Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: K&R, part 2
(S01E20) Program Note: Tonight, the role of Jay Black will be played by Rich Keller.
Aaron Sorkin in a creature of habit. If you watch one of the shows that he's produced over the last decade or so you see a lot of stuff that's familiar between them. For instance, the patented walk-and-talk, the fast banter between characters, and the recycling of actors from one show to another. He also likes the flashback. Correction, he loves the flashback! Especially when they take place during a dramatic turning point in the show's storyline.
Thinking I'm just a hater of all things Sorkin right now? Well, I have proof. I present as evidence the first two episodes of the second season of The West Wing. Those were the episodes right after President Bartlet and Josh Lyman were injured during an assassination attempt. While both characters went into surgery the other members of the West Wing staff began to recall how they joined the Bartlet for President campaign years before. What happened next? Flashbacks!
Now here we are, many years later and on a different show, with another set of dramatic circumstances. When one of the characters recalls something that happened to Matt and Danny six years prior, they cue the flashback. But, why are we focusing on Danny and Matt and how they got fired for writing a 'non-patriotic' sketch right after the events of 9/11? Since most of the main focus of these last two episodes has been on Tom and his kidnapped brother shouldn't the flashbacks be focusing on him? Maybe it would be better if we saw how Tom made it onto Studio 60 and his relationship to his brother at that time.
For me, the Matt and Danny flashbacks are uninteresting and don't fit into the current storyline. Yes, I'd like to know how they got fired, but all I see in the flashbacks is more of Aaron's heavy-handedness in exhibiting how he feels about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think it's safe to say that, after a full season of Studio 60, we all know what his opinions are -- like them or hate them. He's entitled to all of his beliefs. I just wish that he's write some articles or a book on them rather than have them drag down the show he's producing.
Having said all of that, I thought the episode as a whole was enjoyable; much lighter in tone than last week's episode even with all of the drama taking place. In keeping with Jay's review format over the last two weeks, let's review the good and bad of Studio 60. First the good . . .
-- Less annoying Harriet. Of course this would happen as the show is ending its run. During the scenes in the hospital she was actually quite funny and caring with Danny. There's something else I realized about Harriet this week: when she's together with both Danny and Matt she is the perfect foil.
-- The return of Matt and Danny. Man, when these two are on the screen together and in conversation things just click. Their scenes in the hospital and when confronting the Standards representative were what we were looking for throughout the series. I really liked the conversation they had about Danny's engagement to Jordan and how Matt was pissed that he winged it rather than waiting for his pre-written proposal.
-- Tom's reactions to his brother's kidnapping. Tom Jeter is probably the most down-to-earth and realistic character in the show. I've been feeling his frustration through the screen at not being able to get any further information about how his brother is holding up.
Good, but cliche:
--Danny and the ID. Danny needs a ID bracelet to see Jordan's baby and the snippy nurse won't give him one. Harriet talks to the nurse 'woman-to-woman'. Danny watches their silent conversation through the glass. Harriett comes out and says that Danny needs and ID bracelet to see the baby. Its been done on a thousand sitcoms previously, and you knew it was coming, but it was cute.
Now the bad (I'll keep it short):
-- Less show. Is it just me, or does it seem that there are longer commercial breaks in Studio 60 than on other NBC programs? It felt like a five minute break between the opening sequence and the next scene. For a show that was canceled it seems like a lot of companies want to advertise on it.
-- The way that the Standards representative was shown. Again, Aaron Sorkin reaches into the stereotype bag to pull out the characterization of the Standards & Practices wonk. Maybe Aaron has met people like that in his past, but are all S&P people like that? There have to be some out there with a bit more personality.
-- Why isn't Lucy up there with Tom? Before his brother's kidnapping Tom stated he was truly smitten with Lucy. So, if they are so close why isn't she up in Matt's office helping to calm him down? It's not a family-only issue since Simon was with Tom. Personally, I would like to see more of the Lucy and Tom relationship. Not only because it's the most realistic on the show, but because I think Lucy Davis is cute.
Whew! I give Jay credit for writing the reviews he does. Reviewing Studio 60 is hard work because there are so many levels to it. Jay will be back next week to finish up the first and only season of the show. Until then, I give this week's episode of Studio 60 a rating of
|Aired on the wrong night||211 (37.1%)|
|Subject matter wasn't interesting||35 (6.2%)|
|Not enough Matt and Danny||84 (14.8%)|
|Too much Harriet Hayes||59 (10.4%)|
|Aaron Sorkin's ego got in the way of good programming||179 (31.5%)|