Episode 311--"pulling away"


Joseph Dougherty


Rob Cohen

Air Date

1/9/90, 6/26/90

Guest Stars

Talia Balsam as Paige, the Dragon Lady

Bruce Davison as Congressman Mainway; Stephen Kearney as Tony Gilchrist; Talia Balsam as Paige; David Clennon as Miles Drentel; J.D. Souther as John Dunway; Tyra Ferrel as Ricky Bianca; Holly Fulger as Hollis Amato; Andra Milan as Angel Wasserman; Stanley Tucci as Karl Draconis; Dan Peterson as Faux Michael; Michael Mitz as Faux Elliot; Robert Phalen as Incinerator Booster; Luisa Leschin as Research Woman; Jordan Myers as Neighbor Man; Mark Belden, Sloan Boxniak, Paul Feig, and Shirley Prestia as Focus Group Members


Karl Draconis is forced to resign and Michael is appointed the Creative Director of D.A.A. Hope becomes even more involved with the Fairfield Incinerator Project.


Michael and Elliot come home to their wives and relate the story of what happened at work that day. The team presented an idea for advertising about retro-snacking to Miles. Miles loved it, and promptly fired Karl since he didn't support it. Hope goes to a congressman's office to fight against the Fairfield Creek Incinerator Project and meets with some stiff resistance.

Miles, Mark, Michael and Elliot, eat Chinese, and discuss how to shoot the commercial for Snap Happys. Miles pulls Michael aside and asks Michael to be the Creative Director for the agency. Elliot and the others are openly happy for him, and they continue to brainstorm about the commercial. Paige, Draconis' personal assistant, begins helping Michael move his office. Elliot wants to direct the commercial, but Michael never gets a chance to ask Miles as Miles has already pulled in a top notch director.

Hope and the Fairfield group go door to door, talking to citizens and getting nowhere, though John is fairly complimentary of her efforts. Paige and Elliot have an odd exchange about deleting unnecessary items in the Rolodex, which might include Elliot himself.

They begin to shoot the commercial at D.A.A. with two actors who look just like Michael and Elliot. Tony Gilchrist, the director, asks Michael to get Elliot to move out of the way and stop interfering with the commercial. Hope is gone a lot, which leaves Michael a lot of time to brood about the situation at work and how he's separating from Elliot. Michael and Elliot review the footage and disagree about which version of the commercial to use. Michael shows his finished product to Miles who declares it amusing and decides to show it to "civilians." Michael asks Elliot to come to the focus group, saying that he needs him, and partially apologizing for pulling rank on him.

The Fairfield open hearing is moved up to 3 P.M. Wednesday, and since John Dunaway is held up and can't make it, Hope steps up and makes a lot of tough points. The focus group hates the spot and Miles tells the team to rethink it. John and Hope have lunch, further cementing her interest in the cause. Elliot is sulking a little bit, feeling that perhaps his approach would have gone over, though he knows it probably wouldn't have. Talking as they're about to leave, Paige reassures Michael that he's doing fine because he's still willing to take chances. Michael finally sits in Draconis' chair as Hope comes to the office and she and Michael stare at each other silently, each not sure what to do with their new roles.


  • Opener clip of Nancy holding Elliot
  • The complaints about the commercial sounded exactly like the kinds of problems most people had with thirtysomething as a show.
  • Quotes

    "You'd think high heels would make more noise." --Elliot regarding Paige

    "I find that the man adjusts to the office more than the other way around." --Paige's extremely prophetic words

    "Well, not what we were expecting." --Miles on the focus group's reaction