studio 60 on the sunset strip is not one of these shows.
here's the thing: i have deep-seated love for aaron sorkin. i'm actually watching sports night as i type this. i'm watching sports night because prior to this i watched an episode of studio 60... and it made me so upset at the state of sorkin's misguided intentions that i had to watch something that reminded me of a time when he was smart and witty and not quite so sorkin-centric. s60 is painful. absolutely painful. and the thing is, the parts are clearly superior to the whole. matthew perry? good. bradley whitford? good. nathan corrdry? good. aaron sorkin? good. there have been a lot of theories floating around as to why the show is less than watchable (too much focus on the poorly written sketches; too many sorkin self-referential plotlines) and i can't pinpoint the exact reason, but i know one thing: it. is. painful. all of the men are idiots (why is bradley whitford stalking amanda peet?) and the women are either painfully self-righteous or painfully bland/underwritten. obviously, sorkin's shows have always left some sort of morality tale in their wake, but never this poorly organized or executed. sports night and west wing both tackled race, politics, drugs, etc. -- often quite heavy handed. but it was always contextual; you rarely felt that it was thrown in to make you feel inferior or to "ponder."
maybe it's the hype that is sinking s60. clearly sports night was pre-hype (it was eventually the buzz-builder for ww and s60) and west wing lived up to the hype (for the majority of its run. so what's the problem here? mini-list of reasons why studio 60 is ridiculously bad:
- it's only been 2 hours since the show ended and i can barely remember what happened
- not nearly enough timothy busfield -- he handles the sorkinian dialogue like a champ
- sports night was brilliant because it showed why the characters -- not the fake show -- were worth investing in. it's about the people. no one cares about the s60 characters. they're annoying.
- d.l. hughley is hilarious. and they never give him an opportunity to do anything remotely funny. it's like having a bmw and using it as a planter.
- the character of harriet is horr-i-ble. HORRIBLE. nothing against sarah paulson, but her character is terribly written, terribly positioned in the plot. she's not a likable character, but the plot makes you feel guilty for hating her. not fair, plot. if you want me to like your characters, then DON'T WRITE THEM CRAPPILY. hugh laurie's character on house is a wretched man, but he's written so damn well that you can't help feeling enhanced while watching. s60 has no such characters.
- is it a comedy? is it a drama? is it a romance? i'm not saying it can't be a combination, but it needs to have some semblance of self to begin with.
- how did amanda peet become the least annoying person on the show? i started out hightly suspect of her 'jordan mcdeere', certain she would be the show's downfall, but she's become the only character with any sort of relatable traits.
- finally: the background noise is too loud. but maybe i'm just getting old.