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October 25, 2014

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: B-12

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 27th 2006 11:34PM
Amanda Peet(S01E10) Have you ever watched an episode of a TV show where a character is really sick, and it just makes you feel worse because you're sick too? That's how I felt tonight. I got sick the day after Thanksgiving (stuffy head, dry throat, really tired), and I still feel crappy, so watching this episode where the entire cast gets sick was really odd. I'm sure there are some viewers who were sick that wouldn't even relate the two, and still others that might feel better because the TV characters felt even worse. But watching the sick people just kept reminding me that I was still sick, on the sofa wrapped in a comforter, eating only soup and tea.

I'm not sure about the whole set up of this ep though. I mean, yeah, OK, there's a virus going through the studio and everyone has to get a B-12 shot. Happens in a lot of companies. But would everyone be in the same room, sick, dropping like flies? It was like something out of a sci-fi movie about some killer virus and the CDC was called in. But it gets everyone in the same building and allows for a cool flashback, which Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Schlamme have always excelled in.

While Matt has to deal with a smaller writing staff (Ricky and Ron took everyone last week), Danny is dealing with Martha O'Dell doing another story on the show. Meanwhile, in the executive offices, Jack orders Jordan to do an interview with Newsweek about all of the controversies swirling around her. After a battle, she says yes, but wants to go with Time instead (wow, finally, one instance where the corporate synergy didn't win - Newsweek is partners with NBC).

Of course, the synergy was alive and well in the ep's most annoying scene: Howie Mandel was the host of this week's Studio 60. Now, while the opening sketch was cute/kinda lame in an SNL sort of way, I thought it was just so obvious they were pushing another NBC show. But even beyond that, really, the last thing I want to see on the NBC schedule is yet another appearance by Howie Mandel and those Deal Or No Deal briefcases.

This episode answered some questions for people who dislike the show and also moved the entire plot forward. People have complained that in the real world, no one cares about the personal lives of network execs like Jordan McDeere, and Jordan herself says this to Jack in this ep. He doesn't care, because Mr. White and the TMG board cares, and that's all that matters. Jordan blows the interview by insulting and being really sarcastic to the reporter. She explains to Danny that it's because she's "hormonal."

The way the show moved the plot forward was this: the old writing staff is gone, and so are many cast members, so the entire show is sorta being retooled before our eyes. Matt hires Darius, promotes Lucy, and also brings in a writer who used to be on the show but got out of comedy when his wife and kids were killed in a car accident. Looks like he's going to be a new regular too. So I like how this show isn't just the "drama of the week" or "wacky situation of the week." There's a continuing story here.

I wasn't sure if a news event where a gunman killed 4 hostages and then himself would cause a late night show to dump a sketch about an armed robber in a store, but I've been thinking about it, and I think it might. If the writers and producers were watching the news that night, that is, which they might not be. Some people would dump it, some wouldn't, but Sorkin's characters have always been good, moral people, in all of his shows, and they know that they know that it happened, and they want to do the right thing. They wouldn't use the excuse of "it's too late to change it" or lie that they didn't see it.

Good episode. I like how Harriet couldn't tell a joke (more fodder for the "Harriet isn't funny" people!), how Danny dumped on "Dilbert27" at aintitcoolnews.com (face it, he has a point, and I say that as a staff writer at a TV blog), and the great banter back and forth between Matt/Danny, Matt/Harriet, and Jack/Jordan.

A question (and a possible SPOILER): at the end, we find out that Jordan is pregnant. Who the hell is the father? I read somewhere that Danny was going to be the father, but have they even hinted that the two have gotten together? Did I miss that?

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Tami

~~"Anyone know how they're doing on iTunes which according to some nearly saved "the Office" from cancellation..."~~

Every episode has been in the top ten of TV episodes downloaded for the week of the episode's airings (which usually includes two episodes of "Heroes" and "The Office") and the "season" ranks in the top ten of TV shows downloaded by season ~~ and the latter includes earlier seasons of "Grey's Anatomy," "The Office" and "South Park." Also, the iTunes downloads of "Studio 60" started out rather fair to slow and then really picked up in popularity with "Nevada Day I & II" with a significant increase in popularity with the latest two episodes ("B-12" is, apparently ~~ if I read the iTunes chart correctly ~~ the most popular episode of "Studio 60" so far).

Also, "Studio 60" episodes usually rank in the top five for TV episodes downloaded at Amazon.com Unbox and in the top ten for overall downloads (TV shows, movies and books).

December 03 2006 at 6:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

as someone who works in TV... I really dig this show. The pace, the zippy dialogue... it's good stuff. Although it's a bit inside baseball for some (see The Cold Open, The West Coast Delay, The Option Period). Somehow I think this concept (behind the scenes of a tv show) worked a lot better with Sports Night (it gelled a lot more quickly/smoothly). But if Studio 60 is given time to grow (unlike the early death given to Sports Night)... I think it will be a success.

December 01 2006 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stas

I like the show, while it's not perfect - I like the fast-paced intelligent dialogue, but struggle at times with character motivation and as a result lack of viewer compassion towards those characters. Whithout rambling on too much - I'd like for Studio 60 to stay on the air despite the declining ratings someone mentioned...

Anyone know how they're doing on iTunes which according to some nearly saved "the Office" from cancellation...

November 30 2006 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JK

If I wanted to watch a show that brings in guest stars and musical acts because they have something to sell, I'd watch SNL.

Love Mark McKinney's character, though.

November 30 2006 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

Jordan bores me to death. She talks way too fast, mumbles and I feel like she has just memorized her lines but has no idea what she is saying. I love all the other characters and I love the show, but Jordan spoils it for me. Now, we have to go through the pregnancy and "who is the daddy?" process. I just might lose interest all together, I hope not! Matt Perry is excellent in everything he does, my favorite scenes are the ones he is in.

November 30 2006 at 5:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tami

Hi. First timer, here. I've been watching and loving "Studio 60" from the beginning and, IMO, each episode has been better than the one that preceded it. I loved "B-12"! From the beginning (even though Danny's "Uh, huh"-ing with "the banker" went on agonizingly long) ~~ to Darius and Lucy cutting their teeth and then having their teeth punched out ~~ to Mark McKinney's (was he really "The Chicken Lady"?) brilliance ~~ to Jordan finally getting reemed for her flippant attitude about her media problem ~~ to Harriet's inability to tell a joke ~~ and, especially, the "spit take" sketch!

I have one question. How is "Studio 60" preachy? People have said that often, and I'm not getting preachiness. I guess part of my problem in seeing preachiness is that the word "preachy" ~~ to me ~~ implies that the "preacher" is telling me what I should believe or how I should I should behave. I'm not getting that at all from this show.

November 30 2006 at 2:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

To you Studio 60 is a good show to others it's not. Stop acting like what you say is fact. Also get off your high horse and shut your mouth if you don't like talking about TV shows then why are you here?

November 29 2006 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cat

Please people. Why does every show out there these days need to be torn apart and ripped down? This is why good shows don't last for very many seasons any more - because of skeptical viewers who can't just take it for what it is - television, entertainment. It doesn't need to be perfect, nothing is perfect.

I thought this weeks episode was awesome and funny. But let's not forget here that this is a drama. The point of watching the show isn't to experience the funniest sketches out there. SNL isn't even popping out great sketches like it used to. If there were writers who could create really amazing, hysterical sketches then they should be focusing on SNL and not he drama about a sketch comedy show. I think that the sketches on Studio 60 are fine for what they are because that's now really what the show is about. It's about the characters. - and you only see parts of sketches anyway.

Every show out there can be broken down into something mediocre if you only want to focus on the negatives. But Studio 60 really is a good show and it doesn't deserve to be bashed all the time.

November 29 2006 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
carolinemorgan

The hostage scketh started out as a stupid criminal bit rememeber the thing about the guy trying to rob his wireless co. to make them give him min. IT didnot start out about a hostage situation it just progressed to that because that it how writing works it is like a maze you can't see the end from the beginning.

November 29 2006 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JT

The whole cast being sick was a result of the spit takes they were all doing. This was the reason for the scene. Someone was already sick and passed it to everyone, except Harriet, by spitting on them.

November 29 2006 at 11:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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