Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Season 1 Episode 3

The Focus Group

1
Aired Monday 10:00 PM Oct 02, 2006 on NBC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (18)

9.1
out of 10
Average
373 votes
  • Hasn't jumped the shark but we're already waterskiing.

    5.6
    I know reviewing a show full of cliches with another cliche is a cliche, but hey, that's all that appears to be left in this puppy. What was thrilling and exhilirating in the pilot is gone, supplanted by yet more trite debate (I am beginning to dislike every scene with Sarah Paulson) and needlessly political humor. Crazy Christians (the "legendary" sketch we've still never seen) is followed up by Science Schmience, a sketch as dopey as its target.

    I know this show is supposed to be behind the scenes, but part of the ambitious appeal is the idea that the sketches really will be funny, or at least the creative staff writing this show will know the difference. Currently, they do not.

    It occurred to me watching this episode that perhaps this show is doomed to fail because of its own ambition.

    Amanda Peet remains the class of the cast and the best written character, followed by Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry. The rest of the cast is beginning to flounder, mired by a deadly mix of humorless "banter" and/or iredeemable elitism. The cast is often heard behind the scenes debating the culture of America as though it was theirs to grant.

    One moment of sheer self-aware humor that worked is when Whitford and Perry ask an assistant if they can have an important discussion walking. I debated with my roommates whether Sorkin's assistant put that in as dialogue while he dictated when it was meant to be a question Sorkin was asking.

    Anyway, the show needs to stop being such a predictable network dramedy - if it can successfully halt the annoying mix of continually addressing lingering conflict and short-term objectives (the power goes out, the ratings dip) and focus more on the real world of television production, it'll stay interesting. Needlessly throwing new plot twists at random feels like just that.
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