illiterati

5/14/07

The axe finally fell on Studio 60 today, as NBC announced their new lineup and Aaron Sorkin was nowhere to be found. Full disclosure: one of our best friends David was a director on the show, and my stepsister Cyia was a regular guest star, so I followed its fate pretty closely.

Web sites like Defamer wasted no time in urinating on the Studio 60 epitaph, when really, they should be crying. No other show provided them so many opportunities to heap scorn on Sorkin, and one wonders what else they’ll have to write about now that Lindsay Lohan appears to be sober.

Seriously, what is it with otherwise-smart people hating Aaron Sorkin so much? Admittedly, the show would have dissolved on its own, but the unfathomable amount of shit-talking by writers, media pundits and blogs certainly didn’t help matters. Here’s what Sorkin set out to do: write a literate, funny, fast-talking, intelligent show. If you think he failed, that’s one thing, but the wave of opprobrium started way before the first episode ever aired. With each week, as the ratings dwindled, the haters licked their chops.

Well, they got what they wanted. “Studio 60” is off the air! To be replaced by… more episodes of “Deal or No Deal.” The next time any of these people complain about how stupid television is, they can seriously fuck off, because they only have themselves to blame. Sorkin tried to do something smart, and all he got was a load of shit (and yes, a lot of money – was that the problem?).

And don’t give me that tired old argument about ‘Studio 60’: “Why should we care about a bunch of wealthy producers trying to put on a comedy show?” Nobody asked the same question of “Desperate Housewives”! Why should we care about a bunch of doctor interns on “Grey’s Anatomy”? Why should we care if the world is saved on “Heroes”? In fact, why do we care about any television show at all? I mean, they’re all fictitious people, for fuck’s sake, and it was shot on sound stages in Burbank!

The rancor directed at “Studio 60” is a new type of criticism invented by my generation, and brought to its logical conclusion by Generation Y: straight-up anti-intellectual nihilism. The only people who do it well are Matt and Trey on “South Park” – everyone else is just drowning in a sea of their own snark.

Snark and anti-intellectualism are kissing cousins, except that the most snarky are the ones who should know better. They hate shows like “Studio 60” for trying too hard, yet have an ironic attachment to talentless vacuums like Paris Hilton. They think they’re overeducated, but if they were forced to elucidate an actual view on spiritualism, politics or even basic geometry, they’ll find their deductive muscles atrophied from years of sarcasm.

I read sites like Defamer, Gawker and the like out of industry obligation (hell, it’s how I found out my agent got fired a few years back), but it’s obvious they’re what happens when angry college radio DJs accidentally get control of culture. After 4-5 articles, I always feel like asking asking them if they actually love… anything. Does any work of art, let alone a television show, make them shiver with anticipation? Do they ever cry when something heartbreaking happens?

I know, I know, I’m going to the whorehouse when I’m looking for love. But it seems like everywhere you look for media criticism, there’s nothing but whorehouses. Snark is the worst thing that has happened to mainstream and alternative journalism in the last ten years. The only people I can stand to read anymore is our very own Virginia Heffernan at the NYT and the ThighMaster at Thighs Wide Shut, because both of them unabashedly love what they cover. Virginia eviscerated “Notes From the Underbelly” not out of mean-spiritedness, but out of betrayal.

These New Media Critics will read a blog like this and treat it the same way they treat all threats to their comfort: with offhanded derision. I’m here to say I’d like the Snark Era to be over. I’d like everyone to get psyched again. I’ve had it with the Underminer, the Flippant, the Too Cool for School, the Lazy Fetishist and the Easily Bored. You can make fun of the canon only if you know the canon. Leave Aaron Sorkin alone and save your schadenfreude for those most deserving: Republicans and Dook.

0 thoughts on “illiterati

  1. CP

    ian, I humbly and respectfully and as unsnarkily as I can possibly try to be disagree with like 85 things in this post and the fact that (no offense to david p. and your stepsister’s hard work — without naming names I know like 10 people who worked on it, both in front and behind the camera, and have talked about this) studio 60 was a successful television show misunderstood by a mass audience who was too dumb to “get it”. I think that attitude might be a tad short-sighted and culturally elitist. (I only say that because I’m often guilty of both.) I’m smart, and know this world, and was a fan of seasons 1-3 of west wing, and I thought this show ran the gamut from flawed but promising (pilot I saw back in july with old/cool credits/theme music) to neither funny nor interesting nor dramatic, just annoying and square and inaccurate (on a show about showbiz?) and self-righteous and a little crazy there towards the end (and not necessarily in a good way.)
    you want real quality tv about tv, shows I love without irony, try the comeback or larry sanders or 30 rock (all of which have always been way better than studio 60 ever was) or big love or the wire (best show ever in the history of televison — and as a political show blows the west wing right out of the water in terms of nuance and sophistication and complexity) or seinfeld or twin peaks or northern exposure as examples of some of the finest television I’ve ever seen. also, as a genre, the showbiz comedy is a wonderful tried and true tradition. from the players in hamlet to noel coward and george s. kaufman and the marx brothers to those shows I mentioned before. this show seemed more about soapboxing than anything else, and didn’t quite capture the spirit of a showbiz comedy. I mentioned network the other day, the film that inspired this show. network was everything this show wasn’t. brutal and dark and weird and funny, which sounds a lot like showbiz to me.
    couple points:
    — the drama on the show would have been more interesting (and yes you can make a dramedy about a comedy — kind of silly but can be done) had it been more about the petty grievances that get blown up into earth-shattering events as opposed to world politics and love being the dual driving forces that bring these people together and make them so darn good both as people and talents. (are you kidding me?!)
    — my roots are one foot in theater and one in sketch comedy, and sketch people ain’t like that. they just want to make people laugh. if people don’t laugh, my friends and I die a little. and come on, show folk have fragile and gigantic egos, and aren’t necessarily the best or stablest people. many have had terrible childhoods and drug and behavior problems (danny and jordan were the most functional dysfunctional couple in the history of television) all of which is way more interesting than talking about how lame the religious right is and evil The Man is (true but boring) week after week after week. it was like sorkin was writing slash fiction about himself and everyone with whom he had an axe to grind.
    — the show within a show wasn’t funny, but was supposed to be revolutionizing comedy as we know it. try human giant on mtv and youtube. not revolutionary, but edgy and soooooooooooooo sick and funny.
    so to amend my original statement, I guess I agree with your general points but wouldn’t use studio 60 as a way to prove them. really, try larry sanders and network and the comeback. and so you know, this reply was not about my being a playerhater (b/c back in september I really really really wanted to like this show), but if I were to be a playerhater, aaron sorkin just makes it so goddamn easy (a guy who has such little respect for comedy writers he has his fictional stand in write a 90 minute sketch show practically alone each week — no wonder it sucked — and thinks we all have the looks and talent of the evan handler and carlos jacott characters, when in reality I’m FAR better looking than that!)
    ps — I got take-out next to paris hilton tonight. could not believe it.

    Reply
  2. scruggs

    “literate, funny, fast-talking, intelligent show” I agree with this comment, though funny was the weaker adjective. What was missing for me was “interesting.” I didn’t find the show all that interesting. To enjoy a show, I have to care about the characters or crisis at hand. CP summed it up for me in refering to drama. The issues like “making the one actor guy take the viola player out and ditch the writer girl but she finds out anyway” or “same actor guy is stuck in BFE with yokel sheriff who is really smart in the end has to be back that night for a show else the world is over” just didn’t draw me in. I was a fairly regular watcher and still can’t remember many of the main cast names. Oh, and having Amanda Peet eating all the time like a madwomen b/c she is pregnant was stupid and annoying.
    That’s why the show didn’t personally work for me, though I still watched it b/c of the other crap that is on. But I was really hoping it would have made it and gotten better.
    I’m trying to find news about Friday Night Lights. I don’t think it has a good chance, but I LOVE that show.

    Reply
  3. jason savage

    Friday Night Lights is fantastic. So gripping.
    Sorkin is a talented writer, there’s no doubt. But i really thought Studio 60 got boring in a hurry. And I wish that Sorkin could leave his politics out of it. Yes, I know that politics are a huge part of pretty much everyone’s daily dicsussions, but Studio 60 was so much better when the episodes were about the show, and not about Sorkin airing his views (and yes, i know the two are not mutually exclusive, as some of the skits on the show within the show were political in nature).
    Sorkin is incredibly literate and I admire that. But i think he overwrites. People are simply not that witty 24-7. Even the smartest people I know are not constantly armed with bon mots. I think he creates characters that are interesting but not even remotely real.

    Reply
  4. Ian

    Again, I said this was not about the show itself – I even said it would have dissolved on its own accord. You can think the premise worked or not, that’s cool. To me, it was more about Schadenfreude for Smartypants, and the mean-spiritedness on the internet had nothing to do with the actual show.

    Reply
  5. kevin from NC

    ^ I’ll reserve my comments about the show.
    I do not read what ohers think about a show often. I had hoped the show would finish the season and deal or no deal is just…….. inexpensive and profitable.

    Reply
  6. GFWD

    I could watch any show featuring Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford and the guy from thirtysomething who also played “Danny”, the reporter, on The West Wing. I think they’re great actors and Sorkin knows how to write for them.
    I watched the entire run of Sports Night over the past few months, during the time Studio 60 was still on the air, interspersed with reruns of The West Wing. I noted in Sports Night, much like Studio 60 and The West Wing, that Sorkin is better writing drama than comedy. He also uses the same actors and story lines and conflicts over and over. But I like it. Why doesn’t he go back to movies, like A Few Good Men or The American President?
    I’ve never watched a minute of The Wire, but from the constant raves I read on this listserv, methinks it warrants renting the box set from Netflix
    What else is good out there?
    I read the SI article excerpt and saw the movie, Friday Night Lights. But I’ve never seen the show. My primary television watching is The Office, Scrubs, Scrubs in syndication, The Sopranos and Entourage. The season finales are over and The Sopranos will be done in three hours. Or earlier, if your name is Christopher.
    I can’t get into Big Love. The thought of having three wives–one of them barely old enough to cut her own food–is just creepy to me.

    Reply
  7. Chip

    Let me offer a hypothesis:
    I agree that the Gen X/Y snarkiness has been overdone and is horribly unoriginal as everyone under 40’s default worldview. However, I think some of this is a reaction to the equally grating default Baby Boomer “what we are doing is the most important and unique thing ever, and our generation is like none before or after” point of view, and it is this attitude that really turned me off to Studio 60.
    That attitude can be overlooked when you are watching a show about the White House and world politics. It becomes much less endurable when you are talking about a sketch comedy show, particularly as one commenter notes above, most people in sketch comedy don’t believe and don’t act and don’t pretend that what they are doing is the equivalent of curing cancer or running US foreign policy.
    I take no personal pleasure in Mr. Sorkin’s failure, and I’m sad the the lovely David P. has lost work, but I think Studio 60 at times was infused with an attitude that is the partial progenitor of the endemic snarkiness you decry.

    Reply
  8. Steph Mineart

    Yeah, what Chip said. Sure, there’s way too much snark about stuff that doesn’t merit it. But Aaron really let himself in for it with the pomposity. When I agree with 95% of his political beliefs, but I’m still put off by the relentless preaching, it’s a sign he’s lost even his core – let alone sparking “ah ha!” moments in the heads of those who disagree.
    I’m certainly sad the show isn’t still on; I wish we gave most shows more chance to find their sea legs before throwing them overboard. (And I hate reality shows with a passion.) But I’m not surprised to see people dancing on Studio 60’s grave, either.

    Reply
  9. Ehren

    I don’t have time right this second to read the above comments, which look well thought out and interesting, and I’m sure somebody said what I’m about to say better than I am about to say it. Why I stopped watching Studio 60.
    1) I love the snappy dialogue, but the plots were facile and groan-worthy. Honestly, ever time that one writer had some retarded scene in which his hero brother in Iraq was mentioned, I wanted to throw up. It was too sappy and saccharine, and seemed like a poorly thrown bone to what he perceived as the other side of the ideological fence.
    2) the show within a show was less funny than SNL, and I haven’t watched SNL (aside from the occasional check-in) for years. Why couldn’t they throw a chunk of money at Sarah Silverman or something and get some good material for the sketches?
    3) the biggest reason I quit watching is that it was such a big let-down from my expectations. Sorkin was a victim of his own success, and got critics so excited about his return to tv that they were colossally disappointed when it didn’t measure up to West Wing or Sports Night. The show would’ve been better received if it would’ve been his first, I think.

    Reply
  10. LFMD

    –Snark and anti-intellectualism are kissing cousins, except that the most snarky are the ones who should know better. They hate shows like “Studio 60” for trying too hard, yet have an ironic attachment to talentless vacuums like Paris Hilton. They think they’re overeducated, but if they were forced to elucidate an actual view on spiritualism, politics or even basic geometry, they’ll find their deductive muscles atrophied from years of sarcasm.—-
    Eek! Snap! You are talking about ME! I have been known to knock Sorkin’s work because “people don’t talk like that in real life”, yet I will spend hours watching such MTV crap as “The Real World” and “My Sweet 16”. Plus, my general manner tends to gravitate to snark, which does not work well in married life.
    Thanks for the reminder that you get farther with smarts than snarks. So true!
    P.S.: Dude, it is “Lindsay Lohan”, not “Lindsey Lohan”.

    Reply
  11. Grumphreys

    I’d just like to add that the snark factor negatively affects the music industry in a similar way. Tastemakers so often tear down or dismiss quality music that might have had a chance of crossing over to a broader audience… then we end up with really bad mainstream crap, which begets more crap.
    Political analogy: the far left votes for Nader b/c the other candidates are too mainstream for their tastes, and the end result is 8 years of GWB.
    To paraphrase Ian from above:
    “The next time any of these people complain about how stupid (television / pop music / George W. Bush) is, they can seriously fuck off, because they only have themselves to blame.”

    Reply
  12. LFMD

    Ian, believe me, you are a better person for not knowing the spelling of LiLo’s name! I was being a snark! Just like you wrote about!
    The fact that I know the exact spelling of her name, the name of her parents and siblings, and the names of her hook-ups is a sad state of affairs.

    Reply
  13. xuxE

    totally agree on the rampant snark overload, but i also disagree on the show not deserving it’s share of whatever snark is sloshing around.
    i don’t really put much faith in the critics’ raves, i like some stuff that gets acclaim and some stuff that is totally “i love new york”, and so i guess all i can say is that studio 60 just didn’t do it for me in either direction.
    what i DO love right now, aside from everything CP mentioned, is of course the Office with Steve Carrell and Rainn Wilson, even though i thought i would wind up spitting on it since i loved the British version so much and thought it would go the way of AbFab… speaking of the Office, Ricky Gervais had a cool show on HBO called “extras”, i don’t know what happened to that, maybe it just fell off my tivo list.
    reno 911 captures a lot of great low brow hysterical moments, that show has really grown on me, like scrubs. Battlestar Galactica has enough politics for my personal tv viewing preferences, safely wrapped under a nice sci-fi veneer. although i have to agree on the wire being in a class by itself, with brilliantly done politics.
    as for dvd collections, i’m planning to try the series 24 on dvd, and i highly recommend the series “firefly” from joss whedon, which surprised me because i never liked buffy.
    ‘this american life’ is the absolute bomb, i am like glue on that show, just like back when i would have to sit in my parked car to finish listening to it on NPR.
    and in the kid show department, i’m a fan of avatar, really well done and nice graphics, although nothing compares to samurai jack. courage the dog is a sick and twisted favorite, and our household also gravitates toward billy & mandy and growing up creepie.
    and this of course, leads us to adult swim, with a vast smorgasboard of entertaining stuff…

    Reply
  14. kjf

    i actually liked studio 60 although i could see its (many) faults. my daughter is a writer in la and when i told her i was going to watch it (before it was even on) she said she heard from alot of people that it was bad ( from people who either saw the pilot, read the script, or had some other knowledge of the show). i think that some of what ian is talking about here played into the info she received. studio 60 had its faults, but really did not deserve all the venom.
    i agree with cp that the comeback was a great show, but look where that went. i also happen to enjoy watching eddie izzard’s show on fx – the riches. another good one recently was dexter on showtime. but they are few and far between. ian – here’s hoping you get your show on the tube.

    Reply
  15. ken

    I agree with a lot of the other commenters here and wanted to add a few thoughts. To borrow a phrase from Sorkin himself “The show didn’t being the funny”. Sure there were some inspired comic moments (the two epi arc with John Goodman was brilliant) but it was pretty dour for a show about a sketch comedy show.
    If you look at Sports Nite and WW, there was always a foil who brought the charaters down to earth when they were too serious or earnest (which they always tend to be with Sorkin). Studio 60 didn’t have enough of a foil to deflate the pretense which at times was ponderous. I really wanted to *LOVE* Studio 60 but instead I ended up loving 30 Rock instead.

    Reply
  16. Beth

    Ditto what everyone else said about The Wire. I grieved after we’d finished watching Season 3 on DVD.
    But I also missed Studio 60 when it stopped showing up on the DVR list. I tried to watch it in the beginning, found it dull, missed a few episodes, then came back to it because we didn’t have enough saved shows to justify the DVR. And lo, the more I watched, the more I found myself caring about the characters, even mealy-mouthed Harriet–well, not that I liked her, but she’d started to feel real to me, despite the dumb situations they were all thrust into. I felt like the show had nearly gotten to the point where it might be about to hit its stride (equivocation, anyone?).
    Then again, my taste is apparently suspect, because I was also sad when Six Degrees was canceled. The writing was bland and saccharine, and the scenarios were unrealistic, but I’d watch Campbell Scott in anything. And again, I’d gotten around to caring about the characters. I feel like the networks should be obligated to at least give the loyal viewers (be it 2 or 2 million) a wrap-up episode or two when they yank a show. I’m *still* upset about never having found out whether Angela wound up with Jordan Catallano.

    Reply
  17. jason savage

    Chip wrote:
    I think Studio 60 at times was infused with an attitude that is the partial progenitor of the endemic snarkiness you decry.
    fantastically put.

    Reply
  18. emma

    Oh, Beth. What was the name of the show with Angela/Clare Danes and Jordan Catallano/Jared Leto? That was a good show.
    I enjoyed the Studio 60 that I watched, but nbc couldn’t have been behind it with its time slot. I tried to keep up for a while by watching it from the website, but that gets old after a while.

    Reply
  19. CP

    Chip wrote:
    I think Studio 60 at times was infused with an attitude that is the partial progenitor of the endemic snarkiness you decry.
    and Jason Savage wrote:
    fantastically put.
    (so I’m writing…)
    but see, I actually think the attitude was more one of entitlement and privilege and “I deserve” that felt so obnoxious, and not on the part of the characters (which would be interesting were the show to cast a critical or satirical eye on that lousy pov) but of the show itself. if you’re gonna do that, you have to be amazing, otherwise people in both town (la) and america will be counting the seconds until you fail, and laughing their asses off when you do.
    people don’t like being talked down to, be they comedy writers or network executives or nascar dads and soccer moms. it wasn’t so much that the show was smart, it felt more like it was how much smarter matt and danny (sorkin and tommy s?) were than everyone else — IN THE WORLD! it was like a center and eccentrics workplace comedy, only for self-satisfied narcissists who know for a fact that everyone else is wrong.
    you asked if the defamer people like anything. good question, but I’d also ask the same of mr. sorkin. who/what does he like other than the sound of his own voice (believe me, I can totally relate) and gilbert & sullivan?
    x to the e — ugly betty’s really fun. it’s like eating cotton candy. ditto on both offices and extras. my friends keep loaning me battlestar gallactica but I’m a butt and haven’t watched it. everyone says it’s amazing. true or false?

    Reply
  20. CP

    xuxE — ditto meaning I agree with what you said about them, not that they’re like ugly betty/eating cotton candy.

    Reply
  21. Rebecca

    Twas my impression that snark is what Hollywood is all about. Most of the snark is probably rooted in jealousy. You are smart enough not to publicly bite the hand that feeds you, but clearly others are not. (You know I love idioms; it’s a southern thang.) So there’s still hope for you and future success in that business. But those snarky underminers have screwed themselves. Who cares.

    Reply
  22. xuxE

    cp – battlestar galactica is so frakkin amazing it is truly a must see.
    i said “wow” aloud after several episodes, when i first started watching it, which takes a lot. i think they hit a couple of speedbumps on the last season, but entirely forgivable given the quality of the rest.
    it’s got the philosophical ‘what if’ elements of good sci fi, plus orwellian political twists and turns that mirror our own poltical mires and muck, AND compelling characters, it’s really chock full of good stuff.
    that being said, i watched the first couple of episodes, could not get into it, maybe because i couldn’t reconcile it with my expectations of what the show was back in the day, not sure what it was exactly, but i got hooked by watching the catch-up/re-cap movie thing i think it’s called “the story so far”.
    i’d say you should watch that catch-up piece as a low-commitment intro and see if it grabs you.

    Reply
  23. dpdir

    Oh well.. these shows come and go and unfortunately ( or fortunately, depending on your POV) Network TV is a follower and not a leader. In its quest to secure advertising dollars and eyeballs, the dichotomy between high and low will only get more distinct.
    The day when the entire family would sit and watch the same show ( Ed Sullivan, The Honeymooners, All In the Family, Mary Tyler Moore..and 100’s more) is gone. All shows are serving a smaller and smaller subset of viewers. as a result, the execs are both become MORE generic ( Deal or No Deal, American idol) as they still hope for the mega hit, and more pedigree ( Studio 60).
    The film industry went through this in the mid 70’s with the birth of the megahit ( Jaws, Star Wars) and has never recovered. An “independent” film now means a budget of under 40 million.
    In my snarky mood , i can decry the whole mess that is network TV. In my sunnier moments, I see the possibility of stranger and more unique shows having a chance to succeed if they can appeal to a loyal yet smaller viewership. And the advent of “on demand” will allow storytellers to overthrow the tryanny of the 30 minute/60 minute mode .
    Perhaps when we are complety free from this very old structure ( the attempt to be both popular and good) things will open up.
    Of course thats assumes the video game industry doesn’t obliterate the entire medium first.

    Reply
  24. Kois

    How exciting that as someone who a) has excoriated STUDIO 60 in print, and b) edits a snarky blog (though not one that makes Ian’s list!), I am fully qualified to respond to this post! Also, I don’t love anything, I never cry, I love Paris Hilton, et cetera, et cetera.
    My antipathy toward STUDIO 60 and Aaron Sorkin had nothing to do with my own failings and everything to do with the show’s. And more particularly, with the show being sold — by the network and by the show’s pilot itself — as the Future of Television, by a creator who has never hesitated to make his own life and times a cornerstone of his creative career. If Aaron Sorkin wants to be judged separately from his show, he needs to make a show that doesn’t serve his goals of settling long-ago scores from an NBC bully pulpit.
    I won’t apologize for my public response to STUDIO 60 or for my (mostly) private dismissal of Sorkin. And I certainly won’t share your condemnation for a brilliant site like Defamer, which — whether it’s journalism or not — does exactly what journalism should do, which is call the rich, powerful and venal on their bullshit. The vast majority of Defamer’s targets are not hardworking screenwriters like you, or hardworking directors like your friend, or honest actors trying to make an honest buck. They’re stars, execs, agents and moguls, most of whom deserve everything Defamer writes about them and more.
    Not Gawker, though. I hate those fuckers. They can eat a bag of dicks.
    xoxo
    Dan

    Reply
  25. scotty

    I watched Studio 60 every week, up until the awful episode with a zillion phone calls from Bradley Whitford asking Amanda Peet to be his lady. After that the show took a break and so did I. Where I thought it succeeded best was relaying the intense pressure of getting everything together for showtime, week in week out, and constantly having to rework stuff on the fly. I also loved the Matt Albie/Danny Tripp/Cal Shanley trio. It failed horribly in making me laugh. An ebay auction hootannany that lasted a whole episode? A joke about the President buying socks and not even owning up to the Bush in question was H.W. in 1992(ish)? I just got the sense that Mr. Sorkin’s ear for humor stopped listening in 2002. We had to be continually told how hilarious Harriet Hayes was. Like “most hilarious a human being can be without getting drilled in the balls” hilarious. Matt Albie even lauded her for how funny she was passing the butter just so. I’ll be darned if she made me laugh. The most consistently funny character on the show was Jack Rudolph, and he was a network executive, not even a performer/writer.

    Reply
  26. Ian

    Dan, I hope you don’t think my blog entry was an underhanded critique of your work on Vulture, or of something you wrote about “Studio 60” (which, of course, I’ll go find and read right now) – although I should have seen that would be an obvious assumption.
    However, I disagree that Sorkin uses his shows to settle scores, nor do I think they’re all ultimately about himself. That’s something that critics have decided, who, conveniently, also decided Sorkin/NBC thought “Studio 60” was the Future of Television, a canard they were more than happy to roast and eat.
    Scotty, I totally agree. Harriet Hayes did nothing for me either.

    Reply
  27. Honger

    First, some admissions:
    – I love TV.
    – I love TV tech (hi-def, time shifting, place shifting, etc.)
    – I am usually willing to be more generous to TV shows.
    – I think show quality in recent years has been better than what was available in the 90’s (for the most part).
    – I love snark.
    – I am not an idiot (AFAIK).
    – I really enjoyed TWW, even the not-so-good Wells years.
    So I really wanted to enjoy S60. Really. So much that I stuck with it for at least 4 episodes longer than I would’ve punted on most shows. But it didn’t even qualify as “guilty pleasure” because it never wanted to be that kind of show. It took itself WAY too seriously to qualify as “guilty pleasure”, so it had to stand on the merits of being an “important, literate show for blue staters”. Which it could not.
    But maybe, just maybe, I could’ve signed up for the cultural editorializing if certain other things were not too problematic to bear. Such as:
    – The show within the show was NOT FUNNY. I could not obtain the suspension of disbelief that the show was a cultural icon of funniness necessary for that not to bug me.
    – Along the same vein, I could not buy that Harriet was the 2nd coming of Lucille Ball.
    – The Harriet/Matt thing also struck out with me.
    – Specific item: Who amongst the WWII/Baby Boomer generation has NEVER HEARD OF the “Who’s On First?” routine? Were Tom’s parents so ridiculously conservative that this all-time classic comedy routine was verboten growing up? Huh?
    Anyway, I understand the raging against the machine going on about its cancellation. We naturally see it as a snub against our cultural eliteist good taste since the writing is snappy and it takes jabs at the red staters (which I’m more than happy to do in general. How ’bout you? ).
    So, just to put balance in, here’s what I like about the upfronts so far:
    – FNL is back – the 2nd best new show of last season (after Heroes).
    – Scrubs can finish – the best season of Scrubs so far was the one where they thought it was their last. The last couple have been so-so. So since this IS their last, perhaps they can go all out again.
    – 30 Rock – voicemails notwithstanding, Alec Baldwin is at his Canteen Boy best in this show.
    – End dates for BSG, Lost, and 24 (maybe). No “X-files sysdrome” for these shows, hopefully. And a dedication to resolving the story.
    I could go on, but I’m now too tired.
    H.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *