Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"We're going to be over. Tonight.": Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

So no one told me that this was the middle part of a three-part story (last week's episode, with the "romantic" stalking and whatnot being the first part). I would say that this episode was better than the last (that creepy behavior really threw me off), simply because I liked some of the storylines, but Aaron Sorkin -- MASTER WRITER Aaron Sorkin -- fell back on some truly hackneyed plot contrivances, and that kept the episode from being all it could be, as it were.

But let's start with what I liked.

There was a rather big logic hole in the snake wrangling story (don't mongooses hunt snakes, not ferrets?), and it was completely predictable that when the snakes (the poisonous snakes, mind) showed up, one would escape. But I still sort of liked the "There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly" wackiness of it all. I can't wait for that coyote to show up!

And while I don't like the Matt and Harriet storyline (their chemistry has always felt forced to me), I DID like seeing him learn the true, boyish identity of lukes5858 and his crestfallen comeuppance after that (it's nice to see the too-praised Matt get his ass handed to him). And every scene with that teenager was golden (somebody needs to cast that kid as the unlikely heartthrob jock in season two of Friday Night Lights pronto).

And Steven Weber continues to turn in great, great work. If 30 Rock gets canceled (please, no), can we please get a show where Jack Rudolph and Jack Donaghy take over a boutique cable operation and try to turn it into the next Fox News or something? The NBS plotlines didn't work when this show started, but now they're often the best things about the episodes they're in.

But there was just too much that DIDN'T work. Last week, I was thrilled that a little bit of the focus of the show was shifting to Tom and Lucy, whose relationship is completely disarming and sweet. Instead, Tom lied to Lucy about the reason he had to miss their date (he had been ordered by network brass to talk a beautiful Chinese woman out of becoming a sketch comedian -- no really). Naturally, Lucy discovered this when she showed up at the SAME DINNER where Tom and the beautiful Chinese woman were. Now, I know that maybe most of you have never heard of a show where the plotline involved someone accidentally having TWO DATES at the same time and having to juggle them only to have the one he really liked find out, but it used to be common back in the day.

But even that paled next to Danny, trying to tell Jordan that he was sorry for stalking her last week (a noble development) leading her out on the roof. You get ten points if you can tell me what happened when he closed the door to the inside behind them.


That's right. They got locked out on the roof. The horror. Also, for some reason, their cell phones didn't work. In LA. Scratch that. In HOLLYWOOD.

And it looks like next week they kiss. Please. Put this plotline down, Sorkin. I beg of you!


Lee said...

I think last week was actually a prologue, and this was the first part of a three parter. Please, God, make it stop!

David Sims said...

My major problem with this episode was that really, it didn't need to be a two-parter. Just like Nevada Day, which would have been functional as one episode instead of the incredibly boring two-parter that it was, Sorkin seems to be stretching 'The Harriet Dinner' when there's really not much cliff being hung on. Is he thin on stories or something? Very strange if you ask me.

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Lee, TV Guide says last week was "part one of three." I hope I'm right. If you're right and this is a FOUR-PART episode, I may just abandon the show entirely, critical duty or no critical duty.