Friday, August 11, 2006

Peet Pregnant?

Aaron Sorkin might have a problem on his hands as it has been reported that Amanda Peet is pregnant with her fiancee, writer/producer David Benioff. Reports claim she's three months along but has been hiding it. Obviously since, true or not, it's not anything Peet is talking about we don't know for sure.

If Peet is pregnant what will this mean for Studio 60 and for the character of Jordan McDeere? I'd be surprised if they'd make the character pregnant this early. Just doesn't seem opportune, storyline wise, to suddenly create a whole pregnancy plotline and if they do I'd be even more surprised if they try to make any of the characters on the show (Danny and Matt being the obvious candidates) the father. My guess is we'll get what happened with Mary-Louise Parker and Mary McCormack when both became pregnant while filming The West Wing. Folders in front of stomachs, lots of shots from the shoulders up, and crossed fingers that it doesn't look too ridiculous. Unfortunately McCormack, who naturally has a curvier build than Parker, was able to hide the pregnancy a little better. Peet's build seems more in line with Parker's so we'll have to see.

One thing's for certain, if these reports are legitimate there is more than likely some scurrying going on behind the scenes of S60.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Official Website is up!

The official website for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip ( is up. And seems to be pretty well done. (The opening quote between Danny and Jordan "I have no reason to trust you and every reason not to." "Why?" "You work in television." has long since worn out it's welcome in promos though.) Character bios, the thing I was most excited to read aren't up yet. Cast bios and photos are too, as well as some other features. I suggest that we all stay tuned to this site. Just the fact that this site exists seems like a good sign to me. The West Wing never really had an official site, did it? Unless I missed it.

Anyways, enjoy!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Episode Review: Pilot

Episode Rating: B+

Perhaps it's unfair of me to review this pilot under the circumstances in which I saw it. Only being able to see it via a computer screen obviously took away some of the mystical magic that only seeing it on the little silver screen can provide for you. Plus I had read the script months and months ago and thus already had some previously concieved notions about how it would look. Some things looked better on screen and some looked better in my head, but I suppose thats' to be expected. So, first let me run through the cast, character by character, actor by actor, and cover my thoughts on them all.

First, Danny Tripp as played by Bradley Whitford. For us who've seen his work on The West Wing, there is no doubting BW is a terrific actor and probably, on a strict matter of skill, the best of the bunch here. He does a good job in this one, because this is most assuredly not Josh Lyman. The characters are not 180 degrees from the other, but while Lyman and Tripp both have their demons and while both have a glib sarcastic edge to them, they seem to react to the world in different ways. To use a sports metaphor, Josh played offense while Danny stays on defense. Josh was verbose, histrionic and intense while Danny seems laid-back, casual and cool. Almost, however, too cool, I do think Whitford can take the intensity up a notch. Also something that bothered me is he seems to have given Danny some pretty bad posture, and I'm not sure what the reason for it is... but I keep wanting to tell Danny to stand up straight. Also, what's with the reading glasses? Unnecessary and weird.

Rounding off the dynamic duo, we have Matt Albie played by Matthew Perry. It's lucky that it's been two years since Friends went off the air and that Chandler isn't as ingrained into us as Josh is, because Albie does seem a lot like Chandler. Not that this is bad, because Chandler Bing was an hilarious character. But still, Matt isn't given a whole lot to do but be silly, funny and loyal to his best friend, all of which we saw in Chandler often. I like Matthew Perry as an actor, and I think he has a darkness about him that was so often unseen in Chandler and can easilly be seen in Matt. The problem isn't necessarilly in Perry, honestly because I've seen a lot of his other work I don't really see Chandler when I look at MP. It's just that the script calls for him to be silly, funny and loyal and Perry doesn't need to really stretch his acting muscles to play that anymore. I'm sure we'll see more shades to his character in time.

I will say, when I read the script Matt was my favorite of the two. After watching the episode, Danny is my favorite of the two.

Then we have Amanda Peet as Jordan McDeere. I know there were some who were wary of her casting, but she's absolutely excellent in this role. The perfect balance of a giddy sarcasm and a wry intellect make the character work. While Peet is sexy just by virtue of being sexy, she doesn't dump sexiness into this role, which is good. In the script I saw her as this femme fatale type and that didn't appeal to me, because I don't really dig those kind of characters. Peet plays Jordan a lot more down-to-earth, and I like this. I really can't find any problems with her performance so far.

Sarah Paulson as Harriet Hayes was someone I heard a lot of people complain about. And she isn't all over this episode but I sort of see the problem. This is a role Kristin Chenoweth was born to play (obviously, since Harriet's based on her.) but if not Chenoweth, you need someone Chenoweth-esque. Emily Procter for instance? I shouldn't keep suggesting The West Wing castmembers, but you know what I mean. Paulson seems too mature (personality-wise, not age-wise since obviously she's younger than both Procter and Chenoweth) and, I'll be frank, too intelligent to play this part. Not that I think Harriet's dumb, I don't at all. But I think Harriet needs to have a good-natured naivete, especially with her traditional Christian values, that I don't see in Paulson. Paulson just isn't convincing as a conservative, I guess the problem is. Now, I say this as someone who can not stand conservatives, Paulson should probably feel honored by this but I just am not sure she was right for this role.

Not much to say about D.L. Hughley as Simon Stiles. He's not in this much. I will say at first I didn't like the idea of him in the role. Now I do. He did a very good job and I'm excited to see what Simon's going to bring to the table.

Also, Nate Corddry knocked Tom Jeter out of the park. Absolutely excellent. He just seems like a wide-eyed little kid and that's exactly who Jeter, the baby of the gang, seems to be. Just as with Simon, there's no complaints I have for Tom. Only that I'd like to see more of them. Speaking of who else needs to be seen more of...

Timothy Busfield, beloved the Sorkin world over as brilliant, bearded, Flamingo-smitten Danny Concannon, completely sheds his Danny skin to play Cal Shanley. Cal isn't anything like Danny C. to be honest. He's older, more mature and definitely brings the gravitas. I absolutely adore this character and his role needs to be intensified, although I get that this was an episode for Danny, Matt, Jordan and Jack.

Finally we have Steven Weber as Jack Rudolph. I go back and forth with him. He's excellent in his scenes with Jordan (they have a great, although completely unromantic in its feeling, chemistry) yet some of the time (The "We're running a show here." "Shut up." bit in particular) he seems kinda ridiculous. Weber's a great actor, but I'm not sure if Jack shouldn't have been played by someone a little older? Jack's character seems like this guy who can't stand these punk kids are coming back when he only looks like he's, what, a couple years older than them? My other problem is, I can't see where his role is going. He's the Chairman of the Network, and our thought process is he's going to be hanging around the show? I can see the use for one network suit in Jordan, especially since she's taking a special interest in the show because her reputation is now staked on Danny and Matt. But two? While I can see why Jack would be a big role in the pilot and in the subsequent few episodes... what on Earth is he going to do after that? It would seem to me that all he can do is tell Matt and Danny to do something, not do something, because it's too controversial, and Matt and Danny will either stand up to him or they won't, and it will turn out they were right all along. Which would be a very lame role for him. I am afraid he'll be Mandy version 2.0

The mood and the feel was good although maybe a tad bit too dark. Good writing although it felt like their could have been a bit more, but maybe it's because I had read all this before and so it didn't pop at me. Definitely a strong beginning with room for improvement. I know some people have claimed that it wasn't funny and get all bothered by that, even though it's a drama... but Sorkin writes dramedy's, and usually, I'll admit, they are funnier than this.

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