2.0
oscar run xvi: flags of our fathers

studio 60

I’m done. At this point, the show is just horrible. I’ve cut it all sorts of slack because I’ve liked Aaron Sorkin in the past, but it is almost impossible to imagine that this is the same guy who wrote Sports Night. Studio 60 is probably one of the biggest TV series disappointments in many years.

Comments

Steven

I believe the hiatus was planned earlier, but you're right, this would give them the chance to let it slip away quietly.

Good stuff about Studio 60: Steven Weber. Matthew Perry. Bradley Whitford. Lucy Davis. Bad stuff about Studio 60: The way every female character is written. The way every black character is written. The writing. Saddest of all, given the artist: the dialogue. The last episode's dinner sequence with Matthew Perry and Sarah Paulson was painful, and would have made just as much sense if they just dubbed in those waa-waa horns that mean an adult is talking on Peanuts cartoons.

Artfan

Never really watched the show, despite the fact that I still watch my Sports Night DVDs even though I've seen every episode at least three times now. I caught maybe 20 minutes of an episode and, from what I gathered in that short time, it felt like Sorkin, flush with success, has become self-referential in his own writing. It felt like he was TRYING to be Sorkin rather than BEING Sorkin.

One odd thing and this is, again, probably because of the gap in writing quality: I found it in no way difficult to understand the stakes referred to in Sports Night. I could actually believe that the lives of those characters were inexorably linked to their 30 minute TV show. But in the 20 minutes of Studio 60, I found myself thinking "Why the hell is everyone getting to riled up over a damn sketch comedy show?" There's a problem when you can't identify with the basic motivations behind the show.

Divinity

I'm still liking it. The romantic plotlines are a bit silly but the FCC and network plotline with the Macau expansion has me hooked. The Steven Weber/Macau CEO scene on Monday made me drop a stitch in my knitting pattern... And the wife's Mandarin has to be the most elegant speech I have ever heard. Even when she was chewing out her daughter.

Steven

I can't emphasize enough how much I wish I agreed with you.

The FCC plotline is interesting. The part that interests me, though, takes up very little screen time. In the two-part "Harriet's Dinner" episodes that were my own straw/camel's back, the primary manifestation of that plot was to put Nate Corddry through some romantic shenanigans about a drunken 20-year-old. Meanwhile, the seemingly endless scenes of Sarah Paulson and Matthew Perry hashing out their relationship were quite possibly the most excruciting things Aaron Sorkin has ever written. The snake/ferret/coyote/SPCA plot wasn't funny enough to warrant five minutes of our time ... instead they kept going back to it for two episodes. When the Macau CEO suddenly spoke English, it was startlingly funny, to be sure ... it also made about as much sense as a scene from 24, as there is simply no way a man of his stature, so used to working at the international level, would have been able to keep his language skills a secret. The entire thing was cobbled together just to get a laugh. Meanwhile, I like Bradley Whitford a lot and think there's at least a little spark between him and Amanda Peet (although if their relationship was on Sports Night that spark wouldn't make the top five ... not only is it not Felicity Huffman/Peter Krause, it's not even Jeremy/Natalie). But the point of that relationship seems to be that when she says no, she really just wants you to stalk her some more.

And then there's the whole Simon/Darius feud, which is appalling ... Simon should have been smacked down for his blacker-than-thou stance, I figured that's where it was going, but no, Darius learned his lesson ... thanks, Aaron, for your demonstration of how black folks take care of their own.

Sorry ... I guess I got on a roll :-).

Divinity

Admittedly, I didn't see the first half of the Harriet's dinner two-parter, I do find the Harriet/Matt storyline problematic, and the snake/ferret/coyote/SPCA was pretty juvenile (but I still laughed when Cal said that he was going to cook and eat all the animals).
I had to think a bit about the Simon/Darius conflict after reading your comment. Has Sorkin ever had more than one black main character in his series? That's a serious question since I've never watched West Wing. I still want to believe he's TRYING to say something with this relationship and that the message is either still in set-up stage or that it has become somewhat garbled in its execution.

No relationship in TV-land has ever held a candle to Natalie/Jeremy for me but the Jordan/Danny storyline has been somewhat original in the obvious personal flaws built into the characters. There really isn't anything to recommend them to each other (such as Casey & Dana's shared history or Natalie & Jeremy's adorable-ness) and yet there's something right there.

I'm sure there's something else that I want to say but I "taught" grade ones today and my brain is pretty mushy now.

Steven

There was only one regular black character when West Wing started. There was some brouhaha about this, but it's hard to recall everything, and I'm not sure it was fair, anyway. That one character lasted the entire run and was a fairly important secondary character. There were also black characters who showed up occasionally, like John Amos as I believe the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Anna Deveare Smith, who was on for awhile.

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