Episode 423--"california"


Marshall Herskovitz, Edward Zwick, Liberty Godshall, Susan Shilliday, Joseph Dougherty, Winnie Holzman, Richard Kramer, Ann Lewis Hamilton


Scott Winant

Air Date


Guest Stars

David Bowe as Robert Gould Shaw; Dana Stevens as Fiona Sims Porter; Rosalind Chao as Willa Camden; Peter Henry Schroeder as Laurence; David Clennon as Miles Drentell; Lindsley Parsons III as taxi driver


Michael contemplates returning to advertising and a move to California which brings his marriage to a crisis point.


Michael enjoys playing with Janey more now that he isn't tied up at work so much. A man named Robert Gould Shaw keeps calling, but Michael is evasive with Hope about why. He returns the call, finally tells Hope that Shaw is with an agency out in California, but says that he doesn't want the job. Ellyn brings by clothes for Hope to take to the shelter and Hope tells her that Michael is going to California to look at a job though he doesn't know it yet.

The next shot shows Michael packing, rationalizing that it's a good idea because the company will pick up the tab. While getting the tour, Michael runs into Willa Camden, someone he knew from another company back East who seems very happy out in California. Shaw gives him a good pitch, he meets the president, and all seems to be going well. While wandering around on his own, Michael bumps into Elliot and they begin to catch up, slowly at first and then it is apparent that all is forgiven between them. Hope has Ellyn over and confesses, over a few glasses of wine, that she's confused about what's going on now and that she's redefining herself as well. Drinking beer at sunset, Elliot asks about how Miles stormed into the Steadman home when Michael quit, and they trade stories. Elliot finally asks if Michael wants to give it another go and Michael doesn't seem to know what to say.

Michael returns home in the middle of the night and tells Hope that he won't work for Chiat-Day, but asks Hope what she thinks about him and Elliot starting a commercial company out in California. She disregards his request for input from her and does the silent, stony, martyr thing. The next morning she begins saying thta she doesn't want to go to California, but still refusing to talk directly with Michael about it. Michael returns to the halls of DAA and gives Miles the proposal from himself and Elliot that Miles use them for outsourcing jobs. Once Michael knuckles under and admits that he needs Miles, Miles is happy to draw up a letter of intent and agree to the deal.

While Michael is gone, Hope calls up the magazine in Washington that was interested in her the previous year and then shows a letter to Ellyn that she has written to the magazine, expressing her interest. Ellyn is quite taken aback, trying to understand if Hope and Michael are really in trouble or if it's salvagable. Hope expresses her confusion about her life, what she wants to do, and how very cold it feels between her and Michael now. They have dinner silently, pack separately, and generally don't communicate.

Three days later, Hope gets a call back from the Washington people who offer her a position at the magazine. While she's telling them emphatically that she wants the job, a cab shows up to take Michael to the airport and apparently Hope didn't know he was going. They get into a horrible row about it and as Michael storms out, she follows him down the stairs, giving him the ultimatum that she won't go to California and she's going to Washington and taking her children.

In California, Michael and Elliot go over the numbers, which look bad. Nancy asks when Hope is coming out and this is her first clue that things aren't going well. Michael and Elliot go to some meetings, shake some hands, and then talk about their future plans which leads to Michael's confession that he doesn't really "get" L.A. Michael and Elliot go to meet Miles and in the midst of the conversation, Michael begins to show some doubts, beginning with refusing to take the proferred cigar from Miles. Before negotiating, Miles waxes philosophical about fate and gravity.

Michael returns home to Hope and they finally have a good long talk and cry that culminate in his avowal to stay by her, that he's not going back to work, that he doesn't know what he wants to do, but that being with her is the most important thing.


At Chiat-Day, some kids playing with a small scale basketball set are shown, just like Michael and Elliot's; thanks to Sherri Steinfeld for spotting that Chiat-Day is a real company; Elliot says that Kenny Zunder is shooting the commercial for him, so note that Kenneth Zunder is the director of photography for thirtysomething; also note that the taxi driver coming to the house to take Michael to the airport is played by Lindsley Parsons III, one of the producers (thanks to a great guy whose name I can't remember for pointing that out); one of Melissa's shots of Hope, Michael, and Janey can be seen on the refrigerator; Willa briefly mentions having worked for Winant Scott before, but living to tell the tale. Note that this is probably a reference to Scott Winant, a producer/director for the show. Robert Gould Shaw was the name of the colonel in the black military unit in the Civil War, played by Matthew Broderick in the film Glory, which was directed by Edward Zwick (thanks to Judy Ross).


Elliot still wears jacket pins. Nancy's hair is short and curly. Hope wears the pink and black kimono thing that looks like a maternity tent for a camel. Elliot's hair is longer and pulled back which is never a good move for him.


--"Today we played National Velvet. Melissa was Mickey Rooney." --Michael

--"Was Janey Elizabeth Taylor?" --Hope

--"Uh, no. No, I was Elizabeth Taylor. Janey was the horse." --Michael

"Because we love you. We want you. You belong here, Michael." --Laurence, head of Chiat-Day (isn't that a line from The Godfather?)

--"But Michael quit advertising. Michael hates advertising. Michael took an ethical stand." --Ellyn

--"Apparently on quicksand." --Hope

"Gravity is not restricted to planets and suns." --Miles


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