I am one of those who thought the show has been short changed and, like many series on today, never was given a chance by the network. Unfortunately, this episode did show one reason why it may be encountering friction. The whole debate over faith was another example of Hollywood values being conveyed through the televison. The agnostic gives well thought out arguments and the faithful soul uses vague and childish respsonses to justify her faith. Please keep religion out of the storyline if you can not represent both sides fairly. As for the show, maybe some fan support can save it, but there are several other shows of similar (or better) quality that just did not survive the network sharks.
This episode continues the final major arc of the series, and as such, the time has come to bring the plot and character threads closer to resolution. As such, it’s not particularly surprising that the major relationships would be inching towards a sense of closure. What is surprising, under the circumstances, is how well this arc is pulling together all the pieces and giving the entire series a feeling of planned cohesion.
While it should have been obvious that Matt and Danny left Studio 60 in the fall of 2001, it was never emphasized. Yet taking that into consideration explains so much about the tone and topicality of the series, including its constant focus on political, social, and religious issues. Matt and Danny’s exit from Studio 60 was tied into the conflicting demands of the post-9/11 world, and that changes the context of their return. If, as hinted in this episode, they were forced out because of tensions over content related to politics and religion in the wake of the beginning of the War on Terror, those thoughts and memories would be inexorably tied into the circumstances of their restoration to the show.
It’s hard to say if that was always something in the back of Sorkin’s mind, but if it was, it’s a damn shame that it was never apparent at the very beginning. There were some indirect comments regarding Matt’s religious humor being an issue, particularly “Crazy Christians”, but now the implications are a bit more accessible. The timing was always there on the page, but now that it’s been explicitly spelled out, I think it really paints the picture. It certainly made me appreciate and understand some of the subtext from earlier in the season!
The flashbacks also demonstrate how the series is coming full circle in terms of the story. Jack’s present actions are colored by his assumptions and errors in the past. Tom’s current crisis is seen as the culmination of six years worth of accumulated worry and family dysfunction. The montage of Matt and Harriet’s relationship over the years, all coming down and arriving at this particular point in time, is one of the most gratifying moments thus far.
As much as I found the initiation of the Jordan/Danny relationship to be forced, with the wrong message about Danny’s behavior being sent in the process, I couldn’t help but be pleased when Danny proposed. I still think it will be a contentious relationship, especially if Studio 60 pulls out of the ratings dive, but something tells me that will be directly addressed in the finale.
At this point, it almost feels like the series should end with Studio 60 being cancelled, Jordan fulfilling her “one year” prophecy, and the entire tale being about how this last-ditch effort to save a sketch comedy show changed the lives of those struggling to keep it afloat. It wouldn’t be the happy ending everyone expects, but it would give the audience one last chance at catharsis.
Seems that the obvious fact that some of the reviewers have stated is indeed true - the episodes of Studio 60 are gaining in quality as the show comes to an end. And the strange thing is that Sorkin made such leaps that I really am quite sad that the show has to end when the real peak of it happened just as it was decided that it is going to be cancelled. Do not get me wrong, Sorkin always did an outstanding job on this series, and the fact that it looks and feels ten times better than anything on TV (The Sopranos are in this league also) has always been his doing. And now, upon seeing this episode, I really can't say why on earth there are no demands to save Studio 60 from it's much too early demise. When one sees the Harriet/Matt montage and hears "Have a little faith in me" with the classic piano and a truly great voice of John Hiatt, one can't be anything but amazed at how Sorkin knows how to merge music, writing and images in such a way that it feels so melodic and masterful in itself. From The West Wing and "In Excelsis Deo" with Toby whitnessing a veterans funeral while the background choir sings "Little Drummer Boy" at a Christmas celebration in The White House, Studio 60's Sting singing "Fields of Gold" while Matt and Harriet almost kiss, to this episode, I can only say - magnificent. Vintage Sorkin, at his finest hour.
I thought this was a great episode. It portrayed what the fictional sketch comedy show was like the first time Matt and Danny were there. We get to see the awkwardness of Matt and Harriet's relationship ending, as coworkers who are clearly not over each other. In classic Sorkin Matt could not tie a bow tie but wanted to wear one to the Emmy's because he was from the east coast, on The West Wing Josh Lyman wanted to wear one because at the end of the night it looked cool when it hung off of your neck untied. Neither could tie one and asked the woman that they were not together with but the audience was pulling for tie it for them.
The story with Tom is great, it provides that fear to cross over the current time with the flashbacks that feeling of fear and uncertainty experienced by all.
Can't wait to tune in to the next episode.
I looked and saw the ratings are increasing since it's return, nowhere near where they were in February, but it is a sign.
This was a great episode. The situation with Tom's brother was hard to watch. Danny proposing to Jordan was great. I didn't expect it so soon. I liked Danny getting upset at the hospital. Normally Jordan is the one getting upset and Danny is calm. Matt's pill popping plot line was an interesting take.
So what's going on?
The show is cancelled - and all of the sudden, the episodes are only getting better?
The episode took place right after the ending of the last one - Jordan is rushed to the hospital, and Tom's getting the news of his kidnapped brother.
"Studio 60", over-all, usually avoided political issues - there were some religious, racious and even social conflicts - and this was the first one to address a political issue. (I think the reason they avoided political issues so far, was because of the "oh-so-requested-West-Wing-comparison").
I liked the was the show presented how the press dealt with Tom's brother being held captive - 3 guys were abducted - but only one is getting coverage by the media. A pretty good reflection of the media in our world today.
Also, I must praise Nathan Corddry for one hack of an acting job for the last two episodes. (Lucy was really missing in this episode).
The Jordan-Danny storyline: I felt that it was a sort of "filler" storyline - but it doesn't really matter as long as Amanda Peet was on :).
I really liked the going-on argument between Matt and Harriet, representing in a small, but very intersting way, the public debate on some of the political/religous/social issues that's going on today, and have been going on for the last 8 years (only in this situation, of course).
I know I've been praising the show a lot- I know it won't do any good - but this show, this cast and this whole production deserves it.
There is no sadder moment in time than watching the ending of a great body of work; especially when it is shining its brightest. Aaron Sorkin has taken me back to my favorite West Wing episodes with this episode of Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. With the heart and soul of "The West Wing's In Excelsis Deo" Sorkin proves his talents as a master story crafter with K & R, Part 1. The best part of Aaron Sorkin's writing isn't just that it's intelligent, but it provokes us to think, to take another look at why we believe what we believe. Perhaps that's why the show never caught on. It called to mankind to be accountable for who we have become. It asked us to think a line above the tawdry exhibitionism that reality shows like "Survivor" or "The Bachelor" make their living on. It asked us to question who we are and why we are that way. The masses, unfortunately, are not yet up to the task. Perhaps the fact that it was set in Hollywood was the poison that seeped throughout the season keeping mainstream viewers from embracing it. Sorkin neophytes who appear to have only jumped on the S60 bandwagon because they watched "The West Wing" complained bitterly that the show wasn't up to their standards. They ignored character development or the importance of the topics that WERE debated in the show. They couldn't cling on to the story lines based on choices that we as a people must make in our every day lives and the complicated mess that sometimes comes from making the wrong ones. Instead, they turned their noses up demanding nothing less but perfection. The problem being perfection to one is not perfection to others.
I have loved "Studio 60" from the very beginning. I loved the fact that Bradley Whitford perfectly matured himself to present his new character. I was enthralled at being able to watch Matthew Perry handle much grittier and sometimes dark drama, such as the spiral into drug use. The cast to me was perfectly selected for each of their characteristics AND as a brilliant ensemble. The opening two shows sealed the deal for me. How could you not want to be exposed to one of the greatest debates of our time? Matt and Harriet, who are probably soul mates struggling to grow and using one another as a pearl uses sand, go back and forth about the issue of faith. While I have no idea where Sorkin stands on this issue personally, the fact that he can give such strength to both sides of the argument with the same pen fascinates me. But that is always what has enamored me about Sorkin's work. His fearlessness in addressing whatever issue he likes. Some people have called Sorkin self-indulgent in this particular work. If so, he is not the only one being indulged. He has fed me, satiated me with his characters and his story. Once I see that last episode I will no longer be fed such a satisfying meal. I will have to be content to watch only silly, worn representations of the condition of man; each show stressing the same tired, boring topics of fidelity and who's trying to destroy who. K & R, Part 1 was an amazing example of why I love Aaron Sorkin's work so much. It moved me to tears. The actor's performances were incredible, the story topical and the music, as always, the cherry on top - a perfect experience. I cannot imagine which way Aaron will go with the last episode. I don't know if he knew they would not renew his show when he wrote it or when it was filmed. I know how I'd like it to end, but much like the beloved "Sports Night" there will be nothing left but fan fiction to know where these characters go from here and *that* I will mourn. No one moves me like Aaron Sorkin. I can only hope I will get the chance to be moved again.
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