At the first music news meeting of the week, executive editor Joe Levy tells the writers -- save for Russell, who didn't bother to show up -- asks for drafts by the next day if they want an article in the fall preview issue of the magazine. This...... Read Full Episode Summary »
At the first music news meeting of the week, executive editor Joe Levy tells the writers -- save for Russell, who didn't bother to show up -- asks for drafts by the next day if they want an article in the fall preview issue of the magazine. This is one of the last chances for the competing writers to get something published ... and therefore, time is running out to impress the editors enough to land a yearlong job and the right to say I'm From Rolling Stone.
Tika pitches the Harlem dance craze/song, "Chicken Noodle Soup" and the editors give her the OK; she is also given an assignment to interview Ice Cube. Pete pitches a story about singer/songwriter Lionel Richie, whose manager told him that Lionel is "the one thing in Baghdad that's joining the Sunnis and the Shiites." To everyone's amusement, Pete reports that the opposing groups in Baghdad agree that Lionel Richie is the best musician in the world.
At home, Russell eases out of bed at 10:51 a.m. It's crunch time in the competition, but instead of being productive, Russell wonders why music journalism matters. He's discouraged that celebrities don't want to "talk about anything interesting." With his pants sagging and his body language signaling defeat, Russell sums it up to himself, saying, "Welcome to mainstream media, dude."
Later that evening, RS contributing editor Jenny Eliscu stops by Russell's apartment. Sporting a Johnnie Cochran t-shirt and a red bandana, Russell looks at his mentor with a sad face. She lets Russell know that she still believes in him. "Even now?" he asks. "Even now," Jenny assures him, but lets him know that he needs to push himself. Inspired, Russell promises he'll make her proud.
On Tuesday, Russell pitches a Method Man story in the hope of getting a writing assignment for the next issue, which goes to press in two days. Russell says Meth has had his car and jewelry stolen, but he's putting an album out with a track that disses Diddy. He's given the go-ahead and is told to report back tomorrow.
During a phone interview, Tika asks rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube if he'd call his first album in six years a comeback. After a pause, he says, "I wouldn't call it a comeback." Recovering quickly, Tika says, "OK, so scratch that," and moves on to ask about his album creation process, but she doesn't get much. She hangs up feeling that she should have dug a little deeper.
Meanwhile, Russell meets with Method Man in a hotel. The rapper-turned-actor discusses the "dark cloud" that seems to be over him, but explains that he's inspired by it. Referencing his previous interview with fellow Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, Russell questions the future of the group without the late ODB, and Meth notes that it's "not the same." To lighten the mood, Russell challenges the larger-framed Method to an arm wrestling match. Surprised by Russell's strength, Method says, "Hold up. This kid is mean!" As he loses momentum to the rapper, Russell complains, "You can't lift your elbow." Method wins and says to the camera, "Mean." Defeated and sitting on the floor, Russell says, "You lifted your elbow, dude," but promises to do Method right in the written word.
Lionel Richie explains to Peter that it was the ABC News show Nightline that informed him that the Sunnis and the Shiites don't agree on American policy, but they do agree on his music. When Peter asks why, Lionel says that he writes songs about love, hope and life. "If you just get past the politics and religion, people are the same," Lionel says, noting that he love to play the first concert in Iraq when the region settles.
Tika is stressed. She has yet to hear back from anyone she contacted about "Chicken Noodle Soup" story and she's up against the wall to write the story in time to make the next day's deadline. And she tells Alex that Ice Cube didn't give her anything interesting, but is told that as the writer, it's Tika's job to find an interesting angle.
Russell decides to work on his Method Man article through the night at the Rolling Stone office in an effort to hit the deadline. Exploring the office, smoking and drinking coffee, he talks to himself, questioning whether he's cut out for "having a job that you gotta be at." Russell performs a one-man skit playing both Joe and himself. "Gimmie the job. Look, I'm here on time." Then as Joe he says, "Actually Russell you're not here on time, you slept here." As himself, he pleads, "But I was here, Joe!" Just then he finds some beer, sits on the floor with a cigarette and works.
The next morning, Krystal notices he's wearing the same clothes and Russell explains that he spent the night drinking and smoking at the office. Tika updates her mentor, David Swanson, on the "Chicken Noodle Soup" story. David tells her that they're counting on it, but without quotes, they can't do it. Tika feels like she has failed.
Peter gets some final editorial advice on his Lionel Richie article from his mentor, Brian Hiatt. Peter knows that his writing has progressed because it now takes five minutes for Brian to help him edit an article instead of 20.
Russell sips vodka all morning, then pushes his luck by cuddling up with an intern, Kristen, on a sofa in an open area until security breaks them up. When Russell reports to his mentor, Jenny, she buries her head in her hands, mortified, and tells him that she's too busy to talk at the moment. Rusell knows that he messed up yet again. Then he's told that his piece is unstructured, as if he wrote it while tired. Reflects while walking down the hallway, Russell feels that he's hurt people who care about him. He can't forgive himself, so he does self-destructive stuff. He wonders how he can be aware of it and keep doing it.
Tika hands in her final Ice Cube article to Alex, who promptly kills the story because there's no angle. When the Rolling Stone editors review Tika's work, they note that she did not show a lot of initiative and sense that she's feeling overwhelmed.
Indeed, outside on the phone, Tika says that she doubts herself. "This is all I've got," she says, "This is really it for me." Meanwhile, Russell's mentor Jenny takes a less casual tone and questions why he'd go out of his way to blow such an opportunity. "What a waste," she tells him.
Russell's Method Man article was put on the Rolling Stone blog ... not the magazine. Neither article by Tika was published. Peter's Lionel Richie article was very well-received and published in the magazine.