I am live-blogging a show that refuses to die. Back in the fall I thought shunning Studio 60 in my brain would be enough for the ratings to go down, but now I see it's time for a written review. I'm actually not live-blogging in the traditional sense--where you watch something and then comment immediately after it happens. It's on mute in the background, and my critique is based on how bad I feel every time I’ve watched it in the past.
Next week tune in, turn the volume down, and read along. There’s nothing wrong with your television. All scenes are lit with a candle.
Quit Cheating on the Mom from Malcolm in the Middle
Bradley Whitford is pacing in a hospital. The girl he’s dating just had a baby, and she’s also on her death bed, just like in 1930. The fact that he's not allowed to smile, but also not allowed to be angry equals a level of drama I liken to a bowl of cold oatmeal…that turns out not to be oatmeal but wet paper towels.
Cut to Matthew Perry back at the Studio. (Cue the opening guitar riff of "I'll be there for you"). He prepares for this role by never sleeping. That’s how real producers look. And they lean their torso back in surprise while they’re hands are in their pockets. All the time.
The show’s "featured player" who I'll call Ears was once arrested for speeding out of town, and they built an entire show around it. The only time they left the sheriff's office was for a shot in the diner from all antacid commercials. Tonight, as in the speeding episode, they're bringing up his brother the soldier. Bro's always hanging by a thread and yet we never see his picture or see him calling home with a helicopter chopping noisily overhead. It's less of an anti-war statement, and more of a reality t.v. move. "People won’t be bored if they’re sad…how about a relative in The War? Let's not give him a name or a face. It might become too real. He'll be like the banker on Deal or No Deal."
You Got to Have Faith a Faith a Faith-a
Matt and Harriet! Will they argue a little or a lot tonight? Will he bring up the affair she ALMOST had with a baseball player (acted superbly by an extra from Gilmore Girls)? He is such a brilliant writer, and she’s such a crazy Christian. It will never work. Fun fact: every time they fight Kristin Chenoweth gets a Tony.
Fight the Power
Celebrations: black man with real black issues (BMW-RBI) gets a plotline tonight. DL Hughley is a seasoned, hardworking, funny stand-up. But do you remember how his cameo on Fresh Prince could have done without the serious scene?
"Dang Abbi, can't you keep that on the DL?"
He likens his reprimand from wealthy white bosses to slavery. I wouldn't call this playing the race card so much as playing a giant race poster and dancing on top of it. "Why should I try the watermelon martini? Oh, I get it. Because MY PEOPLE just love us some wattamellon, is that it?! I'll have you know I'm allergic to artificial fruit flavors. I'll take my Stoli straight, and you are not coming home with me tonight Persephone!"
Time is of the Essence
Sadly, the rest of the cast was dismissed when it was discovered they could actually do impressions and be funny. If they include humor, they won’t have time to show Matt staring at the countdown clock.
Gosh Darn You!
They promised me in the beginning of the episode that Amanda Peete would die. They even refrained from showing her, implying maybe she's busy shooting a romantic comedy with Josh Hartnett or Sean Connery. But lo', at the end of the night, it looks like she's gonna pull through. And the co-worker she came to know in her first month on the job is proposing and wants to adopt the baby she just delivered! The baby appears to be eight weeks old, and mom wakes up from a coma covered in makeup. What, no boob job?
Read this whole post out loud in one breath to get an idea of the pace of the dialogue.
Studio 60, you have some work to do. Dental work. Because I've pulled all my teeth out to distract myself from da script. Make me a sandwich and cast the guy from Grey’s Anatomy. Then maybe we can talk again.