Saturday, June 23, 2007

"You and Michael Richards can open a taco stand together!": Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Wow, and I thought a three-part episode was excessive. I had expected all of the decidedly melodramatic storylines of ‘K & R’ to be wrapped up in this episode, leading into a feelgood finale that would gather all the loose ends. Instead, Sorkin and co. have decided to stretch out the drama right up to the end. Personally I prefer the more laid-back episodes of Studio 60 (4 AM Miracle) or the ones which centre on the performance of the show-within-the-show (The Disaster Show) so I think taking up four (almost five) episodes with downer stories that are completely separate from the show itself has been a mistake. But it’s far too easy to be all negative about Studio 60, so first of all, what was good?

Well, um…Bradley Whitford is still great. The scene where Harriet tried to teach him how to pray provided him some good pieces of dialogue which he absolutely nailed. Sepinwall commented that he and Harriet might have made a less irritating couple than her and Matt, which somehow when I thought about it, brought me to the realisation that this show had been doomed from the beginning. Other positives, though. The early scenes between Jack and Simon were truly great and very funny, showing how little use Studio 60 has made of its greatest asset: Steven Weber. He was absolutely hilarious in these scenes – slimy, yet sympathetic. Also, Captain Boyle continues to get some stand-out lines and his scenes with Tom were the most gripping of the episode.

All that said, this was a pretty poor instalment. Virtually nothing happened – Danny’s custody issues were only touched upon, Tom made no final decision on whether or not to use the ‘K & R’ option, Jordan’s fate still hangs in the balance…you get the picture. The flashbacks were, as usual, nothing special. The circumstances surrounding Matt and Danny’s firing seem predictable, not to mention unbelievable – surely Danny, always shown as a responsible person who understood the importance of keeping one’s job, would have given in and told Matt to cut the sketch? Kari Matchett’s character is fast becoming pointless, the chemistry between her and Matt only barely touched upon this week.

I won’t keep going, partly because I'm really tired, but as usual Studio 60 is more frustrating than ever. Next week heralds the end, which should allow for some summing-up of everything that made Studio 60 both interesting and awful. Tune in if you can still muster up the energy to care.

1 comment:

Kenny said...

It's ironic that last week's episode was kicked off with Danny's line about how fast things were moving, when Studio 60 has turned into the most glacially paced show on television. Just when you thought the show couldn't get more uneventful than a 3-parter about a charity dinner and a stuck-on-the-roof plot borrowed from I Love Lucy, along comes a four parter whose important events could be summed up in an 2-Minute Replay without sacrificing a single important thing.

Is Studio 60 trying to become 24? These last few episodes have been practically in real time (if not *longer* than real time), and follow the 24 template--an hour of completely pointless padding culminating in one minute of actual story advancement. Incidentally, it's why I can't stand to watch 24.

Plus, how about the repetition of every piece of exposition? Not only do we hear the doctor tell Danny Jordan's bleeding, we hear Danny tell Matt and then we hear Matt tell the staff. Information we've heard multiple times being relayed in full? Compelling stuff! Hey, have we mentioned Danny's an alcoholic? Can't say it too many times!