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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Studio 60 Jumps Shark, Rapes Shark’s Corpse, Feasts on Remains

posted by on October 24 at 12:01 PM

It seems every Tuesday morning of late has brought some sort of Slog blast/victim commiseration regarding Studio 60, Aaron Sorkin’s bad-and-getting-worser romantic dramedy about the inner workings of a SNL-ish late-night comedy show.

This Tuesday will be no different.

Last night….last night was when Studio 60 officially became the Showgirls of network television—one of those near-miraculous works of failed art, recognizable by crappy plotlines you see coming a mile away, that end up veering off into horrifying places you never dreamed of.

Case in point: Last night’s storyline involving (great) elderly actor Eli Wallach, who showed up babbling backstage at the TV studio. As soon as he appeared, I thought, “Dear God, the last thing this show needs is an Olde Comedian to teach us the value of Laughter and Today”—but then he turned out to be a sentimental World War II vet TOO! As my friend Mindy put it: “I couldn’t even figure out which tired old plotline we were trotting out—confused elderly comedian who thinks he’s coming to work to write for Dick Van Dyke with Rose Marie again? WWII veteran to teach us what the Greatest Generation thinks about sketch comedy? Bradley Whitford’s elderly coke dealer/grandpa with Alzheimer’s? WTF?”

Exactly. And Grandpa Lovesalot was only one of several galling plot points in last night’s episode. Then there was the story line about the search for a new black writer, which left my jaw on the floor. Apparently, every young black comedian is on a one-way path to prison unless someone physically stops him and gives him his “big break” in comedy. (This was presented as The Truth about not one but two black comics during last night’s one-hour episode, for which Aaron Sorkin should be horsewhipped in the center of town.)

Throughout the show, every single situation is fleshed out with details that are seemingly designed for deaf and blind infants, and every episode contains those shots that make my skin crawl, where a person or work of art is supposedly so brilliant that he, she, or its brilliance is undeniable to all, but the writing is so crappy that the only way to show successful brilliance is by cutting to another character, mouth agape, dewey eyed, taking in the alleged brilliance with a silent “wow”…

God, I can’t wait until next Monday…I never knew TV could be this bad/good…

RSS icon Comments


When Mondays started, I was really excited about "Studio 60" and wary of "Heroes" ironic that "Heroes" is my new favorite show, and I find myself watching reruns of "Six Feet Under" instead of "Studio 60"?

Posted by Joey | October 24, 2006 12:12 PM

i'm going to go out on a limb and say that i thought that last night's episode of studio 60 was actually better than the earlier ones. still nowhere near the west wing, but better. ok. now everyone can attack my horrible taste.

Posted by Gidge | October 24, 2006 12:21 PM

Do you like my nails?

Posted by Andrew | October 24, 2006 12:40 PM

"Heroes" is awesome. Awesome!

Posted by Soupytwist | October 24, 2006 12:48 PM

So, i;m not all caught up on these, but is it ever supposed to be funny? because from what I've seen the show contains no humour at all. Which is a bit odd, it being about SNL, but I guess adds realism, it being about SNL.

Posted by Art | October 24, 2006 1:03 PM

I'm sad for Studio 60. I loved the Sorkin years of West Wing and I had such high hopes for 60.

Now, Ugly Betty is freakin' awesome!

Posted by monkey | October 24, 2006 1:04 PM

You know where...

Posted by geoff | October 24, 2006 1:04 PM

I live in fear that somehow Heroes will be spoiled by some heretofore unknown plot twist that will ruin the show, that is how much I love it.

Posted by Nay | October 24, 2006 1:07 PM

David, your headline for this post is funnier and smarter than a Tivo full of Studio 60 *and* SNL.

Posted by Explorer | October 24, 2006 1:16 PM

Wow, I'm really glad to see all the Heroes props. I've been in secret Heroes shame these last few weeks, and still think it has an annoying, sticky NBCish quality to it, but I'm addicted. NO LONGER SILENT!!!

Posted by geoff | October 24, 2006 1:18 PM

yeah, heroes is really great. s60, not so much. and last night's was worse than usual. i'm not really sure what can be done to fix it, but it's a sad waste of some pretty good actors. nate cordry = super cute.

Posted by konstantconsumer | October 24, 2006 1:28 PM

Studio 60 alert! That ship is sinking so fast. Last night's episode made me think it's time to part.

Posted by Nick | October 24, 2006 1:32 PM

Dear Heroes worshippers: You are not alone. Everywhere I turn, people are telling me how awesome it is—trustworthy people.

So here's my question: As someone who's not seen the show and remains vaguely uneasy with superhero themes, can you tell me something that will help me understand a bit of why this show's worth my time?

Or should I just take the evidence of the cumulative praise and watch the damn thing myself?

Let's do both.

Posted by David Schmader | October 24, 2006 1:36 PM


It has bad dialogue, hot actors, a multi-threaded story, special effects, some blodd and gore, and a mystery (that has already had promising leads develop - take that "Lost!").

The acting is good (not Emmy-level, but Buffy, Angel, or X-Files level) and I trust anything that doesn't try to explain things too much - it just is.

I love it!

Posted by Soupytwist | October 24, 2006 1:40 PM

Also, thank you for that, Andrew and Geoff.

Especially Geoff.

Molly Abrams remains grievously underquoted.

Posted by It's_A_Showgirls_thing_you_wouldn't_understand | October 24, 2006 1:41 PM

Heroes has been moving slowly but it's picked up steam every episode as the actors have become more comfortable in their roles.

I was hoping CEG (Creepy Eyeglasses Guy) would snuff Rapey McQuarterback last night but his solution was far better. Maybe he's not the bastion of evil that the NBC PR Department has made him out to be?

Posted by Aexia | October 24, 2006 1:57 PM

I enjoy both shows. Does that mean there's something wrong with me?

Posted by pox | October 24, 2006 2:02 PM

Freud might call you polymorphously perverse.

Posted by David Schmader | October 24, 2006 2:06 PM

What makes you uneasy with superhero themes, David?

Posted by Davida | October 24, 2006 2:12 PM

Soupytwist is right on, David. It's basically custom designed to bring the "Deal or No Deal" crowd later into Primetime, and it's got as much pat, syrup-y mass market appeal as you might assume that would entail. But watch it one time and you're sucked into the twisting plot. And the business with the cheerleader is like Twin Peaks Lite; not nearly as handsomely filmed but way more entertaining.

Posted by geoff | October 24, 2006 3:09 PM

Maybe I don't watch enough TV, but how is it exactly that "Confused elderly comedian who thinks he’s coming to work to write for Dick Van Dyke with Rose Marie again?" qualifies as a "tired old plotline"???

Posted by Mllepriest | October 24, 2006 3:34 PM

It's more in the feeling of the thing--the doddering elder craftsman who mysteriously appears to teach the young'uns a little something about life and love, while allowing the young stars the opportunity to show that they listen and sometimes nod sympathetically when old people talk...being nice to a doddering oldster is the human equivalent of having your film protagonist pet a puppy—an easy speedway into the audience's heart, allegedly...

But you're right, out of context, the "confused elderly comedian who thinks he’s coming to work to write for Dick Van Dyke with Rose Marie again" sounds like an amazingly innovative plot twist, one I'd love to see on, say, The King of Queens.

Posted by David Schmader | October 24, 2006 3:40 PM

Don't forget the real best show on TV: Veronica Mars!

Posted by Andrew | October 24, 2006 3:42 PM

"30 Rock" is where it's at! Too bad it's already cancelled. Let's face it guys, network TV bites!!!

Posted by Done | October 24, 2006 3:54 PM

Gidge, you're not alone. I thought last night's episode of "Studio 60" was an improvement over the previous week. David makes some good points about the Wallach bit, but I liked the D.L. Hughley stuff (plus, he finally got to do some actual acting). "Heroes" has grown on me--& it's so nice to see Mr. Natalie Maines (Adrian Pasdar) back on TV! For my money, "Veronica Mars" got off to a shaky start, but hit its stride with the second episode. So glad Weevil's got a job!

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | October 24, 2006 6:22 PM

David, the appeal of Heroes, at least so far, is that those who have super-powers are using them for the sort of things normal people might be expected to use them for, instead of rushing out to fight crimes.

It won't last, of course, but it's fun while it does.

Posted by robotslave | October 24, 2006 7:02 PM

"30 Rock" is canceled??!!! That was an awesome show!

Posted by Sean | October 24, 2006 11:13 PM

I'm quite certain "30 Rock" has not been cancelled. Or I found no confirmation to that effect. I've been enjoying it so far.

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | October 25, 2006 12:25 AM

Some of Aaron Sorkin's bad habits have come back to roost with Studio 60, but I think he's more self-aware of the sketch show's questionable quality than people give credit for, and "I didn't realize we could use geometry" is an excellent line.

Posted by Fawkes | October 25, 2006 1:36 AM

30 Rock has not been cancelled. In fact, it's getting moved to Thursday night and paired up with Scrubs for the 9-10pm slot. 20 Good Years, on the other hand...

Posted by Jenn | October 29, 2006 2:17 PM

You guys are nuts Studio 60 is great!

Posted by Ed | November 1, 2006 4:46 PM

To all of you who are enjoying Studio 60, congrats! Your enjoying the best show on TV right now and that goes for the writing and the acting. If you don't like it then maybe you don't get it and in that case the shows not for you, but that's no reason to knock the show by saying it's poorly writen or that it's plot lines are weak. Its amazing how you can take one show that makes you do a little thinking a say that it's recycled televison and then turn around and tell me that Hero's (which requires no brain power to watch)is wonderful. They might be two completely different shows but by no means is Hero's original. From it's very, very slow character development to it's plot lines, this show has been done. Now don't get me wrong, I like the show a lot (I like Studio 60 better) but it's not because I don't know whats going to happen it's because I like to see that kind of story and I'm interested to see how this writer chooses to make it come to life. Showing the behind the scenes of a late night sketch comedy show is at least a little more original in it's concept and as far as the plot lines and character development, yes, just like Hero's it's been done before but every new show it going to have similar problems because there is only so many ways you can do it. It's in the second and third seasons where you start to see the origial plot lines and I can only hope and pray that both shows make it that far.

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