For our cetacean viewers, tonight's live-blogging will be simultaneously translated into dolphin.
Welcome back. Let's get right down to business by asking the question that's on everyone's mind. Will Aaron Sorkin be able to get Danny and Jordan off the roof in fewer episodes than it takes Jack Bauer to defuse a nuclear bomb?
9:56. Sulu is guest starring on Heroes. I've got to start watching this show from beginning to end.
Now there's a blonde trapped inside a mirror while her reflection is taking over her life. I can't tell you how many fantasies of mine this is playing into. I've got to start watching this show.
9:59. Also to be worked out in tonight's episode of Studio 60. Just how many women will ignore Simon, the man Shakespeare's Sister calls hotter than hot, to throw themselves at the puppy dog-like Tom.
10:02. Harriet lays out the history of their romance in a way that is not the least bit flattering to Matt, who is now reacting in a way that proves her version of events are true.
He is cruel. I like this as a storyline. Matt the self-destructive, women-hating asshole. But does Aaron Sorkin know it's the storyline? Does he know that Matt's disturbed?
He knows Danny's disturbed but he seems to be treating this as a reason for us to root for him to win Jordan.
10:07. Lots of throwing in field hockey, I didn't know.
I do like the snake wrangler.
Tom's learned his lesson. He lied to Lucy and that got him into trouble so he's telling Kim the truth.
I hope Jack at least tries to kill Tom with his thumbs.
10:11. If I was Aaron Sorkin, I'd want people to forget the baseball bat/stripper's boots episode. But, nope, we're rehasing it here.
The worst lie Matt's ever told is that he and Harriet would be shopping for pre-schools right now if they hadn't been a rotten couple who fought all the time and couldn't spend five minutes alone without blowing up into a serious argument?
Let me get my head around this. What is the lie? That they were a rotten couple or that if they hadn't been a rotten couple they'd have had children together?
10:16. It's her fault, I knew it! Women!
Oh yeah. Natalie Cole's singing. This is developing into a signature of the show. Bring on a musical act we all want to listen to and then let the main characters talk over the song. Edgy.
Name one woman who would have found being stalked charming?
Got one. Jordan, apparently.
The coyote's afraid of the snake, the ferret's afraid of the coyote, Cal's afraid of the Humane Society. "Mother Nature's an inscrutable force." Heh. Indeed.
"The Animal Kingdom Axis of Evil." Timothy Busfield sold that line, I think.
10:23. Jack Rudolph, Action Executive, springs into action.
He's decisive. He's stupid. But he's decisive. They're taking her back to Tom's dressing room?????
"She's Courtney Love, Jack." Terrific! A cultural reference that post-dates Hollywood Squares. Lindsay Lohan might have been better, but at least we're into the 21st century with Love.
Matt blows a joke because he's jealous?
Matt blows a joke because he's jealous?
Matt blows a joke?????
Wouldn't it have been enough if he'd just had a little trouble getting the speech started? Man's a pro, he has an audience, he has Harriet depending on him, and he can't get his mind off the fact that she's attracted to another man?
Nah. Complete adolescent behavior is Sorkin's idea of manly charm.
Danny stalks, terrifies, and humiliates Jordan. He spends the better part of two episodes making a fool of himself up on the roof top. He insults her with every other line. And she wants to know if he finds her physically appealing even though she's pregnant.
Matt picks a fight with Harriet in public at a dinner honoring her, makes an idiot of himself in his speech, ruins her entrance, all because she's hurt his feelings by not adoring him for the prick that he is, and we're supposed to root for him to get the girl that none of us even likes to begin with?
Works for me.
10:31. Simon has the makings of a prairie oyster in his room. Jack asks, "What are you? Sinatra?"
I'm serious here. Sinatra references are always hip.
Calling a Sinatra reference hip is never hip.
10:35. We're back on the roof with no hope of rescue.
I'm confused. Wasn't Jordan just flirting with him?
This is going to go on for twenty more episodes.
Who's this brunette?
Oh, it's the girl with the boots. Sorkin must think he'll get an Emmy for that episode.
10:38. Ad for Best Buy. Do I need to upgrade to Vista?
10:41. We're back with the clinically depressed comedy writers.
You know, it's arguable as to whether or not the show within a show actually needs to be funny for us to accept that it is funny. Well, I don't think it is arguable. Some smart people I respect argue that it isn't necessary. My feeling is that it wouldn't take very much effort to make it funny, but more important to me is that I believe that the writers and the cast are capable of writing and acting funny.
It's not just that I don't believe Darius and Lucy can write a joke. It's that I don't believe either one of them knows what a joke is. These two deciding to become comedy writers is about as likely as someone who faints at the sight of blood becoming a surgeon.
How can DL Hughley stand to be the spokesman for Aaron Sorkin's white guilt?
10:44. "How long you going to keep this up?"
"As long as it's funny!"
Wow. The irony there is breathtaking!
How can the entire cast stand to be the spokespersons for Sorkin's authorial hubris? No, Aaron, it's not all about the writing.
Tom is another one who expects that behaving like an asshole should be rewarded with sex.
And in Aaron Sorkin world, he at least has hope.
10:49. Timothy Busfield and the Snake Wrangler should get their own spin-off.
10:51. Darn. They're getting off the roof. They haven't milked the situation for all it's worth yet.
She was flirting.
See. This was my mistake when I was dating. I never got stuck on a roof with a woman I'd been stalking and insulted her all night.
That was about the least sexy kiss in the history of network television, and I'm counting the time Sammy Davis kissed Archie Bunker.
Hah! Aaron Sorkin isn't the only one who remembers the 70s!
I feel worse for Matt because Wendy's going home to her fiance than because Harriet is going to string him along for a few more episodes before she lets him kiss her again.
10:56. When you don't know how to close a show, go with a music video. Hey! It worked for Homicide all the time.
Next week Harriet and Matt break up again?
Oh. We're going to see the day they met, so we'll know they were really made for each other. Most writers would have gone for the obvious and tried to show that through dialog in the first three or four episodes. Sorkin saves it for halfway through the season and does it in a flashback. The man just loves to break ground.
11:00. Wow. That was amazing. Last week Sorkin set up three situation comedy gags---Danny and Jordan on the roof, the deadly viper under the floor, and Tom out with the wild girl who wants him naked but whom he can't touch without risking death---gags that real situation comedy writers would have set up, built, and brought to their punchlines in 22 minutes, that is, in about 7 minutes of screen time for each, and Sorkin couldn't finish them off in an hour, he had to continue them for another hour, and he still couldn't give any of them a proper payoff?
There's a discussion in a comment thread on one of Ken Levine's posts---I'll drop in the link later. (It's later. Here's the link.)---and somebody there asked the question why so many people who seem to hate Studio 60 keep watching it.
I don't hate the show. I hated being disappointed week in and week out by the show. But I always expected that it would get better. Or if it didn't that it would get worse and then it would be fun to hate.
But it's done neither. It doesn't get better or worse. It doesn't do anything. Sorkin keeps writing the same show over and over and over again.
Nothing has happened to these characters since the second episode. They are in the exact same place, saying the same things to each other. It's not just failure we're watching here. It's willful failure. Sorkin must see that he's stuck. Don't you think? After writing the same script for the third time, didn't it all seem familiar to him? Why doesn't he do something, anything to get himself out of the loop? Hand off the show to another writer? Kill a main character? Have Matt wake up in bed next to his wife Harriet and say, Honey, I had the weirdest dream. I dreamed I was a comedy writer and you were a born again Christian starring on the show we both worked on and we were really, really boring together? And she could say, Not now, honey, I'm late for my first day working at the White House for President Matt Santos?
Then after an episode or two of that, we find out that that's all been a dream, and Matt wakes up in bed next to Jeannie the sexy brunette who inexplicably and inexcusably has disappeared from the show and says, Damn, I'm late for my first day back at work on Studio 60. But you know what I'm going to do first thing this morning? Fire Harriet.
Goodnight, folks. I'm going to bed now. If I'm lucky I'll wake up tomorrow next to the brunette who plays Wendy and I'll say, I had the weirdest dream. I dreamed that I was a blogger and I had got myself into the habit of live-blogging every Monday night this really boring TV show about a comedy show that wasn't funny.
And she'll say, Nevermind that now, dear, we've only got an hour to make mad passionate love before you have to rush off for your first day at the White House working for President Matt Santos.