- An exchange between Jim and Mackenzie in the pilot.
Do you know how to flirt? Jim:
Show me. Jim: ...
- The normally laid-back Charlie (as played by Sam Waterston) has enough of asking Don to be quiet and outright threatens him:
Charlie: I'm a Marine, Don! I will kick the shit out of you, I don't care how many protein bars you eat!
- And then Will has to step in to calm Charlie down. Doubly hilarious because the scene started with Will and Don arguing, with Charlie appearing to be the mediating benevolent boss, but goes absolutely apeshit when Don starts accusing Will of being incompetent.
- Will repeatedly trolling Mackenzie as she gives a passionate speech about what the news should be like. "I need to think a bit...yeah, that whole speech did nothing for me."
- Concerning the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, Will is grilling the spokesperson for one of the companies about why there wasn't better safety inspections and the spokesperson is dodging with the usual "thoughts and prayers" line:
Spokesman: Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of—
Will: Everyone's thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. No one's thoughts and prayers are with the fire.
- Will's continued surprise that he has a blog.
Brian: Will doesn't write Will's blog?
Mac: Will can't find Will's blog.
- At the karaoke bar in the second episode:
Jim: I really only drink when I'm scared.
Maggie: [staggering in, drunk] I would like to have a word with you. Right here, right now.
Jim: [drinks a shot]
- Will is studying the names of his new staff, when a piece of the ceiling almost falls on his head. The maid deadpans that there are new neighbors.
- Shortly after, Will starts showing off how he now knows everyone's name and how to pronounce them, starting with a few examples of people who no longer work for him. Still, Mackenzie says it's the thought that counts and everyone should give him a round of applause for effort. Which they do, completely in earnest.
- Also, this exchange from the same scene:
Will: Muhammad El-Muhammad Al-Muhammad Bin Bazir?
Don: Went to FOX.
Will: FOX hired a guy with three Muhammads in his name?
- Will interviewing three people who are supporters of SB 1070, all of whom are so incompetent that Will literally has to make their arguments for them.
- "Bigfoot is real."
- Will going completely apeshit while reporting the Gabby Giffords shooting. He's doing a remarkably calm job reporting the news one minute and screaming like a maniac the second he's off the air. Also, the entire conversation between him, Charlie, Mac and Don descends into a Cluster F-Bomb of Heartwarming.
(to Charlie) You tell Leona that if she wants me out of this chair, she'd better bring more than just a couple of guys. Charlie:
That's exactly what I'll fucking tell her. Will:
(flails his fists) I'm not FUCKING around Charlie!! Charlie:
Feet of fucking steel! Will:
I'm sorry... Will:
It's not your fault— MacKenzie:
I fucked everything up! Will:
It's gonna' be alright! Don:
(just entering) What the fuck is going on? Will:
You're a fucking newsman, Don! I ever tell you otherwise you PUNCH me in the face!! *beat* Don:
Okay, but you're back in 30. MacKenzie:
Back in 30 seconds!
- Maggie hitting Jim with a glass door. TWICE.
- "Do you know what you're— ow. Do you know what you're— ow. Do you know what you're doing? Ow."
- "Hey, I love you every day. Valentine's Day is just an excuse to spend the night in a hotel room." Also, because it's Don, one of the most heartwarming statements ever. Damn.
- "The United States is in no greater danger of falling under Sharia law than it is the rules of Fight Club."
- Will. Vicodin. Marijuana. It's exactly as funny as you would expect.
Will: [repeatedly] Hmm...?
- The first sign that Will is not himself:
Will: Martin! Throw me the remote, it's right next to ya.
(Martin throws the remote at Will, which goes sailing past Will's head and out the open window. Will doesn't even react.)
Will: Martin! Throw me the remote, it's right next to ya.
- The Associate Producers desperately pulling seniority so that they don't have to talk to a woman who exchanged dirty tweets with Anthony Weiner and wants to be interviewed about it. Eventually it goes all the way down the line until everybody is staring at Maggie, who then proceeds to flail her arms.
Maggie: Can people still see me?
- While Don is explaining how Nancy Grace emotionally manipulates her viewers.
Mac: Question: Hell. Is it as bad as everyone says it is?
- Later Tess Googles said question, and informs her that "It looks pretty bad. There are a lot of fires."
- Mackenzie defending Will against Brian.
Mac: You know what I like about Will? He's not absolutely sure about anything. He struggles with things, he's never certain about anything, and sometimes he's not, but he tries hard to be. He struggles with things!
- Sloan, Don, and Elliot are all desperate to get off a plane. Sloan finds a website with seven ways to get thrown off a plane, including yelling unpopular political opinions out loudly. Elliot decides to try it out:
Elliot: Boy, that Genghis Khan had some really great ideas!
- Mackenzie giving an inspiring speech about how the power going out is the best thing for the News Night team (as it'll bring them together again and help them to keep on reporting on important news stories), only for the power to come back on again right as she finishes.
Mac: SON OF A BITCH!
- Jim: All I know is that if I was a woman the first thing I'd do is kiss another woman. I don't understand gay men or straight women.
- Mackenzie beating Jim with a pillow after she finds out he screwed up his chance with Maggie again.
- The entire scene with the Republican representative trying to get people from the team to host his dumbed-down debate is simultaneously tense, awesome, heartwarming, and funny.
Tate Brady: Don Keefer!
Tate: How would you and Elliot Hirsch like to have one of the debates?
Don: Eat me. *bland smile*
Tate: Mr. Skinner, I'm trying to be as diplo-
Charlie: When Don says "Eat me," that's usually the end of the conversation.
Tate: Sloan Sabbith? You wanna be a star?
Sloan: Fuck you.
- "Sorority girl!" Every time.
- Will also has her repeat her "Why is America the greatest country in the world?" question, and gently hazes her by asking her to find facts about Broadway shows.
- This deleted scene.
- Will singing the "Friday" song for no particular reason during the off time in the broadcast.
- When Mackenzie finds out she has to send somebody from the newsroom to cover the Romney campaign (right after comparing him and his ilk to the Taliban in universe), Charlie suggests sending whoever she wants punished. Cue Will walking past, still singing.
Mackenzie: Can I—
- The entire scene where Maggie and Sloan confront the woman who uploaded a video of Maggie screaming at a Sex and the City tour bus and try to convince her to take it down... while she's at a laundromat in Queens.
- Don fixes new tires on his chair. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
- Neal finally gets the chance to have an OWS spokesperson on the show, but worries that Will won't be fair during the interview. Mackenzie indignantly rebuffs that... unaware that Will, who is bent on finding out whom in his staff leaked some important information, is still on the warpath in the background.
Mackenzie: He's a lot of things, man, but when has he ever been unfair?
[Cue Will storming through the office in the background]
Will: If I don't get a name soon I'm gonna just start randomly firing people!
[Neal smirks. Mackenzie blinks.]
Mackenzie: ... I mean in real-life?
- Sloan's EP, Zane, drags her into Don's office to complain that she's being disobedient under Don's advice. We get this marvellous exchange.
Zane: I would like an apology.
Don: [deadpan] I'm sorry.
Zane: For what?
- Jim attempts to lead a revolution of sorts among the reporters following the Romney campaign trail. Inspirational music plays as he, Hallie, and Stillman all start asking the important questions that the campaign managers have been dodging the entire time - only to be kicked off the bus in the middle of nowhere.
Hallie: Do you have a plan?
Jim: I'm formulating one.
Stillman: ...I lifted some turkey sandwiches. *pulls out a giant ziploc bag full of sandwiches*
Hallie: [deadpan] Nice.
- Maggie finding out about the side effects of a vaccination she took for her Africa trip after she already took the pill.
Maggie: OH MY GOD!
Mackenzie: There it is.
Maggie: "Side effects include depression, confusion, hallucination, severe vomiting, suicidal thoughts, homocidal thoughts -"
Mackenzie: Anything else?
. I'm going to be itching while I'm confused and hallucinating.
- On one of their morning rundowns:
- During a GOP debate in Florida, a gay American soldier fighting in Iraq (on his fifth tour of duty) asks if the candidates will try to circumvent the progress made for homosexuals in the military if they're elected. Following the question, a number of audience members at the debate openly boo the soldier. Will's response when reporting this?
Will: The audience members who were booing were in Orlando. Soon they'll surely be in hell, though not soon enough.
- Sloan's talking with Mackenzie and says she finally saw Titanic (1997)note ; she's also watching the market trending down for Kodak:
- When the News Night crew try to tell Leona they're resigning due to misreporting the Genoa story, Leona continuously shuts them down by bragging about her wardrobe and makeup, complaining that Daniel Craig wasn't at the fundraiser she just came from (and telling Will he does/doesn't look like him), and inventing a new nickname for Mackenzie: McMac. Also they suspect she might be stoned. Spoilers: she's not.
- During the first Red Team meeting regarding Operation Genoa, Mac makes a metaphor about the verisimilitude of the story using a reference to Santa Claus and his eight reindeer. Sloan's response:
Sloan: "It couldn't possibly matter less, but Santa Claus had nine reindeer."
- Cue a full 30 seconds of the cast attempting to remember the names of all of the reindeer, and only Jim trying (and failing) to keep the conversation on track.
- During the hours leading up to the 2012 election coverage, Will (who Charlie describes as the unhappiest person in the building) appoints himself in charge of morale. It's as funny as it sounds.
- Jim accidentally calls the Michigan projection during the election, and while he and Maggie are discussing whether they can risk a retraction Charlie parades through the newsroom waving a job application for the New York Department of Sanitation and threatening to give it to the first person who fucks up that night.
Maggie: We can't retract it.
- Reese, of all people, segues into a rant about his mother, being a typical multi-billionaire concerned parent who refuses to die because she wants grandchildren, asking if he's gay (and that's okay), and he replies he hasn't found the right woman yet before being shut up by Charlie. Glad to see our resident Smug Snake has his own little weaknesses.
- Don and Maggie, through a series of new stories being traded for even newer ones, find out about the General Petraeus scandal before anybody else. They come to Charlie to tell him about it.
Charlie: Well, as long as it isn't slander against any of our armed forces or their commanders we should be fine.
[Don explains the entire scandal to Charlie.]
Charlie: I MEAN WHAT THE FUCK!
- Don trolling Elliot as the man is about to give a fairly banal tour of the ACN newsroom to fill in a lull during the election coverage.
Don: Be yourself, you're a great guy, people at home really like you.
Elliot: Thank you.
Don: And you're handsome too, in a droll and expressionless way.
Don: You're a welcome presence in our home. It's all about locating your inner cha, and not tripping over any cables.
Elliot: Do you have to be talking right now?
Don: Have you located the cha?
- Will's proposal
Will: I didn't return it because I'm in love with you. And uh.. because of... will you marry me?
Will: I said, will you marry me? And before that I said I'm in love with you. That's what I'm getting at. I feel like I could do this so much better.
Mackenzie: ...what in the fuck is happening right now?
- When Will and Mackenzie announce that they just got engaged, the initial reaction is Neal giving a Flat "What.". Then the applause starts.
- In the 11th November edition of The Colbert Report, after CBS's 60 Minutes has to retract an interview about a private military personnel claiming to be an eyewitness at Benghazi a few days after it was discovered that the guy's report was inconsistent with his FBI statement... Charlie Skinner shows up as 'Poncho Denews' and delivers a hilarious diatribe about journalistic integrity that dissolves into...
Charlie Skinner: It's called poetic license, goddamnit!
- Don, in jury duty, gets a page about the Boston bombings, and raises his hand to approach the bench. He's not a lawyer, he's just a jury candidate. He then begins to argue his way out of jury duty with cold, unimpeachable logic. Like how he would take charge of the whole jury and he hates plaintiffs due to the numerous lawsuits filed against him. It is amazing to watch.
- Sloan is so excited over her new, $24,000 Bloomberg Terminal that tracks financial data from all over the world in real-time, right at her desk... but has failed to notice the breaking news of the bombing at the Boston Marathon.
Don: Are you... aware of what's going on outside your office?
[Sloan's smile fades and she turns to find what she's missed on her screens]
Don: It's not on there!
- Will reminding Mac in the middle of a motivational lecture that they come from *ahem* slightly different backgrounds...
...Yeah, sure. I read Euripides when I was studying at- Fuck you
! No, I haven't read Euripides.
MacKenzie: [soldiering on] Well, he wrote...
- Gary Cooper strides into work singing "Anything Goes" and abruptly finishes with "what the fuck is going on?" when faced with the FBI searching the newsroom.
- Made funnier by the transition: "Good authors too who once knew better words/Now only use four-letter words/writing...what the fuck is going on?"
- After arriving in Moscow to board a plane to Havana, Maggie and Jim find they are not on the flight to Cuba. Jim says there must be a mistake and asks the flight attendant to check again, much to her chagrin. Maggie calls in to the office, confident that there's a reasonable explanation, and the staff at ACN has made the proper arrangements in advance. When she later reconvenes with Jim?
Maggie: I said, 'Tess, we were supposed to have tickets waiting to Havana.' She said, 'Hang on, let me check.' Then she got back on the phone and said, 'Did you know there's more than one city named Havana?'
Jim: ... We have tickets to Spain.
- In "What Kind Of Day Has It Been?" the very dark running joke that Sloane's incendiary interview with Bree was responsible for Charlie's heart attack, and thus, his death. Even Don gets in on it.
- Also, a little bit more traditional grammatical snark, care of the returned Neal:
"Most Overrated Films Of All Time... and 14 years are two different units of measurement."
- Rebecca Halliday alternates between Walking CMOF and Walking CMOA, but possibly her funniest exchange in the whole series involves her and Will shouting over each other (while perfectly following the conversation, of course) until Rebecca exclaims, "Fuck me!" To which Will replies, deadpan, "Well? Would someone fuck Ms Halliday, please?" Rebecca thinks it was "a little funny." Of course, there's also the time when she described herself as "liquid sex", or any time she's onscreen with Will, period....