Monday, December 04, 2006

Episode Review: The Christmas Show

Episode Rating: A+(+++++)

I freaking LOVED this episode! Loved it loved it loved it! I downloaded it off of bit torrents late last night 'cause I wasn't sure I was gonna be home to see it tonight but I ended up getting back early and was pleasantly delighted to be able to watch it again!

Where to begin, I don't even know.... we'll go character by character. Danny was freaking fantastic, his first real shining episode. I mean, he's been great in all of them and my favorite in all of them, but this was the first episode where I think he was able to be the star. Bradley Whitford played Danny so realistically, every scene he was in I could see his smitteness bubbling just under the surface. I love Josh Lyman and I love Danny Tripp and I love that they're really not much alike. I hope this puts an end to everyone who complains about Danny just being Josh II, you think Josh would EVER be this assertive this early on in a relationship? Kudos Brad, definitely tonight's stand out.

Matt was hilarious, I love that despite his sarcastic cynical demeanor there's still some idealism left in him, in the form of the "Christmas Spirit." He was hilarious tonight, I cracked up both times at his "I'm not even talking to anybody right now." when he noticed no one was there. That's a gag that Sorkin's done on The West Wing and OFTEN on Sports Night (way too often, it was almost always Jeremy too), but this is the best I've ever seen it done. I liked him with Harriet too. He's sometimes a jerk to her, but in a way you know that he still loves her. Their relationship rings true to me, I've been in those kind of relationships (not... you know... with the whole culture wars aspect, which wasn't in this episode.) I also like Suzanne, his assistant. This is the first time I've found her noteworthy in the slightest, she's fun. They're like a Josh/Donna without... any sexual tension (which is good in this case.)

Jordan was excellent too, she's at her best when she's not trying to kick ass I think. When she's showing she's vulnerable which she does very cutely and often in this episode. Be it in the hospital scene, her eating (in a variety scenes), wherever. I like Jordan a lot, she started off my least favorite character but she's rapidly climbing up the ladder. Good work Amanda Peet!

Most of what I have to say about Harriet was covered in Matt's little thing, but she was adorable in this episode too. It was one of the first ones where I really noticed how beautiful Sarah Paulson is. Dunno why it's never struck me.

I enjoyed Simon and Tom's best friend competition repartee as well. I love that those two share *nothing* in common and yet seem so alike. I'm not sure how old Simon is exactly supposed to be (probably a lot younger than his actor is), but D.L. Hughley is 14 years older than Nate Corddry, and they completely seem like guys who grew up together and yet we know that they didn't. They just have that bond and chemistry. Danny/Matt is still my favorite best friendship on the show by Simon/Tom is definitely close. I also am enjoying the ensemble feel with the writers room with Andy, Darius and Lucy. They're like the tech people from Sports Night (you know Chris, Elliot, Will, Dave, Kim) only... better developed.

Cal was great too. Can we see more of Cal please? Seriously, he's hilarious. He's so awkward and randomly enthusiastic and sure of everything. And I love how he shouts. He's great. Timothy Busfield is masterful 'cause words can not describe how much I don't see Danny Concannon when I look at Cal Shanley. I mean, sure the lack of beard helps, but like... he's just *nothing* like Danny and that's great (even though Danny Concannon was my second favorite character on that show, after Josh) but it's just great that he can be different.

Jack just rocks. A lot. All the time. I love that he wasn't mad about Jordan's pregnancy (which, admit it, we all figured he would be) and he was actually sweet about it, and I loved how impassioned he got about this issue. Methinks he is our Toby.

Great episode all around, allll freaking around. So many times I laughed out loud I can't even count. I think maybe they showed the City of New Orleans a *liiiiittle* too long, I felt guilty for wanting them to move on and show some scenes of the cast. Maybe more of the music playing in the background? But that was seriously my only complaint.

Oh and the callback to the end of the pilot episodes "You were right, we do live here now." So reminscent of Josh and Charlie's "You were right, it doesn't go away." Was amazing. Gah! Good show!

I completely agree with EVERYTHING you said ... that episode was A+++++! I love how Danny is so much more assertive in romantic situations than Josh. Bradley Whitford is brillant (and HOT)! That episode took me right back to what I felt about the pilot ... WOW!!! I can't wait for more, bring it on!
The only thing I disagree with is your complaint. I think the time they spent on the New Orleans thing was exceptional. They probably shot more than an hour of broadcast-worthy footage (for lack of better words) and had to edit it down to 42 minutes. You've really got to commend Sorkin for dedicating a solid 3.5-4 minutes of that (I actually checked the clock) to this piece. I really liked what they did with the cast during the piece and I don't think it was over- or under-done at all.

The last line about living here really got me. I don't know why, but it really struck me and while I didn't want to cry, it evoked the same emotions that would normally make me do so. I feel like the word "live" can be used synonymously with the word "life" here. Their lives they place in that building. The incredible stuff documented in the show is their life, and I think that one line really encompasses that--much moreso than it did in the pilot episode.

Oh, and when Cal throws the coconut onto the long table in the writers room, I was on the floor laughing. They probably could've done a better job with his reaction, but whatever. And how did the table magically heal itself a few scenes later?

Anyway, what a killer episode, probably the best or second best to this point. A+, I agree this time.

Chris, do you know if the show is on hiatus until 2007 like "Heros" is?
It is on hiatus until 2007, but not nearly as late as Heroes. Studio 60 returns on January 8th, Heroes not until January 22nd.
This show seriously gets better every week (Not counting Neveda day Part 2). But this episode was excellent and I agree with the New Orleans thing was a little long. But overall it was amazing and I know that if they keep having episodes like this one, this show is going to go straight to the top.
Best episode ever!!!
WOW what a funny show. I loved the surprise at the end when Danny told Jordan that he's falling in love with her. How do you see them continuing the show now that the two main couples are developing? That's quite a gutsy thing for Aaron Sorkin to do knowing that ratings are already iffy. But I will continue to watch because I love Brad Whitford and I loved the West Wing. I can't believe not more people are watching this terrific, witty, intelligent show!
This reeked of Sorkin, and I loved every minute of it. And, dammit Chris, I'm converted. Jordanny it is. I'm still completely in love with Jack and Jordan's weird working relationship, but, outgoing Danny is great too. Brad's sex eyes? Mmmm.Yeah, as if I need another couple to ship. Le sigh.

I'm also going to have to disagree with the music complaint. To me, this was a nice jab at the government, the media, and the real world--but it wasn't being shoved down our throats like it's been earlier. The "All I want for Christmas is my city back" picture really got me. Sorkin and Schlamme have always done a nice job mixing music in with the show, and it worked here.

The "heiling" Santa made me laugh so hard I nearly cried. Coconut moment was also priceless.

My only regret is that I didn't tape it. Grr. I should check to see if Bravo is still showing the reruns.
anyone know how to get ahold of that version of "O Holy Night". It just was amazing. thanks, Peter in Seattle
Okay, so my friend who also loves this show and will NOT SHUT UP about her love for Danny (I get where she's coming from, but before tonight this was the one show where we did not fight over characters we're in love with, because I have dibs on Tom) happened to text message me at 10:45 and tell me she was so stressed out about finals this week that she forgot to turn on the show and could I save it for her. First of all, all of the episodes are still on my TiVo, so of course I was already saving it, but second of all, she had to miss THIS episode??? Danny's cutest and best yet??? I'm currently (it's 11:45 now and I just finished the show myself) working on making her drop her studying and come over here now, because I don't think she can go another day without watching this extraordinary episode.

Chris, everything you said was right on the money (except maybe your complaining, but others have already addressed that). I'll just throw in that the many debunking-of-Christmas things that were going on were hysterical. And Andy's "Virgin Birth Debunked... Dot Org" was the line that got me laughing the hardest in this episode full of insane comedy. And is it just me, or was the sketch shown on this show (To Catch a Predator: Santa) actually very funny for once?

Sorkin has yet to disappoint me with a Christmas episode, and it's been sooooooo long! Now I feel the need to go watch "Noel" and "Six Southern Gentlemen" to immerse myself in more of his genius.

Last thought: did anyone else have to do a double take to make sure that the director - Luke? - wasn't Clark Gregg?
can't argue with any previous post, this episode rocked!!!

That may have been the best ep since the Pilot. All of the characters have developed now, so it was great to see that this episode had everything: drama, comedy, romance, Cal, Christmas spirit, New Orleans jazz....just awesome. Definitely worthy of the A++++++.

Oh and Danny put Kevin "Talkshow" Eubanks in his place. That was fantastic.
If anyone wants to re-watch (and, we know we all do!), go here:

It's free! :)
This is the BEST episode yet. I loved Danny, Matt, Tom, Simon, Cal, & Jack. The boyz were ON last night. Jordan was also very cute & I love her interaction with Jack & DANNY. Danny's speech was sooo awesome.

I am a happily married woman, and I am so hot for Danny Tripp I cannot stand it. What he said to Jordan at the end was probably the most romantic, sexy thing I have ever heard. I only wish my husband had/could/would think like that.


I cannot wait until January!!
I agree! Does anyone understand why this program is getting such negative press? I look forward to it every week - and I just don't get the "it's going to be cancelled" gloom & doom opinions.
I'm glad the show is back 1/8 instead of late January. I'm sad I have to wait that long to see what Jordan does after Danny's declaration.
I love this show!
This was a great episode and I can't wait until January.
This is a very energetic group this morning. I don’t think the comparisons between past characters these actors have played has much to do with the fact that Studio 60 is a great show on its own. And if I have found a show that merits my time to watch, then you can take that is a fabulous show, since I do not watch TV other than the occasional golf tournament.

The comparisons to the Sports Night are quaint, but Studio 60 really stands on its own and is what Sorkin wants it to be.

I agree with Chris that the City of New Orleans was about 45 seconds too long and there could have been more character development being made with the S-60 writing staff. The pan shot of the cast looking all goo-goo eyed while watching City of New Orleans could have been better used for something else, but over all, I will give the show the same rating Chris gave…A++++++ (and add a + for measure since I don’t watch TV)

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I agree with everything. Actually, today I have nothing to say because I'm still too busy watching Danny's little speech to Jordan for the 78th time or something! lol

But now it's official: Studio 60 is the best show ever.
Great episode. Was I crazy though or did Matt's assistant say she called the radio station and told them that Matt Perry wanted to hear Christmas music?
OMG!!!!! I just finished watching the Christmas epsiode and my world has just been rocked! Just a beautiful episode all around. It looks like Sorking has found his stride. I LOVED Jack (I am truly mad about him), Jordan and Danny (ADORABLE!), Matt (Funny!), the music, the writing and the sketch was even funny!!!

Ladies and Gents, it doesn't get much better than that!
I'm mad that the ratings did not go up w/CSI:Miami airing a rerun. At least they did not go down at all.

I love this show.

FYI - NBC is re-airing this epi on 12/18.
i found the santa clause, hitler thing hilarious only because of what had happened in the news recently in germany... apparently a toy shop had made santa figures but they were doing the same thing as in the show! giving the nazi salute!!! They've since destroyed them cause customers were complaining but wow... this was actually reported last week so I'm wondering, did Sorkin right this in at the last minute? or is it some crazy coincidence

heres the article btw
I can't believe nobody has mentioned Matt and Harriet's kiss yet!

That actually made me jump and giggle and twirl and all of those fun things.

I think they need to re-establish their relationship, but keep it secret from everyone. Just because seeing them sneak around would be far too much fun. And also kinda hot.

I was so impressed with this episode it makes me pee!

I'm really going to miss it this month.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I am a HUGE Sorkin fan and have enjoyed all of his series to date (the cancellation of Sports Night was perhaps one of the sadder days of my life). That said, I have watched S60 faithfully all season, enjoying it, but it hadn't really clicked with me until tonight. Whatever magic happened behind the cameras of this show really worked. The cast worked. The writing worked. The comedy and drama worked. The music was phenomenal. All this is to say, I am now officially off the fence and eager to see more of this show develop! January 8 cannot come too soon!
Great site, Chris...and I think I'm in agreement that last night's episode is the best so far. It's certainly the best television on television by a long stretch.

Jeff, I wondered about the fast-healing table the first time I watched the episode (I've watched it twice already so far), but I quickly realized that there's an enormous staff of set-workers who could probably fix up a table more-than-decently in no time...if not just get a new table.
"If you want to run away, I'll understand. But you better get a good head start because I'm coming after you Jordan." NO ONE mentions THAT?

I can not express at all how much this episode ROCKED. Kudos to Aaron Sorkin... if there is one thing he does very well it's Chirstmas episodes... funny considering he is Jewish.

Mr. Whiford will not get nominated, I am pretty sure, but that episode right there should qualify him. And, come to think of it, Mr. Perry should as well. And Steve Weber? I truly thought he was impressive here. I think I agree... a Toby-esque character for sure... although a bit softer than Toby, no?

How fantastic was Ed Asner too? So completely not like any of his characters up until now, warm, but with a hard core... not "Lou" but really likeable, and really looking out for his people.

My, my, this was Aaron really bring it BIG TIME in this episode... I have to check, was he solo writing on this one, or did Mark McKinney contribute here? I have noticed a subtle change since he joined the on air cast.

Ohhh, I am seriously in danger of falling in love again... which I never thought would happen again after West Wing went off.

As someone who went through Hurricane Katrina, I thought that it was perfectly timed! The musicians were amazing, and it didn't feel contrived at all.

I've loved this show since it debuted, and each week it keeps sucking me further. I can't wait until January to see the next episode.
Sorry folks, but I hated it! The whole New Orleans thing was SOOOO contrived and over done and the shots of the cast all smiling at each other were gratuitous. It's official....I won't watch any more unless they admit that they are stealing chunks out of Snoopy cartoons.
PS> I also went through Hurricane Katrina so I feel I have the right to say the above....
I absolutely adore this show. If S60 goes off the air I will seriously be heartbroken. When will others realize how great it is? What can we do? I feel like they need to air a great episode at a precious time when lots of viewers will get hooked (like the Super Bowl with Grey's last year).
Have to agree. I know Sarah Paulson is a pretty good looking woman. But whether it was her hair or make-up or clothing or the lighting or whatever, she looked astoundingly beautiful last night, particularly at the end of the episode.
I there any place we can get a recording of the song at the end?
I think they've finally got it! What a wonderful gift the music was too. All around fantastic show!!
I've actually really liked Suzanne since the very beginning, and think she's more noteworthy then you're letting on. If anyone else hasn't noticed she's progressed alot. In the Pilot she said to Wes that she didn't know how to call Jack as requested, but by the time she's Matt's assistant she's saying "You and Matt need shots. I'll set it up." There's also just such a fun innocence about her that I love.

I'm glad she's getting more screen time and that all the little minor characters (Lucy, Darius, Andy, and Suzanne) have moved up to become sort of a complimenting mini-cast. Darius in particular has been awesome ever since his standup routine in The Wrap Party, but he got some really good lines in this episode and works well with the rest of the mini-cast.

Part of what makes great shows and stories is having a variety of small characters to fall back on and interact with so that the main cast doesn't have to carry every single thing. Wendy, the Bombshell Baby, is another example of this. That scene was GOLDEN, but it's most likely the only time we'll ever see her or hear her mentioned.

Jack has been truly interesting, in this episode and others. His voice when he said, "You're having a baby" was the sweetest moment on any episode. He has layers and layers. For a hard-bitten guy, he has spent an awful lot of time standing up for everything good and true and noble. But he should be a person we either like or dislike despite ourselves. I want to see more of him being a jack-ass, as when he sarcastically thanked Danny for getting the UN television show on his network.
Hello guys. Congratulations Chris on your "blog" I always read it with great interest.
I also loooved this episode, I loved the Matt/Danny friendship thing and also the Matt/Harriet chemistry (but I am a fan of this item since Harriet's great sortie in the writter's room when she hears about Jeannie)
I love love love Jordan since the Pilot, and I particularly love her insecurities and vulnerability. She's so cute when caught with her mouth full in this episode.
I really appreciated Jack's attitude towards her pregnancy. Just like chris I also thought he would welcome it quite coldly and I really loved his sweetness and attention.
Living on the other side of the ocean, my reaction to The City of New Orleans must have been different from yours because this moment really touched me, at the end I was crying, and I did not think it was too long.
On the other hand, I am sorry but I thought Danny's declaration was quite cheesy and not at all natural and realistic... Please don't throw stones at me ;)
Anyway, this one was one of my favorite, I will happily watch it again soon with my boyfriend when the French subtitles will be available (yeah well he does not understand english very well so unlike me he has to wait haha).
I am really looking forward to the return of the show! You guys have good television in this big country of yours!
Keep on the good work chris!
Great episode, I loved avery second with a big smile on my face. The best show since Friends.
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