... A Sour Apple Tree

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Location: Huntington, WV, United States

I'm a 37 year-old guy from Huntington, WV.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why Studio 60 failed.

This time last year, the buzz was already growing. Everyone seemed to be pumped for that new Aaron Sorkin drama with Matthew Perry and Amanda Peet. It was quite apparent that Studio 60 would be the show that would save network television from the intellectual doldrums of reality TV and save NBC from itself.

Instead, America got a show about an esoteric topic that went on hiatus a couple of times and never really caught on with much of a crowd beyond some TV execs and a bunch of critics. Now the show has officially been canned and fans will be able to purchase the DVD set of S60's complete series by October.

So just why did the show fall flat pretty much right out of the gate?

The first thing that I point to is what I call the "who gives a shit" factor. What percentage of the American, much less the international, audience is inclined to care at all about the doin's of sketch comedy show set in LA? Ultimately, Sorkin has successfully, if unnecessarily, proved once and for all that the inner workings of the White House is much more entertaining than those of either a comedy show or a sports newscast.

Another problem with the show was believability. Here are some of the things that I never bought about the show:

1) No matter how successful it might be, a late-night Friday sketch comedy would not be the flagship of a network and would not get this much individual attention from the highest ranks of the network.
2) People aren't going to care nearly as much about a sketch comedy as the show would have us believe. In S60, Christian fundamentalists raised a major stink over a skit called "Crazy Christians," while in the real world no one would have noticed and, if anyone had, it would have been met with a couple of press releases and not much else.
3) Past sketch comedy writers have slammed the show as not being particularly accurate. Sorkin really should have done more to reach out to ex-SNL folk beyond Mark McKinney.

I am kind of sad to see it go so soon. But, hey, life goes on. It is time for me to accept that the magic of the first four seasons of the The West Wing are gone. Maybe it is time for Sorkin, Schlamme, and Whitford to do the same.

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Blogger oncee said...

I purchase the first few shows on iTunes when we didn't have cable for a few weeks. I found them to be pretty good, but I never went back to watch the show after we had cable again.

We watch a lot of TV but it's mostly PBS and the Discovery channel.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007  
Blogger Chris James said...

Download the episode "The Friday Night Slaughter." In and of itself, it is a fantasitc teleplay. It has the vibe of a good episode of WW from season two or three.

Otherwise, save your money and buy 30 Rock season one on DVD in a few months.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007  
Blogger JDB said...

One of the cool things about Sports Nite, particularly in hindsight, is that it didn't focus much on what the actual show was like. Even episodes that took place entirely during a broadcast very rarely dealt with what was being broadcast (as opposed to back staged, etc.). Studio 60 was problematic because the show within a show was central to what was going on and it was neither very funny nor very interesting.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007  

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