Requiem for Studio 60
On Saturday night, Mrs. Bartender and I watched the past 3 episodes of Studio 60. (Two more remain before the series is officially dead.) Why, you ask? I'm not really sure other than we've watched up until now, so why not make it through until the bitter end. And watching these episodes reinforced the problems with the show that led to its demise. (I'll leave out discussing that the sketches just aren't very funny as that theme has been beaten to death.)
The biggest problem is that the show never decided what it wanted to be. Half the time, Sorkin thought he was doing The West Wing Part II--such as the oh so manufactured plot line where Tom Jeter's brother is kidnapped in Afghanistan. Or over the fights with the FCC. Or about Matt's attempts to tell jokes in the wake of 9/11. (I know; it's been 5 years.) This is supposed to be a show about a sketch comedy program, but Sorkin's desire to tell us all that is wrong and right in the world is just too strong. Sure, Sorkin's preaching wore thin on The West Wing or A Few Good Men (you're right, Aaron, I can't handle the truth), but at least it wasn't completely misplaced. Here it's just forced.
Yet the other major strain of the show became the romantic comedy angle, but this was too was forced and repeated too many times--Danny and Jordan; Mat and Harriet;Tom and the chick from the British Office. Before we had even developed relationships with these characters, we were supposed to care about will they or won't they. This takes time to work, and here it did not.
Ironically, Sorkin masterminded a great and funny sitcom that was about the making of a TV show. Of course, Sports Night lasted only two seasons, but it was a really good show. It did not try to do too much, and you actually cared about the characters in a way that never occurred here. Alas, and better luck next time.
Labels: Studio 60