This is the typical overhyped, over-sophisticated and self-important production you can expect from the overblown Alan Sorkin.
The motor-mouth blather was novel in The West Wing. Now it’s just plain old. Who wants to strain their necks trying to get the essence of a fast-paced conversation roaring past you? I would like to see the actors EMOTE not just be some stiff talking heads. The only actor who had any credibility was Steven Weber because somehow the directors couldn’t force him to engage in that signature ping pong talk that drones on through the show. He came across as a genuine human being and was well cast for the role.
Regardless of frenzied fan reviews, Amanda Peet is poorly cast as the wonder child of a network. She’s loses credibility when she always seems to have a goofy smile on her face as if she’s in constant PR for a Miss America title. I know the writers wanted her to portray a network charmer (only because of the dialog Steven Weber gives) but it’s just not happening.
The speech Hirsh gives at the beginning is ridiculously contrived. I had to listen to that speech several times on NBC’s streaming download to figure out what point was trying to be made. The whole thing was so schizophrenic it finally occurred to me the writers were just throwing all kinds of arguments out there because they HAD NONE. To say comedy writers aren’t given enough leeway in this day and age is laughable. If a show isn’t funny blame the lack of talent of the writers and stop railing against the network or censors or whoever the speech was directed at.
And Mathew Perry—OMG what is he doing in front of the camera? The only redeeming quality he had was playing a punk guy on “Friends” who knew how to rip off one-liners. Now he’s in a dramatic role with zero appeal and we’re all supposed to sit back and marvel in awe at his acting skills. Pukarama, any actor could have taken that role.
Studio 60 was pretty promising. Aaron Sorkin, Matthew Perry, original idea. Yet... The beginning was brill 'jumped right in. But after the first few mins that was closed by the main title sequence.. the pacing dropped. Alot. The episode was trading water, idling, for soooo long. It was painful, boring. The ending wasnt much better either.
I cant believe how much potential did the pilot have - and how the writers didnt use any of it.
Good acting, good idea - Bad pacing, thus boring and painful. I just hope the upcoming episodes will be better. Good luck Studio 60 on the sunset strip!
I like most people was generally excited about seeing this new series, with such an amazing cast, how could it be anything buy perfect? But half way through the episode I have to admit that I was pretty bored. The stows premise is like a behind the scenes of SNL. Where you can see how things work and the various problems that can occur. Being such a huge fan of Friends I was extremely eager to see Matthew Perry back in the spot light, but he didn't show on screen til the episode was almost over. When he can on, his character added almost another layer to the show, and it was great to see him again. Although I do not think this was the best pilot, mainly for the fact that it was so slow paced, I do think that this show has great potential. So, I will stayed in tune and I hope that all of you reading this will follow suit.
well, it was a PILOT. so you have to expect a certain amount of posturing and presenting of characters. I loved the cameos but i guess my problem was with all the HYPE (and there was a ton of super hyped hype) for this show, i felt like i had already seen the episdoe before it even aired. I am very excited by the potential of this show - i already love the writer, director and cast. but this episode didn't light my fire. i'll keep watching as hopefully there will be much greater things to come. lastly, bradly whitford is awesome :)
Let me get this out of the way, first and foremost: I thought this was one of the best pilots I’ve seen in a while. Sure, it felt more like a play than a true television episode, but that worked to its advantage. It got the point of the show across without resorting to a ton of exposition, and the dialogue had the inspired snap to it that only Aaron Sorkin seems to be able to pull off well.
Sorkin seems to be channeling a little of his own aggressive issues with NBC into the story, but what were we expecting? Yes, he was effectively shoved out the door on “West Wing”, under less than perfect circumstances, and the network is touting this new show as the return of a favorite son to the airwaves. There are definite parallels there, but they manage not to be overly distracting.
I went into this pilot absolutely unspoiled, because I wanted to get to know the characters as presented in the story. There are an awful lot of characters, and there’s a lot of ground still to be covered. I think it’s smart to have all of these characters buzzing around the periphery of the first episode, so when they step into the spotlight more, it’s not a jarring introduction. The pilot really focuses on a handful of characters, central to the ongoing dynamic.
From a plot perspective, it had the same issues as every pilot. How does one introduce a world, characters, conflicts, and relationships within the space of 42 minutes and still tell a compelling story? Sorkin and Schlamme do it right. The “crisis” is simple enough for the audience to grasp, letting the necessary dynamics lead the characters into their natural introductory moments. All great in terms of mechanics, and if there are shades of “West Wing” politicking, it says more about the world of television networks than the limitations of the creative staff.
From a character perspective, I’m still getting thing straight. I expect it will take a few episodes to really work out the dynamics. For instance, I still don’t have a firm grasp on Jack’s role from just the pilot, but it’s more than I’m still digesting that corporate structure as presented on the show. Jordan is indeed quite impressive, but I get the sense of an naïve optimism. Sorkin can note all her accomplishments in her introduction all he wants; it still seems like she’s begging for trouble. (Then again, backing a show or creative staff often gets a network president in trouble, so it might just be her disposition that’s throwing me off.)
The main attractions, however, are Matt and Danny. I’ll be honest; for me, Bradley Whitford is the biggest draw to the show. I loved him as Josh Lyman and I find it interesting how he takes a similar line delivery and manages to portray a completely different personality. I’m curious to see if that will continue, or if it even matters. Giving him a drug addicted past is another possible Sorkin parallel, but he loves giving his characters a history to overcome, and dealing with addiction worked wonders with Leo on “West Wing”.
Matt, however, is going to take some getting used to, but that’s a purely subjective observation. I really like how his character is completely distinct from the overwhelming shadow of Chandler Bing, but I’m not as much a Perry fan as a Whitford fan. What I found a little distracting, however, was the painkiller connection. It was bold to have Perry take on a role poking fun of someone loopy on painkillers, even for just one episode, but I found it a little distracting because of the “real world” connection. But despite that, I really like the dynamic between Matt and Danny, and that will be a lot of fun to watch.
Perhaps the only way to wrap up my thoughts on this pilot, beyond delving into every character and every nuance that struck me as noteworthy, would be to describe how I felt after watching it. I wasn’t mildly hopeful, as I’ve been after dozens of pilots where the writers are just trying to get past the exposition as quickly as possible. It also wasn’t the kind of immediate home run that opened “West Wing”. But it’s very close, and I was definitely wishing for more when the hour was over.
(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://thrillridetv.libsyn.com if you want to listen!)
Although I enjoyed the pilot of this very promising show, I didn't instantly fall in love with it. There were some obvious problems that can easily be smoothed out by the 1st season's end. I'll just separate it into pros and cons:
-- The first 5 minutes of the show. Wow. Definitely one of the most intense scenes I've ever seen on TV.
-- A superb cast is what will definitely keep this show going strong.
-- A very fast-paced look at what it takes to survive in the business.
-- The characters are all pretty creative. I really enjoyed them all.
Now the bad part of the review! ;D
-- The show seemed a little too fast paced for my liking. It wasn't like missing an episode of LOST where you're scratching your head at the end of the season thinking, "Where'd that came from?".
-- It seemed that the comedy in the show was pretty subtle. It was non-existent in most scenes but it was still there. I was thoroughly convinced that this show was a comedy...until I saw the 1st episode.
-- The writing was smart and witty but when it was revealed that Matt (or maybe Danny, I'm not too sure) was using drugs, there wasn't enough drama. It felt a tad bit impersonal with each character's internal conflict.
-- Referring back to my last con, Matthew Perry seemed to get most of the glory in the show. The other actors have the potential to be brilliant, but it felt too focused upon the "ex-Friend".
Well there's my review. In summary, since I'm guessing you're too lazy to read all of that^, the show has a lot of potential to become a legend of our time, but for now it looks like they're still gonna have to work out the kinks.
The pilot does what any good pilot should. It has introduced us to the whole cast and at the end of the episode we like them. With only an hour to introduce such a large cast they pull it off without short changing any of them. Each character has been fleshed out enough that thhey come off as whole people not just stereotypes.
The writing is smart and funny. Much like the West Wing but no more politics. Thats something I can get into.
First impressions are always important so considering the buzz on Studio 60 it needed to live up to the hype. To do that for me, it has to draw me in, not just allow me to look in. In my opinion it did that, although I think there's going to have to be a little tweaking. The opening with Wes' rant was great. I've seen it before but the "Network" analogies on all the TV news broadcasts afterwards were a nice touch. The chemistry between the characters is great so far. The pilot may have been a bit rushed but all in all a good first effort. I definitely will continue to watch.
I have the Luxury of writing this review after having just watched the 3rd episode so keep that in mind while reading. The Pilot episode is the best episode of the series to date. The opinionated, well-spoken characters that we expect and love Sorkin to create shine brightly in this episode. Some suprisingly beautiful performances accompany the script. Most notably Amanda Peet's character which despite her very subtle, almost underacted character developement, shines with subtext that keeps you guessing the character's intentions and motives. However, and this may be unfair, but remembering back to the pilot episode of "Sports Night", at the end of the episode the viewer had a stronger sense of who and/or what each characters goal and/or arc was. In "Studio 60 ..." the only characters with true objectives were the executives of NBS. The other fall too much into Sorkin's liberal dilemma mind-set where everyone wants to change the world, but are too lazy to do so. While it creates good characters for films (i.e. Half-Nelson) it leaves more to be desired in this series. It may be accurate, but it may get boring.
After this sharp start, the story gets a little low as we get to know the characters meanwhile the enjoyment is still up thanks to the funny lines. 1. Stories
a) Matt and Danny
We are put in the middle of this net of relationships that hold the characters together. We get to know some basic qualities all around the great friendship of Matt and Danny. How people feel towards them, why they left, where are they now. They are good and well-described characters. b) Matt and Harry
Having a romantic line with the "I love you, I love you not" relationship of Matt and Harry, is aimed to keep female audience and I think it works. Their difference in opinion is quite important to keep them away, while it's also shown that the feelings (at this point from Matt's side) are not over. c) The executives
It's not clear for me who is who. If Jordan's president then who's Jack? Why is he rivalling with her? Otherwise, Jordan is funny and likeable but the fact that she's always smiling is a little irritating. d) The big three
Again, I have no idea who they are, why are they so important. We can only get to learn that they are close to each other. 2. Characters
I've got the feeling that the characters are a little one-sided. Good friends, great professionals, bad professionals - everyone is either good or bad. One exception is Wes, whose both sides are introduced to us. 3. Why I'll watch again? Because I want to see how they'll reach the high bar.
I first heard about this show on the Tvs at best buy when I was buying a remote for one of my Tvs. I didn't know what it was I just knew that Matthew Perry was in it and I was gonna watch it once it came out on September 18. Which I did. I liked how many funny lines it had and enjoyed it dearly. I hope it continues to be as great as this one episode . Maybe it will do great in standings and hopefuly more sesons if it stays like it was *knocks on wood* .
It's an excellent pilot episode and very exciting start for the series... the acting and script was great the plot was okay the characters had genuine chemistry, with an amazing cast. The scenes with Amanda Peet, Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford are superb. The chemistry between the three is great Matthew Perry really is the funniest guy on TV and a star that you expect some thing great from him...And here you go, I really enjoyed the pilot of Studio 60 but I think it's going to take a few more episodes to say if it’s the “show of the season”.
The pilot episode of Studio 60 was just another fantastic example of the talented team of Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme. The on-screen pair of Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford personify the the writer director team that is Sorkin-Schlamme. From the very begining, the show echoed much of the things that made The West Wing great. The lead in to the opening drew me in right away, and being a huge West Wing fan, I had become accustomed to Sorkin's writing style. Because of this, while watching the opening teaser for Studio 60, I half expected the West Wing openning credits to roll. The cast is terrific, full of querky characters, and an interesting back story that is only hinted at in the pilot, which left me wanting to know more about them. The relationships, and wet the apitite while not seeming like there is a lot of baggage to bog down the characters. Right from the start, Steven Webber does a great job of getting the viewer to not like him, and from the little interaction that there was, Matthew Perry looks to be perfect to play his foil.
If NBC has been in a slump in the past few years, then Studio 60 looks to be a resounding step in the right direction. I think that this show deffinitly lives up to the hype, and that it has deffinite potential. I'm not sure if it will replace West Wing as my all time favorite show, but as I said before, it deffinitly has potential.
I love Matthew Perry and The West Wing. So this is a match made in heaven to me. I can start off with that and no one will read this now as it's tainted. A fan will never say anything bad. More than that my favorite character in West Wing is Bradley. So yes, again. It's just a dream come true. But as always when you put all major forces in one place the "stuff that probably is censored might" really hit the fan. I had great expectations for this one. I have been reading about it. I have seen the trailers and I like (can't say love regarding guys too many times) the cast. As I started to watch the show I didn't really get the feeling that I was hoping for. Then Peet stormed in and was kinda funny with the "seven funny things" remark. And then, it just happened. Matthew Perry entered and turned on his way of acting that made Chandler (the guy that didn't have sex in the porn based upon the hit show) the star of Friends.
He just delivers the lines so sharp, so smooth, so fast that if he just can keep this up the show will be a must see. Then combined with Bradley who is equally as fast with comments and delivers them without trying to be funny.
I think it's going to take a few more episodes to get hooked totally. But I do think that this will be one of the best reasons for having a tv this fall.
Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip was aired in Canada on Sunday, September 17th, one day before the US Network airing. I saw it and really enjoyed it.
The show seems to have a lot going for it, and it's not just the cast; there are already some intriguing story lines, and conflicts set up that can last the entire season and provide fodder for the writers. It has humor and character conflict, as well as the interesting prospect of seeing actors deal with the show within a show concept. The pilot kept me riveted, and threw in some curve balls to keep the audience guessing. I liked the way that it started out with Chandler (Matt? Danny?) looking like he was the alcohol/drug dependent one, but that's not the case at all. It was a catchy beginning that kept me hooked.
The Brief: The new Aaron Sorkin, Tommy! Schlamme! hour long drama about the ‘five minutes’ before and after the camera roles on a twenty year old sketch comedy show. (Additional thoughts below the fold.)
I thoroughly enjoyed the pilot. Having never seen Network, the opening rant by Wes hit home and clearly establishes the idea Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip - the show within a show – has for sometime failed to deliver the humorous social comedy necessary to make such a sketch comedy show relevant. The subsequent introduction of the main characters effectively places each set of characters into their macro-role within the series.
As the “voice” of the network, Jack Rudolph and Jordan McDeere offer contradictory views of the network coin. Rudolph, played with a muted entitled cynicism by Steven Webber, butts heads with McDeere’s balls-to-the-wall willingness to reach further than comfortable. Amanda Peet gives McDeere a sparkling naiveté that seems counter-intuitive for a woman who has worked her way into a network presidency in ten or twelve years. I’m looking forward to finding out what’s behind the façade as Peet settles into the role.
Half-way through the episode Sorkin introduces us to the ‘star power’ of the show - namely the pair that would become the Head Writer and Executive Producer of the sketch comedy show. Taking over as Head Writer Matt Albie, as played by Matthew Perry, dances between the tightly wound neurotic and cold-hearted cynic, but leaves you questioning when you’ll see what’s between the extremes. In balancing out Matt’s extremes, Bradley Whitford gives us an subdued Danny Tripp. Amazingly, in the hands of Sorkin, Perry and Whitford this friendship solidifies in your mind within minutes of introduction. (If you need a reason to watch the pilot - and look beyond Sorkin’s tendency for loving soapboxes, this thing of beauty would be it.)
Also introduced are Cal, the control room director played by Timothy Busfield and the headlining cast for the show within the show - Harriet Hayes, Simon Stiles, and Tom Jeter played by Sarah Paulson, D.L. Hughley and Nathan Corddry respectively. The pilot gives us an extend glimpse of Hayes, but Styles and Jeter remain unknown beyond their importance. Unseen, and oft alluded to are the ‘bad’ writers Ricky and Ronny who apparently have problems finding funny jokes with two hands and a flashlight.) The rant establishes one of the through themes I hope the series addresses – power, who has it, and what happens when someone looses it. The relationship between Matt and Danny continues Sorkin’s illumination of male friendship. The set is beautiful in a how does it all work and/or fit together kind of way. The attention to small details makes it fun to re-watch (i.e. Matt exiting the half-cab by stepping through the non-existent front while Danny opens the car door and the cast-cameos in costume). While some have commented that the banter doesn’t really flow and some of the actors have yet to find their Sorkin legs, I have faith that soon the banter will flow and we’ll believe that everyone thinks that fast. All in all, the pilot makes me happy.
So, if you have some time on Monday, September 18th at 10:00 p.m. watch - it won’t kill you.
This is a great show with lots of potential with a stellar cast and great writing which is the good news but there is bad news that goes along with it.
It airs opposite CBS powerhouse CSI Miami. But still, it is a "struggling show" that is about to be cancelled until new management comes in just in time hopefully to save the show. Hope that Matthew Perry & Bradley Whitford will have second hits to their resumes. As they lead the ensamble cast.
It is just one episode, and it was a fulling invested pilot from NBC, so I'm not surprised that it was good. But I happy to see some good programming on NBC again.
The overall feel of the show was very West Wing to me. Not a bad thing, and maybe I'm wrong in this because I never really watched WW, but there was definitely a sense of quality throughtout the whole show. Perhaps there was just so many WW actors involved. Also, the pace and execution of the show was great. The dialog was tight, the moments between characters was great, the acting was what you come to expect. If Amanda Peet can continue to work this character like she did in the pilot, this show will be the hit of the fall.
More over, I think NBC will have a huge following for this show, and let me explain why. Aaron Sorkin knows how to write good drama, West Wing is the best exammple. However, the problem with WW was always getting that younger demo to watch. They (including myself) really didn't care about the life of the president, younger gens wanted sitcoms and fast pace action, therefore they grew up watching Seinfeld, Friends, ER, etc.. However, those viewers from ten years ago are beginning to see the quality of a good "low-key" drama series. By "low-key" I mean not the 24's of the networks, but just good non-action excitement.
This show looks to pull this off, using a context that appeals to the younger gens as they turn older. Fans of TV will be intereted a plot involving characters one a TV show, watch as business and network politics unfolds. Matt Perry only helps the matter, drawing in all the Friends fans from 10 years ago.
I wasn't going to watch this series when I first heard about it. Looked "too grow up", Sorkin wasn't of any interest to me, too much hype, and I thought I just wanted action dramas. But, I can now was Sorkin can do with television, and using the story lines of a SNL-like show is right in my wheel-house, seeing myself as a television fan.
I think NBC has a winner here... and I'm glad I jumped on the bandwagon.
I think this was a good look at what is going to become a great show. The only problem with this episode (The Pilot)was speed of all of the events. Jordan was hired, Wes was fired, and Danny and Matt were hired all in the same night. But it is obvious that Sorkin didn\'t wish to waste time getting Matt and Danny into their posistions at Studio 60. So they filled the holes nicely and set up what surley looks to be a wonderful hour of television.
The cast is great. Matthew Perry is brilliant. Those of you who only know him from FRIENDS, have never seen how great of a dramatic actor Perry can be. And Perry matched with Whitford is amazing. These two have better chemistry than Perry and LeBlanc had. it is truly believable that Tripp and Albie (Peery and Whitford)have been best friends for a long time.
I look forward to seeing what is in store for all of these characters.
Finally Aaron Sorkin is back on the air! Having always enjoyed his work, and with the West Wing being the best show on TV for quite a few years (the ones he wrote), it would always be a challenge to come up with the goods again. It is difficult to assess the potential for a series based on a pilot. West Wing was initially conceived to be about the characters surrounding the Pres and not the CIC himself, but that's how the show evolved, not to mention a main character completely disappearing between series 1 and 2 (does anyone know what happened to Moira Kelly's character?!! At all??!!)
So what do we know? The witty dialogue is there, but a few of the actors will need to sharpen up their delivery. The plot of show within a show should provide excellent opportunity for satire as well as good old office politics, and Sorkin is a master of both.
Most of the actors have a good TV background. Probably the first time I ever saw Matthew Perry not playing 'the Chandler character' was on his guest appearances on WW, and hopefully he can lay that ghost to rest with S60. Bradley Whitford is always going to be superb, although this may just be a variation of his Josh Lyman WW character, we shall see. (not that I'd mind, he was definitely the star there!) Amanda Peet I hope will be more than eye-candy.
As pilots go, I enjoyed it. Now we have to wait and see if it lives up to expectations
I had to watch this when I heard Matthew Perry was starring in Studio 60 because he was so funny in Friends so I wasnt surprised when I found myself enjoying it. I know he is no longer 'Chandler' so I wont talk about Friends, I'll talk about Studio 60. Great charactrs and a great plot even if Matthew Perry was only in half the episode! The once great sketch comedy show 'Studio 60' is suddenly close to cancellation due not only to its less than stellar on-air product, but another, more unexpected type of action, its Executive Producer's on-air mental meltdown. So enter NBS Chairman of the board Jack Rudolph and a new network president, looking to put her mark on the struggling network, Jordan McDeere. This results in the re-hiring of Danny Tripp and Matt Albie to replace the former Executive Producer and hopefully save the show. Cant wait for next episode.
Great writing. Every line of dialogue meshes perfectly with the characters. Great actors. Matthew Perry is really just the funniest guy on tv rigth now. Amanda Peet is great as well giving what could have been a poor helpless character some strength that creates a character who can objectivly view the events around her. Great premise. This setup could not be truer of SNL, and the way that they incorporate real life celebrities (Felicity Huffman) into the show is great. ANd the writers don\'t take there audeience to be seven year olds. Trust me. Watch the show. You wont be dissapointed.
How they could cancel this show after only one season is beyond me, and after watching the pilot again today I keep asking myself that very question. How could they?
The pilot is a 'who's who' in character actors able to handle well scripted sharp dialogue.
I've never denied my admiration for Aaron Sorkin. Sports Night was good, Th West Wing was great and Studio 60 on Sunset Strip is so easily recognizable within the shape Sorkin molds the scripts, the dialogue and the clever wit rarely seen in other shows.
So when Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford are cast in the leading parts we're in for a treat. Add the likes of Busfield, Peet, Weber and Paulson, and Sorkin have once again an ensemble working his magic. The likes of Felicity Huffman and Judd Hirsch guest appearing in the pilot doesn't exactly hurt either, and all together it's nothing short of a superb pilot.
"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" got off to great start. the first hour of what could be a start to a great series. the series is based on "Saturday Night Live" and in this fixtional version of the show, it close to cancellation and one of the stars of the show played Judd Hirsch, came in front of the camera and went into a tirade, then new blood is needed to save the show. a new cast and creators are brought in to save the show. I haven't saw much of "the West Wing," but "Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip," is welcome TV at it's best.
I\'ve decided to watch this show since i first saw the review, and it hasn\'t at all deluded my expectations..
The pilot episode is well writtenand has some sort of subtle comedy in it. The starting monologue totally tells the truth about what really happens with some tv shows in a cynical but simple way.
Totally loved the acting of Matthew Perry, he has so many different expressions of his face he almost bilances Amanda Peet\'s one. Plus, i\'m a huge fan of Bradley Whitford since The West Wing, and the two of them together are a really great couple.
Well, the wait is over. And Aaron Sorkin has, in the words of Steven Webber's character, "hit one out of the park".
No one expected the beginning and it did seem like the rant of Judd Hirsch was a bit of a lift from "Network" but hey... imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! It was just a device to set the stage.
What I really liked was how Sorkin held back with Josh and Chandler... I mean, Matt and Danny. He saved something and didn't telegraph the punch. And the shot of the empty table at the WGA awards was priceless.
With Matthew Perry's wit and Bradley Whitford's dry sarcasm, I think this is going to work. Amanda Peet brings something new to the table. And if the cameo performances continue all season, I can't wait to see who shows up next. Huffman as a paean to "Sports Night" was great. Now when will Richard Schiff and Alison Janney appear?
Actually, it is very possible that the series is going to be the spirit of how SNL fell apart and failed to reinvent itself. And I hope the show keeps the gutsball attitude it came out with tonight.
It's got me already. I'll be back next week. What about you?
Yes, finally Aaron Sorkin\'s back where he belongs, turning tv into tv.
Can see a great partnership between Mathew Perry & Bradley Whitford (both great actors). Amanda Peet was also very slick.
The show did start off a bit crazy and slow in a way as all i cared for was seeing Mathew Perry back on tv, with Bradley Whitford (my fave in West Wing). Trust me they didn\'t dissapoint, although all the spoilers over the internet did ruin the experience for me!
I think this show will be my favourite after a few more episodes and i will be as hooked unto it as i was with the west wing, house, prison break & lost.
As a big SNL fan, I’ve been anticipating both “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and “30 Rock” a lot. I saw ‘Studio 60’ for the first time almost two months ago and tonight’s premiere is the fourth time I’ve seen it. I haven’t watched a Sorkin show before but I liked what I saw and this is definitely something I’ll be looking forward to every Monday night.
The show opens with Studio 60 (a.k.a. SNL in LA, complete with it’s own Don Pardo-Herb Shelton) celebrating its 20th anniversary. The executive producer Wes Mendell (a.k.a. Lorne Michaels played by Judd Hirsch) has just had a sketch that was funny and killed at the dress rehearsal cut by the network censor. Wes is at his wits end as “funny is in short supply at the show these days”. He is forced to replace the sketch with “Peripheral Vision Man” a stand-by sketch that was never funny, yet the current writers Ricky and Ron keep writing it anyway. Wes also has to deal with this week’s guest host (the lovely Felicity Huffman, who I would love to host the real SNL even though I’ve given up on DH) who is concerned about problems with her monologue that were revealed with the test audience during dress rehearsal. Wes admits to Felicity that the monologue wasn’t funny and there was just no time to fix it. The show’s cold opening begins with Tom Jeter (Nathan Corddry one of the 3 main stars) as President Bush. Wes has had enough and walks on stage, has the cast and crew exit and begins a rant against Hollywood and the entertainment industry (I won’t transcribe the whole thing but there are some notable references to wanting to the next Donald Trump, eating worms for money and a war that comes complete with its own theme music). In the control, the network censor has his own standoff with control room head Cal (Timothy Busfield) who refuses to turn Wes off until he says something he isn’t allowed. He lets Wes’s rant run for 53 seconds, endangering his job. Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet), the new president of NBS, now has quite a problem on her hands. Her boss Jack Rudolph (Steven Weber) promptly fires Wes. Jordan wants to bring back Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford) to write and produce the show. The problem is Jack fired them 4 years ago and doesn’t want to admit to being wrong and they don’t particularly care to come back. Matt has just won a WGA award and he and Danny are set to start a new movie, not to mention he just broke up with Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson) another one of the “Big 3”. There is a problem though. Danny recently failed a drug test and due to a previous stint in rehab, he can’t get insured as a director for 18 months. Jordan knows this and succeeds in getting the two back to try and save the show. Neither of them have much trust in them but to show her faith, she tells them to open with the cut sketch, “Crazy Christians” that Matt wrote 4 years ago before they were originally fired.
I’ll start with Matthew Perry as Matt Albie. I was a big Friends fan and Perry was a major factor in my early interest in this show. Matt is similar to Chandler in terms of being funny but different enough to not being constantly compared to each other. I’m not familiar with Whitford but I did like him as Danny. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by Amanda Peet. I recently read she was pregnant and while they should definitely not write it in, I wouldn’t mind seeing a relationship between her and Matt developing eventually. They had more chemistry to me than he did with Sarah Paulson. She received the most airtime out of the 3 main Studio 60 actors due to her relationship with Matt but their scenes together were actually a low point of the episode for me. I did enjoy her scenes at the club for the show’s wrap party with D.L. Hughley (Simon Stiles) and Nathan Corddry. I was a bit hesitant after hearing of D.L.’s casting but I liked his character from his limited airtime and looking forward to see further development of Simon and Tom in future episodes. Timothy Busfield, Steven Weber and Judd Hirsch played their parts perfectly.
Reading my review again, the show seems like a lot of information thrown at you all at once but the way Sorkin develops everything plays perfectly. I think the main problem this show will face is the fact that it is more drama than comedy (which some people might not expect due to its obvious take off of SNL) but there are plenty of funny moments and the humor is smart. I expect this show to be a hit and it will be a real shame if it isn’t.
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