The Cold Open

Episode Reviews (29)

Superb
447 votes
9.3
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  • 10

    This is a wonderful show with the heart and soul of The West Wing. This is truly MUST SEE TV!

    By bmoshier, Jan 25, 2011

    I can't think of anything bad to say about this episode. As many of you know from reading my other reviews, I will tear into an episode. I loved every minute and didn't find too many moments where my attention drifted. It left me with renewed energy and an interest in the show.



    I loved the walk and talks, how characters play off each other, the developing conflicts, etc. I loved how the show is willing to discuss standing up to those many people fear. Remember “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” The 20% coward fee is priceless. I can't wait till the episode next week.



    The episode sparked my imagination in an impossible way. It would be cool if there was a real comedy show on the weekends that followed the shows discussed on this series. I found myself wanting to see the episode they were planning. Think about it! An entire comedy show done as an opera / musical show.



    As I said, my imagination in this case isn't possible. After all we have Saturday Night Live a tired old show, oops, maybe. Well anyway, maybe a skit about Studio 60 replacing SNL or from a different perspective a skit about a SNL make-over. On the other hand, a SNL show all in song would be very cool to watch - especially to Gilbert and Sullivan (though not necessarily).moreless

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  • 9.4

    Sorkin at his best. Great characters, good storyline.

    By kramer8403, Nov 14, 2006

    This episode is Sorkin at his best. He establishes his characters and their quirks at the onset and plays on them from the beginning. The chemistry between Danny and Matt is obvious as well as Jordan's obvious determination to change television as we know it. The behind the scenes work is fascinating since not everyone sees exactly how much work goes into a TV show, especially a live one. The actors do a good job of showing their characters under a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed under the heightened media coverage and public scrutiny. I believe this episode establishes a story line and character relationships slightly better than the pilot did. I am slightly behind in the series and am downloading the episodes on iTunes, but I'm excited to see what is to come.moreless

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  • 9.7

    Incredibly well written. This episode definitely did not disappoint.

    By lapsus_linguae, Oct 14, 2006

    Being a huge Sorkin fan, I was not disappointed at all with this episode. The dialogue was amazing which is what I've come to expect from him. I love the development of the relationship between Matt and Danny and can't wait to see what the other characters will continue to contribute. I'm very excited about the rest of the season. I hope it continues to be as amazing as it was during this episode.

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  • 9.6

    Well its getting better,

    By NetSeeker, Oct 06, 2006

    well i really like matthew perry and Bradley Whitford. Two really good actors. Then we have Amanda Peet witch is good as well. Im betting it will only get better from now on. its a good and new show, that shows that not all shows must be off dead bodies.

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  • 9.2

    Starting to develop

    By CardiffBoy1974, Oct 03, 2006

    It\'s pretty obvious already that the Matt/Danny relationship is the pivotal centre of this series, everyone else currently just floats around them. This show will survive if everyone can deliver their dialogue at Bradley Whitford\'s level - although he\'s had 7yrs of practice so a bit of a headstart. I like Matthew Perry much more in this than in any of his post Friends projects.



    The dialogue is the key to Studio 60\'s success, just as it was to West Wing\'s, and if Sorkin comes up with the goods then we\'ll have another winner on our hands. Too early to tell yet if the support cast will remain just that, or if they develop into an ensemble cast. Will continue to tune in.



    Great musical number!moreless

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  • 9.8

    The Cold Open - Amazing. Fantastic dialouge and comination of drama and comedy.

    By AlbieHalpert, Oct 03, 2006

    The Cold Open was an amazing kick off. The Pilot is used to set up characters and let the viewers get to know them and the situation of the series. The 2nd episode is truly in my opinion the REAL Pilot. And it did NOT disappoint. This is the best mix of comedy and drama I have seen in a long time. The cast is great. If Corddry and Hughley can step up and add even just a little bit to this show, then this cast will be unbeatable.moreless

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  • 9.6

    If the entire show was that song and Harry busting into the writers' room, that would've been a perfectly satisfying presentation on its own. :)

    By tjaman, Oct 02, 2006

    Matt's admonishing the writers to look and behave professionally seconds before Harry stormed in with a burst of righteous indignation was exactly the kind of moment we need to be responding with when people say "Oh, it's not funny enough. It's so boring."



    All of the patterpatterpatter builds to huge explosively funny moments like that. Unlike other shows with more beat-set-laugh structure, there's a longer buildup to the payoff, but the resulting payoff is [i]sweet[/i].



    In fact, they may have given away just a little too much in building up to the song, but ultimately it was quite good. Sadly, once you step into that particular song parody, you are trapped in its somewhat florid and repetitive structure, but they stepped around that well enough.



    It was a truly inspired opening, and for those waiting to see the "Crazy Christians" sketch, from what Matt said, we may never actually see it -- he argued that too many people had seen it in the dress run and the dress run four years before, and essentially that it would, itself, be too old.



    But if we do see it, it's almost certainly going to be funnier than most things on television.



    It's the sort of thing that becomes all the funnier in legend form -- like Tenacious D's "Tribute to the Greatest Song in the World" or whatever that was, or Monty Python's "World's Funniest Joke" -- where we only ever just [i]hear[/i] about it rather than actually [i]experience[/i] it.



    Either way, I'm looking forward to the rest of what they [i]do[/i] come up with, because this show is cool. In this episode, we learns something about the significance of natterboards and the impact of interest groups on programming.



    I [i]loved[/i] Jordan's discussion of implementing a "coward tax." Nice.



    And really, the discussion of playing to people's strengths was cool. I'm looking forward to D.L.'s reading the news. And the writers rebelling against the dress code. And all the other stuff they're doing.



    Especially the window they opened on Matt's relationships with Harry [i]and[/i] with Danny (where she was saying Matt's head would explode if he saw her so much as slow dance with Danny). That's an interesting dynamic -- sort of "Nip/Tuck"-esque.



    Can't wait to see where they go with it. ;)



    All in all, well done, and a great second episode. :)moreless

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  • 9.2

    Great Episode!

    By ejroberts, Sep 30, 2006

    I liked this episode. The tension created by the clock counting down the time left before their first show was a nice touch. I also like the gumption displayed by the new female studio head when she stood by her decision to let the controversial sketh air. I believe that this show is off to a good start but is building slowly. I expect that it will become more interesting as the characters are futher developed in the weeks to come. While I am not convinced yet that this show will be a winner, I believe it is off to a good start.moreless

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  • 8.9

    Part good and part brilliant, this episode shows a lot of fine writing and directing, and promises that we will see more and better.

    By emerdavid, Sep 29, 2006

    Still getting the major storyline started on the heels of the pilot, this episode takes its time but eventually shows a lot of fine writing and directing, and promises that we will see more and better in the weeks ahead.



    Although a tad slow in the first half, taking its time to establish things like the network affiliates\' discomfort with the new direction, and the Matt/Harriet relationship (as well as many other relationships just beginning to be explored), it really picks up at the moment when Matt tries to define what he needs for the cold open. With Danny, Cal, and a couple of cast members in the room, the ideas start bouncing around, and suddenly the Gilbert & Sullivan idea comes to him. From that point on, it\'s a whirl of activity and the pace picks up dramatically. It\'s a brilliant scene. The final sequence, including the pre-show huddle, Matt\'s explanation of the difference between asking for a laugh and asking for the butter, and especially the full production number (with hilarious lyrics!) and ending with Matt catching sight of the clock having restarted with the countdown to the following week\'s show, is totally wonderful. It made me jump out of my seat and cheer.moreless

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  • 7.0

    Can this show last with the general public?

    By entil2001, Sep 29, 2006

    So, here we are with the second episode, and I’m getting nervous. I really liked the pilot episode, because I thought it managed to deal with the balance of exposition and character introduction quite well. It was no “West Wing”, but it got the job done better than most. In the second episode, however, we get a better look at how the series itself will operate, and I found it a lot less convincing.



    Part of it is the setting, which I always knew would be a challenge. I personally found “West Wing” to be inspirational, even when I didn’t agree with the political views being touted by the characters. That series had a focal point in Martin Sheen, especially in the beginning, and I think that was a boon to Sorkin and the writing staff. There was this charismatic and complex figure at the center, and everyone else could operate around that steady ground.



    In the case of “Studio 60”, that center doesn’t exist. It should be Matt and Danny, but that isn’t really coming out yet. They are more prominent, but there are other characters with more clout and power. It almost feels like Jordan should be more of a factor. While I think this episode gave her some necessary shading and made it clear why people are infatuated with her, Amanda Peet isn’t quite selling me on the character yet.



    I think part of the problem is, once again, the setting. It’s one thing to be struggling with the State of the Union speech with hours to go, and quite another to be struggling with the “cold open” on a sketch comedy. I firmly believe that every business situation that involves politics can hold the kind of drama that Sorkin is invoking, but the kind of people who could get excited about a presidential election campaign may not be able to relate to the pressures of television production.



    One other troubling aspect is the fulfillment of all this work and creative struggle in the final act. I wasn’t expecting the actual sketch to be included, because Sorkin’s usual MO is to lead up to the event without actually showing it. It might have worked better that way. Comedy is very subjective, and in this case, I didn’t find the musical all that amusing. For something that was supposed to be a triumphant opening, it seemed rather pretentious.



    And maybe that’s where my nervousness sets in. “West Wing” was all about the crushing pressure of running the political show, with the stakes being about as high as they get. It was total wish-fulfillment most of the time, but all that work and stress would culminate in something meaningful (at least, in the fictionalized sense). In this case, all that work and stress is culminating in bunch of comedy skits. Even in the best days of “Saturday Night Live”, they would be lucky if half the material worked.



    For all that, there were a lot of moments that worked for me. I’m getting over my initial concerns about Matthew Perry, for instance, and his reactions to the clock were priceless. I liked getting a better look at the ensemble, even if some of the dynamics are still sketchy and the “love triangle” is already annoying. Jack is wonderfully evil and self-interested. On the whole, I still like a show a lot, but my fear is that it will quickly fade as the general public loses interest.



    (As a sidenote: I also have a new podcast associated with my various reviews called “Velocity TV”. Current episodes cover “Studio 60”, so it might be something of interest. Go to http://velocitytv.libsyn.com if you want to listen!)moreless

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