The Focus Group

Episode Reviews (18)

Superb
373 votes
9.1
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  • 10

    This is my favorite episode ever. I\'ve now seen the first ten episodes and \"The Focus Group\" is still my absolute favorite.

    By Tona123, Nov 29, 2006

    This is my favorite episode ever. I\'ve now seen the first ten episodes and \"The Focus Group\" is still my absolute favorite. I\'ll tell you why:

    I always burn the episodes to DVD, so that I can watch them whenever I want. When I watch other episodes again there are always parts I skip, but here\'s the thing in \"The Focus Group\" there\'s absolutely no part I want to skip.

    It\'s really funny and I think it show the audience a lot of interesting sides of each character...

    And the whole storyline about Matt being a chicken (sorry, apparently you're not allowed to write pus-sy-boy) and not being American enough is really funny.moreless

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  • 9.3

    Danny and Matt are incharge of the show.

    By kellers1543, Oct 11, 2006

    The whole cast and crew plus producers and all the rest of the sorts are put in a frenzy when they have the threat of the focus groups informative lingering over their heads and the whole studio in this episode. When the threat of power outage hits everyone is put into a double frenzy with all the problems occuring. he show goes well it's fine nothing happens and no one is attacking anyone-- that is until Matt sees Danny dancing with Harriat. He charges him and they both land on the ground on the beach in the dark with tons of people staring.moreless

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  • 9.4

    I think this show is amazing.. the fact that the ratings aren't great and there's already speculation about cancellation makes me so sad!

    By tdakoo, Oct 06, 2006

    This was a nother great episode, and I love the connection between Jordan and Matt. About he tells her she has big teeth, very cute. It kind of seems like tehre will be some competition for him between Jordan and Harriet. Maybe. Hopefully. The part about the lights and God liking Harriet was really funny, and the whole fight on the beach between Matt and Danny was great. I love them both. And with Jeannie and her sketch, and them Matt coming in wiht the T-shirt in the end. So funny. Of course they should ahve shown her actually wearing it, but that's ok.



    I hope this show continues, there's such a great cast and I really want it to do well. Plus I can't wait to see what happend with Jordana dn the ex-husband and the book.moreless

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  • 10

    Best episode yet.

    By Dink-n-Flicka, Oct 05, 2006

    Best episode yet. There were several jokes that would have been "explained" on other shows but they let us get them or not. That's huge in my book. They give the audience credit for being smart. Loved the two "Broadcast News" quotes with a great Holly Hunter impersonation. They are giving us time to get to know these characters rather than just ramming the info down our throats. I'm a TV cynic but I'm impressed. I'll be more impressed if this lasts more than one season. If it were on cable I'd give it a longer lifespan expectancy.moreless

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  • 7.0

    Does this episode foretell the series' demise?

    By entil2001, Oct 04, 2006

    There’s a certain irony to this episode, but not the kind of irony that fans might enjoy. One subplot centers on the question of audience retention. Basically, everyone’s job rides on a retention rate, from first to second episode, of about 90%. This small matter is treated with life or death seriousness. The irony, of course, is that “Studio 60” has lost more than 30% of its initial audience, and it continues to bleed viewers over each new hour. It’s never a good thing when a show makes the case for its own cancellation.



    The rapid decline of “Studio 60” has left a number of people wondering what the hell happened. This was supposed to be another triumph for intelligent television. Instead, it has become a cautionary tale of the worst kind. Critics point to the fact that the series has already gone after Christians and takes on even more conservatives in this hour. In effect, the series is begging half the country not to watch it, and sure enough, they’re tuning out in droves.



    Let me be clear about this much: the episode had a lot of high points. Most of them were related to characterization. The large ensemble is beginning to shake out to the point where personalities are emerging. The conflicts are evolving nicely, and it’s getting easier to relate to the world of television politics. I still wonder if that world is something the masses would ever want to see, since it shatters certain illusions and confirms certain unsettling suspicions. But I, for one, enjoy seeing what happens behind the curtain. Any dwelling upon the negative is an attempt to identify why the show is struggling, and what needs to be addressed to turn things around.



    Two major issues come to mind when I think about why the series is struggling to get a mainstream audience. The first pertains directly to the characters. To get the mainstream audience to watch, you have to be able to transcend party lines and religious considerations. “Lost” is a hit, for instance, because it manages to cover multiple aspects of society with its cast, and people can relate to their struggles for redemption. It literally has something for everyone.



    As interesting as I find Jordan and her sordid past (and damn, do I like her more and more), and as much as I understand Sorkin’s desire to use Danny as an analogue for his own struggles, a whole lot of people are turned off by what they see as immoral Hollywood excess. Where we see complex business politics playing out in a creative pressure-cooker, they see petty personal hypocrisy. And as I mentioned last week, a whole lot of people find it absurd that a show about a sketch comedy series would be so damn portentous all the time.



    All of which brings me to the second major issue, one that struck me in the previous episode and bothered me even more this time around. The comedy sketches aren’t all that funny. It’s one thing to be intellectual about showing the process behind the scenes, and quite another to be overly intellectual in the comedy sketches. How many of the most memorable sketches from SNL were intellectually satisfying? Most of them were very clever but played broadly. Most of the sketches rehearsed in this episode could easily be spun as “academic, elitist liberal humor”. In other words, it’s only going to play to a select audience.



    Most core fans, those with a knowledge and understanding of Sorkin’s brand of writing, approach this series as intended. It’s wish fulfillment, just as much as “West Wing” was. Sorkin is selling the idea of an intellectually-challenging comedy show as successful, despite all the predictions of doom from network executives. It’s all right there in Wes’ tirade in the pilot. Sorkin is developing a world where all those criticisms about network television need not apply. But that is, in fact, the problem: he’s trying to tell wish fulfillment about television on actual television, and unless things change in the next few weeks, that subplot about the ratings will sound an awful lot like a self-fulfilling prophesy.



    Fans might reasonably suggest that changing the show to address these issues would, in fact, undermine everything that Sorkin is trying to accomplish. And they would be right. I don’t want to see that happen either. But if the fans want to know why the series is struggling, these are two big reasons. This show was never going to be a mainstream success. It doesn’t have the broad appeal or message to strike that instant chord. We are left to hope that the network is willing to live with a modest audience for a very expensive show.



    (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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  • 9.5

    Overall, the whole show is well-written.

    By brunabear, Oct 04, 2006

    This is the third episode of Studio 60, and it's just getting better all the time. Or, at least not going downhill, which is really all anyone can ask, when they set the bar so high with their first episode.



    I like how they keep making references to SNL, since we all know that this is what the show really is. This week's reference was to Wayne's World, one of the most popular skits from SNL that turned into two movies.



    Otherwise, the show on a whole is just witty, fast-paced, and funny. There are on-going dramas, and things coming up from people's pasts that are haunting them, like Jordan's DUI arrest. I knew something was coming there, since she was warned that the Christian groups would go after her personally, and I suspect that this is only the beginning. I can't wait to see what happens next!moreless

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  • 8.0

    Excellent script with subtle humours.

    By riskylee, Oct 04, 2006

    Finally an episode where we caught a glimpse of every single skit. In the past two episodes we only caught one skit each (the George Bush skit in episode 1 and the choir skit in episode 2). This week, we got to see not only the game show but also an array of skits including \'pimp my trike?\', \'the Nicolas Cage show\', the news show, etc. It was nice to see the producers making the effort to set up the props for just a few seconds of shots.



    In terms of character development, nothing much happened in this episode though. The only landmark development perhaps was the Jordan DUI incident. There were a number of hilarious lines though. Matt telling Jordan she had big teeth when asked to make fun of her was one. Having more of this Matthew Perry\'s comedic routine would make the show even better.moreless

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  • 9.6

    It just keeps getting better.

    By miffster, Oct 04, 2006

    The third episode of Studio 60 continues the tone set by the first two; it's a well-written show, with quick, witty dialogue, and really good actors.



    The Focus Group has the cast looking at the results of a focus group and worrying... the new guys don't want the cast to see the results, but, of course, they get leaked. And chaos ensues. But the show goes on, and the tension only allows for more great dialogue with all the cast participating.



    Also, more past sins are surfacing, which only makes the show more interesting. I can't wait to see what surfaces from the past in up-coming episodes.moreless

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  • 8.6

    Slowly but steadily improving in writing and tone.

    By SWERJ321, Oct 04, 2006

    One complaint I had last week was that the actual "comedy" of the skit show was lacking in true humor and relied on old style stuff like Gilbert and Sullivan. However, this shows a much better turn for the show-within-the-show parts.



    Doing it as a montage was good (although the constant applause was a bit much) but it showcased well the skits, some of which I can easily see fitting on SNL. I'm surprised they haven't already done the "golf fan acting like a football fan" skit and Simon's Rosanne Barr joke was perfect. I took a bit of exception at that "Commedia dell'arte" skit as being too classy but then they actually point out how it goes over the heads of people and that's the point. I also like how Jeannine is coming along as freaked over getting dumped but they stick by her.



    The joke on the small town and Harriet calling on it was intriguing, pointing out how well she connects with castmates. And her Holly Hunter accent was so dead-on it was scary. (Note to Sorkin: Get Holly Hunter for an ep, this would rule).



    The bits of Jordan were quite good, showing her fear that she keeps hidden. I'm dying to see her husband come in and what drama that can bring. I also hope we see more of the conflict between Ricky and Ron and Matt and Danny, especially with Matt trying to work with them more. So it looks an improvement on the show so far, finally clicking on all levels, which promises lots of fun to come.moreless

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  • 7.5

    Disappointing

    By ejroberts, Oct 04, 2006

    This episode reminded me too much of the previous show. The pressure to put together the show, the worry about the ratings and the concern over the reaction of the Christian right. While the show attempts to deal with serious issues while still maintaining comedic flavor, it reduces the issues to brief sound bites which proved unsatisfying. There were so many overlapping plots that none of them could be developed sufficiently. I was really interested in seeing their show and seeing the brief montage bits of the show left me unsatisfied. I was happy that the show was successful, but I saw so little of the show that I didn't understand why it had been so well received. While I am still enjoying the show, the next episode will be important. If it seems like the same thing over again (similiar this episode and the last episode), I will begin to lose interest in the show.moreless

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