Of all the overused plot elements in the history of storytelling, the “baby plot” has the worst reputation. While pregnancy can be mined endlessly for dramatic purposes, the addition of a baby to a story tends to result in severe limitations. More than one series has been killed by a “baby plot” as a result. “Alias” is the most obvious example in recent memory, but there are countless others.
Considering how much “Studio 60” has struggled to find the right balance since the pilot, it’s hard to understand why they would choose to incorporate Amanda Peet’s pregnancy into the series. While one could argue that the series is already sitting in “lame duck” status and that Aaron Sorkin is running with the “one year to live” idea mentioned by Jordan in the previous episode, there’s little reason to make the situation that much worse.
Sorkin also risks annoying the audience by using a tired writing trick to make it happen. He makes Jordan live through cliché after cliché, but to cover it, he has Jordan note that she’s living up to those clichés. It doesn’t really work, and the whole situation just feels rushed and sloppy. Are we to believe that Jordan’s growing lack of fire and focus is some kind of hormonal issue? Wouldn’t that be just a bit insulting?
If that had been the only disappointing aspect of the episode, it would have been easy to overlook. Unfortunately, a number of items fell flat. While the B-12 shot connection might have been subtle, it was run into the ground during the bit between Matt and Danny. Matt’s idea about “Spit Take Theatre” was just plain silly, even if it was a last minute attempt to salvage the show. In fact, none of the sketches were more than mildly amusing. (Though the reference to Union, NJ made me smile…was that a shout-out, Mr. Sorkin?)
There’s also the running gag of Harriet’s inability to tell a simple joke. Sorkin has struggled since the beginning to place Harriet on a comedic pedestal, with every script being about how influential and funny she is. So why can’t this “genius comedienne” tell a simple joke? Harriet does not come across as someone with overflowing talent, and this has hampered the suspension of disbelief in the success of the show.
There were some positive aspects of the episode. Nearly everything related to the writing staff and the visiting guru was spot on, especially the choice application of “metaphor”. The structure of the show was a lot of fun, slowly revealing the context of the scenes from the teaser over the course of the episode. And any amount of Jack seems to be a highlight. But the bulk of the episode missed the mark.
(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!)
Yes, from the moment that they mentioned that a person couldn't have a B-12 shot if they were pregnant, I knew, I just knew, that someone was going to announce that they were pregnant. Who would it be was the only question remaining. Would it be Harriet? Pregnant by her famous athlete boyfriend? Or would it be Jordan, pregnant by her scuzzy ex-husband? And when they kept using the pregnant joke in the episode... well, that just made it more obvious to me that someone was with child.
So while that part wasn't a surprise, the episode still holds up as another great episode of Studio 60. They keep throwing twists, and making the characters more complex and interesting as the series continues. I hope that the series stays around for a long time, so that we can really get to know the people in this tv-world.
This is one of those shows that you knew, you just knew, couldn't fail if given enough time to prove itself. Kudos to NBC for being patient and allowing Studio 60 to dig in and gain some roots, allowing it to start blooming. The last two episodes, I believe, were the best of the season. The addition of Mark McKinney is going to be quite a unique twist - a comedic actor and writer from another sketch comedy show playing a dour comedy writer. The seriousness of his character ("I don't find anything funny") was unexpected, yet, ultimately, necessary. And the return of Christine Lahti was a welcome sign as well. I think the thing that appeals to me most is that the writers have created characters that you can empathize with, and the actors have given them life, by playing them as real people. Rather than go for the over the top comedy performers, they have created almost believable human beings, a rarity for comedic television.
I was impressed with the fact that this episode showed that these characters have a soul. When faced with the decision to air a sketch about a bumbling hostage situation shortly after a real life hostage situation ended badly, they made the right choice without flinching. There was no jokes about it, no weighing the options. It was appropriatelty immediate and decisive.
I also enjoyed the subtle in-joke that one of the best comediennes of the cast cannot tell a joke in real life. This was a nice little touch, emphasizing that to succeed in comedy, it is the material that is important first and foremost. Good material in the hands of good actors makes for great comedy (a process 20 good years and 30 Rock have completely missed). This was emphasized again with rookies writing the sketch. It starts with the material.
I was very excited when I saw the pilot for this show. Smart, witty, biting and just the right dash of cinicism. I thought there was no way the show could keep up the High Level of writing for a whole season. And at times it hasn't. A couple of episodes were slow, unfunny, and too much like other shows. But when the show is good, it's the best on TV. Last weeks show was one of the top three so far (The Long Lead, being the best behind the pilot). The one thing they've gotten away from, is the music. The pilot had a ton of great stuff in it, and it kind or reminded me of Miami Vice in it's perfectly timed usage of classic songs. And then Sting's appearances were perfect. But lately they've been an afterthought more than intertwined into the plot. So I hope they get back that. Overall, I'll keep watching it, but I'm starting to like 30 Rock better as the "behind the scenes" SNL show....
When Mark McKinneys charachter tells the new writer to stand still for a minute and a door explodes in the guys face. Since the writer juste tanked a scetch Marks explains it was for the metaphore... Excellent! It was worth the whole series for that moment.
Finally, the show starts living up to its potential. The opening with Howie Mandel was a bit silly but then, SNL does the same sort of thing all the time and this wasn't too bad. Thankfully, we get the skits kept to a minimum. I like how Sorkin is once again showing he's listening to people's complaints on the show with McKinney's writer telling Matt what many have thought, that writing everything himself is not a good thing. The idea of them getting the skit on, having it pulled and having to write a new one was good and I'm liking how they all click. The stuff with Harriet suddenly unable to tell a joke was a bit silly and once again insulting to the character. But the bit where everyone decides to spit at her because she was the only one not sick was funny and believable. I do have problems with Danny showing this "it doesn't matter how much money is made, it matters if something is good" and the aintitcool stuff seemed another cheap shot at the Internet by Aaron. But Lahti's character was a bit fun now that she was toned back.
Jordan...on the one hand, it's a good point, she really can't handle being an exec and playing with the press so maybe dropping her is good. But the pregnancy gives it a new dimension, given we have to learn who the father is, not to mention how Jack can react to it. Overall, the show is finding its footing, and shows once more than when Sorkin gets off the soapbox, it can click over big-time and be what we dreamed it to be. More eps like this and we're on the way to being the hit we wanted.
Great episode. Since everyone knows Amanda Peet is pregnant not much of a surprise at the end when she told Danny. Is Danny possibly the father....I hope, I hope. Love them together and think Sorkin needs to put them together. So funny that Harry cannot tell a joke. The dude that fainted in drag was so funny!
Loved this episode and I am rather anxious to see how J Mac\'s pregnancy story line develops. The return of Danny and the look on his face when he realized why she was telling him, No shot!\', was priceless. I know that some folks really don\'t like this show (my take from another board ... and I left that one) and I cannot understand why. Aaron Sorkin is a genius and the show just keeps getting better and better each week. I am also anxious to see next week\'s show and the continuing developments between Matt and Harriet. I am definitely staying tuned ... sure beats all those reality shows that we are now saturated with ... AHEM!
It took a little time, but it seems studio 60 has finally found itself. I think the addition of Mark McKinney from Kids in the Hall is great. I think that Lucy and Darius are good and with McKinney's character and Matt that they have a good foundation for a writing staff. The cast illness is well timed (as it seems everyone else is getting sick right now too) and its nice to see some of the "behind the scenes" as the cast gets ready for the week. It would be interesting to place cameras behind the scenes at SNL or MadTV for a week just to see how true Studio 60 is.
Also, as far as Jordan being pregnant, its a good way to handle it, the teaser for next week makes it sound like Jack might be the father (why else would he have to resign??)
I'm glad NBC decided to give the series a full season, too many good shows never have the chance to prove themselves.
One of the best I have seen of this season...I also think that the pairing of Jordan and Danny is excellent...Matt is also great and I know that this cast has great chemistry...And they work well together as well...This cast is the best since friends and Frasier,and Cheers...And for the most part watching was goes on behind the scenes at any show is that goes to show you how a show is put together is a good show...
This show is kind of like the old "Ed Sullivan Show" that tried to appeal to all of the masses. In "B-12" we have vintage Three Stooges slapstick with the 'spit takes'; soap opera drivel of another unwed pregnant alph-female; the horror show slaughter of a family; the "I Love Lucy" ditzy blonde not being able to tell a simple joke; Howie Mandell and those damned suitcases for all the game show addicts; and, a highly contagious disease for the "ER" fans. Throw in an almost morbid comedy writing staff and a somewhat scatterbrained network president who is about as poised as "Desperate Housewives"'s Susan, and you've got a rollicking good hour of television entertainment without once having to change the station.
I caught this episode last night while I was doing dishes, and got sucked in. I've watched the show before, but never gotten that into it. But it seems to be finally hitting its stride. Danny's trying to reassemble a writing staff for some reason, and it looks like that girl from "The Office" (British version) will be around for a while. Yay! And I love the guy they've brought in to help the new writers, clearly intending to keep him around if he'll stay. I love the way he stepped up and told Danny that the only way to get the new writers' stuff to the necessary level would be to put the pressure on. And it worked--then they had to pull the skit and write a new one in about twenty minutes! The revelation of Jordan's pregnancy at the end of the episode wasn't much of a surprise for anyone who follows entertainment news and knows that Amanda Peet is pregnant. The only question was whether they'd write around it or try to work it in, and I'm glad they've chosen the second route. If done well, that always makes for good drama, especially when it means they don't have to put the actress in bulky coats and strategically place her behind a desk for the rest of the season.
So a good episode, I'm glad I caught it, I guess I'll make a point of watching next week.
The woman singing was Corinne Bailey Rae. The song was "Trouble Sleeping". Great new artist with a really refreshing voice.
I love this show and I thought this was one of the best episodes so far. I started this fall season watching all the new shows on the major networks and Studio 60 is one of the few I continue to watch. Great show, great cast. I look forward to it every week.
The filming of this series is inspirational and tonight's episode in particular merged so deftly into one tremendous show. The witty lines, the continuing joke (or lack of it in the case of the jewish man phoning his mother!) and the office politics and backstabbing are so subtle that the show is over before you realise and you are shouting for more!
It is great that new people have been introduced - so pleased Lucy Davis has been given more to do as she was hilarious in The Office - and Mark McKinney as new guy Andy Mackinaw looks to be a very interesting future plot; his quirkyness and dry humour are just right.
Of course Danny cares for Jordan - but whose baby is it - the horrible ex-husband's - or is the plot about to thicken further??? I think Danny is going to have to come off the fence!!!
Another fine hour of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." Never a dull moment and they're plenty of that going around. For example, the virus is taking it's toll on the staff and while all that's going on, Howie Mandel is guest host in a take off of "Deal or No Deal." the writing staff is thin to the point of breaking and a father kills his family. To make matters worse, amanda Peet my have a bun in the oven. this is a well-written episode that pull all those elements together. Another reason why "Studio 60" and "Heroes" are the best two hours of televsion.
I was very excited for this episode. I'd say this is one of the dramatic/emotional ones. But still it's entertaining and funny. For example it was fun to watch a hand full of actors spitting at each other just for "FUN". Or to see how no one in LA seems to have an umbrella. (What for?!). Or to realize that telling a joke isn't as easy as it always seems. I enjoyed seeing Lucy and Darius a little more often. They make a very good addition to the rest of the cast and bring a lot of humor to the show. (And who could resist that cute English accent?). Amanda Peet was just terrific. She played her character very well. It almost hurt to see her so broken and vulnerable.