team.
Michael decides to attend a writing workshop wtih Ivy Dunbar, a writer he greatly respects. Nancy's book is still being rejected with comments implying that the story is weak. Matt Enright, her new boyfriend, encourages her to keep working on the story.
Miles Drentel of D.A.A. left a message for Michael, who returns his call and is invited to come in with Elliot for a meeting. Elliot is excited, Michael pessimistic.
Michael goes to the workshop and Nancy shows up, neither realizing the other would be there. They go for coffee afterward--Nancy is ecstatic, Michael is a little more jaded. Matt shows up and Michael gets to meet him.
The next morning, Michael and Elliot go to meet Miles. Much in the way of bantering, metaphors, and cryptic stories is exchanged before Miles makes an offer to bring them in as the new creative team. Elliot is all set to go, but Michael is resistant, knowing that Miles wants them to beg for the job first.
Back home, Michael sits down to work on the assignment for the workshop that week--it's horribly cheezy, a retro piece set in the coffee shop and Nancy stars. As Michael changes things, the story changes, erasing, and correcting. Then, in class Nancy reads a story about Elliot leaving, and Ivy seems to like it, but she comes down hard on Michael's because he worked on it and revised. She then proceeds (justifiably so) to destroy his dialogue.
Elliott and Michael wash the car and discuss Nancy's dating life. Elliot asks Michael to see if Nancy starts wearing a man's wrist watch because when she really fell for Elliot back in college, she kept his watch to have something of him (until it broke while they were making love). Melissa tries to help Michael see that Ivy is trying to help him and they reminisce about some cartoons they wrote together.
Miles invites Elliot and Michael to a shoot, but Michael is again angry and thinking that Miles just wants to mess around with them. Michael goes back to writing and this time sees himself kissing Nancy in the shop, then quickly puts Matt in his place, and adds a man's wrist watch. Michael and Elliot go to the shoot where Michael remains cool, then has a face off with Miles, telling him that he doesn't like him and Miles replies icily that he is amazed Michael thinks that he should care what Michael's opinion is. Elliot tries to talk him into the job and calm him down.
Michael reads his new story at the workshop and Nancy immediately picks up on the detail about the wristwatch, and is understandably furious with both him and Elliot. (Ivy liked the part about the watch because "it was real.") Matt brings up the issue of giving Elliot credit for the book's storyline with Nancy, but she doesn't seem to see how Elliot played a role in it. Michael goes to see Ivy about dropping the class and they end up discussing the importance, or lack thereof, of writers in the world. He goes to aplogize to Nancy, who is upset that Elliot told him at all.
The next day Michael goes to Miles and manages to get Miles to invite them to come in to interview, though he marks that Michael came to him. The scene fades to the workshop, where Michael is reading about the meeting, and Ivy approves.
"Pretty Woman", made famous by Roy Orbison, is playing in the background of Alexander's coffee shop
--"Hey Michael, what're you wearing to Drentel's tomorrow?" --Elliot
--"Something conservative. Maybe Hope's cranberry Leslie Fay suit." --Michael
"You have some terrible bad habits and you still have to learn the difference between eloquence and masturbation." --Ivy Dunbar's writing advice to Michael
"That's very sneaky of you, being nice to me when I'm angry at you." --Hope to Michael
Q: About the visual effects in "michael writes a story": was the final product as you visualized it while you were writing the script? If things had to deviate from the script, how much of it was due to technical or budget constraints?
A: The effects are pretty much the way I scripted them, being a mix of optical tricks (the changing color of the dress) and practical in-the-camera effects (altering the lighting on Nancyís face as Michael changes the time and setting of the scene). What nobody ever got to see is the version of Elliotís death in which he takes the better part of a minute to die, going down, getting up, falling over chairs, getting up again, heading out the door, coming back, and finally expiring. This was in response to the original stage direction: "Elliot dies all over the place."
Q: In "legacy," Miles tells Michael one of his little teaching parables, about husband and wife and the mirror. Was there any particular source for that? Also, for the story of the two samurai facing each other from "michael writes a story"?
A: The trick to writing Miles is to come up with something that almost makes sense then give it to David Clennon who would say it with such authority people simply assumed it had to be logical. Case in point, the mirror speech in "legacy." As for the samurai story in "michael writes a story," I remember reading that somewhere, but for the life of me I canít quite pin it down. Thereís a good chance it comes out of Joseph Campbell somewhere, but the true source is lost in the more mushy parts of my brain.