Except When It's Not.
I don’t know if you guys are watching it, but I really like the “Studio 60”. It comes on NBC at 9:00 PM on Monday, which means that I’ll probably have to Divo it most of the time. Last night, however, I felt wide-awake at 9:00. Jack hasn’t slept well the last, well, 8 ½ months, but he really hasn’t slept well that past three or four nights. Thank you ear infection #2. Point being, I felt wide awake, but I may have been at that point where you’re so far past tired that you actually feel pretty good. The same thing happens when I’m so hungry that I my body figures it will never receive another morsel of food, so it doesn’t think about eating. That doesn’t happen much, though.
Anyway, “Studio 60” by Aaron Sorkin. I read that Sorkin also did “The West Wing”, otherwise I wouldn’t have known him from Brenda Hampton. You might assume that “Studio 60” leans a little to the left, and you would be right. Leah rolls her eyes about a dozen times an episode and has, more than once, announced, “I CANNOT WATCH THIS SHOW!” She’s watched the first two episodes with me, though, because she’s a little trooper. And I had the remote. And she was too tired to go to another room. And she knows that “Grey’s” doesn’t do much for me.
The fictitious “Studio 60”, broadcast on the fictitious NBS network (ah, N’BS’ network…just noticed that…I wonder if that’s something) gives a possibly realistic glimpse in to the behind the scenes world of “SNL”. At least realistic in the sense that it has to be nerve-wracking coming up with 90 minutes of comedy every 7 days. Of course, given SNL's performance the last few years, it's tough to just come up with 90 minutes of content every 7 days. Still, think about how hard it is to come up with something interesting to write about in your blog - and you only have to update your blog when you want.
The pilot episode began with the show’s Executive Producer (or Director, doesn’t matter) lambasting the network, the FCC, the Christian right, the Enlightened left, everyone in-between, and the viewing audience for the dismal state of American television shows. For 53 seconds he skewered the aforementioned while the network's standards guy – who had ordered the Executive Producer to pull a skit called ‘Crazy Christians’ minutes before airtime – tried to get the producer to cut the live broadcast. Needless to say, the rant gets the guy canned. Enter two guys that left, or were fired from – we’re a little unclear - the show four years prior. Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) comes in as head writer, and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford) as Executive Producer. Yes, every time one character talks to Matthew Perry’s character, I have to remind myself that his character’s name is ‘Matt’ also, and that they didn’t just screw up and I was the only one who caught it.
The dialogue is quick, but not “Dawsons” quick. The writers don’t try to impress you with their use of multi-syllable words they found in an overused thesaurus (again, see “Dawsons”) and they don’t try to cram a lot of small words in to every delivered line (see “Gilmore Girls” – not that I’ve ever watched that show, not since Rory went off to college anyway). Matthew Perry has done remarkably well. He seems to have landed the jump from comedy to drama with relative ease.
The show does lean to the left. In last night’s episode, a reporter from Rapture Magazine showed up at the news conference to inquire about the Crazy Christians skit. (Rapture, it was stated, has a circulation four times that of Vanity Fair). When the head of the network (Amanda Peet) wouldn’t guarantee the Rapture reporter that the skit would be buried forever and never shown on “Studio 60”, the network started receiving calls from affiliates and advertisers stating that they would not show or support “Studio 60”. The Terre Haute, Indiana and Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Arkansas markets get a little jab for their less than critical statures in the world of network affiliates. In the end, we do not know if the skit aired or not. We only see the opening number – a quirky little musical number making fun of the previous weeks lambasting, and promising that “Studio 60” will be a model for quality television. The closing scene was Matthew Perry looking up at a digital display that tells him how long it is until the next show airs - 6 Days, 23 Hours, 57 Minutes, 19 Seconds.
So far, I’ve enjoyed the show, but tune in next week and make up your own mind.
I’ve also gotten in to the Sudoku, so we can talk about that if you like. I try to play online at work, but the fun Nazis (a/k/a, IT censors) won’t allow it.