Episode ABC.2.3: "Grossberg's Return"

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Episode ABC.2.3
Title "Grossberg's Return"
Production No. 2.1
UK Air Date NA?
US Air Date 2 Oct 1987
Length 48 minutes
Creative Written by Steve Roberts

Directed by Janet Greek

Edited by Edward Brennan / Irving C. Rosenblum ACE

Watch for: A very interesting slate of TV shows.

Soap operas haven't gotten any better, in either era.

Lauren's extremely catty remark about Formby's departure.

Bryce's continuing inability at social interaction.

The sequence of people being called and woken up at 3 a.m., all alone, until...

Theora smoking. And why.

Max interestingly misquoting Shakespeare.

Crew Series Crew, Season 2
Actor Role
Main Cast
Matt Frewer as Edison Carter /

Max Headroom

Amanda Pays Theora Jones
George Coe Ben Cheviot
Chris Young Bryce Lynch
W. Morgan Sheppard Blank Reg
and Jeffrey Tambor Murray
Special Guest Star
Charles Rocket Ned Grossberg
Guest Starring
Caroline Kava Harriet Garth
Hank Garrett Gene Ashwell
Lee Wilkof Edwards
Sharon Barr Lauren
Howard Sherman Simon Peller
Rosalind Chao Angela Barry
Andreas Katsulas Mr. Bartlett (Network 66 Board)
Brett Porter Kirstler
Stephen Elliott as Clive Thatcher (Network 66 Chairman)
Karen Hensel Network 66 Board (female)
James F. Dean  ?
John Hamelin Indian Commentator*
Donald Burda  ?
Lisa Peders Jenny
Rachelle Ottley "Porky's Landing" Amanda*
Brian Little  ?
J. Jay Smith Network 144 Commentator*
Saida Pagan Network 66 Announcer (female)*
Unknown Cast
 ? Opening Announcer (male, voice)
 ? "Porky's Landing" Eric
 ? Choam (Network 66 Board)
 ? Network 66 Phone System Voice (male)
 ? Ted (Theora's bedmate)
 ? Network 66 Announcer (male, voice)
 ? Garth's stud
 ? Other TV Reporters at Garth's
 ? Network 66 Suit in Fight 1 (Choam?)
 ? Network 66 Suit in Fight 2
* Tentative role match, pending confirmation.

Unknown roles represent credited cast members with no certain matching role.

Unknown cast represent roles with unknown, possibly uncredited actors.

The third episode of the second ABC series season was scripted to be the first, leading off the new story line with the return of foe Ned Grossberg as the head of rival Network 66 and establishing a new Network 23 board member.

The complete episode, from original broadcast masters, is available on the Shout! Factory DVD set.


20 minutes into the future, it's 3 a.m., and the audiences are building for the 9 o'clock autocount for the telelection primary - the candidate associated with the Network that has the highest ratings at that time is the winner. Network 23 has the ratings edge, so their candidate Simon Peller is on track to being reelected... but Network 66's ratings are steadily climbing on a marathon showing of a show so bad it's called "visual halitosis." "Porky's Landing" is on its way to helping elect 66's candidate, Harriet Garth.

It's panic in the late-night boardroom as Edwards and Lauren - Miss Formby's replacement, it would appear - watch the ratings edge erode. They call Cheviot, then Peller, then Bryce in an attempt to find out why 66's ratings are climbing and to try and stop the election upset.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of 66, Thatcher, and the Network 66 board are chuckling at the success of their new trick, "ViewDoze," brought to them by their new board member... Ned Grossberg.

With his usual fine disregard of the rules, Bryce calls up his counterpart at 66, a girl named Jenny who is a former classmate of his at ACS. She cheerfully tells him about ViewDoze, finally noting that it's a complete scam. Viewers have been told the new service lets them "view while they sleep," so a huge number of people are tuning to 66 and the unaccountably popular "Porky's Landing" - putting the morning telelection in jeopardy for Network 23.

Cheviot calls his counterpart, Network 66 Chairman Thatcher, to complain about the improper and possibly illegal manipulation of ratings - "falsifying ratings is criminal larceny!" Thatcher laughs him off. It's time for the big guns: Cheviot calls Murray, who calls Carter, who calls Theora...

...who proves not to be alone. A very masculine shoulder is showing beyond her in the bed. Carter is too shocked to speak, then curtly tells her they're needed at the network... and he's sorry for intruding. That doesn't stop him, when he gets to Control ahead of her, from peeking into Theora's communication console to see that she had a dinner date with someone named Ted. Which makes him uncharacteristically grumpy with Murray, then Theora and then even Max.

Murray checks the news-ups to be prepared when Cheviot gets in. He connects with a freelance news stringer named Kirstler, who has exclusives on a couple of genocides on the planet dayside - and there's another plague of frogs in Egypt. But here on the nightside, there's just the telelection... "dull as chastity."

Cheviot arrives in control and demands to see Network 66. It's still the "Porky's Landing" drivel-in. He tells them Bryce's report that "ViewDoze" is just a hoax with the objective of winning the telelection, and orders them to get to the bottom of it before the election at 9:00 a.m., just a few hours away. The trio - plus Max - begins to unravel the mystery of ViewDoze.

In the Network 66 boardroom, chairman Thatcher expresses his concern should Network 23's star reporter do just that: figure out the illegal maneuvering and turn things their way. Grossberg peels away a layer of his plans, revealing a much darker objective. While the ViewDoze project has the goal of winning the telelection, it leads to Grossberg's plans for the destruction of Cheviot, Carter, Murray, Theora, Max and Network 23 - his revenge for their "conspiring against him" long before. He's going to divert them to a story that will destroy them all.

Harriet Garth is furious - there is a freelance newsie snooping around her place, and a complete stranger inside. Grossberg tells her to play along and she'll be elected at one minute after nine. He then contacts his ace in the hole... Kirstler, the freelance news agent, who is setting up to steal security footage from Garth's apartment. We watch as he monitors the footage, and then... does something to it.

Kirstler's on the line to Murray, selling his breaking hot story about some stud in Harriet Garth's apartment. Murray is suspicious and Carter doesn't want to do "video paparazzi" work, but a delighted Cheviot orders them to drop the ViewDoze story and follow up on trying to discredit Garth just before the telelection.

The tension between Carter and Theora reaches a head, and Carter curtly demands "clear-headed backup - Angela." Angela turns out to be a hotshot chopper pilot and field backup like Martinez, but even more aggressive about the "backup" part. There's also some dislike between her and Theora that strikes sparks as they land at Harriet Garth's apartment building. Kirstler shows them the footage of Garth and the man, and says all they have to do is catch him leaving and their fish is landed.

Carter is still reluctant, so it's Angela who chases him down and begins grilling him mercilessly - she clearly has no compunctions about being a "video paparazzi." Cheviot orders the feed live, and after a moment's panic in the Network 66 board room, Grossberg chuckles. Network 23 has swallowed his bait whole - even better results than he'd wished for. When Thatcher goes on the air with alternate security camera footage of Garth being interviewed at exactly the same time as the supposed liaison, public opinion and rating swing against Network 23 and Peller. Cheviot is furious and calls Carter to the board room to explain.

Grossberg notes that their candidate has pulled ahead, and when the board applauds, he modestly ensures that everyone understands that Network 66 chairman Thatcher is the man to whom credit is due... the man "responsible for this... triumph." Buoyed by the applause, Thatcher goes on the air to give his word as network chairman that Harriet Garth is innocent. Garth then appears to call for both Cheviot and Peller to step down. Other networks around the world begin to condemn Network 23.

Carter concedes to Cheviot that both the security footage and the interview footage, with the same time stamps, appeared to be genuine. Cheviot orders Carter to go find the truth "no matter the cost."

On Thatcher's orders, Garth receives Carter - if a bit frostily - and maintains that she was being interviewed, by a global reporter, at 5:05 a.m. As her remarks go out on Network 23, Grossberg drops his bomb to the Network 66 board: she is lying. He has security cam footage that shows she clearly was fooling around with the man in her apartment, not holding an interview. Panic erupts and the board insists Grossberg take the fall for the network's loss of face... until he smarmily notes that Thatcher has already gone on record as taking responsibility and assuring viewers of Garth's truthfulness, on his word.

Network 66's reputation hangs by the thread of no one else finding the damning footage... and a reporter as good as Carter is likely to ferret out the truth. Mr. Bartlett calls for the vote; it goes three to one against Thatcher. Thatcher leaves, along with the other two board members, leaving Bartlett and Grossberg in charge of Network 66. Bartlett graciously (or perhaps wisely) concedes the chair to Grossberg... but moves to the first board seat himself.

Grossberg goes on the air to repudiate Thatcher's claim of Harriet Garth's innocence. Murray and Theora go over the incompatible tapes and find that Kirstler manipulated one... but only to delay the revelation that Harriet Garth did indeed commit her indiscretion. It's brilliant... it's sinister... it's the media manipulating the truth. Both Garth and Network 23 were set up. Carter's cleverness has found out the truth... again.

With seven minutes to go in the telelection and Network 23 - and Simon Peller - well in the lead, Carter checks in. He wants to go live with the story of how Network 66 and Ned Grossberg double-double-crossed Harriet Garth. It could change the election... but it's the moral choice, and must run... even four minutes before the election count.

Grossberg calls at that moment to let Cheviot know that he's back and he's going to win from now on, starting with this battle. However, Carter is already on the air, telling the seamy story of Grossberg's manipulations. Grossberg still claims he's going to win, because the viewers only care about the next installment of "Porky's Landing"... and then, in a last-moment show of disgust by the viewers, the ratings for another network, Network 85, soar and their candidate J. Rivers is elected. Garth and Simon Peller are out - at least for the time being - and Cheviot is humble in accepting that maybe they can't fool the viewers as much as they thought they could.

At an open-air restaurant ("The Watering Hole," from the awning in the background), one of the first such we've seen, Murray and Carter end up in a brawl with Kirstler and Network 66 board members... but the real battle, between 23 and Grossberg, is just beginning, far over their heads. And Max can't even swing a punch to help...

Notes & Commentary

Why is Carter watching "Porky's Landing" at all - especially in light of his later derisive comments - and why does he leave his TV on that station when he goes to bed? Is it to thwart a vote for Network 23's Peller, whom he detests? Or to keep Max from bothering him?

"Porky's Landing," just in case anyone should fail to make the connection, is a hybrid of the extremely popular "Porky's" lowbrow teen sex movies and the equally popular nighttime soap opera dramas such as "Dallas" and "Knot's Landing." This is a particularly pointed jab, as a good part of the reason for the failure of the series was that it was positioned against "Dallas" and "Miami Vice" - not only among the top-rated shows of the time, but popular with the same demographic as that for "Max Headroom." Without network support to build an audience, M-Max never had a chance. The exceptionally nasty comments from Edwards and Lauren in the beginning are probably not about "Porky's Landing" at all...

It seems that the affair between Cheviot and Formby is no longer a secret - Lauren's arch comment makes it clear why Formby is no longer with Network 23.

The jumble that flashes over Bryce's screen after Edwards disconnects appears to be C programming language code for some sort of visual coordinates application.

Some new network and channel names appear in this episode:

  • Network 66
  • Breakthru TV (seen in Episode ABC.1.5: "War")
  • Harmony View
  • Network 144
  • OTXIS Net 62
  • Tap Zoom TV
  • Dream Wave
  • Overview TV
  • Riotus Rerun
  • Big Time TV (running with the big boys? really?)
  • Network 85

Edwards dials seven digits to reach Peller, but eight digits to reach Bryce. Cheviot and Carter both dial seven digits to reach, respectively, Murray and Theora.

The place of Angela Barry is unclear. On the one hand, she seems to be a replacement for Martinez as a chopper pilot and general backup to Carter in the field. But Carter makes a point of asking for her as "clear headed backup" while he's jabbing at Theora, implying that her role somehow supplants Theora. But then, there's Theora controlling Carter (and Angela) in the field, just like always.

The telelection monitor lists:

  • S. Peller (Network 23)
  • H. Garth (Network 66)
  • B. Laramie (Network 144)
  • J. Rivers

Peller and Garth are, of course, the Network 23 and 66 candidates. Laramie is the show's post-production supervisor. Rivers... must be comedienne Joan Rivers? Or not.

The Indian commentator makes special note of "the code of ethics." The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Code of Ethics was a ruling, if toothless, agreement among the networks from the radio days through about 1982. The code was discarded in 1982 and reformulated in a much weaker version in 1990. A good article on its history cand be found here.

Having the battle between Networks 23 and 66 fall to a third party - Network 85 - is consistent with what is known about advertising battles. In nearly all cases of an extended ad campaign that names a competitor as inferior (such as "Coke is better than Pepsi!"), both products and makers often show a decline in market share. Whether the writers of this episode were aware of this or simply pulling a surprise ending out of the hat, I don't know.

Near the end, Grossberg quotes the "old Klingon proverb" from "Star Trek II" about revenge being a dish best served cold. Although this line is quoted in many films from "Young Sherlock Holmes" to "Kill Bill Vol. 1," its appearance here must be in some way related to the start of "Star Trek: Next Generation" the same year as Max.

Harriet Garth seems to flipflop entirely between scenes, particularly towards the end. Within a few minutes, she is first calmly accepting the loss of the telelection, and then frantic with Grossberg about the loss. Poor story or film editing?

Max's riff at the beginning about "Lifestyles of the Poor and Pitiful" not only snarks at the then-popular show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" but harks back to Max's talk-show interview of its host, Robin Leach.

Max's riff at the end about jealousy manages to omit the one key word about who doubts and loves and loves not: the cuckold. (Since Carter is feeling somewhat, if wrongly, cuckolded by Theora.) The quote Max is mangling is from Othello:

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
But, O, what damned minutes tells he o'er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!

Murray doesn't like milk. Or so he says.

Max's last snip of song is from "If I Ruled the World," originally from the 1963 London musical "Pickwick" and recorded by many others.

William Morgan Sheppard is credited in the leading cast (as he is a regular star in the second season) but does not appear in this episode.

Opening Credits

This episode uses the standard second-season opening credits.

Subliminal Credits

This episode has no subliminal credits in the Zik-Zak montage.

It has the embedded credits "B. Laramie" and "J. Rivers" in the list of candidates under Peller and Garth. Bernie Laramie is the show's post production supervisor. "J. Rivers" is a mystery name unless comedian Joan Rivers is intended. (Which would be a hoot, considering that Rivers wins the telelection...)

Quotes & Caps

  • Announcer: "In regional headlines: North Moscow Henrys(?) 85, Afghan Yankees 117."
  • Announcer: "Protesters claim solar eclipses caused by the 34,000 network satellites already in orbit are causing bad (unintelligible). Police riots broke out today..."
  • Max: "And next up on-on-on Network 23, it's-it's 'Lifestyles of the Poor and Pitiful' - our weekly look at how the other half lives. (It's... rather weakly.)"
  • 'Porky's Landing' Amanda: "If you were any kind of man, you would know I am staring at you in haughty arrogance!"
'Porky's Landing' Eric: "How dare you!"
'Porky's Landing' Amanda: "You animal! You cheap oil mogul! I will never grace your bed again!"
  • Harriet Garth: "I'm Harriet Garth, the 'Porky's Landing' fans' candidate in today's telelection primary. Remember, your ratings are your votes, so stay with us... for a great first act, and the right ending... I promise. Remember: I'm a fan! Elect me by staying tuned to Network 66, the home of 'Porky's Landing.'"
  • 'Porky's Landing' Amanda: "I tell you I love him, Eric! Love him, do you hear?"
'Porky's Landing' Eric: "And you will never see him again. Never! Never, do you hear?"
'Porky's Landing' Amanda: "Why? Oh, why, Eric?"
  • Cheviot: "I've been watching, Edwards. How are they doing it?"
Edwards: "We don't know. But at this rate of increase, they have enough ratings to win the telelection by the morning autocount."
Cheviot: "I wish Formby was still with us. She used to handle things at night."
Lauren: "That's exactly why she's no longer with us, Mr. Cheviot."
  • Thatcher: "They'll be rioting down at 23... This'll kill Cheviot. We must congratulate our new board member... your 'ViewDoze' device seems to be a rating breakthrough, Mr. Grossberg."
Grossberg: "Thank you, Chairman, I'm rather proud of ViewDoze. It's... inspired.
  • Cheviot: "Have you absolutely no idea how they're doing this, Edwards?"
Edwards: "None at all, Ben. Overnight ratings haven't taken this kind of beating since 'Snow White and the Baby Eaters.'"
Lauren: "My concern is the impact on the telelection. If they beat our ratings by the nine o'clock autocount, it'll swing it from our man Peller. The system will automatically elect 66's Harriet Garth, by a ratings landslide."
  • Edwards:(dials)
Bryce: "Bryce..."
Edwards: "I want you to use every machine in your department on this. I want facts, figures, analysis, evaluation. I want you to throw every techno-trick in the book at them. I must find out where they're getting these figures, and fast. Fast, fast, fast!"
Bryce: "You want this quickly, Mr. Edwards?"
  • Bryce: "Why are Network 66 ratings so high? Are you guys using ratings enhancement? Because the show apparently stinks."
Jenny: "Bryce... you're unique. We're using the new ViewDoze system. It enables people to view... while they sleep! It's great for ratings."
Bryce: "Hmm. Is that a Dawcel Optics device?"
Jenny: "No, it's cheap scam - a straight con dreamed up by our new marketing exec."
  • Jenny: "It claims you can view while you sleep. So everybody leaves their TV on 66 all night because we're showing eight hours of 'Porky's Landing.' I call it a 'drivel-in.'"
  • Jenny: "You coming to the college reunion think-tank, Bryce?"
Bryce: "Uh... no. Last time we saw anyone, we were all ten. Thanks for the hard data, Jenny."
  • Bryce: "It's called ViewDoze, and it's a scam to persuade Network 66 viewers to watch TV all night. It's scientifically invalid."
Edwards: "How on earth... Bryce, you're unique!"
Bryce: "I know."
  • Thatcher: "My congratulations, Mr. Grossberg. You certainly seem to be able to upset Mr. Cheviot. But of course, you once worked for him, didn't you?"
Grossberg: "On the contrary, Mr. Thatcher. He once worked for me!"
  • Murray:(dials) "Edison... it's Murray."
Carter: "Huh? Why?"
Murray: "Because it's there. Um... ah... get into Control..."
Carter: "Aw, dammit, Murray, come on..."
Murray: "...get ahold of Theora. Don't argue. Don't swear. I'll meet you at the network."
Carter: "...'because it's there.'"
  • Murray: "Morning, team. ...uh, 'Good morning, Murray, how are you?' What are you so glum about? I thought you thrived on action."
Theora: "Morning, Murray... what's the drama? Hi, Edison."
Murray: "Uh, we got out of the wrong side of someone's bed, I think."
Carter: "Aw, knock it off, Murray. Get to the point. What the hell's this all about?"
  • Max: "Ah-ah, ratings! Audi-Audi-Audiences! You're playing my tu-tu-tune! Gimme my own show and I'll rule - rule - rule-rule the airwaves! My ratings would get a baboon-boon - get a baboon elected! Come to think of it... even Simon Peller!"
Carter: "Max, you couldn't elect just to disappear, could ya?"
Theora: "Edison, leave him alone! What's got into you?"
Max: "That's-That's the old left-brain, right-brain con - con - con-conflict, and of course I'm the unemotional side... thank Bryce."
Murray: "Mmm. Children, please!"
  • Murray: "I want to check any news-ups before Cheviot gets here. Kirstler? Murray at 23. You freelancers got anything on the newsline?"
Kirstler: "Dayside of the planet, I've signed exclusives on a couple genocides. There's another plague of frogs in Egypt. Here nightside, there's just this morning's telelection... dull as chastity."
Murray: "All right, if anything breaks, yell at me. Everyone else is."
  • 'Porky's Landing' Amanda: "Why will you not give me my freedom?"
'Porky's Landing' Eric: "I have given you enough oil wells! Will you never be satisfied?"
'Porky's Landing' Amanda: "What would you know of giving satisfaction?"
'Porky's Landing' Eric: "Love can be a gushing oil well, Amanda. A man knows that!"
'Porky's Landing' Amanda: "Take your oil wells! Take your house in Malibu! Take every..."
: "Well, I wouldn't have missed this for anything - this is my very favorite drivel!"
  • Grossberg: "The Phoenix File: Cheviot, head of Network 23. Edison Carter, the world's top telejournalist. Murray, his hotshot producer. Theora Jones, his oh-so-clever controller. And Max Headroom, the world's first and only computer-generated person. They are all about to regret the day they conspired against Ned Grossberg. Because I have the story that will not only make us top network, it will destroy each and every one of these people, and with them - Network 23."
  • Grossberg: "You're about to earn politically useful notoriety, followed by a surge of public sympathy. That, and ViewDoze ratings, will have you elected by one minute past nine."
Harriet Garth: "Or, if it goes wrong, political oblivion! I don't like this, Grossberg. It's dirty."
Grossberg: "Naturally. It's politics."
  • Grossberg: "Right, Kirstler, it's all set. Are you in position?"
Kirstler: "Yeah, I'm hooked into her home security landline. I'm burgling time-coded pictures off her burglar alarm. Oh... by the way, I'm doubling my fee, Mr. G."
Grossberg: "Naturally, Kirstler - that's why I'm tripling it."
Kirstler: "It is a pleasure working with a man like you."
Grossberg: "Talent like yours is an investment."
  • Carter: "I'm not some cheap... doorstep video paparazzi poking his camera into peoples' private lives. That's not journalism, it's junk!"
  • Murray: "What is the matter with him?"
Max: "Well, Theora upset Edi-Edison when Edison saw Theo-Theora on the viewphone. But it wasn't seeing Theora that really-really re-really upset Edison."
Theora: "He's got no damned business inside my private life."
Murray: "Right. ...Might be good for your career if he was."
Theora: "No, I'm good for my career. I could quite fancy you, though."
Max: "I think she meant me."
Murray: "No, she meant me."
Max: "She-she meant me!"
Murray: "She meant me!"
Max: "She meant me-me!"
  • Angela Barry: "Can you tell us what positions Miss Garth took with you?"
  • Thatcher: "Hell's teeth! You're exposing a politician who's identified with this channel - on a morning of a telelection - in front of millions!"
66 Board Member: "227 million. Look at those ratings! My... sex really sells, doesn't it?"
Grossberg: "You're worrying quite unnecessarily. You see... she's innocent. It never really happened."
  • Cheviot: "Murray... Carter! What the devil is going on here? A false story mounted on flimsy evidence, my top reporter exposed as a shyster, a senior producer accused of criminal incompetence, and a major politician publicly accusing this network of character assassination... good grief!"
  • Murray: "Now, look..."
Carter: "Don't say it, Murray! I shouldn'ta let her do it."
Angela Barry: "Save it, Edison. It is my mistake; I can take the heat."
Carter: "No, it's my fault - I should have realized that guy was acting."
Theora: "Mmm, well done, Sir Galahad. Nice of you to protect the feelings of your new overnight friend."
Carter: "Well, of course you would have spotted it immediately... since you're the damn expert at men slipping away at dawn."
Max: "You know... pardon me for being bright, but I'll never understand why people waste so much - so much - so much energy getting excited over the very thing they'll - they'll - th-they'll need energy for once the excitement's over. Anyway, stay-stay tuned for Net-Net-Network 23's very-very-v-very own version of 'Porky's Landing.'"
Humans: "Shut up!"
  • Indian Commentator: "In an electro-democracy, we must ask the question: Have networks like 23 become government? If they misuse their power, if they pervert information for their own ends, if they make ratings into religion... where is integrity? Where is honesty? Where is truth? Where is the code of ethics?"
Network 66 Announcer: "We interrupt this commentary for a sports update."
Peller: "Ben... what the devil is going on?"
  • Carter: "We have to establish the truth wherever it lies."
Lauren: "The truth lies, all right, Mr. Carter. We all saw the pictures - we all saw Harriet Garth."
Carter: "With respect... we saw her back."
Ashwell: "Oh, we saw a bit of her front!"
Cheviot: "Ashwell! Carter means her face, and he's right - it could have been a stand-in. ...No choice but to pursue this, whatever the risk. Get on this, Carter. Get to Harriet Garth!"
  • Murray: "Are you okay?"
Theora: "Yes, I'm fine."
Murray: "Ah... look. I know there's something wrong between you and Edison. And I don't, uh, I don't like my team to be unhappy. You wanna talk about it?"
Theora: "No, it's nothing, really. Well... when Edison called this morning... I wasn't alone."
Murray: "I see. Well, that's none of his business, as you say."
Theora: "That's exactly how I feel."
Murray: "Good. So you're sure you're not worried about him?"
Theora: "No. Why?"
Murray: "You don't smoke."
  • Harriet Garth: "Why do I have to embroil myself with Carter? Peller's finished. The job's done."
Thatcher: "Well, yes... and no."
Harriet Garth: "I'm the politician, Thatcher."
Thatcher: "Grossberg seems to think there's another round to play. Harriet: use all your loquacious guile, for which you are justly famous, and soon you'll be swept into power. Our ratings are massive... what, after all, is one more lie?
  • Harriet Garth: "Why, Mr. Carter - what a surprise. Have you come for the orgy?"
Carter: "Oh, no... don't tell me I'm the first one here! ...mind if I come in?"
Harriet Garth: "Of course! Just smash the door down and invade my privacy! Had I known you were coming, I'd have taken off my clothes."
Carter: "Well, if you think we should conduct the interview in the nude, I'm happy to oblige - I know our ratings would benefit."
  • Harriet Garth: "This global telelection reaches every part of the planet. My constituency is everywhere in the transmitted world. I campaign with the satellites, Mr. Carter - not the clock."
  • Grossberg: "Harriet Garth... is lying. She's guilty of the indiscretions of which Carter and Network 23 accuse her."
  • Network 66 Board Member: "The whole idea was yours, Grossberg. You will take full responsibility - publicly."
Grossberg: "I would be delighted... were it not for the... troublesome incompatibility with the heavily-broadcast evidence to the contrary."
Thatcher (recording): "I can personally assure you of the innocence of my very good friend Harriet Garth. You have my word as chairman of Network 66."
  • Mr. Bartlett: "Defeat is an orphan. Victory... has a hundred fathers. Congratulations... Chairman Grossberg."
Grossberg: "Thank you."
  • Theora: "Murray... what if both tapes were fake?"
Murray: "What are you talking about - you can't fake a tape. Pictures don't lie - at least not until you assemble them creatively."
  • Theora: "The media is running events, not reporting them. Murray, they're manufacturing their own truths."
Murray: "She was set up. And so were we."
Harriet Garth: "Grossberg set me up!"
Carter: "Harriet... why don't you tell a nice old guileless telejournalist exactly what happened... Fully. Frankly. And dressed?"
  • Ashwell: "I am completely lost. If she's guilty of this thingummy... ah, men and things... why is Carter so sure she's innocent?"
Lauren: "How could she be? Politicians are always guilty of something. Usually the question is 'of what?'... or when."
  • Grossberg: "Good morning. I'm back... Ben."
Cheviot: "You won't expect us to congratulate you. You're not welcome!"
Grossberg: "Welcome? You and I built Network 23!"
Cheviot: "And you damn near destroyed it! Drop the phony nostalgia and come to the point, man."
Grossberg: "Don't trade insults with me."
Cheviot: "I wouldn't trade cowflop with you, Ned! You and I are at war!"
Grossberg: "And I'm going to win."
  • Carter: (Taking Harriet Garth's phone) "Grossberg... Edison Carter."
Grossberg: "I seem to have been a little premature."
Carter: "Yeah, the last time you were 'a little premature' was when you were announcing my death."
  • Carter: "This is one telelection the public's gonna win."
  • Grossberg: "A full belly and a diverting show makes a bad revolutionary, Harriet. Television is the opiate of the people. Long may it be so."
Harriet Garth: "Grossberg... what the hell do you do for a conscience?"
Grossberg: "Occasionally I rent one."
  • Grossberg: "Vengeance, you see, is a dish best eaten cold."
  • Cheviot: "They abandoned both our networks by the millions... they just voted with their channel-switchers. Maybe we don't fool them after all."
  • Max: "Beware of jealousy: it is the green-green eyed monster which mock-mock-m-mocks the meat it feeds on. Um... who-who-who loves not his wronger... who doubts... yet doubts (eh-eh)... yet profoundly loves (eeeh)... Shakespeare. And Edison Carter. That's great. Very banal."
  • Carter: "I'm sorry. I had no right to act so... protectively. It's my fault."
Theora: "Well, it's refreshing to know that you're not perfect... and invincible."
Carter: "Let's not go too far."
Max: "Ah, bless-bless-b-blessed are the peacemakers."
  • (sounds of brawling)
Carter: "Murray, what are you doing!"
Max: "Hey! What about me? Me? You're outnumbered six-six-sixty-six to twenty-three - you need all the help you can get-get-g-get! Come on, then, come on-come on-come on: I'll give you a damned good fighting! Hiding-hiding (ha ha ha)... Is that-is that it? Whatta-what about the bit where I d-duck and the guy next to me gets hit?"
Carter: "I think you can look forward to plenty of that now that Grossberg's back."
  • Max: "You should leave it to me next time... leave it-leave it-leave it to someone who understands show-showbusiness. 'If I the ruled world (yeeaaaw!) every day would be the first day of spring (ruahh!).'"