“An intellectual reach-around”

Friday, October 6, 2006 by

Apparently, there is such a thing as a blogging community (the… “blogosphere”, is that right?). My guess is that one of their central tenets is that blogs must, at some point in their life, mention the work of Aaron Sorkin. Consider this, then, OTT Blog’s coming of age, as I’ve been watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Appropriately enough, that’s thanks to the power of the internet, and a certain file-sharing site, which has currently got the first two episodes available for download.

I’m not a whole-hearted Sorkin convert, although I will get round to watching series four of The West Wing sometime between now and Christmas 2007, I promise. And yet I have become quite enthused by Studio 60. Granted, a lot about it feels familar. Episode two kicks off with the newly-appointed, straight-talkin’ network boss fire-fighting criticism at a press conference, while her colleagues watch on muttering, “She’s good”. Later, himoff Friends leads a brain-storming session as the gang try to come up with a suitably spectacular opening sketch for his debut show (er, I’m going to assume you know what Studio 60 is, Matthew Perry’s role, who Josh is playing and – well – everything. If not, look at this) and, gradually, ideas coalesce and form together, triumphantly proving how clever everyone is. It’s just that Martin Sheen’s not there to amble in at the end and say so.

In this instance, the bravura moment is instead a musical number, parodying The Major General’s Song from The Pirates of Penzance, from which that “intellectual reach-around” comes from.

But, I like it. The show does enough to get you onside and warming to the characters so you’re rooting for them to succeed – to be funny – despite the fact it’s Sorkin’s own script that declares if they are or not (with critics, penned by the writer, penning criticism of the fictional Studio 60 revue show … penned by the writer). As such, it’s less of a reach-around, and something more masturbatory.

Oh. How did I end up saying that?

“Don’t worry, you’re good. This is a good blog entry.”


So, you see how that works? 

Anyway, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is good. It’s funny. It’s complicated, it’s warm and – best of all – it’s all about making a TV show. And I love show’s about shows.


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