oct 25

Studio 60

It makes me sad the Studio 60 is dying. Sure, that bit with Sting was reprehensible, but it's the best new show this year. Marketwatch says the online marketing tactics didn't work, Slate says the problem is sermonizing, and The Post just says it's too smart. Sigh.


it's interesting how The Post piece loved the Gilbert and Sullivan bit, whereas Slate more or less blames it for the entire failure of the series. (which, btw, is totally unfair, because S60 won't really be a failure until perry and whitford co-host SNL.)

posted by dav3 at 10:02 AM on October 25, 2006

Couldn't get into this show. Comedy about Comedy works. Comedy about Drama works. Drama about Drama can work. But Drama about Comedy seems to kind of stink, especially when the comedy isn't funny. "Hey, let's suck the life out of comedy by showing what a torturous and desperate grind it really is behind the scenes." Huzzah! Also, I didn't realize this was the same guy that did Sports Night. Makes sense though. Didn't like that one either and it has something to do with the overly heavy tone those shows share. I think it is the curse of Timothy Busfield. He must've tracked that dramatic, life-sucking atmosphere in on his shoes from Thirtysomething. Also, Studio 60 dialogue seems way too neat for me. The interchanges are too quick and too perfectly formed to seem natural or therefore likeable. Two characters will be walking briskly down the hall and will fire off a series of 4 flawless "spontaneous" quips back and forth in as many seconds like a pro table tennis match. Bip bip bip bip. Baaah. I loves me some Amanda Peet, but it's not enough. Also, like Al Gore, Dick Gephardt, Tom Daschle, and Whoopie Goldberg before him, D.L. Hughley's lack of eyebrows makes me just a little bit nauseous. Can't... look... away...

posted by Eric at 10:10 AM on October 25, 2006

I agree with The Post that the show is too smart; it's precisely the reason I love it. Monday's episode with Eli Wallach as a blacklisted writer, with references to TV's Golden Age, is the type of writing you plain just don't see anymore, on TV or in the movies. But Rex, please don't write the obit yet. For a show as good as this, there's gotta be hope.

posted by Doug at 12:25 PM on October 25, 2006

i've watched every week. here are some thoughts. as attractive as she is, i just could not believe amanda peete as a president of a television studio. she still looks like she is in her 20s. it is just not believable. she also doesn't change her deer-in-the-headlights expression. i also sorta feel like the story hasn't started yet. they seem to be doing a a lot of set-up - as if the show was going to last for years. i have no sympathy for anyone in the show except for the two guys. i have the same critique of a lot of new shows, but the dialogue is not believable. as mentioned by eric, it is not spontaneous at all. i think there is probably an art in acting for these sorts of shows that is different for others. basically i've always explained it like nobody is listening to what the other person is saying, but is just waiting to say their line.

posted by bietz at 12:25 PM on October 25, 2006

On a personal note, I'm totally enamored by the Matthew Perry / Sarah Paulson relationship. It's like a mirror of most of my relationships over the past decade.

posted by Rex at 1:02 PM on October 25, 2006

Well put, bietz, re characters just waiting to say their line. Artificial. Not characters you want to cuddle up to. Reminds me slightly of the acting style in the old 1940s movie style. Overly manicured speech-ettes that people just don't create on the spot in everyday conversation. And people's responses come too fast. Maybe it's pressure from the sponsors! "Guys, could we get you to speak faster so we could squeeze in one more commercial?" Sort of like how the Fox News creep in the evenings speaks in infinitive form when reading the headlines, and minus personal pronouns, I guess to squeeze more in. "President to offer compromise. Congress not taking the bait. Observers note tension on Hill."

posted by Eric at 2:09 PM on October 25, 2006

(I have seen every episode so far.) The Sting lute fiasco was the first bellweather of catastrophe - but it didn't truly signal the end for me. This weeks episode was horrific. (Eli Wallach is a god...and he was stunning in his cameo...but that being said...) Writing an episode that comes out on the *highly* controversial stance that - "we think that blacklisting was wrong and it hurt people" is about as inspired as pointing out that you think the Spanish Inquisition could have been handled better. Having your idiot "tour guide" (wtf with that?) son educate the public about how country hicks are dumb/predictable but - in the end loveable - was the poorest time-filler thread since anything Jon Lovitz was involved in. And if that thread was not insulting enough to the audience's intellect - to contradict yourself on african american status in a single episode is an act of hypocracy I don't see often. "Oh, stereotypes about badonkadonk make me sick." "By the way did I mention that I was a poor inner city youth who ran with a gang, who had a friend murdered and then avenged it, and now love to send chocolates to my friends who are all in prison." ...how about you try something original like "yeah I was poor but I watched alot of Flip Wilson as a kid and had to be a comedian. Can we hire a black writer, please?"? ...closing I would just like to say I agree with Eric 100%...no one talks like Sorkin writes dialog when people are walking down a hall. ...and - sadly - I cannot agree with Rex's Sarah Paulson note...I sense no chemistry in the relationship and I find the Harriet character poorly acted and completely uninteresting. I would love to - I usually watch shows for the smoldering sexual tension - but I just cannot find it here. Thanks for the post...good discussion. I am still giving Studio 60 a couple more chances.

posted by Weierd at 8:03 AM on October 26, 2006

Here is an interesting take...if you don't like it, don't watch it. If you like it, watch it. And if you do like it, just enjoy it and don't dissect it -- because the show is not long for this world for a combination of every reason listed above and in the articles. So I recommend just sitting back and letting the show take you somewhere you don't get to go for 48 minutes once per week - to a world of TV production where the parties involved really care about you and the end product they deliver.

posted by Eddie at 3:37 PM on October 26, 2006

Well, uh, unless it sucks.

Anyway, anyone notice that 30 Rock, which seemed to come out of the gate slowly, was really good this week? I didn't think I'd like frumpy Tina Fey, but I like the jokes about her clothes.

posted by Rex at 4:04 PM on October 26, 2006

It looks like NBC has extended the show at least a bit further -- it has ordered up three new episodes of Studio 60.

posted by Rex at 8:28 PM on October 26, 2006

Eddie, you're right. We should not discuss anything or exchange thoughts and opinions. Rex, please cancel the blog. C'mon man! I thought 30 Rock wasn't going to do much for me but I've been enjoying it. I've always liked Tracy Jordan, and Tina Fey makes me feel funny in my pants, but surprisingly it's Alec Baldwin I'm really liking in this show. It's like, he shouldn't be funny, but is.

posted by Eric at 9:36 PM on October 26, 2006

it's pretty heavy-handed, seriously. Aside from the completely unnatural dialogue, it holds up giant "significant moment" cue cards that make me throw up a little (in my mouth). "Your brother is standing in Afghanistan" was a little too much for me, as was the complete cluelessness of the mid-western parents. (Come on, as a native of the flyover states, weren't you even a little insulted?)

posted by shauna at 8:57 AM on October 27, 2006

A good chuckle on this one:


posted by Huna at 10:45 AM on October 27, 2006

Two words:
Arrested Development.
It's the same thing. According to Jim stays, but the shows that you need to be smart to laugh at get removed.
Always remember, Rex:
One person: Intelligent
Two People: Smart
Group of People: Average
Large audience: Dumb as hell.

posted by Ironic at 9:34 PM on October 28, 2006

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