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.

In addition to being on Home Improvement the actor who playes Bevo the snake guy was the next door neighbor on the short lived series "Grace Under Fire". Now I have to go look up his name 'cause it's bugging me.
I don't really want to sign up for a blog, so I apologize for the anonymous post. Anyways, I have to say I laughed hardest at the scenes with Tom and the girl. I thought the situation was hysterical.

I think Tom looks up to Matt, and so even though his advice was poor, Tom believes in it because he believes in Boot boy--I mean Matt. I think things will work out in the end, and I think Matt will help him with this.

All in all, a good episode. Still don't feel as if the show has hit its stride, with a string of good episodes, but I really do love this show. As far as I am concerned, it's 24, Lost, and Studio 60 in hour longs, and the Office in comedy, that are at the top of the heap.
I'm with you on the disconnected feeling this episode gave. It also didn't feel particularly memorable. Until I read your review, the only plotline that I could remember was Jordanny. Tom's plot was nice, although I also didn't understand why he had to lie. Cal having a plot was also nice, but, I thought the snake getting loose was a little lame.
Oh, no! Tried to watch my Comcast recording at midnight and the show got messed up. Not working. Episode lost. So sad. I'm bereft. If any of you fine people have a DVD or VHS version to mail me, would you be willing? Of course I'll reimburse expenses. Email lee@speakingcircles.com. Withdrawal is not pretty.
Bye the way, I was "Tobie" from last week before I fell into anonymity here.

To the anoymous who's looking to watch the episode... NBC.com offers free viewings of past episodes...
Danny definitely redeemed himself. Good to see he's back to normal after last week's disjointed attempt(s) to woo Jordan.

And overall, I was more into this episode than the one last week. The thing is...I knew it would be "to be continued" and when it popped up on the screen at the end of the show, I was furious (which should be the sign of a good tv show).

And I'm pulling for Darius in the Simon-Darius battle. It seems as if Darius is new and innocent to the entertainment world...his perspective is refreshing.
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See I thought last weeks show was kind of lame. I am a season pass holder on ITunes and went back and watched last week's show and still was let down.

But I thought this week's show was great! I honestly think it was one of the best ones of the season.

I thought Cal and the Snake Handler was funny and odd at the same time. I am very much afraid of snakes and I would react the same way Cal acted. So maybe I liked it, because I could see myself doing it as well.

As far as Kim is concerned, she is annoying and I very much would like to see her character get bitten by the snake.

JorDanny was cute and I see that relationship working out as well.

Jack is my favorite character on the show, so when they opened the show with him and tom, i was so excited.

I give this show an A-

Did anyone notice that the ratings were up last week for the show?
Stuck on a roof - totally lame to start with, but not being able to get cell service on said roof beyond ridiculous. I liked that Danny totally backed away from his no answer and that Jordan was worried that he set up the roof scenario.
Another ridiculous plot point...having Tom lie to Lucy - duh.
Really, really wanting to see more studio 60 happenings!!! This week it was just the promo shoot and the snake.
I'll admit the Jack scene at the dinner was good, but I still hate the network plots, want to see backstage studio 60!
I absolutely love this show, but these two-parters are getting a bit much.

Also disheartening is that almost every character that we love is going through depressing chains of events.

Harriet needs to break free of this Lucas loser. I would have the snake attack Harriet and have Matt come to her heroic rescue. Matt needs to stop hiding his hurt feelings and finally come clean with Harriet. One minute he is kissing her, then.....nothing. Harriet tells him to makes up his mind and stick to it, then....nothing.
I didn't think the episode was disjointed at all, just the middle part of what's really a 3 parter. "Monday" set everything up, and this episode was the middle, next will be the ending.

Personally, I was rooting for Darius from the beginning and still am, cuz I did think Simon was/is abusing his power and EXPECTING favors. Simon said he wants to "save" people from SC, but if that's true he wouldn't be asking for thanks or anything; he'd just be happy to know they made it. That would make him the better man.

I really do have no idea why Tom lied. I certainly wouldn't have. It would have been just as easy to have his sub-plot go as follows: he tells Lucy he was forced to do this thing, then sees Kim at the thing, sees she's HOT AS HELL, and gives in to her temptations and sleeps with her. We then have a struggle of technicalities, where Tom maintains that he and Lucy hadn't technically started dating yet but where Lucy says since they'd agreed to set a date and go that they were. Just as much drama would have been created! Throw in Kim the increasingly obsessed fan nurturing sexual fantasies and you've got a really great plotline going.

What's the betting that Tom ends up helpign Kim get into Improv comedy to get back at Jack for screwing up his romance?

I wonder what Matt's going to do with the presenting (let's face it, he's bound to end up at the podium instead of Jordan). Think he'll explode and embarress Harriet, or present her by saying everything he feels about her and pointing out her best parts?
Come on, the continuous references to West Wing is tiring and really is taking away from your great report and blog on Studio 60, which is a far better show than the West Wing thing...

I have said it before and say it again, Studio 60 has to be one of the best written shows on the air. The casting is a little weak in some of the sub characters, but the main core of characters is solid.

Finding out who is LukeS5858 was again the result of some brilliant writing and is what I like about tracking the plot of this show that makes it so much better than the show it keeps being referred to...total different league.

The romantic plots are providing for true entertainment. Matt Perry, still the character who is carrying most of the load for the shows ratings, is still delivering the lines in perfect timing and really looks to be having fun with this show.

The snake sub-plot...great timing with the Coyote and ‘what comes after the coyote’...this type of writing and directing makes the viewer feel this is about a real life show, which is what it is trying to do making Studio 60 a far better watch than WW.

Still like your blog, still telling people to check it out, still hoping that you will keep them coming...
Long time reader.

First time poster.

I love this show! Okay, so there are some things about it that I don't particularly like (I'm looking at you Tom and Kim subplot - why would he lie?), but on the whole this is one of, if not THE best show on television.

Since you mentioned who your favorite cast members are, I'll throw in my two cents:

5) Andy Mackinaw (the teeny-tiny role played very subtly by Mark McKinney)
4) Tom Jeter
3) Cal Shanley
2) Jordan McDeere
1) tie: Danny Tripp & Matt Albie

Now, I know that I'm probably going to catch some sh*t for two reasons; not including Jack in my list and giving the tie to Matt & Danny. Behold my wisdom...

Jack is an ass. The only times that I like him are when he's actually being a good guy (the scene in the plane on the way back from NV when he tells Danny about Jordan's uneasy footing) or being noble (standing up to the FCC). Other than that, he's a stereotype of a network exec; only cares about the bottom-line.

As for Matt & Danny - I LOVE the interplay between them. It's apparent to me that these two characters have an incredibly strong friendship. In this day & age of sh*tty reality-based (and I use the term reality very loosely) television, the bond between these two characters is quite refreshing.

All in all this was a good episode - save for the aforementioned subplot involving Tom & his "dates". Ugh.

I'm pleased that Danny is coming off less and less psycho as he relates to Jordan.

Matt & Harriet simply need to lock themselves in a room and figure out/define their relationship.

To all of the Aaron Sorkin nay-sayers - if you don't like it, don't watch it. BUT, if you do decide to watch Studio 60, you'd better get out your thesaurus. :)

I love this show!
Luke bugs the hell out of me. He gave Harriet that whole speech about moving on past the break up and wanting more... so she'd date HIM again instead of Matt again? Such an irritating guy.

As far as Tom and Lucy, well, telling a lie was incredibly stupid but I can understand why he did it. Seemed like a good idea at the time, whatever, but I hope he wins her back over. He didn't do anything creepy - like sleep with Kim, which seems almost taking advantage of her - and his motives were good. If he can sit Lucy down and explain that to her, I think they'll still have a shot. But getting her to listen will be hard, and fun to watch.

Yes, a rooftop is cliche, but I liked it - particularly when Danny made the comment about this being a crucial scene in any romantic comedy. And then being shut down hard. I really like the interactions between Jordan and Danny more and more and I think next week's show between the two of them will be great. I'm also looking forward to how Simon/Darius gets resolved, either with Simon calming his ass down and trying to talk to Darius like a human being, or with Darius finally just beating Simon to a pulp. Matt and Harriet... I still don't know what I want for them. Except less Luke.
I think Harriet is right to move away from Matt if they can't get it together but I do NOT like Luke at all.

Love Danny & Jordan.
Love Jack Rudoloph & Cal - They both make me laugh out loud.

Love Tom & Simon together. I actually enjoy their interaction more than Danny & Matt (love them both though).

Tom lying to Lucy was dumb b/c we knew he'd get caught. The Simon / Darious thing is weird.
Things are NOT looking good. If you take a look at the viewer data for Monday's show (listed on wikipedia), you'll see the following:

Rating from a 5.3 to a 4.8--lowest since November 27 "B-12" episode.

Share from an 8 to a 7--the lowest share yet for the show, which had been holding firm at an 8 for 7 straight episodes.

Demo from a 3.2 to a 3.0--tied for the lowest yet.

And total viewers from 7.41M to 6.95M--by far the lowest number of viewers yet.

I'm beginning to doubt if we'll see the show return from its second extended hiatus in March...
Jeff: Think positive, promote the show to your friends, and keep the faith! NBC would be losing a great thing if they cut S60 off, and I think they know that. At any rate, it's not going anywhere soon.

Don't be naive. Thinking positive hasn't done anyone anything and telling my friends about it--even if I were friends with my entire small town--wouldn't boost the ratings or how the NBC execs feel about the show.

It's taking a dive, and it's a shame; fan or not, you should realize that.
The daily ratings published do NOT include those numbers and Studio 60 is the most time-shifted show on Television today.

"If you don’t know what that means, that means that more people TiVo us and watch us later in the week than any other show on TV, and when you add the number of people who are recording the show and then watching it later in the week, our audience grows by over 10 percent, 10.9 percent. " - A. Sorken
Spell Sorkin correctly and I'd trust you more. The numbers do reflect the time-shift--read the wikipedia page. The number is more like 9 percent now.
All I'm saying, Jeff, is that as a fan I'd rather enjoy the episodes I have than worry about things out of my control, like whether or not there'll be a second season. I'll keep hoping, I'll keep watching, and I'll keep telling my friends. Might it make a measurable difference? Probably not. But every little bit helps, and my blood pressure goes down in the bargain.
check it out for yourself directly from SORKIN...


The show has lost nearly half its viewership since its September debut, but Sorkin defends the current audience as "10 percent bigger than you think it is" because more viewers time-shift it than any other series. (Not that the TiVo crowd does them any favors with NBC, since, as Sorkin admits, "there's an assumption they're fast-forwarding through commercials.")
Wow... lots of people need to calm down. No fighting, children.
Your critiques and news are great. I'd like to see you point toward some of the positive reviews that are out there as well from media folks that don't feel the need to bombast the show just to be "IN" - those folks aren't watching the show, they're just picking a fight because it seems like the popular thing to do.

And no, the wikipedia ratings do NOT include the time shifting.

The show is still finding it's way, yes, but it's still one of the best things on television today. Everyone I know watches it - from 16 to 76. I wish the media jerks would just shut up and find something else to pick on. I'm tired of them telling us what to watch.
"Simon's going to kick his ass sloooow" is the key to understanding what's going on with Simon and Darius right now, and I don't have a problem with that since Darius has yet to actually surrender and admit that Simon is, in fact, correct. So, sorry, Chris, I'm not with you there, homes.

I love Tim Busfield, really, and not just because I used to live in Sacramento and he and his brother Buck are so active in the community. Cal is awesome. I liked Danny from TWW very well, but the fact is Cal is the guy I'd love to have as my friend and/or right hand guy. He's always chipper and "can do". First he says "Sure!" and then he figures out how. He's just a great guy.

Danny and Jordan on the roof, while cliched (and Sorkin/Danny recognize it with a line early about how every great romantic comedy has this scene), worked for me tons.

And Harriet thoroughly, and deservedly, kicked Matt's ass at the end. Yay, Harrie. You go, girl. Because you're dead right there. Matt doesn't want her, he wants no one else to have her, and that's completely unfair.

Lucy. . . so sweet and adult thru the whole episode! Even at the end, when she's caught Tom being a . . . err. . .man. Surely that's going to get straightened out, and you could call it karmic payback for Matt listening to Tom about the stupid Bombshell Baby boot thing.

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