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Firstly, many many happy returns of the day to timesink

* * *
Took my mum to Cornwall for four days this weekend as a treat. It mostly rained but we went to the Eden Project (to which everyone who is in Britain must go if they possibly can) and ate fresh fish which came from the gods. Well, the Channel really, but also the gods.

* * *
Studio 60 ... I don't know, I want to like this show so badly -- a lot of it I do like -- but I can't get over what a charmless arse Aaron Sorkin is being.

(1) Would you *please* leave the Christian stuff alone unless you can approach it in a way which is not shrill and one-note and unsubtle and making me itch every time Harry is on screen. Sarah Paulson seems to be a very good actor, or at least tremendously likeable, and the way the rest of the cast bang on about her being Christian is making me hate them. Teasing is one thing but this is a pathology.

(2) Leave. The fans. Alone. Having a pop at a chunk of your buzz-making demographic as pyjama-wearing, cat-loving, keyboard-pounding nerds is just rude. Even if they are pyjama-wearing, cat-loving, keyboard-pounding nerds.

You're not saying it with affection, Aaron, and that's the key.

(3) SWEET CRISPY ELVIS, YOU ARE NOT FUNNY. Except I *know* you are, so I am left with steaming great piles of WTF? in my brain. You clearly cannot write sketch comedy to save your life if this week's debacle was anything to go by. The G&S pastiche in the second episode was something The Two Ronnies would have chucked out for being tedious in 1988. It just about coasted past on sheer charm because I *want* to be charmed, Aaron.

This week -- aside from the joke about the bear, which also kind of coasted by on its lame charm -- there wasn't a sketch fragment that was funny. There wasn't a thing that even had the merest delicate whiff of funny whispering around its dangly bits.

"Science Schmience"? Are you *high*, Aaron? Because the only time that would be funny would be if you'd been smoking skunk and were at the midway point between "hey, that Victoria Principal infomercial is hilarious" and "let's go down to the all-night garage and buy 20 Mars Bars"

When it was The West Wing, and the cast were all saying "Oh Toby, your words fell on my ears like the patter of tiny angels feet" -- then when the speech was delivered it was all "America must say strong and be vigilant and we must reach for the stars" and other over-familiar tunes from Speechwriting 101, rather than the Saint Crispin's Day speech de nos jours that I was expecting -- well, I cut you a break, Aaron, because great political speech-writing is shamefully rare and the rest of your dialogue was all the rsshh-ta-ta-tsshh of snare drums and cymbal, the sax break and the big horns, the televisual equivalent of truly swinging jazz.

But these sketches are just pants. If you can't do it yourself, for the love of God, hire someone who can.

(4) Oh, SPARE ME the "I wasn't hurting anyone when I was on coke" spiel because even you must know it's morally bankrupt and you're just not that stupid. If I thought you were seeking to make Danny look defensive and guilty that would be one thing, but that doesn't seem to be the case, Aaron, you're working through your own sense of affront that your arse got booted out of the door on The West Wing because you couldn't stay clear of shrooms and the Colombian Idiot Dust.

Being coked up makes you drive dangerously, just as alcohol does, but that's not the real price. The real price is fucking up the economies of the developing world, funding leftist guerrilla groups and the rightwing militias set up to battle them, putting a shitload of cash into the pockets of reprehensible scumbags across the world, not to mention justifying the existence of drugs policies that are deeply flawed. Self-righteous rants like the above aside, just because it's mostly a white collar drug doesn't make it any cleaner. Do cocaine, don't do cocaine but don't pretend it doesn't hurt anyone if one does.

(5) I care about politics in the White House already; I do not care about the machinations of a bunch of Hollywood twats who drive petrol-guzzlers and think the sun shines out of each other's fundaments, so you're going to have to work a bit harder at making their lives mean anything to me. There's too little at stake. If the show gets pulled off the air, they'll make a pilot next year. They're in Hollywood, after all. Sports Night, which was briefly on ABC1, made me give a damn because of the "small beleaguered team hanging onto their show" vibe. You need to capture some of that before it's too late.

(6) That's quite the recycling effort you have. I quite enjoyed parts of The Focus Group but I really loved it seven years ago when it was called Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics and also featured a plucky woman who didn't believe that her efforts were helping the rest of the group. Polling predictions = Commedia dell'Arte.

It makes me thing of words starting with H and ending in -ACK.

(7) Jordan McWhatever. Ye Gods and little fishes. Get rid. Cast someone older who is not the abyss into which all charisma falls.

On the plus side:

(1) LUCY DAVIS! (Who was Dawn in The Office: Original Flavour) Lucy Davis was in the writers scene. She even got a line. I hope she actually gets a recurring role, if only because the Daily Mail gave her a proper monstering last year for failing to get anywhere in Hollywood owing to, you know, weighing more than a small packet of peanuts

I would love it, *love it*, if she proved them wrong.

(2) Matt is mostly adorable and Matthew Perry is surprising me all the time with how much I love the character. His relationship with LeoDanny is a treat

Still watching but my gruntle is severely dissed.

* * *
Spooks this week was a bitter disappointment and stupid in a kind of all-singing, all-dancing way that made me want to throttle the writer. Then revive him so I could throttle him some more.

I will not explicate except to say *Offa*? If memory serves Ruth was a GCHQ linguist not a historian as she would've been to write a thesis on Offa. Also THAT MADE NO SENSE and was a total retreat from the pleasing "keeping at least a toe on the floor of reality" stance of this season. Writer, please come back so I can bloody throttle you again.

I absolve the cast. They were good. I wanted to be caught up in the storyline. Not their fault that the writer is AN IDIOT and wasted Oliver Mace and the best teaser this season AND [redacted because of squee]

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
violetisblue
Oct. 4th, 2006 01:37 am (UTC)
Best review ever. Have this virtual chocolate in gratitude.
kirbyfest
Oct. 4th, 2006 01:48 am (UTC)
But these sketches are just pants. If you can't do it yourself, for the love of God, hire someone who can.

Word.
loligo
Oct. 4th, 2006 01:59 am (UTC)
I haven't even watched this week's ep yet (Studio 60), and I am already cheering you on in total agreement. Mostly on the Sorkin thwacking, but also on the surprising affection for Matthew Perry.
sharinlilbit
Oct. 4th, 2006 02:01 am (UTC)
Re: Studio 60 rant

I thinkknow I love you.
k2daisy
Oct. 4th, 2006 02:05 am (UTC)
Well, damn. I might have kept on watching Studio 60 if I knew Lucy Davis would be appearing.

Tim'n'Dawn 4EVA!!!

Carry on with your most excellent critique.
se_parsons
Oct. 4th, 2006 02:13 am (UTC)
What IS it about Cornwall and rain? it is endlessly cursed with rain whenever people want to go there.

I wasn't able to watch Studio 60 this week becuase of rain. But I've noticed the total unfunniness of the 'show" within the show myself. And I don't know about Sorkin enough to know about why he's ranting. But even so, it's coming off as mean and not funny and going after people he has grudges with. Which is never comedy, or even good drama.

I will keep watching it for a little while because I like what the actors are doing. but if he doesn't give them better stuff to do, i will quit, like I quit Desperate Housewives.
comice
Oct. 4th, 2006 03:02 am (UTC)
I haven't watched this week's Studio 60 as yet, but you have totally put your finger on my problems with the show's first two episodes.

Also?

:: blows you smooches ::
sheaclaire
Oct. 4th, 2006 03:07 am (UTC)
Hi!!

You put into words what I've been feeling about Studio 60. It's Aaron Sorkin's therapy. I want funny, witty, smart Sorkin back. Feh.
minnow1212
Oct. 4th, 2006 03:14 am (UTC)
Preach it :)
marakara
Oct. 4th, 2006 04:14 am (UTC)
I don't even know why they're showing the sketches. The genius of the last TV show about writers putting on a variety/comedy series (The Dick Van Dyke Show) was that you almost never saw the show outside of the writers' room. They were funny enough that they didn't have to prove they're funny.

Take Care
Mara
laurashapiro
Oct. 4th, 2006 04:07 pm (UTC)
I was going to write a Studio 60 post today. Now I think I'll just link to yours.
breyer
Oct. 4th, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC)
I was wondering if I was just not "getting" it because I didn't find any of the Studio60 sketch smidgeons remotely amusing, either. I feel much better now. ;-)

Also, I wanted to thwap the studio head chick who was surprised that her mug shot of her non-existent DUI ended up on TV. Hello, lady, if you've got Gwen Stefani as your show's musical guest, then you're clearly operating in the here and now, which includes Internet research tools such as TheSmokingGun. Of COURSE someone is going to find your non-arrest arrest record and plaster it everywhere!
cofax7
Oct. 4th, 2006 05:12 pm (UTC)
Offa didn't peeve me, it was the WTF bit when Harry broke the glass and Zaf and Adam decided to throw Ruth out with the bathwater. WTF? They couldn't come up with anything better than that? Not to mention, Mace had crap for evidence! It was all bullshit.

Ruth! ::sobs::
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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