Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: The Disaster Show
Watching tonight's Studio 60, I couldn't help but be reminded about my McGwire experience nine years ago...
We've all had our problems with Studio 60. It had so much potential that it squandered! It was like a kid who, during freshmen year had a 4.0, started varsity on the soccer team and was elected king of the freshmen dance, and by junior year he's dropping acid in the parking lot with Bender from the Breakfast Club. You just want the take the show by its collar and say, "What's your problem? You had it all! A great timeslot, network support, quality actors in every single supporting role, and probably the best pilot of the last ten years! How the hell did you get canceled!?"
The one part of the show, though, that everyone agreed was perfect, was the relationship between Matt and Danny. Even during the worst stretches of the show's short history, you could count on a few lines of sparkling dialog between the two of them to keep you watching.
Aaron Sorkin must realize this, right? With the number of references to blogs and YouTube on the show, he's got to be aware of those things and what people are saying about the show. He's got to realize that through all the problems people have had with his flawed brainchild, Matt and Danny was the one thing that we were all sure absolutely 100% worked 100% of the time!
So why... why would he give us a show where they don't appear once? I don't get it. Good as the supporting cast is (and Timothy Busfield and Steven Weber turned in their usual excellent performances), watching tonight's episode, especially after going so long without a Studio 60 fix, was like going to a Beatles concert and hearing only George and Ringo songs.
That was my only major complaint tonight in what was otherwise a very solid offering. In the alternate universe where Studio 60 is the hit it should have been, "TV Team" blogger Ray Black (he looks just like me except he has a goatee) is writing that tonight's episode was a solid 5 or 6 and while there "was really nothing outstanding tonight, it continued the running theme that has made this show so great -- the amount of effort and talent necessary to pull off the audacious enterprise of a live network television show."
But back in this universe, it's hard to write a "good, but not great" review. Because we already know the show is canceled, it's hard to get all that excited for a solid outing. I guess since it had been gone for so long and had been produced with the foreknowledge that its cancellation was imminent, I was hoping that it would come out with both guns blazing and really show the world what it was missing. Instead we got a fairly forgettable mid-season episode that is more disappointing than it would have been because of the outside baggage.
That being said, here's what I loved tonight:
-- Drunk Jack and the reference to When a Stranger Calls.
-- The unflappable Cal. Wouldn't you like to be that chipper in the face of adversity?
-- The red dress on Claire. Seriously, whoever that actress was could start another Trojan War if she wanted to. Jeepers.
Here's what I liked tonight:
-- D.L. Hughley and Nate Corddry. In the absence of Matt and Danny heroin, they make a fine methadone.
-- Robbie's friend Robby. That guy looked just like Chris Sligh from American Idol. Don't ask me why I thought that was funny, but I did.
-- Nate Torrence getting a bit more to do as Dylan. In the alternate universe's second season of Studio 60, I'm looking forward to him doing some great things on the show.
-- Allison Janney as herself. Though the events surrounding the disaster show were not nearly as whacky and farcical as Sorkin probably thought, Janney was a fine mark for all the misdeeds. Her moment with Cal at the end was pretty good too, and a nice nod to the fact that at the end of the day, it is just a funky little Friday night sketch show.
-- The wink from Jeannie and the rest of the cast that everyone was fed up with Matt and Harriet. I'm not sure, but it felt like an acknowledgment that the entire world hated that forced romantic comedy.
-- The German Shepherd that only spoke German.
Here's what I didn't like:
-- The sketches. Note to Studio 60 and Saturday Night Live: Nancy Grace is not funny. We all hate her, but her show is such a self-parody that it's impossible to spoof her. Just stop trying.
-- The aforementioned absence of Danny and Matt.
Here's what I hated:
It's a small thing, but what is it with Sorkin and crappy sitcom situational comedy? There was the silly Danny and Jordan trapped on a roof scenario that seemed like it belonged on Night Court fifteen years ago, and then, tonight, there was the Three's Company-like double slap to Simon. Maybe I'm not smart enough to get it... is he parodying these conventions? Making an homage to them? How can a writer this smart seem so intent on putting such stupid situations in his show? Someone answer me in the comments so I don't explode.
And speaking of the comments, I wonder if we'll have any at all. Is there any interest still left for this show? Back in February, I remember these reviews being among the most frothy on the site (and by "frothy" I mean "filled with rabid fans who came to yell at Bob and then me every week"). Are you guys still out there? Do you still care? I know that if I didn't have to review the show, I'd have probably forgotten to watch tonight. How about you guys?
For a solid outing sans my two favorite parts of the show, I give tonight's episode 5 "mehs" out of 7.
|1 - Worst||36 (10.7%)|
|7 - Best||35 (10.4%)|