"The Hungry and the Hunted"

July 5th, 2012 12:32 pm by Kelly Garbato

A Facebook acquaintance (is it terribly rude of me not to say friend?) posted this video some time back (try a year plus! I know, I’m the worst.) and I’ve been meaning to share it ever since. The clip’s from a short-lived show called Sports Night, which ran on ABC from 1998-2000. A comedy/drama created by Aaron Sorkin, Sports Night follows the production of a fictional sports news show (also called Sports Night).

The third episode of the first season (“The Hungry and The Hunted“) deals with newbie Jeremy’s reaction when, upon being tasked to produce a hunting segment for the show, he witnesses a deer being shot and killed right in front of him. As someone who’s never desired to kill animals for fun or “sport,” Jeremy is so horrified by the doe’s murder that he becomes physically ill and has to be rushed to the hospital.

Especially notable is the language Jeremy uses to describe the incident; as he transitions from the hunters’ perspective to his own, the deer ceases being just a thing, an “it,” and instead is recognized as a living creature – a she. From something to someone – and then to no one, an empty shell. A corpse. And for no reason, or at least not one discernible to the narrator:

Jeremy: (pauses) Yeah. Bob and Eddie were using the IR 50 Recon by Bushcomber. It’s got a 16 inch microgroove barrel with .30-.30 mags, side scope mount, wire cutter sheath, quick release bolt, mag catches and a 3 pound trigger. So I figured we must be going after a pretty dangerous duck.

Isaac: You can wiseass all you want. You’re gonna tell me what happened.

Jeremy: We shot a deer! In the woods by Lake Matatuck on the second day. There was a special vest they had me wear so they could distinguish me from things they wanted to shoot, so I was pretty grateful for that. Almost the whole day had gone by, and we hadn’t gotten anything. Eddie was getting frustrated and Bob Shoemaker was getting embarrassed. My camera guy needed to reload so I told everyone to take a 10 minute break. There was a stream near by and I walked over with this care package Natalie made me. Sat down. When I looked up I saw three of them: small, bigger, biggest. Recognizable to any species on the planet as a child, a mother and a father.

Now the trick with shooting deer is that you have to get them out in the open, and it’s tough with deer ’cause these are clever cagey animals with an intuitive sense of danger. You know what you have to do to get a deer out into the open? You hold out a Twinkie. That animal clopped up to me like we were at a party. She seemed to be pretty interested in the Twinkie, so I gave it to her. Looking back, she’d have been better off if I’d given her the damn vest. And Bob kind of screamed at me and whispered, ‘Move away!’ The camera had been reloaded and it looked like the day wasn’t going to be a washout after all. So I back away. A couple of steps at a time. And I closed my eyes when I heard the shot.

Look I know these are animals and they don’t play bridge or go to the prom, but you can’t tell me that little one didn’t know who his mother was. That’s got to mean something. And later at the hospital, Bob Shoemaker was telling me about the nobility and tradition of hunting, and how it was related to the Native American Indians and I nodded and said that was interesting, while I was thinking about what a load of crap it was! Hunting was part of Indian culture. It was food and it was clothes and it was shelter. They sang and danced and they offered prayers to the gods for a successful hunt so that they could survive one more unimaginably brutal winter. The things that they killed held the highest place of respect for them and to kill for fun was a sin. And they knew the gods wouldn’t be so generous next time. What we did wasn’t food and it wasn’t shelter and it wasn’t sports! It was just mean!

Also of interest is how Jeremy calls out the hunters for appropriating Native culture in order to justify their needless killing sprees. That said, death is still death, no matter how much you “respect” or “revere” the animal whose life you’re about to end. She has her own interests, and I’m pretty sure they don’t include being digested in your gullet.

Of course, context would most likely make this exchange less impressive; for example, I highly doubt that the Jeremy character has a sudden epiphany and goes vegan (or better still, is already vegan). I can’t say, since I haven’t seen the show – but it seems rather improbable, no? Even so, given the show’s likely demographic – youngish-adult-to-middle-aged dudes who enjoy sports, sports shows, and comedies about fictional sports shows – such a compassionate message is a nice surprise.

After the jump: the full transcript for those who can’t view the video.

###

Studio/Newsroom:

Jeremy enters.

Natalie: You’re back!

Jeremy: Yes.

Natalie: Yay!

Jeremy: Thank you.

Elliot: Hey, how’d it go?

Jeremy: Good.

Natalie: Really?

Jeremy: Yeah. Cut together pretty good.

Natalie: We saw the rough cut a few hours ago. We thought it looked great.

Kim: Really.

Jeremy: Thank you.

Natalie: When you get a final cut, we’ll send it to your parents in a nice package. It’s your first on-screen credit. They’ll flip.

Jeremy: They’ll like it.

Dan: Welcome back.

Jeremy: Hey!

Casey: Hey how’d it go?

Jeremy: Real good.

Isaac: Jeremy, can we see you in my office for a moment?

Jeremy: Yeah sure. What’s up?

Isaac: My office.

Isaac’s office:

Isaac: I was wondering why you were lying just now.

Jeremy: What do you mean?

Dana: Jeremy, did you think we weren’t going to find out?

Isaac: What the hell happened out there?

Jeremy: It was nothing.

Dana: It was not nothing.

Jeremy: I got sick. I threw up.

Dana: They took you to the hospital when you passed out.

Jeremy: I told them they didn’t…

Dana: Bob Shoemaker said you were sweating and hyperventilating.

Jeremy: It was hot outside.

Dana: Not in the Adirondacks in October.

Jeremy: Look…

Isaac: Tell us about your hunting trip.

Dana: The first day you were going after New England Blue Mallard.

Jeremy: (pauses) Yeah. Bob and Eddie were using the IR 50 Recon by Bushcomber. It’s got a 16 inch microgroove barrel with .30-.30 mags, side scope mount, wire cutter sheath, quick release bolt, mag catches and a 3 pound trigger. So I figured we must be going after a pretty dangerous duck.

Isaac: You can wiseass all you want. You’re gonna tell me what happened.

Jeremy: We shot a deer! In the woods by Lake Matatuck on the second day. There was a special vest they had me wear so they could distinguish me from things they wanted to shoot, so I was pretty grateful for that. Almost the whole day had gone by, and we hadn’t gotten anything. Eddie was getting frustrated and Bob Shoemaker was getting embarrassed. My camera guy needed to reload so I told everyone to take a 10 minute break. There was a stream near by and I walked over with this care package Natalie made me. Sat down. When I looked up I saw three of them: small, bigger, biggest. Recognizable to any species on the planet as a child, a mother and a father.

Now the trick with shooting deer is that you have to get them out in the open, and it’s tough with deer ’cause these are clever cagey animals with an intuitive sense of danger. You know what you have to do to get a deer out into the open? You hold out a Twinkie. That animal clopped up to me like we were at a party. She seemed to be pretty interested in the Twinkie, so I gave it to her. Looking back, she’d have been better off if I’d given her the damn vest. And Bob kind of screamed at me and whispered, ‘Move away!’ The camera had been reloaded and it looked like the day wasn’t going to be a washout after all. So I back away. A couple of steps at a time. And I closed my eyes when I heard the shot.

Look I know these are animals and they don’t play bridge or go to the prom, but you can’t tell me that little one didn’t know who his mother was. That’s got to mean something. And later at the hospital, Bob Shoemaker was telling me about the nobility and tradition of hunting, and how it was related to the Native American Indians and I nodded and said that was interesting, while I was thinking about what a load of crap it was! Hunting was part of Indian culture. It was food and it was clothes and it was shelter. They sang and danced and they offered prayers to the gods for a successful huntso that they could survive one more unimaginably brutal winter. The things that they killed held the highest place of respect for them and to kill for fun was a sin. And they knew the gods wouldn’t be so generous next time. What we did wasn’t food and it wasn’t shelter and it wasn’t sports! It was just mean!

Isaac: Jeremy. Why didn’t you tell us how you felt about hunting when we gave you this?

Jeremy: Because you told me that you spoke to Mark Sabath at USA Today. In fact, I know you must have spoken to him before you hired me.

Isaac: Of course I did. I also spoke to Dave Heller at the Free Press. And Tom Monahan at the Sacramento Bee.

Jeremy: And they all said pretty much the same thing.

Isaac: Yes, they all said that Jeremy Goodwin was a bright guy, with a world class understanding of popular sports, but that he didn’t quite fit in and there was little chance that he’d advance in their organization.

Jeremy: All due respect, Mr. Jaffee, but I have $80,000 in college loans to pay back. My instincts told me to shut the the hell up and do what I was told.

Isaac: Your instincts were wrong.

Jeremy: Not fitting in is how qualified people lose jobs.

Isaac: Yeah, but a lot of the time, it’s how they end up working here. Now you had an obligation to tell us how you felt. Partly because I don’t like getting a phone call saying that I’ve put one of my people in the hospital. But mostly because if you feel that strongly about something you have a responsibility to try and change my mind! Did you think I would fire you simply because you made a convincing argument? It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: if you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. If you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you. I’m an awfully smart man and Mark Sabath is an idiot. He had you, and he blew it. You’re gonna do great here, but you gotta trust us. You fit in on your own time. When you come to work for me, you show up to play. I’m going home. (grabs jacket) You don’t know us very well. So if it’s hard trusting us in the beginning maybe it will help to know that we trust you. Good night. (exits)

Dana: Good night. I’ll see you Monday. (exits) “Hymn to Her” by The Pretenders starts playing

Jeremy: Good night. (dials phone) Hi, dad. It’s me. No nothing’s wrong. I just wanted to tell you something nice happened at work today. I got the call.

###

(Transcript via Sports Night Transcripts.)

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