Saturday, October 07, 2006

Short Sighted


"Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip" is taking a lot of heat for not being the blockbuster it was predicted to be. Of course, it has been on exactly 3 times. Three. Have you seen Ray Liota's new show, "Smith?" No? Too late. It was cancelled after TWO airings.

There was a time when the entertainment industry had patience. There was a time when a record company cultivated an artist, gave them two or three albums to come into their own, hit the road and build an audience. If by the third album they didn't show any promise, their were consequences. Nowadays a new artist gets a SINGLE to prove their worth. If it doesn't rocket up the charts an album is either scrapped or marketing dollars are pulled.

Of course, when talking about giving TV shows a fair shot everyone points to the classic example - Seinfeld. Horrible first season, ratings wise. It was a miracle it got a second season. We all know what happened after that.

Shows with substance, music with substance, takes time. If they are good they work on several levels and you may not get all those levels the first time around. Seinfeld isn't truly hilarious until you know how self destructive George is, how neurotic Jerry is. Pink Floyd didn't write hit singles. They produced amazing albums that give you something new every time you listen.

At some point I will talk more about ratings, focus groups and how the wife of a station manager in Peoria can really effect the color of your set. All true stories folks. I could go on for days and probably will.

I find Studio 60 fairly accurate. Of course a network President like Amanda Peet is a dream, but hey we can dream.

I was a huge fan of Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Schlamme's Sports Night. Peter Krause before he ran a morgue and Felicity Huffman before she was Desperate. I was not really a fan of The West Wing. I gave it a fair shot but just could not get into it. I am not a political person - I have strong opinions but they are all assumption, not based on substantiated fact and my theories could be shot down by a high school freshman but fuck you they're mine. I am uninformed and stubborn. And I like it that way. I haven't cared about how a bill becomes a law since School House Rocks.

Let's see, I liked Sports Night, didn't like The West Wing, and like Studio 60. You see a pattern here? Two shows about running live television shows. Of course I find it interesting, it is my life. The White House? Not so much. I guess America isn't interested in what I do for a living.

And that's a shame cause it's pretty damn exciting.

Give Studio 60 a chance. The writing is good, I think Matthew Perry and Brad Whitford work really well together. Of course their witty banter is well rehearsed, but that is Sorkin's rhythm. You like or you don't. Amanda Peet is charming, if completely unrealistic, and Timothy Busfield does a great job of portraying a live director.

Oh, and a big shout out to the actress who plays Timothy Busfield's 2nd AD. She had one line in the pilot but I recognized instantly from a bit part she played in a Chelsea Handler Book Club sketch we did. Congrats on the gig. I hope it sticks around long enough for you to enjoy it.

2 comments:

marc bernardin said...

I'm trying to like this show, I really am. But it has one great, unconquerable weakness: It's not funny. Or rather, the show that our brilliant, gifted, award-winning head-writer-and-director tandem are producing isn't funny. Gilbert & Sullivan via Weird Al isn't funny. Neither is "Science Schmience." The more they show us of Studio 60 itself, the worse it gets. It's like SNL at its most insufferable...you know, when Mark McKinney was a cast member. Pity then, that Sorkin hired McKinney to write the sketch bits.

I wanna love this show. I really do. I think the actors are all firing (especially Steven Weber, who's awesome). But that thing that the show is about--the show itself--is failing miserably.

But that's just me.

LonelyGuy51 said...

The relationship angle with Perry's character and slutty born again chick has got to go... trifling... unbelievable. The years where Perry could be a romantic lead are far behind him. Give Peet some action between the sheets!