Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Episode Review: The Harriet Dinner (Part I)

Episode Rating: B

So, there was a lot I liked about this episode… but it just felt very disjointed to me. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that this is a two-parter but… it really doesn’t have a reason to be. Nothing, except *maybe* the demise of Matt and Harriet is compelling enough to work as a cliffhanger, entertaining though it is.

I think Danny redeemed himself tonight (if indeed, you feel he needed redeeming), and my next poll will probably pose the question on whether or not you think he did. I think this was the perfect reaction for him to have, based on what happened last week. He apologized and realized he was being a jerk, but didn’t seem all that sorry for what he was trying to accomplish. Had he been sorry for that it would have made the final “No.” of last week just random and pointless. I like Jordanny again.

Did you all notice some self-effacing comments Sorkin made? When Danny started ranting about how Harriet’s dolphin noises in the Masi Oka promo (he was great, by the way) relate to choosing Presidents and Jordan’s just like “It was a TV promo you INCREDIBLE doofus.” Definitely a nod to all the comments about how Sorkin makes these character treat the show as if it had the importance that the gang at The West Wing rightfully treated their work. I think Jack’s “The fate of western civilization…” thing to Tom was similar.

I got to say LukeS5858 not being Luke surprised me. Completely didn’t see that coming, and having it be a fifteen-year-old was pretty comical too. I’m liking what’s going on with Matt and Harriet, I think this will be a good wake up call for Matt. I like him, but he just doesn’t deserve Harriet right now and I can’t wait to see him win her back… for real.

Okay, you know how last week I said I was torn between the Simon vs. Darius debate but was slightly leaning towards Simon? Yeah… now I think Simon needs to shut the hell up. Every time Darius calls him sir or takes his shit I keep wanting to urge him to kick his ass. I like Simon, I really do, but he’s so off-the-charts out of line in this argument that it PISSES me off.

Tom’s plotline bothered me. Why would he lie? Who would possibly get mad about this situation? Why would he ever ask Matt Albie for romance advice? I like Lucy a lot though. Kim’s getting old. Seriously… this chick should be a one-off character, and she’s going to end up being in at least FIVE episodes. Too much. I found her scenes funny, but I really don’t like her. Jack was great with his rushing in to interrupt her kiss and Simon (although annoying before) was great in being randomly and hilariously on the side of Tom and Kim hooking up.

Cal? With a storyline! Be still my heart, Timothy Busfield is a great actor. He’s so not Danny Concannon and I love it. Okay, I’ll be honest, I like Danny more than I like Cal but… I love that Cal isn’t just Danny without a beard. I’ve made these comments before regarding Danny Tripp and Matt Albie not being Josh Lyman and Chandler Bing, but it rings true with Busfield too. The snake thing was weird though, although I liked the snake wrangler. I remember him from a few episodes of Home Improvement as like a construction worker who’d always come on Tool Time to like… show Tim how to make lunch on construction sites… or how to make music on construction sites. *shakes head* What a horrible show that was. But anyways… I didn’t think about this until I heard a friend mention it, but I wonder if the Snake Guy is really a con artist and that there never was any more than 23 snakes and that he’s getting Cal to pay for all this ridiculous stuff for no reason. Be a good twist that I, on my own, would not have seen coming.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Monday" poll

How would you best characterize Danny's actions in "Monday"?
Well-intentioned but... misguided
Creepy as all get out
Meh. The jury's still out...
pollcode.com free polls

Monday, January 22, 2007

Episode Review: Monday

Episode Rating: B+

So... there's a fine line between being romantic and take-charge and being obsessive and stalker-ish. Now, which side of that line Danny is on is probably up to you, it's certainly not clear cut. Either way you slice it, this is a very interesting direction for the show to go, particularly with one of the lead characters. As frequent viewers of this blog know, my favorite character on this show is Danny and I'll be honest... I like this storyline. It doesn't paint Danny in a particularly flattering light, but it's still really cool. There might have been situations in many of our lives when we thought we were merely being aggressive and it totally came out the wrong way. I mean, it's clear Danny's a good guy and isn't going to end up coming after Jordan with a knife (I mean, look at all those character references! Spielberg, Scorcese, Eastwood and some royalty!), so I'm very keen on seeing where this ends up. Do I still support them as a coupling? That I'm less sure about, we'll need to see more.

Hey, so did you catch Timothy Busfield in this episode? Yeah, it was his voice over the P.A. one time in the teaser.... and I think that's it. Seriously, Busfield's an Emmy winning actor. Sorkin? Schlamme? Use him more. In The West Wing, where Busfield played a recurring role as Danny Concannon, his character was already WAY more developed than Cal's by episode 12 of Season 1... and at that point Danny had only been in maybe four or five episodes... NOT AS A CAST MEMBER. I used to think Dule Hill got a raw deal on TWW since the other seven (during the show's hey-day) contract actors got a *lot* more screen time than him but this is nothing compared to Busfield. Perhaps, with Busfield's other duties this is how he prefers it? I don't know. But... Cal started out as my third favorite character on this show when it started, and he's now dropped to sixth. (My order is Danny, Jack, Tom, Matt, Jordan, Cal, Simon, Harriet for those curious) This is no fault of the character, he's actually really funny and cool... he's just not developed at all.

Matthew Perry's funny, I really like him as Matt Albie. It's great that Matt can be SOOO funny and yet funny in SUCH a different way than Chandler on Friends was. I think Whitford and Perry have both done laudable jobs at distancing the characters they played for so long and that made them famous.

The Tom and Lucy romance subplot is kind of cute. I like both Tom and Lucy a lot and kinda like that they appear to be just getting together without any drama. I get that there will be some conflict, as Tom will likely try to balance his Thursday night date with Lucy with him having to go the Harriet Dinner with China Girl (which is also supposed to be on Thursday) but... still not sure how much screen time it's worth. But I like Tom a lot, so I'm not complaining.

Like Simon's storyline a LOT in this episode, and can't wait to see that expanded upon. I love when characters have fights and I don't know who to root for because they're both right and wrong, and that's exactly what's going on right now with Simon and Darius. I see both of their points... and while I'm tempted to support Simon just 'cause I like him more (no offense Darius) it's hard not to see Darius' point. Simon made it clear in The Wrap Party that he feels like it's his duty to personally save every talented black kid in the ghetto, and while that's kind of him... it's not fair for him to just expect Darius to be the kind of writer he wants him to be because of it. Lol, how hilarious was it to have Lucy try to put the word "prat" in a black militant's mouth.

As for Jordan and... Hallie, was it? I don't know.... Hallie just seems like an annoying cardboard-cut out of a character. Sweet on the outside, bitchy on the inside sexy business lady. Been there, done that. I did think the tying it back to the book from before to show that Hallie wasn't all that she appeared was a good way to end that story in this episode. I'm really looking forward to Jordan kicking Hallie's frigid ass though. Illiterate programming indeed.

Jack's rocking the house as always. It's nice seeing Wilson become kind of a paternal father figure-ish type to Jack, since Studio 60 had been missing that. Wilson's definitely this show's Isaac Jaffee or Jed Bartlet, but just seen less.

Studio 60 returns tonight!

Tonight Studio 60 returns for the first new episode since December 4th with the episode "Monday". This will be followed by both "The Harriet Dinner (Part I)" and "The Harriet Dinner (Part II)" These episodes will be, according to synopses, about "the beginning of the end" of the Matt and Harriet relationship. So for people who don't like this relationship, get ready for that!

There are new episodes continously until March-ish where Studio 60's timeslot will be filled by the new drama "The Black Donnellys" and Studio 60's placement will remain to be seen after that.

Sorry I haven't really been keeping up with this blog had a lot going on, and with no Studio 60 episodes airing it was hard to get motivated.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Studio 60-bashing: The Media's Newest Fad

It's hard to believe, but I started this blog almost a year ago, and in that time I've heard a lot of talk about Studio 60, some positive, some negative, and you know what... everybody feels differently about everything so for the most part negative comments about things I feel passionate about often just roll off my back. You'll notice very little has been said in this blog about the negative press Studio 60 has been getting in the recent months, and to be perfectly frank a lot of the reason is that I just didn't feel like getting into it. But enough's enough.

It is so hip and cool to trash Studio 60. "It takes itself too seriously", "It's arrogant", "The sketches aren't as funny as they should be", "Harriet's a bitch", "Sorkin needs to get over himself" It goes on and on. Some of these are valid points, some of these are idiotic, but either way I just have to point out the huge hypocrisy in the mob mentality warfare that is being waged on this show. There are few things I have read that are more self-aggrandizing than some of these "articles" written about how much Studio 60 sucks. It's disgusting. And some of these are in the guise of news articles, by reputable sources. Sorkin's never been short on ego, there's no doubt about that... but this is an intelligent, well-written, well-acted show. And any moron can and should be able to see it. But this show was built up so highly early on, that people couldn't wait to tear it down when it didn't live up to expectations. There's nothing people like better than the idea that they're superior to those who would ordinarilly be considered "better" than them, and that idea is proving itself over and over with Studio 60.

The worst of it all is some in the online community, and I hate to point fingers but, what the hell I'm going to. A big fat finger is being pointed at Television Without Pity. For those who don't know the site, it's actually a generally intelligent and occasionally humorous site which reviews the episodes of television shows and while the site obviously goes a little far out of its way to insult and snark on shows, (which is fine, the name tells you pretty plainly what you're in for) their attitudes toward this show and in particularly Aaron Sorkin have become absolutely venemous. Many of the posters are almost rabid in their hatred of it all. In some respects this is understandable, back when Sorkin ran The West Wing there was an incident where he lampooned the silly mob-like behavior at this site in a small subplot in the episode "The U.S. Poet Laureate" and no one likes to be insulted (despite the fact that his sentiments in the episode were pretty spot on.) but their attitude towards Studio 60 has become laughable. The Studio 60 forum on that site serves a little more than a Sorkin-hating circle-jerk. This is mainly the fault of the moderators who are very biased and quick to indiscriminately ban those who go too far out of the public opinion, but because the moderators set the standard for what should or should not be discussed on this board they seem to be encouraging vicious ad hominem hatred and, in my opinion, actively discouraging rational (and certainly *any* positive) talk on the show.

Maybe it's not in the best of taste to be so harsh on only one site (and Television Without Pity is really only one of many online forums behaving in this way, and most of the people on the site seem to be posting in good faith) but it's the one I'm more familiar with. I'm all for people putting their opinions online, hence this blog, and I'm all for healthy and constructive criticism but in my opinion most of the people blasting this show are full of shit and are positively orgasmic about the opportunity to seem superior.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

January 8th or January 22nd?

Hey everyone, hope you had a happy New Year!

So there's a bit of confusion on when Studio 60 is returning. NBC.com as well as a few other sources have it's return down for January 8th (i.e. next Monday) whereas TV Guide and, really, all schedules seem to have a Heroes rerun down instead. I don't honestly know the answer any better than anyone else so I just wanted to say this:

Regardless of what any schedule is telling you, turn on NBC at 10/9 central and just check to see if it's on, 'cause it could very well be and if it is, you don't want to miss it. We also don't want the first ratings after the hiatus to be drastically down because even the hardcore fans didn't see it 'cause they thought it wasn't on.

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