When I was out in LA for the press tour in January, I had the pleasure of watching the table read for this episode. This was the actual Monday-morning table read, not a show for the gathered critics; the writers were sitting by taking notes that would be used to make changes before shooting.
What struck me about the table read was that, despite the fact that it was the first draft and the cast hadn't fully gotten into how exactly they were going to play the script, the episode was funny. People were genuinely laughing, including the writers, who have lived with the script for some time; they weren't cackling in an effort to sell their funny lines. In fact, it was one of the funniest episodes of the season.
Watching the final version, I noticed that not a whole lot changed from that table read. And, even though I knew most of what was coming, I laughed as hard as I did when I was on the set a month and a half ago. If that's not the sign of a top-notch episode, I don't know what is.
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