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Did I miss something??? I thought it was just January 1st, not April 1st.

I guess the bear joke won them over!


I sort of like The Unit when people are being shot or blown up, but not when the wives are lecturing people about things that David Mamet read once on the Internet about the use of handguns for self-defense and the virtues of "the force of arms." Jack Bauer at least acknowledges that many of his actions are both beyond reproach and ultra vires, higher purposes aside.

Dave G.

"All her best qualities are assumed by the scripts; as if we have no real interest in seeing Harriet's talents as an actress and comedienne on display, we never get to see her shine, we're just told that she does."

Good line, and one that stands in stark contrast to Jane Krakowski's character on 30 Rock, who you believe would be funny as the leading lady on a weekly variety show simply because she just is that funny on her own. We get a nice picture of the loopiness, pride, determination and misguided sense of her own mystique that you can believe this works on television.

I don't know if you watch that show, Lance, but to me it stands as an obvious counterpoint - a funny show with funny people, who you can believe could put together funny sketches.

Suffering Bruin

I was going to write what Dave G. wrote above, though not nearly as well. Lance, that's the best description of what's wrong with Studio 60 that I've ever read. It has the potential to get better and I hope it does.

Dave MB

I seem to see more of what Matt (and hence Sorkin) see as attractive in Harriet. When Matt and Harriet have bonded best is when they've been working together on the show's problems. I've been able to see why the rest of the cast and crew love her, though it's certainly possible that I've been projecting. My favorite bit was when the minor-cast impresssions guy had to prepare to fill in on the news when Simon was in Nevada and was having stagefright problems -- Harriet said "look at me" and made a very strange face to crack him up. It broke the tension and also told him "you can do this because I believe in you".

We're told that Matt made his professional breakthrough once he could write for Harriet, and he's totally supportive of her career even when personal jealousy might get in the way. It might be more interesting if they needed each other but didn't like each other, but we don't seem to be going that way.

I agree with you more when it comes to where they're going with the romantic subplot. Originally it seemed that Matt broke up with her ostensibly over the 700 club thing, but I agree that in the long run he doesn't need her to change in order to be in love with her. Whereas she might, _if_ her values were better defined in opposition to Matt's values. So far every time it's mattered they've wound up more or less agreeing. I'm reminded that we still haven't seen very much of Harriet, and maybe we'll see more that will illuminate things further. Sorkin probably can't take the sexual directions you propose, interesting though they would be, but maybe he can define her better in some other way.

I'm enjoying the show to the extent that it's the only series I'm watching, and I've enjoyed the commentary.

Jim Tourtelott

Jane Krakowski? Jane Krakowski, the funniest and liveliest woman to emerge on television in the last decade is back, and no one has had the decency to inform me of this fact? Heads will roll over this, I assure you.


Re Dave MB's last post, the role Harriet seems to have played in Matt's professional breakthrough was that of a muse rather than a collaborator. He wrote better because he wanted to impress her as opposed to, say, finding someone who understood how to perform his material or someone who could work with him to make his material stronger or someone who was so freaking good she pushed him farther than he thought he could go. Matt was fond of Harriet and that motivated him to write better, which is a tribute to her personal charms and not her professional skill. The example noted is also an example of her personal warmth rather than her abilities as a comedienne, which have not been on display for the home viewer.


I watch THE UNIT under the fiction that all the non-fascist, character-rich bits are written by Shawn Ryan's folks, and that he leaves all the macho crap to Mamet's minions, which means I can turn the channel.

With Regina Taylor, unfortunately, she's in the Mamet section of stolid, patriotic, ruthless manipulators, which I'd expect nothing less from that Spartan, forever-lying couple.

And we thought David Palmer's wife was a trip....


One Sorkin Unit = 6 more episodes?

Give it up, Lance...


Suffering Bruin: Lance, that's the best description of what's wrong with Studio 60 that I've ever read.

SB, Thanks, but I'm just distilling the judgment of many of the folks who've stopped by for the Studio 60 Live-blogging. In fact, I may even have been quoting somebody. Things sometimes get a little snide, but the observations and critiques are usually dead-on. Live-blogging resumes, despite protests(alphie), in a couple of weeks.

Dave G, Yep, I've been watching 30 Rock. Love it. When I watch it, I don't even think of Studio 60. When I watch Studio 60 I think, I wish Aaron Sorkin would watch 30 Rock.

Jane Krakowski's a hoot, and just as you say, but I've been bowled away by Tina Fey herself.

Dave MB, Paulson was definitely livening up and lightening up in the last few episodes. Like I said, her biggest problem with the character is Sorkin's conception of Harriet. Often happens, though, that writers of TV shows recognize when the part and the star are at creative odds and start writing for the actor rather than for the character and that's when things take off. Maybe that will happen for Paulson/Harriet.

cgeye, the politics of the Unit doesn't bear thinking about, and I wonder how many more episodes I can watch before I can't ignore them anymore. I'm only 2/3rds of the way through season one. The wives really are like the women at a real church. They see it as their job to enforce conformity, obedience, and orthodoxy. It's still a question, whose side the writers are on, Molly's or Kim Brown's.


Re: the Unit, I agree with your bottom para in the cmts, Lance. I really wince when they roll the wives' dramas (except for Tiffy), praying that they get back to the shooting action. I can ignore the politics easily enough, I enjoy the men's crisp dialogue and the good tactics they employ in bringing hell down on the bad-guys.

30 Rock rocks. Tina Fey is good, but Adam Baldwin makes it amazing.


I have to stick up for Harriet. Well, I have to stick up for her just a little bit, since I also find her annoying, unbelievably naive, and oddly passive in a profession where I'd expect that passivity would get you nowhere.

But her doing Holly Hunter doing Helena in Midsummer's was very, very funny. It was in that moment I thought, crap, Sarah Paulson has some game! Why don't we ever get to see it?

velvet goldmine

Thank God it's OK that TV is such a subjective medium. For me, Jane Krackheadowski nearly ruins 30 Rock, and I think it's a horrible shame that Rachel Dretch was shoved aside to make way for JK's more glamorous (I...guess?) persona.

On the other hand, I'm a big Harriet fan. Offstage, as it were, her character is all above warmth, about luminosity. As a player on Studio 60, her Nancy Grace and Holly Hunter (as Merciless pointed out) and even her anchor stuff, truly crack me up.

One of the many things I like about the show (the Sorkin show) is that the Big Three Studio 60 players aren't in-your-face "on" all the time. They're pretty mellow, and pretty professional. I.e., More Jane Curtin than John Belushi, or, God forbid, Chris Farley.

It just doesn't bother me that Harriet is more subtle and nuanced than, say, the NBS president, who delivers her lines like she's at a kegger. But then again, I have a HUGE Amanda Peet problem.


"The wives really are like the women at a real church. They see it as their job to enforce conformity, obedience, and orthodoxy. It's still a question, whose side the writers are on, Molly's or Kim Brown's."

Yep, that's why I was rooting for the terrorists when --- well, you'll see what I mean shortly. Suffice it to say that there's a reason we really don't see the kids of these families, because the medical professionals in the audience would be ticking off the sociopathic traits left unchecked by parents who have been trained not to tell the truth until it killed them.

It's like feminism could never take real hold past the mobile cultural class of America, because the enclaves with guns would always have these wives, seeming empowered only because their menfolk gave allowed them some tools to cope, during the long deployments, these enforcers of traditions they barely protest, because their compliance literally is life and death for their families.

Damn (referring to this week's ep), does every child custody battle get the privilege of ending through blackmail and a threat of violent retaliation by a dead soldier's buddies? Is this why militias and homeschooling are beloved by the heartland -- no ambiguities, no contamination, no possible revealing of secrets?

And, as for Miss Paulson, I prefer to remember her as Miss Isringhausen, hope she restores herself regularly by the bosom of her beloved, Miss Cherry Jones (praise be to Allah for her fierceness), and know that if she can get kudos for playing a straight, Christian orthodox comedienne who has a jones (ahem) for Matthew Perry, then, yes, she *is* one hell of an actress....


On further examination (and an instructive review of her stellar performance in DOWN WITH LOVE), I have to give it up; Ms. Paulson can do great imitative comedy. She impeccably channeled Paula Prentiss at her kooky peak, from MAN'S FAVORITE SPORT and THE HONEYMOON MACHINE, to the point that I couldn't place the name of the actress that was doing that heck of a job.

So, even though I wish there was no excuse for the suckage, it's all Sorkin's fault. I can sleep easier that at last I know he simply moved his self-destructive tendencies from the crackpipe to the laptop....

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