Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Monday, September 18, 2006

Let's get the basic stuff out of the way quickly. I don't really like Aaron Sorkin's previous shows. I know this is heresy to serious TV snobs, but Sports Night did nothing for me. I really tried very hard to watch West Wing since our friend Peter James Smith was a semi-regular, but I just couldn't do it. I'm not sure if it's his "snappy" dialogue that turns me off or his general resistance to plot, but his shows just bug me.

That said, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip wasn't that bad. The cast (who I was predisposed to dislike, since it contained such dreadful screen presences as Amanda Peet and D. L. Hughley) actually worked reasonably well together, and almost everyone seemed to handle the patter reasonably well. Plus, it's got Carlos Jacott and Evan Handler in smaller roles (who have built up a significant reserve of goodwill in my book from their work in assorted Noah Baumbach films and It's Like, You Know... respectively), so that's always a plus.

What really bothered me about the pilot, however, was the insertion of Sorkin-related transcontextual information into the main character of Matt Albie (played by Matthew Perry). The main thrust of the pilot centers on Albie being forced to return to television, since a long-running drug problem and recent positive test for drugs made it impossible for him to get insured to work on a feature film. Now, not only does this plot hinge on a fairly obscure element of film financing, but it seems to explicitly identify Albie as Sorkin (both being a high-profile TV writer who was run off a show after a high-profile drug bust and has been unable to make a transition into feature films).

Which would be fine if the pilot episode didn't contain dozens of lines stating, without qualification, just how talented Albie is. Once we get the outright identification of the Albie character with Sorkin (who is writing this script, remember), the repeated insistences of his own brilliance get a little hard to take. And now, a month or so after watching the pilot, all I'm left with is the idea of Sorkin, bitter and possibly fueled by crack, hammering away at his beloved Macintosh with line after line about just how brilliant he truly is.

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
Contents
The Hills Have Eyes 2

Hostel Part II

Six Degrees

Shark

Jericho

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Justice

The Hills Have Eyes

Love Monkey

Out of Practice

Head Cases

Crunchwrap Supreme

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Batman Begins

Garden State

Hero

13 Going On 30

LAX

Starman

quirkyalone.net

Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Line of Fire

We Shall All Be Healed

Happy Family

Arrested Development

Love Actually

A Minute with Stan Hooper

Tarzan

Karen Sisco

Stop All the World Now

Cold Case

Skin

10-8

Joan of Arcadia

Eve

Luis

Lost In Translation

House of 1000 Corpses

Bubba Ho-Tep

Darkness Falls

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Amazing Race

Treasure Island

FearDotCom

Adaptation

To Hit Armor Class Zero

Without A Trace

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter

Life With Bonnie

Jalapeņo Cheeseburger

The Mothman Prophecies

Happy Campers

The Man Who Wasn't There

Kiss of the Dragon

Josie & the Pussycats

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Dr. Pepper

Know By Heart

Waking Life

L.I.E.

Thirteen Ghosts

Earthlink presents Chang and Eng

New York and Country Bar

Change

Motivation and Water Tower Grammar

Crossing Philly

Makeout Club

Undeclared

The Gap

The Abolition of Work

3000 Miles to Graceland

Kolobos

Duets

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Diesel Sweeties

The Cold Six Thousand

The Grilled Stuft Burrito (Rebuttal)

60 Second Wipeout

The Patriot

Grilled Stuft Burrito

Cowgirls

Crystalline

Frankenfinger E.P.

One Force Down

Shake

Both Our Secrets

Happy Birthday Captain Columbus!

Fight Club

Whatever It Takes

Committed

That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?

Joe Dirt

The Veggie Whopper

Taco Bell Nachos

Palmetto

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

The Terror of Mechagodzilla

To The Center

Infiniti+Infiniti

American Psycho

The Del Shredder

What Lies Beneath

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Bring It On

Chill Factor

Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars

Bad Company

The Blair Witch Project

Hyacinths and Thistles

Lake of Dracula

We'll Have a Time

Home Depot

Snow Day

The Virgin Suicides