"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Soup of the Week & Studio 60: Friday Night Slaughter

Mexican Beef-Cheese Soup - Ready in 30 minutes or less

1 lb ground beef
Onion, chopped
1 can (14 1/2oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 can (11oz) Mexicorn, drained
1 lb Mexican or plain process American cheese, cubed

In a large saucepan, cook beef and onion; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, corn and cheese. Cook and stir until cheese is melted.

Studio 60: Friday Night Slaughter

Aaron Sorkin runs to the well of his life yet again and now Matt Albie is abusing drugs. As Matthew Perry did there for a while. which makes the story interesting and challenging - which the series hasn't really been so far.

Sorkin has a fondness for flashback episodes to flesh out his main characters - he did it so beautifully on The West Wing. Here it seems like an easy get - but he proves how strong a storyteller he can be, by making the flashbacks serve an unreliable narrator.

In the present, we have two actors desperate to survive the Friday Night slaughter - where sketches are deep-sixed from the show when rehearsal goes long. And in the past, it's Matt versus Luke - to survive the slaughter and to impress Harriet. I'm not sure I remembered or even registered that Luke was a member of the Studio 60 staff - and didn't recognise him with the beard.

Well-written flashbacks and the fleshing out of a show's history are always going to suck me in - particularly when they are done as well as this. Matt becomes the most interesting character on the show and his relationship with Harriet gets a new layer - because their relationship didn't begin as perfectly as it seemed (when they have discussed it previously).

Meanwhile, Danny/Jordan continue to bore me. I find Danny particularly patronising to Jordan and wonder if her hormones are getting her into trouble here - because I'm still in denial about her 180-degree about-face in last week's episode.

What I'm so glad about is that Sorkin is taking risks again and this twist promises to make a strong statement - which is what the show has been missing all along.

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