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blue girl

When was it on? At 9? Is it on now? I toldShakespeare's Sister I would never remember to watch it! Dagnabit!

I need to stop blogging in my pajamas surrounded by my cats! And try to remember for once in my life that there are other things to do.

Didn't like it, huh Mannion? I liked the first episode.

I like Chanandler Bong.

And I like Sexy Guy from West Wing.

And I'm glad to see that "Thirty Something" guy back in something.

Shoot, maybe I'll remember next week. Maybe.

blue girl

Ok. I caught the last 20 minutes. You're being too hard on this show. Give them a break! It just started!

It's like, you've gone to a restaurant on its opening night and you're complaining that the service is too slow.

Give 'em time to get into a rhythm. I know you're really complaining about the writing, but, whatever.

I think I'm going to like Steven Weber's network exec best.

No,no,no,no,no. Um, no.

First of all, his hair is way too short. And when he said, I hate spunk and then sipped his beer, it was just too pushed.

I'll be able to forgive seeing him acting while he's acting if he lets that hair grow a little.

Lance

BG, the reason I like Steven Weber's character best is that he's the only one with a problem. The other leads are all protected by their place in the show and by Sorkin's approval of them. Whatever they do will be right and blessed. Weber's character, however, appears to be caught between a rock and a hard place, between whoever he has to answer to at corporate and his commitment to Peet's character, who, as I said, can do no wrong by virtue of her place in the story. Weber will always be in trouble one way or the other. He can also be fired. I mean both the character and Weber. So he will be have more notes to hit than just cute and self-congratulatory, which on the basis of tonight's episode I'd say are all the notes Peet, Chandler, Joss, and Pinkerton are going to get to sing.

blue girl

Ohhhhh.

You're talking about their characters.

I'll have to pay more attention to that next week. If I can remember it's on.

:)

harry near indy

lance, morey amsterdam, who played buddy sorrell, wasn't just a comedy writer. he was an old-time vaudevillian and knew thousands of jokes. rose marie said, on some show that was a tribute to the dick van dyke show, that amsterdam was the human joke machine -- he'd always come up with some quip, no matter what the situation was.

btw, are there any guesses on how long this show will last?

KathyF

The only person I recognize here is Josh. Chandler, I think was on Cheers. Or was it another show?

I sometimes blog in my pajamas though.

blue girl

You're right about the cute and self-congratulatory aspect.

It's pretty cringe-worthy.

Kathy F: Chandler was on Friends.

Lance

harry, Ken Levine, a guy who knows a thing or two about comedy writing, thinks NBC will stick with the show for a while, no matter the ratings, because it's Aaron Sorkin's show. So there's time for it to grow and find its rhythm as blue girl says.

Jennifer

Chenowith would have been better! I don't get the Chenowith vibe at all from Paulson, but then I've never really been a Paulson fan... not sure why.

BG- I came into it late as well, forgetting when it was on. Bravo plays a rerun on Wednesday or Thursday if you can stay up even later. At least they did last week. I'm hoping they will do the same this week.

Mary

Chenowith wouldn't be ever cast because she's the Sorkin ex that is being petted/skwered in this show. As Alan Sepinwall has said, this show is a Mary Sue production for network television.

I liked it in bits. Matthew Perry is awesome and I think Steven Weber is also the most potentially interesting character. But the G&S parody wasn't just lame, it was so poorly produced that the lyrics -- the whole reason why it was meant to be funny -- were really difficult to hear.

I'm sticking around for a few weeks because a few elements do really work for me, but there's only so long I can watch an hour of wanking, you know?

Kevin Wolf

Living without TV right now, so nothing to say re Studio 60.

Thanks for the link to Ken's fun blog.

Lance

Chenoweth's too busy anyway. But a Chenoweth type wouldn't have been hard to find. But they could also have gone with a Carol Burnet type. They needed an actress whose outsized personality and habit of clowning would disguise the fact that she's beautiful.

If they were intent on raiding the Deadwood cast, though, I think they should have gone after Paula Malcolmson---Trixie.

Her looks are off-beat enough, and she can do hard and brassy and soft and tender at the same time.

Maybe they tried.

Sorkin (on phone): Get me Paula Malcolmson!

Operator (there's a bad connection): Who?

Sorkin: Paula Malcolmson!

Operator: Paul who?

Sorkin: Paul--(static interrupts him)---lmson!

Operator: Ok. (To David Milch) Hey, boss, some guy named Mal's on the line for Sarah Paulson.

grasshopper

Lance, you are seriously convincing me that I can not continue to live without a TV. We have not watched TV, except when visiting other people, the whole time we've been married. My husband doesn't think it's worth paying for. We always allowed our children to watch one or two shows--an especially long sports' event counted as two--at their friends' houses. Now, of course, we have no control. One rarely watches TV; the other rarely stops.
But as for your posts, I honestly have no idea who you are talking about. Cheers sounds familiar, with Ted Danson. Chandler? A he or she? Amanda Peet has looked beautiful in a movie or two. Just recently, I've seen her in Times' ads about something on Broadway.
It's as if I'm Emily Dickinson's sister-in-law, trying to keep up with her continual flurry of impassioned letters, while secluded in a house next to hers. I might beg for a TV, plead, weep on my pillow during dinner: but then playing with the remote, one of us would get Fox news. Or, we'd settle in on the couch and watch people scooping maggots into their mouths. I would like to keep up with the best comedy shows, but I hate losing an argument. Once in a while, we do rent a season's worth of something on DVD.
But my real question is: where do you get the time? All that writing and reading; conversing with colleagues; a familiarity with different cultures within different US states, art appreciation (and analyses), intricate fantasies about living in a parallel universe--AND TV?

Claire

Do you think someone will tell Aaron Sorkin that the reason it was fun to watch the writers at work on the old Dick Van Dyke show was that they were funny?

So true, Lance.

I enjoyed the first episode and wandered in and out of the room for the second. I find it all a bit much and way too preachy with zero effect. I love hearing Sorkin dialogue, even if I'm not actually paying attention to what is said, but this is all a little too, "I'm right about the world and everyone else is wrong."

Jennifer

Grasshopper- I figured it out long ago... Lance is an extraterrestrial and we are merely his experiment. He is able to download vast quanities of info and analyze it at the same time. I, frankly, will be bummed when he is called back to the mothership.

Klatu barada nikto!

grasshopper

Jennifer, That explains it! Because after I posted I realized I had only skimmed the surface. Lance levels all those well reasoned political discussions at individuals and even the media at large.

Shakespeare's Sister

I liked the second episode, too. You're just old and cranky.

All right, all right--I'm getting off your lawn! Yeesh.

blue girl

Because I met Mannion once, people wanted to know what he was like. So, I'll tell you all. Here goes.

ALERT THE LIBERAL MEDIA!

Jennifer, you are right. He is an extraterrestrial.

He's got eights heads, but TWELVE brains. As each of his brains fills to capacity, he sprouts a new one.

He has black eyes. 44 pair. 22 are in the back of one of his heads.

He's got 20 hands. And he carries around at all times: Books, magazines, newspapers, laptops, blackberries, old black and white TV sets, DVDs, a copy of the U.S. Constitution and photographs of Uma Thurman.

He can do perfect imitations of James Bond, Joe Pesci and Ed Sullivan. He can dance like Elvis! And he plays a mean bongo drum.

He's green. More like sage, though. A couple yellow spots and a few lavender stripes.

He can fly. He has wings!

And he can run like the wind.

He speaks every language known to man, including piglatin. Fluently. And when he sings, he sounds exactly like Frank Sinatra.

One can't get too close to him though. Cuz he'll suck the life force right out of you.

I noticed he did have trouble with a few things. Like long division. And he jay walks constantly. He might be color blind!

He's 12 feet tall, but only six inches wide. I found that rather odd. He was very bendy.

Only problem is though, I think he mentioned he's originally from Pluto. And since Pluto's gone On Notice recently, who knows how long Mannion's powers will remain for all to witness.

We need to appreciate it all while it lasts!

At'stha allya. (That's my attempt at piglatin. I'm not an alien. I can't speak it fluently.)

Jennifer

"He was very bendy."

I always liked that in an extraterrestrial.

velvet goldmine

I love it when you liveblog drunk. You're totally wrong, wrong, wrong on virtually every point -- especially the touchingly naive belief that all comedy shows, especially SNL-like ones, are joyful workplaces -- but the tone of the post is pretty entertaining.

Lance

VG, I said funny not joyful. I've seen Laughter on the 23rd Floor.

And the original SNL bullpen was a miserable place to work, especially if you were a woman, but as it turns out they really didn't produce a lot of funny stuff.

Jaquandor

I've blogged about the first two episodes, here and here. My main beef is that everyone's clapping Sorkin on the back for being a genius, whereas from as far as I can tell, the only thing that changes in his writing is the setting. I want to like Studio 60, but Sorkin's really wallowing in every impulse he has, and I am finding it distracting.

The G&S parody is a good example: sure, G&S parodies are usually fun, but when you note that Sorkin's been mining G&S for years, the bloom kind of falls off that particular rose.

eric

I recently watched all of Sports Night on DVD since I had only seen a few of the Episodes before. I was struck by how many plots Sorkin reworked into the West Wing. Sheesh he even had a charcater find out his father had been having an affair for 20+ years.

Now admitedly he had it happen to Joshua Molina on Sports Night and Rob Lowe on WW so he did change it a little:-)

eric

Oh forgot to add, the preview makes it look like they deal with a power outage on Studio 60, which again he did on Sports Night...

jerry

Its got potential for sure, but what's with all the cutsey gestures between the characters? Pleses stop!

velvet goldmine

Eric, The power outage was just a joke from Danny Kinkanin. I mean Elliot Weston. I mean Cal Shanley. Whoever. But yes, Sorkin does walk a very thin line between tipping his hat to his own shows and actually cannibalizing them. (Gilbert and Sullivan again Aaron? Really?)

Lance, I still think the SNL experience -- which lasted far longer than the first five years, if that's what you mean by "the original" -- is a more apt reference to this series than "Your Show of Shows." I suppose I still don't see why one should expect the tone of the show-within-a-show (Ow! I'm getting a major model meta headache!) to mirror the show it's "about."

And Chenoweth gossip aside (because it would seem a little sketchy to go off and research whether the romance came after she was cast on the show or if her she was written in because she was a Sorkin babe), his fascination with alluring conservative women showed up on West Wing in the form of Ainsley Hayes, who predated Chenoweth's Annabeth by a couple of seasons. I'm counting on my memory, so character names and timeline approximate.

Mary, I agree about the production number to some extent, but any show that has me humming about reacharounds as I sit in a parochial school parking lot waiting to pick up my kids clearly contains some evil genius.

Lance

VG, I don't care if they show the writer slicing open his wrists at the time, or just having gotten off the phone with his doctor who told him he's dying of a rare TV character disease, bleeding from a gunshot wound, or on his way to meet the wife/husband/pet of a colleague in the bathroom for a quick reacharound, just as long as when he says, "I've got a good idea for a sketch," the idea turns out to be funny!

I don't want lots of "I've got a good idea!" followed by quick cut to the next scene or commercial scenes.

And I want to see the sketches.

The people can be as sour and miserable and soap operatic as Sorkin wants to make them. They're still producing a comedy show and we should see the product. On doctor shows they show the operations. On lawyer shows they show the trials. On cop shows they show the heroes catch the bad guys. On Studio 60 they should show comedy writers coming up with comedy.

velvet goldmine

But it's not a doctor show or a cop show. It's a Sorkin show. Let Bartlet be Bartlet, know what I mean?

Ken Houghton

Oh. no. I just found out the new season has started (Veronica Mars is still on hiatus), so I've now set the TiVo for Studio 60.

But I see from the comments above (bluegirl, Monday, 8:10pm) that Sorkin/Weber used the "I hate spunk" line, which was classic the first timeā€”in 1970, as delivered by Ed Asner to MTM.

Sorkin needs to learn something: "Once is history, twice is parody."

mac macgillicuddy

I don't even know what anyone is talking about. Because I've never watched the show. But one of the best shows I can remember, without spending much time trying to remember any of them, about WRITING a comedy show was The Dick Van Dyke Show. And as far as a I can remember, apart from a few of Buddy's and Sally's banter sessions and wisecracks, we didn't see the sketches.

velvet goldmine

Ken H: I'd argue that Sorkin is still in homage territory with that line, not parody. (Plus, Lou Grant didn't make me fall in love with him a little by repeating the spunk line while swigging a beer.)

Lance

mac, give yourself a treat. Watch some of the old Dick Van Dykes on DVD. You're right, we never saw Alan Brady do the sketches. But we saw plenty of the sketches. Rob and Buddy and Sally often acted them out in the office. Remember the Bowling Pin sketch? The piano player with an itch? The break away violin tht didn't break away? Rob/Alan's "lecture " on why slapstick is no longer funny?

And the banter wasn't just banter. They were writing the jokes out loud, so we heard pieces of the monologues and other sketches.

Then, of course, there was the great final episode in which Rob dreamed the western sketch and his showdown with Big Bad Brady.

NY Expat

Re seeing the actual show: I know Sorkin has this thing about "showing the five minutes before and after what you see on CNN", but in this case I think Lance is right. We need to see more of the actual show.

I think the reason that the five before/five after thing worked so well on the West Wing was that that's when the real decisions are made, so that's the truth of what's going on. Here, the real decisions are made when the sketches are performed, either before or during the broadcast.

Just a thought, but what if Sorkin hired actual writers for the 'pen, and had them create 15 to 30 minutes per show?

In a similar vein, how many of the "cast members" have sketch comedy chops? Hughley and Coudry are the only ones I can think of.

maurinsky

I enjoyed the pilot, but I didn't care for the second episode. Way too much telling and not enough showing. But I was never wowed by The West Wing, either. I did like Sports Night, though.

As far as television writers go, Sorkin's good, but he's no Joss Whedon.

maurinsky

And the G&S parody sucked. It had no energy, no passion, no life.

I'll probably still watch for a while, though. Matthew Perry's great. Webber is great, in fact, the only line I really laughed at in this episode was Steven Webber's second "I hate spunk".

Elayne Riggs

My husband raised a good point which I hadn't even noticed at the time we were watching it. If you want to connect with the supposed audience of Studio 60 the fictional show, as opposed to Studio 60 the Sorkin show, the writers should have done the opening number as a hip-hop song rather than trying to drag the show into the 21st century by doing something 19th century. Of course, the audience for a Sorkin show isn't the same as the audience for an actual late-night SNL-type show, so there you are.

Paulson may be growing on me a little, but I still think her acting talents are too slight for what she's been given.

I think Sorkin and particularly Schlammy can be formulaic (look, the clock appears in Act I, someone's going to use it to shoot someone by Act IV!) but it's a formula I enjoy for the most part.

And I love Bradford, and actually like Perry which surprise me because I've never laughed at a single episode of Friends. I've tried about three times and never a single laugh.

Oh, and nobody insults bloggers more than other bloggers, so I'm not sure that point of yours was taken. :)

"As Alan Sepinwall has said, this show is a Mary Sue production for network television." Wow, Alan Sepinwall, there's a name I haven't heard for a long time... a long time... sorry, where was I? Alan's right, of course, but EVERY Sorkin show is a Mary Sue to an extent, with Bradley Whitford being the Sorkin stand-in even though you'd think, in this case, the Perry character would be. No, just watch Whitford, Sorkin's thoughts consistently come out of his mouth.

"And I want to see the sketches." No no no, that's where Sorkin has you, you see. He wants to leave you hanging, because the sketch in your head needs to be funnier than any sketch he could possibly write. You need to believe Whitford and Perry are the show's second coming without him having to prove it to you directly, and the way he accomplishes that is to show the buzz around them (the award banquet, the press conferences), not their product itself. It's clever-formulaic and it's typical Sorkin, you either buy it immediately or you never will.

velvet goldmine

Elayne, I think the clock was more Charlie Brown than Chekov. It didn't have that definitive plot payoff of dramatically going off in the final act.

Instead, there was that great "good grief" moment when Matt truncates his own moment of triumph -- The opening number killed! We wrote enough sketches to fill 90 minutes! -- by glancing at the doomsday clock and immediately plunging himself into panic about next week's show. That was so small a moment, but it was the concluding shot, which I liked more than if we had closed on the audience's wild applause or the players' excitement.

art

you wished you had seen the first show? huh? Its really necessary, especially the opener meltodown. Most everyone I know got it available as a download since a week before it aired. And certainly someone you know has tivo. Do yourself a favor and get it.

Sally

Does anyone know who sang the closing song Will you still love me tomorrow? in last night's Studio 60? It is not the original group- the Shirelles.
Thanks

T-Dubs

Dave Mason sang the version of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow that appeared on Studio 60. And to the guy a couple posts above that one -Joss Whedon? Seriously? The West Wing was unequaled. At the very least you should announce somewhere that you're a science fiction fan.

danial nicholson

studio 60 is one of the only programs that I find to be entertaining as well as intelligent enough to now bore me.
And I am dismayed by nbc and its lack of balance, by being frighted of by the christian right and their antic of hate and misunderstand of progressive thought

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