It’s well established that any show I decide to take an interest in is doomed to cancellation. This does not bode well for the new Aaron Sorkin show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip since I have programmed my VCR for Monday nights at 10. Things already look a little grim rating-wise as Tom Shales mentions in the Washington Post today. It seems the numbers for the premiere were good, not great. And worse, after about a half hour, people started turning off in droves. Tom Shales's theory is that the most brain dead show on television is not the best lead-in for the smartest.
Sorkin shows require thinking and he adds a degree of difficulty by throwing in as much visual and aural clutter as possible. For example, during one "walk-and-talk" the rap group with more Oscars than Scorsese is strangling cats in the background just to make sure you miss at least one witty line. Since so little on the show is ever summarized by Dr. Exposition, I had to piece together what actually happened. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it streaming here or catch it on Bravo tonight.
The hard-ass network censor demanded a skit be pulled because it made fun of Christians. This made Judd Hirsch channel Peter Finch. The suit demanded that he be cut-off, but Elliott from thirtysomething (doing a Willie Tanner impersonation) kept the camera rolling.
The eversexy Amanda Peet decided the best people to save the show would be Chandler (since that would reunite two-thirds of the Whole Nine Yards dream team), who was flying on 'shrooms his chiropractor gave him, and Josh Lyman, who does all the stuff Hamilton Jordan always denied doing in office.
Chandler used to bang Galinda The Goody-Goody Comedian until she sang gospel songs on a show her target market actually watches. Ironic twist: She was supposed to be in the Christian-mocking skit that Chandler and Josh had written years ago but which had been plagiarized by the current head writers. The religion mocking skit itself was never seen and probably never will be. It's one of those rules about shows-in-shows.
And least that is what I saw. According to this recap, I got at least a few details screwed up. Like Matthew Perry's character, I may have taken too many Motrin for my sprained wrist to make anything coherent out of it.
In the interest of Internet traditions, even though the show has only aired one episode, I propose a drinking game guaranteed to get you more sloshed that Mel Gibson at a bar mitzvah.
Studio 60 Drinking Game Rules
Take a sip when:
- Someone makes a thinly veiled reference to an actual NBC show.
- A cast member of either West Wing or SportsNight guest stars or cameos. (Bradley Whitford does NOT count.)
- The camera completely circles any characters talking to each other.
- Amanda Peet calls someone by the wrong name.
- Anyone carrying a clipboard gives exposition.
- The “director” yells some technical jargon to a flunkie.
- Any character starts to drink an alcoholic beverage but puts it back down.
- There is a TV on in the background showing something else happening.
- Anyone makes snide cracks about bloggers or the internet.
- A real cast member, past or present, of Saturday Night Live is name-checked.
- Anyone says “bing” in any context.
- A major religion or a political figure is ridiculed.
- A character struggling with a substance abuse problem falls off the wagon.
Blatant Comment Whoring™: Feel free to add your own rules if you don't think these will get your blood alcohol level high enough.
Update (10/8/06): For a meta-update on this post see my reaction to going viral.
Update (11/13/06): Check out my head to head comparison of Studio 60 and 30 Rock. The results may surprise you.