14 November, 2006

Studio 60

I had pretty much given up on this show after the Sting-Lute/Blacklist episode, but decided to give it one more try. I didn't realise that the 'one more try' show was in two parts, so I watched it both last week and again tonight.

Aaron Sorkin's got a pretty good deal going. He gets to take out the frustration of his breakup with Kristin Chenowith on me and everyone else who keeps tuning into this latest ego massage.

Those who know him have pretty much said what I would say about Sorkin using the show for a therapeutic exercise.

As a conservative evangelical Christian I should probably toss off a couple of paragraphs about how badly Christians are portrayed by the show. I should probably talk about how deeply offended I am and how the liberals in Hollywood are once again stickin' it to me and my persecuted brethren. Except I can't really bring myself to care.

Tonight's tirades about gay marriage reminded me of a teenager arguing with a parent over curfew. Instead of being an amplification of a national debate they were more the petulant ravings of an overindulged brat railing against boundaries he thinks are unfair. I was reminded of a few moments in this season of The Wire. The juvenile delinquents in the special class at Tighlman Middle School spent a lot of time yelling "F--- You!!!" at their teachers in an effort to get suspended so they could sling heroin on the Corner. I kind of feel like that's half the motive behind Sorkin's much wordier "F---- You" to the audience. He wants to see how far he can push Red State America before they give him the satisfaction of cancelling the show. Either way he wins. If the show stays on he's got a job. If it gets the axe he has the satisfaction of being able to tell himself that it was cancelled not because all the good plots were recycled from his other shows and the bad plots were transparent reworkings of his couples' therapy. No. If the show is cancelled, Sorkin will be able to gently fondle the memories of his tirades against Right Wing Christians and chalk his failure to entertain up to the closed minds of middle America.

If I keep watching--something I doubt I'll do--it'll be for the same reason Alan Sepinwall watches.
I think I'm reclassifying it as a trainwreck, the show I like to watch just so I can look at the screen and yell about all the things that are going wrong with it.


At 7:55 AM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Mr. Mack said...

Well, I've said this before. The show isn't for "deep thinkers." The intellectual elite will always find the show lacking, just like they did West Wing. Me? I love the show, just like I loved West Wing. Says alot about me, huh? That said, the whole "I have a blog" thing strikes me as an ego massage as well. I'm just mad I don't get Sorkin's mad bank...

At 9:53 AM, November 14, 2006, Anonymous nm said...

It say something about the show that I can't remember the names of Matthew Perry's and Bradley Whitford's characters. It also says something about the show that it's being acted as if the viewer is supposed to wish that Harriet and Matthew Perry would somehow get back together, when obviously they are completely unsuited to each other. I am an abject fan of good Sorkin dialogue, but there hasn't been enough of it to make the characters and plot irrelevant.

At 10:36 AM, November 14, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...


It's not that I want the show to be more intellectual. I just want it to be honest. A guy on another blog said it best when he said that the show's problem is not so much that it delves into biographical details but that it's a fanfiction version of Sorkin saving the day on every occasion. That's my problem with it. S60 reminds me of the middle years on Little House where Pa Ingalls was always the big hero.


I just realised that I can't remember Matthew Perry & Brad Whitford's character names either. Although I've just sort of been thinking of them as Aaron Sorkin Ego and Aaron Sorkin Superego.

At 10:48 AM, November 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorkin has alwasy struck me as a guy who has a relatively small collection of things that he wants to say. His entire body of TV work has been a series of attempts to find an appropriate vehicle for driving home those points over and over again. The West Wing came fairly close to providing him with a suitable platform for tackling Big Important Issues. Sports Night, not so much. But seriously, a late night comedy sketch show? What genius made the decision that this was the ideal context for a show to address big Sorkin-esque issues like religion, politics, war, sexuality, etc.?

If Studio 60 were even remotely about a group of talented, funny people producing a comedy show, it might have a chance. As is, there's too much of a disconnect between the show's premise and its actual content.

The only down-side that I could see to its cancellation is that scuttling this show would simply open the door to whatever incarnation the Arron Sorkin Show will take next. Students at a clown college debating bioethics? A crack team of Starbucks barristas putting an end to genocide in Darfur? Stay tuned!

At 11:20 AM, November 14, 2006, Anonymous nm said...

I've just sort of been thinking of them as Aaron Sorkin Ego and Aaron Sorkin Superego.

Now, that is funny. In a sad way.

At 5:32 PM, November 14, 2006, Anonymous Jamey Tucker said...

I must be an idiot because I love this show. I love the give and take about ticking off the religious right with a born-again Christian character in the middle.
I love the fact we see how a celebrity's comments can be taken out of context because the reporter decides to delete their response. I love the dialogue and the supposed 'peek behind the curtain' of a network tv show.
maybe I'm not intellectual enough to know better and maybe I'm not spiritual enough to be ticked off. But I like it and am happy to hear NBC is giving it another season.

At 3:19 PM, November 15, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

I've missed the last two--as in taped them as I was out doing other things--but honestly haven't had time to catch up on them...nor have I felt some huge strong need to do so.

I don't feel like I'm missing somethign by not seeing them....

At 1:39 PM, November 16, 2006, Blogger Loonytick Skook said...

I wouldn't mind any of it, really I wouldn't, if the show didn't seem to be trying so damn hard. It's forced, very forced, in a way that the West Wing wasn't.

The supposed comedy isn't funny. The writer who is supposedly always feeling crunched for time to write a show all by himself is constantly taking time to expound on other things. The Christian who is written in such a way that I think we're intended to see her as strong-willed and sure of herself keeps going into her ex-boyfriend's office to sit around and wait for him to lecture her. None of that rings true to me. It's ham-handed attempts, one after another, to get people in a room together to disagree, not because the plot demands it, not because it even makes any sense, just to have an excuse for a Sorkin-esque conversation.

My husband, however, likes it enough to watch it. So I end up sitting through it with him. It isn't so horrible that it sends me from the room to find something else to do, just bad enough that I inwardly groan every few minutes and wonder why they can't get a few comedy writers on staff or come up with an interesting plot now and then in which to insert the tirades. And use DAWN! Well, Lucy whatever her name is who played Dawn in the original, British "The Office." She's great! Yet woefully underused. Just look at how she saved that stupid sketch-pitch of a profoundly unfunny sketch with that hilarious attack of the weepies. USE HER!


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