Monday, November 27, 2006

Episode Review: B-12

Episode Rating: A

Heavy, heavy episode. And a lot going on at once, there were like A, B, C, D, E and F plots going on there. Sometimes I think sometimes it was a little too heavy, and I ended up forgetting about some plotlines and then remembering them when they came back. That was pretty much my one negative comment about tonight's episode. Oh, that and: WHERE'S. CAL.?

Okay, for starters. How fucking awesome is it that Corinne Bailey Rae was in this episode? Do you have any idea how much I love Corinne Bailey Rae? Well, it's a lot. I'm pissed she never sang "Girl, Put Your Records On" but I'll survive. Her song at the end of the episode meshed perfectly with the scene with Danny and Jordan, but then, I'm a big fan of music at the end of episodes.

Jordan was great, and I completely understand her volatility with the TIME guy, and I have a feeling that's how I'd act so I identified. I just found that sense that she knew as she was doing it that this was the wrong move and that she was shooting herself in the foot but she just couldn't help herself. I'm not sure what's going to happen with the pregnancy. It's really not looking like it's Danny's. I'm praying it's not Jack's because the promo showed Jack resigning and he could be doing that (even though I'm sure it won't take) because of an ensuing scandal with Jordan. Please please please don't let that be the case. A) It makes Jack less likable because he cheats on his wife, B) That sounds like a roadblock to Jordanny if I ever saw one.

I loved Harriet in this episode! Quirky, flawed girls are the shiittttt. She was so cute, good work Sarah. Um... when she was stripping in this episode (seriously, how often is this gonna happen? I mean, I'm definitely cool with it, but... seriously) you could see a tattoo on her lower back. Is it just me or is Harriet Hayes the opposite of the kind of girl you see with a tattoo?

Mark McKinney, who's also a staff writer on the actual Studio 60, did a good job with his character. Andy was it? Good job, but he's a little too Eeyore for me (and not even in a good way like Toby from The West Wing was) I'm hoping this was a one-shot deal. His delivery of "He shot the kids?" just spoke volumes though. Very good acting.

Still don't like Martha O'Dell. Want her gone. Major-style. I don't think it's Christine Lahti, I just think it's the character. But she was only used sparingly... I liked what they did with the whole internet things. There's been a few bitches about the internet since Studio 60 started and Sorkin's done some on The West Wing too... A lot on the web community have dedicated a great deal of time to bitching about this issue (See Television Without Pity, the entire forum of.) and I guess I get that they don't like to be insulted... but, this seemed to have a very moderate viewpoint on the whole issue. I like how Dilbert27 was redeemed in the end by taking Jordan's side in the whole press tomfoolery.

Did this episode seem dark to anyone else? I'm not talking about the lighting, but just... idk... it just had a dark feel. Not complaining, I liked it. Lots of humor. I enjoyed both the News 60 bit about Paul McCartney's divorce and the opening monologue with Howie Mandel. Although I don't think we needed to see *quite* so much of it the second time around... I mean we got that we were back where we began.

Hey Lucy got a last name! I missed it though. Anyone fill me in? I enjoyed her and Darius' struggle tonight, and liked the tie-in with the kidnappers.

All around, good episode. But what did you all think?

So, I'm new to the Blog, but I really appreciate the intelligent thoughts and takes on the show. I'm a big fan of Sorkin, mostly because of 'Sports Night,' and I'm glad to see him back at work. (For the record, It's not that I'm not a "West Wing" fan - I sadly have only seen a handful of episodes and never had the time to catch up.)

This episode was great. The show seems to be hitting it's stride. Like any show, there's got to be a little breathing time for everyone involved to find the pace/rhythm/character/voice of the show. I hope this marks S60's. Not that the show was in any way a bad show before...

We saw just about everyone hitting both the comedy and the drama on the head. Witness the spit-take battle which had me laughing out loud, complete with a SN-referenceing air horn. (It looked like fun!) Witness the great setup and the eventual devestation on the faces of Lucy and Darius as they saw their sketch cut.

As for the Jordan pregnancy, I wasn't in on the spoiler news: I didn't see it coming. My wife sure did.

And I could keep a running tally on SN threads and references... I appreciate it in Sorkin's work. It's like extra added bonus entertainment value for those of us who stay loyal and pay attention.
I'm really starting to love Lucy and Darius. Their plotline tonight made up for the lack of Tom and Cal.

This was also, I think, the best episode we've seen yet. It wasn't at the level of complete awestruckness, but I felt that this show had some soul.

It was also really nice to see real Jordan, who we really haven't been introduced to until now. It's going to be interesting to see how the pregnancy/crappy interview affect her in the later episodes. She felt much more human tonight, and it sat with me well. Instantly became more likeable.

And, Martha! I looooove her. I'd be interested in watching a show about her. Sassy. Powerful. Intelligent...and citing internet sources. Mua! I really hope she comes back every so often.
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The episode was great!

Glad to hear (and see) some music on the show.

I loved the part where they cut to writer's room and it was just Matt, Lucy and Darius. Funny.

It was great to see Suzanne get a promotion as Matt's new assistant but it sucked that Cal didnt get any screen time.

The running gag which had Harriet trying to tell a joke was dead on.

It had a nice balance of drama and comedy.
wasnt Lucy's last name Canwright???
Yes, it was dark and I am talking the lighting....have always thought that they play the scenes too dark. But I do like this show...Great writing on a show that is needing writers. Great insight into what possibly could go on behind a live show, great styles of good and bad management being demonstrated, outstanding real life humor used and yes Mathew Perry...Mat seems to glue it all together with his "Friend's" style delivery of lines.

As far as the B-12 episode, yes a few too many sub-plots and the format of the flash back to the beginning was a little tiring since I am not a big Bald Howie Mandel fan. But I am a big fan of this show none the less. I report on it on my site all of the time...promote it as the way TV should be written and produced and as a replacement for the cliché reality shows.

Great report, look forward to reading more as the season continues.
I loved that Danny was in the sketch which was funny. I assume Cal was not in this show b/c Tim Busfield also directs MANY episodes.
I'm absolutely shocked that you gave this episode an A. You've lost a lot of credibility--at least in my mind. I'd say at least half of the other episodes were better than this one. You're absolutely entitled to your opinion, but I'd really consider changing that A to a B or B+.

There were FAR too many sub-plots and they didn't mesh well at all. Additionally, it's obvious that Sorkin was running lean in editing booth. I'd have rather seen two minutes of flat, boring dialogue than watch the Mandel monologue twice. It was funny the first time, but as Matt Albie said in the second episode, "Comedy is less funny the second time around." That should've been cut out first.

That's all I've got. I really didn't enjoy this episode much except for the scenes with Andy, who I do think did a spectacular job with the dark, cynical comedy.
Well... sorry to hear I've lost credibility in your mind, but I'm sticking with my rating. Although I agree there was no reason to see so much of the Mandel monologue twice. That's happened a lot in Sorkin productions though, where they skip through time. They ground you back in the reality you're in, but... they take it too long. I also agreed about the too many subplots thing.

A minor qualm in a good episode though.
as a Jewish woman I had a good laugh over the whole mitzvah thing and over the Jewish joke.

I think the title and description of this show was very misleading. It was hardly about b-12 an hardly about hostages. Jordan throws a bombshell at Danny? You dont see any reactions on any faces... i expected something totally different.

btw - since when cant you get a b-12 shot in pregnancy???
First off the bat; great episode... the multiple intertwined plot lines were a bit much to handle initially, but after being introduced to everyone's "thing" (to borrow from West Wing) it all flowed together nicely.

We have all been waiting to see how Amanda Peet's pregnancy is written in, and although we don't know many details, it was an interesting start.

Mark McKinney is the MAN!! I remember reading on the Studio60 Continuity Guide ( about him joining the writing staff and his debut was great. It was also nice to hear at the end that "can you come back one more week" from Matt, superb!

Overall, my initial thoughts were that this episode corresponded directly with "What Kind of Day Has It Been" from both The West Wing and Sports Night. Using the flashback/flashforward format can be a bit tricky to follow, but I surmise that the 8 million loyal Sorkin faithful can totally do it, no sweat. I agree with fellow bloggers that the references between all three shows is great and adds to the laughter.

I'm still wondering about ratings.... I just saw the inital results from last night; again S60 takes in the now expected 8 million viewers in the 10E/P timeslot. My hope is that come January, NBC will get its act together and move S60 to a different slot where it can florish.

All together, great episode; fast paced, whitty, sharp and fully of hilarious moments. Most definiately not for the faint at heart tv viewer, who is only interestd in watching celebrities learn the cha-cha or selecting which briefcase is next.

Looking forward to next Monday!!!
Wow... Studio 60 goeas "noir"!
Ok, not so much, but I felt the darkness too. The rain helped the feeling. And I agree with everything you said: it was really heavy.
Well, I'm a HUGE Jordan/Danny fan, so I can't stop looking for evidence that they're in love (I know it's stupid, but whatever), and I found the pregancy plot so sweet. But before that, let me ask a question:
Is it just me, or anyone else also thinks that Martha O'Dell has a crush on Danny????
I hate her. I really got the feeling that she was trying to flert with Danny with this hole fight thing, but I enjoyed it very much when she talked about Jordan and he got all interested. Cute. And he left the show in the middle to look for Jordan (not for the first time; he also did that to talk to the "Nations" guy and convince him to the the show on NBS). And Danny even wrote a supporting coment from the internet guy to cheer her up! Own. Jordan crying also broke my heart. I've always liked her, she's a strong woman and a very nice person.
Danny taking care of her was also very sweet. Gotta love Danny.
You know, I was having the feeling that Danny wasn't the father, but the way she resisted to talk about her pregnancy and the way he finally did it made me feel suspicious. Obviously there's no chance for Danny being the father, but something's must be going on.
Just a thought. The best thing about this show is the discussion we get after each episode =D
Love the site, thanks for keeping it going.

Love the show too, just as I've always loved Sorkin's work.

This was a very odd/uneven kind of episode tho. I don't know that I could give it an A. I think if you focus more on the weakness or the strengths of the episode would depend on where you come out.

The noobs writers with mentor-from-hell (but with a heart of gold, of course) subplot was certainly awesome stuff.

On the one hand, it felt like there was a lot of stuff that should have made for more than enough plot to support a full-length script. . . and on the other, the Mandel mono TWICE and the (admittedly awesome) singer girl TWICE really suggest that the writing was pretty thin. Not to mention if you look at it it seemed to me there was more non-verbal acting in this one than is usual too (not that non-verbal acting is bad. . .just supporting the idea the writing was a bit thin this time)

Anyway, again thanks for the site I really appreciate it.
I thought this was an excellent episode for two reasons,

a. it actually seemed like a behind-the-scenes-of-snl episode more so than other episodes.

b. there was NO talk of religion, or at least not any of the ongoing bickering between matt and harriet.

Also, was I the only one who thought harriet was a more interesting character when her plotline had nothing to do with religion?
I hope this is the blog, I was looking for, so far it seems really on point.

However, if everyone is worked up about the sub-plot, which is also what my friend was talking about this morning, lets list them.

1. No Writing Crew
(a.) Lucy and Darius - Worst Criminal Sketch
(b.) Mitzphaph (sp? (hebrew))

2. Real Life Rears its Head
(a.) Sketch cancelled
(b.) New Sketch
(i.) Spitting

3. Jordan
(a.) Her -NBS need to address the press
(i.) Time Interview
(ii.) Dilbert 27 Redux

(b.) Pregnancy

4. Sick sickness - B-12
(a.) Pregenancy
(b.) Spitting

5. Rain

6. Martha Article
(a.) Dilbert 27

7. Harriet Joke

I desperately need to do some work, so I can dedicate any more time but it look coherent and many weave in and out, the pregnancy thing seems like it was written by a dramatic Larry David.

The double Howie Mandel thing was stylistic, as was the lighting issue, but I thought both worked well with the episode and everyone is right the second mandel was too long and some of the music was too long, but if you consider how heavy some of the subject matter was and how many plots and subs there were the episode needed space....

Lastly, is that comment from the homeloan dude for real, if not its hilarious, if its a marketing sales pitch, its potentially even funnier.

Mark McKinney was a highlight for me. I remember his Kids in the Hall bits, and they were classic.

It's also leavening for comedy-writing cast of characters, whom I'm sure come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and styles (including deadpan).

I wonder if he writes his own bits...
I still think that it is Danny's baby. I bet Jack resigns, because the NBC board wants to fire Jordan for being pregnant and Jake wont do that, so he resigns instead. Which Jake and Danny are my 2 favorite characters in the show.

As for tonights show. I felt they spent to much time on Howie and the singer. I would like them to use that other 2-4 minutes explaining more stuff. But overall I would give it an A as well.

Can I just say that I loved this weeks episode! This is coming from a guy that schedules my Monday nights around Studio 60, and then I buy it on Itunes when it releases, just because I know that I missed something.

You know I am in the Christian music industry, big believer in Jesus and voted for Bush and I am in a red state. But I have never allow the views on the show, distract me from this being an amazing show.
Yes, very very good episode. I see where it may (or may not) be picked up for another season. I don't see the quandary. It's one I watch religiously. I have to admit, tho, in the past, that's been a very good indicator of what will continue to be shown.
I'd miss it, if this is the only season.
I love this show, including this episode. I liked the mitzvah thing. The first time I saw this show, I tried to find a way to tell NBC how much I loved it, but couldn't find it. Maybe someone can tell me how to tell the suits that this is a great show and needs to continue.
I like the religious bickering between Matt and Harriet, in fact I love arguments between any of the characters, because the opposing points of view are always witty and insightful. Sorkin's lyrical writing style and great sense of timing really helps too. I loved the Josh / Donna point-counterpoint debates on The West Wing. The Matt / Harriet dynamic is a nice substitute for that.

I agree with Jeff that this episode was pretty lean. The dialogue wasn't nearly as dense or as witty. 'The Option Period' was more to my liking.

I liked the moment when Jordan said to Jack Rudolph something to the effect of, "Feel free to yell at me", and his response was "Nah, I've done that". Knowing how well Jack can yell from past episodes, his no longer wishing to do so in this episode highlighted how much trouble Jordan was in.
When is the next new show after the Christmas Episode airing on 12/4?
I have to wonder if you're going to rate every episode an A. In my opinion, this episode rates about a C+.

1) I like the Howie Mandel bit but that call from the bank was a bit too long. And when he finally chose suitecase 1 and you saw Rae's name, I thought that was a lame way to introduce the musical guest.

2) Spit-takes? Come on. That's forced comedy, nothing natural about it. And to fall back on it as a last resort? That's as unimaginative as writing can get.

3) This show probably displayed the most insensitivty as any of the others. To make a sketch based/inspired by a hostage situation is just plain sick and wrong. I know sketches are inspired by headlines, but when in this natural world would a hostage situation inspire good comedy? Especially late breaking-comedy like they had on the show. Did I miss something?

4) Harriet trying to tell a joke? That just reminded me of Dana on Sports Night and how she couldn't project jokes. I guess because I'm such a huge Sorkin fan and have seen almost everything he's done, that I called that entire storyline from a mile away. The Harriet character was too cute in this episode. For a comedic writer/performer, why can't she tell a joke?

5) The two young writers need to loosen up. They're annoying me. I think the previous episode already established/showcased their inexperience and apprehensiveness, now I just wish they'd grow a pair.

6) I really like the role of Jack. Probably because he's an ass, but most likely because he doesn't live in fantasy-land like the rest of the characters. Danny and Matt from the beginning had this legendary following already so it feels like they can do no wrong. But Jack's character, though harsh, is actually a pretty sincere character.

7) The character of Andy reminds me of the Sports Night's character played by William H. Macy. The non-friendly, but esteem-able troubleshooter. I've seen it already, but I'm going to enjoy seeing how his character will be used.

8) I appreciate how Jordan's character fessed up to hormones regarding her blowup with the Times Magazine writer. She was right on every count about how it is wrong for the guy to report on office gossip about her vs. real conversations with people about her performance. But then why is she dictating what he can write? Because from Jack's conversation with Danny in the previous episodes about the industry's perception of Jordan, we knew that the industry talk about her was already going around and, therefore, real and not made up as she claimed. Gossip is as real as anything to me.

9) I really, really liked Simon's joke about 'Pakistan's new rape law.' That was a good joke. That's an SNL-worthy joke. Good, to the point, and not cutesy like that bear one Harriet did in the 2nd episode.

10) I hope the Wes Mendel character comes back soon. I've read that the ratings for this show are poor because the general audience doesn't care of the happenings of a bunch of characters who are rich themselves. I see where the show as a show does good work, I believe TV is important, but we need a higher power. Again, referencing Sports Night, a Robert Guillaume character. Someone to focus the main players.

Though it doesn't sound like it, I did like this episode. But I wouldn't rate it anywhere near an A. I hope the next show is better.
I really want Studio 60 to succeed - intelligent TV is too rare. That said, it has some serious flaws:
1) It's really just West Wing against the backdrop of SNL. But unfortunately SNL's crises lack the gravity or interest of the White House. So the plotlines sometime struggle.
2) Harriet is weak. Sarah Paulson just doesn't pull it off, and the religious thing has gotten old, quick.
3) Amanda Peet just isn't believable as a network president.
4) it's not believable that a network president would spend so much time focuseed on one show... doesn't she have other shows to manage?
5) "Jack" (Steven Weber) is too superficial. Asner was great.
6) Can't understand a damn thing Hughley says.
7) Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry are still Josh and Chandler, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
In summary, I think the show has problems that can't be fixed. They need to replace Amanda Peet and Sarah Paulson, but they won't do that, and it will be the death of the show.
Although "The Option Period" is still my favorite episode so far, I loved this one too, and I'm so happy to see this show evolving into something better and better week after week. I've loved S60 from the get-go and love it even more each week, so much so that this week, when I was on a plane at 10 pm Monday night, it actually caused me anxiety knowing I'd have to watch it late. And knowing how incredible Sorkin's Christmas shows can be, I could not be more excited for the next one.
If Jack is the father of Jordan's baby, I would seriously lose all respect for Jack. I REALLY like the direction that Sorkin is going with his character and this would ruin it. Besides, he's got a babe for a wife - what does he need Jordan for?

Yeah, "spit-take theater" is a good example of what I mean by the amount of non-verbal acting in the episode. Jack and Danny doing the whole "Oh man, dude killed his family, should we cut the skit?" bit non-verbally from the floor to Matt's office (and they showed that twice) is another example.

I suppose I could try to strain a metaphor out of this --that the episode is in fact about being in deep do-do because of being thin in writers, so maybe these things aren't a coincidence. . . . I mean, Sorkin/Schlamme might do that kind of thing (having just finished listening to all the West Wing DVD commentaries. . )
Oh, and Martha O'Dell Rules!
"I have to wonder if you're going to rate every episode an A. In my opinion, this episode rates about a C+."


You don't have to wonder. I already haven't. Just a few weeks ago you'll see Nevada Day (Part II) got a B-, and a few others have gotten B's too.
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I really do like this show, but I've noticed something that a lot of others have noticed as well. It's something that can be a fatal flaw:

The scetch show within the show about making the scetch show funny, isn't funny.

This alone could kill the show. Otherwise, great cast, Sorkin banter at its best, but this was the first episode that I've started to admit that the show just isn't living up to the billing. I hope I'm wrong and it gets better.
Did you see that Studio 60 is NOT getting moved this midseason? I mean, I'm thrilled that it's going to be on at all at midseason, but weren't we all pretty much in agreement that it needed and deserved a move to a better timeslot? What can NBC be thinking?
Yes - the are not moving the show in january to a differnet time slot but also don't know when NBC will air the final 4 episodes of the season since a new show will take over that spot in March.

Its not looking good that the show will be picked up for next season. I'm going to be sooo sad if it does not come back.
It was Lucy Kenwright. I presume Sorkin used the surname of Bill Kenwright whom he worked with on 'A Few Good Men' in London last year.
i felt that sorkin ran short of material in this episode. It's kind of a "filler" episode ... Creating situations for characters rather than letting the characters play themselves out. Jack's character was wonderful and the show needs more Cal. Was Busfield producing this one again?
What does PCA mean?
Shelly mentioned it is closed because of the rain while talking with the "Time" guy before Jordan showed up.

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