Top of the Marnin', laddies and lassies.
Well, it's nearly dawn in Ireland and to celebrate the departure of Studio 60 from NBC's Monday night schedule to make room for the network's apparent attempt to cash in on the success of Scorsese's The Departed, The Black Donnellys, it's Irish Stereotype Night here at Clan Mannion's Little Bit O'Erin Pub and Grill! Join in the merriment by punctuating your comments with inapporpriate Begoras! and Jaysus, Mary, and Josephs! Give yourself a phony Irish name. Pick a fight with one of your favorite commenters and invite him or her to step outside. Live-blogging will be interrupted at regular intervals as fisticuffs break out or patrons spontaneously erupt into song. Lyrics to Danny Boy and The Rose of Tralee are printed on the backs of your menus.
House specials tonight are bangers and mash, shepherd's pie, and corn beef and cabbage. Our freckle-faced barmaids will be pulling the taps exclusively on the Harp and Guinness. Anyone caught saying the word "scotch" will find themselves boiling with the overalls in Mrs Murphy's chowder. The only whiskey served here is Irish, Jameson preferred.
Now, before we drag her away from the bar and make her begin her live-blogging duties, our guest host tonight has asked me to read a little something telling us about herself.
Elayne Riggs is proud on this Presidents Day to pay homage to Sorkin past and present. She wants to live in Aaron Sorkin World, not only because the acronym matches her daddy's initials but because it's a darn swell place to be; even if people in it say stupid stuff and act like petulant fourth graders sometimes, they do it by talking really fast whilst walking down corridors, and she admires the cardiovascular workout that Schlamme gives his actors and camera people. She wanted to be the Mary Sue Maloney character in ASW, until she realized everybody was the Mary Sue character in ASW.
Still, she has to admire Sports Night, which made a boring subject matter (look, there's baseball then there's everything else, deal with it) fascinating because of Felicity Huffman and where you rooted for Robert Guillaume to get better after the stroke because even two minutes with him crackled more than the performances of most of the actors whom I've since forgotten (Josh Malina was in that too? really?). And The West Wing, where sanity in the White House went hand in hand with characters who made way too much money to be whining the way they did all the time, and where every coincidence was Fair and Balanced!
Which brings us back to the ASW of broadcasting, this time a faith-based comedy show in more ways than one. Not only do you have to take it on faith that the late-night SNL equivalent is actually funny even though the only stuff you ever see from it is mostly gratuitous musical performances and a few lines of tepid and mostly safe amusement (although, the Gilbert & Sullivan bit? that rocked); but you have to have faith that the character of faith will realize (and start acting like) she's way smarter than both guys currently lusting after her and just say no to them both except there goes Sorkin's pet fantasy bit; and you have to thus have faith in Sorkin to make his characters start acting like grown-ups again which will take more to accomplish than throwing around cultural refs from The Days When They Wore Their Baseball Caps Backwards. We know he writes smart and gruppy. He just hasn't done so lately, and he's being punished for it by being shown the gates to the fabled Land of Hiatus.
Yes folks, this could be the last Studio 60 episode for awhile, as NBC has shelved the show until further notice. So settle in and feel free to make up your own Aaron Sorkin World in your head while you watch -- an ASW where men are men, women are women, studio executive are studio executives, and comedy is -- well, ironically seriotragic, you gotta cut him a little slack.
Yes, Elayne's starting with the end of Heroes. Even though she doesn't watch that show regularly, as the news editor for ComicMix she feels some sort of nerdly obligation to at least keep up with now and again. (You can also find her at her own blog, whose very name is a pun of a doubtless outdated cultural reference that would be right at home in ASW. But she prefers to think the Beatles are timeless.)
Herself according to herself folks! So now, her she comes, with her tin whistle, her wheelbarrow, her streets broad and narrow, and her dancing Irish setter, Seamus, laddies and lassies, a warm Irish welcome for Miss McElayne McRiggs!
Sod that, I'm married to an Englishman. Although I will say we live in a very Irish neighborhood, without which my husband could not easily procure so many tasty treats at the local Irish food market. Which doesn't, alas, carry Marmite Guinness. Erm, thank goodness.
McMannion: Sorry, McElayne, tonight everybody's Oirish, even your Limey husband. Please, continue.
Be, um, gorrah. All righty, then. All times PM and Eastern, although I believe the time stamp is Pacific:
9:50 - Heroes still on. Gah, I hate this Syler character. Even the actor who plays him. No subtlety, even when he was pretending to be a good guy.
9:52 - Where's Stan Lee? I needs me my Stan the Man cameo!
9:54 - "Two all new Law & Orders." Still sounds like it should be "Laws & Order."
9:57 - Woo-hoo, there he is! Stan, Stan, Stan! Sorry.
9:58 - The painter guy's apparently adopted a manga style.
9:59 - "You couldn't even save yourself!" Couldn't think of a better segue into Studio 60.
[Ooh, two women dead and one in a coma. This show doesn't like women that much, does it? Maybe Jeph Loeb is paying homage to Miller's Daredevil...]
10:02 - Depo prep. Isn't that a hair gel?
10:04 - Why should we care about this lawsuit exposition?
10:05 - I really like Matt's assistant Suzanne. We assistants don't get nearly enough credit. I also like that Matt compliments her on her beauty, because I think she's pretty too.
10:06 - Suzanne is right, glasses is "costume." Just ask Clark Kent.
10:10 - Nobody told him Mary Tate (and Ashley) was coming. Nobody told us she was coming either.
She wants to hang out in the writers' room that's completely different than the writers' room when this Karen person was a writer two years earlier.
10:11 - Jordan knows Matt's type. Scary... ooh, first corridor walk! ASW drinking game, or too easy?
10:12 - See? Different people two years ago.
10:13 - I can't be bothered waking up and writing anything at 4 AM.
10:14 - Okay, the Star Trek reference got us both laughing out loud.
Oh, snarl snarl snarl about Luke. Please grow up, Matt. (There's your drinking game.)
10:15 - "Did I say it in the same creepy voice?" Oh most probably, Matt.
10:16 - See what Sorkin did there? Matt says they're off snorting coke and there they are in the movie snorting fake coke! It was like blowing our minds, man! Not.
10:17 - I like Paulson doing this scene. Except a professional would never ask a question in the middle of a scene, but wait until after the scene was done.
10:18 - "Could you just 'fake it' with him?" Ick.
So there's your theme as we go into the nex ad break. Not only does Heroes diss women, but Studio 60 somewhat more subtly shows us what women are up against even from men who think they're not being creepy and sexist. Luke asks Harriet to ignore biographical fact for the sake of the movie, Danny asks her to ignore her own feelings and history for the sake of the show.
And that's our Secret. We're strong like a woman. *sigh*
10:22 - Death banter. Always lots o' larfs.
10:23 - If I had kids, I'd totally want to stop them with that remote.
I swear I thought she meant $5.99 for the practice baby. I'm living on a totally different income scale than these characters.
10:24 - Ah, the Silly Baby Bet. Which sitcom plot cliche is this? Oh, and chicken noises and everything.
10:26 - "I've had other men say that to me." Heh.
10:27 - Again, gotta agree with Luke, Harriet's timing sucks in a very unprofessional way.
10:28 - I'm glad Mary brought up the lack of writers situation. That's one of the real stretches of disbelief in this show.
10:29 - "I've never seen anyone here behave unprofessionally." Ooh, ooh, Mista Kot-ter!
10:31 - Oy, awkward exposition from a character we've never seen before. I have no idea why this show is on the chopping block.
10:36 - Talking to Danny does not take a lot of mental energy. Unless you're Jordan, I guess, for whom everything seems to take mental energy.
10:37 - Oh, finally, Hughley and Corddry. Now I'm awake. Loved the exposition!
10:38 - Dang, ruined by Danny and the "baby."
10:40 - "Harriet -- I don't care." I didn't realize Luke would wind up speaking for the viewers.
10:41 - Oh no, don't tell me, "baby"s head in mini-guillotine, right?
I hate when I call it.
10:44 - Not a really Key Moment, the "wanting to have sex with Harriet" so-called revelation. I mean, I don't think anyone gasped outside of Matt. Wasn't it already established by Hughley and Corddry that the whole "good girl Christian" thing was a turn-on for guys?
10:45 - For the record, my reaction to Vista is much more "oy" than "wow".
10:46 - Is it just me, or does this have like no character-driven suspense to speak of?
10:47 - Well, that was good, they actually acceded to Harriet's request that the biopic be a bit more historically accurate.
10:48 - Excellent, Harriet has ovaries! And is actually complimenting Matt's relative professionalism.
10:49 - So the guilt passes on to Matt for not defending Harriet because he didn't know these guys were speaking that way of her.
10:50 - That was a cute moment, "a lot of time and energy wasted on nothing." Nothing but the only real scenes at which this viewer smiled.
10:51 - So you praise a guy's character and then give him your phone number.
YES, WE ALL GET THE IRONY. Oy.
I mean, wow.
10:52 - Oh good, exposition analysis from the two main characters. But some nice tenderness from Matt.
10:53 - Okay, this new "baby" is going to have everything wrong with it, it was set up too well. Oh yeah, it's the google-eyed one, right?
10:54 - Darn those previews, anyway.
10:55 - "I'm not going anywhere." Funny thing about that, Mr. Whitford...
10:56 - It's so very, very wrong for Harriet to offer to "unstick" Matt. But it actually rings true. So does the kiss. I actually liked the way that wrapped up, so sue me. That was the 4 AM miracle, and it's not a bad moment by which to remember the series.
Thanks to Father O'Mannion for his typical Irish hospitality, thanks to everyone who bore with me this last hour or so, and thanks to Aaron Sorkin for at least going out on a nice note, albeit with a somewhat tepid episode leading up to it. And I'm outta here!
O'Mannion: Ah, twas a grand job of live blogging, she did, wasn't it? A grand job! I'm only sorry I am that Studio 60 appears headed for a flush down the loo so we can't have Elayne back for another go round.
Thank you again, Elayne.
So Sorkin goes out with a whimper not a bang, eh? He goes two weeks in a row without writing a line for Steven Weber? The man deserves to fail. And what was Kari Matchett there for? Not for her sex appeal, which by the way she displays more of in just a toss of her head than Sarah Paulson managed in her lingerie shots last fall. Her purpose was to talk about Matt and get Matt to talk about himself. Half the show was about telling us that Matt is really worthy of Harriet's love despite the fact that he never showed himself to be in a single episode so far. What you can't do by dramatizing, you can always do with lots exposition, I suppose.
One good thing about the show ending. We won't have to watch Amanda and Brad kiss anymore. Let's face it, those two just don't mesh at the lips.
I would like to know if Simon gets to keep his Navigator. And with that one line? DL Hughley explained to Aaron Sorkin why it was a shame that Sorkin wasted his character all season.
That's it for the live blogging tonight. But the pot boy won't be putting up the shutters and the landlord's not calling time. The pub is staying open all night. It's an Irish wake for Studio 60. Fist fight in the pool room in ten minutes! Pints all around, on the house! Now, while we're waiting for the donnybrook to begin, let's all sing one of the old songs together.
Her eyes they shone like the diamonds,
You'd think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band...
C'mon, everybody! Sing out now! Sing it so all the Black Donnellys hear ye! Make the boys proud!
Her eyes they shone like the diamonds
You'd think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band....!