Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Studio 60’s Last Call…Maybe

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Last Monday may have been the last we’ll see of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I was talking to my dad earlier today, telling him the news that NBC will be running The Black Donnellys in its stead. Indefinitely. His response: tell me how I can start a grassroots campaign to get 60 back on the air.

My reply: Pray for Aaron Sorkin to rediscover his talent.

I know I’m all alone on this. I really liked Studio 60. That is, I liked what it could have been—a motif that follows this show a little too closely. At the very least it offered some alternative to yet another cop show. For those of us who refuse to pay the money for cable, that’s a big deal. Yes, it made some digs at Christianity, but I don’t remember ever feeling offended. The show may have catered to its own sense of self-righteousness at times, but I don’t remember that ever hurting M*A*S*H.

Maybe Janet was right. “War-is-hell-but-we-soldier-on” makes for compelling television. “TV-is-hell-but-we-bring-comedy-to-the-masses-gosh-darn-it” really doesn’t, especially when it isn’t funny. And Sorkin is funny, or he was, back when he was writing The West Wing, and certainly when he was writing Sports Night.

Studio 60 had all the set ups. The problem, I believe, is that we never got any real pay offs. The dichotomy between the sacred and the secular worked, and made for some funny and thoughtful moments, they just numbered too few. You could feel its absence those weeks when other themes moved to the front. Then we had the character Darius, a comedy writer set up to be this raw shining talent who dramatically joined the cast and then…did nothing.

So, as the curtain most likely falls on Studio 60, so does my remote. I have decided to use my Monday nights for more important matters than watching yet another gritty, urbane / noir-ish weekly serial of moral decay. That NBC is premiering Donnellys in February doesn’t speak too highly for the new show, but you never can tell. I’m sure someone once said the same thing about Seinfeld.


Written by taj

February 22, 2007 at 1:01 am

Posted in stories, Television, Writing

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