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

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Studio 60: 4am Miracle

I knew watching that this might be the last Studio 60 I'd ever see on NBC so I really didn't know what to expect since I haven't really been thrilled with this show. However, this was a 90% great episode with an ending that was enough of a predictable sour-note to remind me of why this show has had trouble living up to its lofty expectations.

But let's deal with the good first, shall I? There was a lot of it...Jordan and Danny and the Robot Baby. Funny and cute with a dash of sparkling dialog ("You don't drive a baby... ever" and "Now we know not to put it in a guillotine" being two of my personal favorites). I know I don't think that Jordan and Danny have chemistry, but this episode almost changed my mind! They were not bad together.

Tom and Simon. Though I thought that Simon's speech about the warning labels on consumer products was a little lame, everything else between them was great. I don't think there's been a bigger laugh-out-loud moment in the whole run of the show than when Danny leaves the Robot Baby with them and the first thing they do is throw it on the ground. Simon forgetting who he seduced was pretty funny too.

Matt and the lawyer. It was really interesting watching the discussion about the link between writing and ratings. It certainly seemed like Sorkin was acknowledging his own culpability for the Studio 60 slide in ratings, didn't it? I don't think I've ever seen a television show make such a self-aware pronouncement regarding its own place in the TV universe. I thought it was a cool touch but also a little sad (considering that the show might not be back). When the lawyer showed, I thought that the Russian-Roulette that was the Matt and Harriet relationship was finally going to splat against the wall like that teenager's brain from the moview Harriet is making.

But, no...Harriet is back. Again. Ugh. (If you haven't guessed, I'm up to the 10% that wasn't so great tonight).Listen, I need to say this: Harriet is still shrill and annoying. There's no way around it. I think she's a fine actress who can do a really good English accent and who can also make a dolphin sound, but her character is death. If I were that kid in bed with her, I would have asked for a real gun so I could end the hell of being around her and all her silly drama.

When Harriet showed up at Matt's office and Matt muttered "The 4am Miracle", my first thought was to scream "Noooooooo" like when Luke Skywalker found out that Darth Vader was his father. Then I collected myself.

My second thought was that the ultimate frustration that I have with this show is that there is so much great stuff there (like the other 90% of this episode) that is being weighed down by the anchor of their relationship.Matt started the episode by talking about Coleridge's "Kubla Khan." I think he would have been better off talking about another poem that Coleridge wrote: "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Because Harriet is an albatross, both for Matt and the whole of Studio 60. And yes, I am unduly proud of myself for that literary reference.

(Final sidenote: what happened to Matt's pill popping? They showed it in the recap at the beginning of the episode and then... nothing. Has he stopped taking pills? Or am I to assume that the pills have something to do with his writer's block. I'll be interested to see, if the show comes back, if this is a storyline they're keeping or if it's just going to disappear...)

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