Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Studio Sportsnight on the West Wing of the Sunset Strip with Tommy Schlamme

Why was the Studio 60 pilot vaguely boring to most Sorkin fans?

The short answer is, we've seen almost everything in it before, written by the same guy. Still effective, just recycled. I didn't mind at all, since it was good and it'll certainly get better. But for the record, here's a fairly comprehensive list of things that should ring a bell.

Meta stuff (poorly disguised references to the real-life writer/director team of Sorkin & Schlamme)

Writer-director team return to save failing network 4 years after being "shown the door."

Harriet Hayes=Kristin Chenoweth, the multi-talented blond entertainer dating the writer of the show, who makes an album of spiritual music and goes on The 700 Club, leading (maybe) to the breakup

Sorkin/"Tripp" drug problems & getting bonded to work in Hollywood

Matthew Perry/"Matt Albie" on Vicodin (kind of below the belt, right?)

"Tripp"/Sorkin dating a Maureen Dowd-type reporter

Jordan McDeere=Jamie Tarses (formerly McDermott), past NBC president

Censorship/network vs. talent meta-discussions -- Sorkin uses characters to complain about the network trying to dumb him down

"Tripp" in rehab 11 years ago – Sorkin addicted to crack in 1995 (11 years ago) till he went to rehab.

"Ricky & Ron" = John Wells, the hack they brought in after the real talent left


Situations (same old dramatic devices)

Offending Christians (see Sportsnight w/Jerry Falwell, WW pilot w/Mary Marsh)

Offending Christians with an unscripted outburst on live TV (see, again, the WW pilot)

Offending Christians with an unscripted outburst on live TV and being in danger of losing your job (see, again, the WW pilot, as well as the Sportsnight pilot for someone about to lose their job over problems with the network)

Network guy argues with producer over who's in charge of what aspects of the show

Back medicine making someone totally high and incoherent

Main character suddenly thrown back together with ex-girlfriend


Recycled dialogue (definitely heard this before)

"Playing with pain" (SN)

"Eat em up"/"Good show" (SN)

"Anything you can say to make me feel better about..." (SN)

"Breathing guts" (SN/WW)

"We’re blowing off _____" and everyone in the control room's disappointed (SN)

"One of us is gonna screw up/be angry at a time, it's gonna be me" (SN/WW)

"We don’t have that kind of time" (SN, maybe WW)

The falling out of a chair gag (SN pilot and WW)

“Our boy” (SN/WW/probably everything else he's done)

High as a paper kite (SN)

Going to hell in a handcart/speedboat/hula hoop (SN/WW)

You’re up on router #, have a good show. (SN)

Who am I offending? (SN/WW)


So, what's missing? We need a character whose parents split up after a long time, preferably because the father had a prolonged secret affair. We need something to be, sarcastically, a "barn burner," and we need someone to ask if you've fallen on your head. We need a season one finale that will actually answer the question "What Kind of Day Has it Been?" We need a character whose younger sibling died, and who blames him/herself for it in a repressed way. We need legs that go all the way to the floor, and Shakespeare the way it was meant to be played. We need to make someone happy by coming home at the end of the day. We need someone writing a letter because something that was supposed to have ended (tennis match, filibuster), is going on way too long. We need someone "raising the level of debate." We need smart people who disagree with you. We need a fight over the supposed significance of an anniversary. We need, when the fall is all that's left, for it to matter a great deal, and we need to know that the fact that we want to please you, pleases you. We need underwear in an inappropriate place. We need you not to talk to us like we're "other people." We need someone complaining about the lack of admonishment from the clergy over religious violence. We need people accidentally saying the wrong word to someone important, then obsessing over it.


We need Josh Malina.

5 comments:

zach said...

Also, "shoe money tonight," someone dating a porn star, but in a cute way, mysterious reprieves from cancellation, touching moments with homeless men, and crumpled up phone numbers.

alek said...

Don't know if you caught this, but the new Sorkin/Schlamme production company is called "Shoe Money Productions," and the logo is a shoe over the word "Money."

Heh.

zach said...

At the moment, my tv doesn't have an antenna, so i can't watch anuthing other than dvd's. If i can get my laptop working again i'll, um, not download it off bit torrent. Yeah, right. That's what I won't do. If there's no Joshua Malina, is there at least Sabrina Loyd? I saw her on 14th street once, and I was like "holy shit, it's natalie" but i didn't say it out loud, because i am all suave.

sarah said...

Yeah, we very much need Josh Charles, and also a neighborhood park all covered with cheese.

I assume that we can expect poker games with witty banter, and a heartwarming Christmas show, and that "Will" and "Dave" will make an appearance in thankless bit parts.

Did W.G. "Snuffy" Walden compose the theme music? I certainly hope so...

Julia Consuela said...

hey, man...

i watched the second Studio 60, and it was decidedly not-spectacular. The Heroes premiere was more interesting.