All right, that’s it. I have had it with the Studio 60 hating, Scott Brown of EW.com! It is all so easy! Yes! It’s idealistic television! Yes, the sketches aren’t funny! Yes, Aaron Sorkin is writing a thinly veiled dream version of his life! And you know what? I freaking love it, and I’m not afraid to say so. You think people who worked in the White House thought West Wing was anything but a unicorn cloud festival that completely distorted everything they did every day? No! So why should we be surprised that those of us who dwell in the unicorn cloud festival of pop culture should think Studio 60 anything other than preposterous?
I’ll tell you why I like it: because it shows me Hollywood the way it SHOULD be. Because it poses the possibility that television– much like government– has the potential to do immense good, and that those in charge must only seize control of that opportunity. And because I love Bradley Whitford, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Timothy Busfield, Nate Corddry, Steven Weber, Christine Lahti, and even slurpy little Sarah Paulson. They could get together every week and read VCR instructions, and I’d still watch, if it was lit right.
So can we give the pro-Studio 60ers a little piece of the floor now? Frankly, I think people are scared to watch this show for fear they accidentally fall in love with one or more characters and find themselves ostracized from the media elite. Well, I’m not. I LOVE THIS SHOW.
Thank you, That is all.
(After the jump, see the flame war that erupted in EW’s TV department over Whitney’s defense of Studio 60.)
Dalton Ross: Finally! I have some company in Scott Brown. I’ve been saying for months how weak I thought this show was, but was a lone voice in the wilderness. All the characters are smug and unlikable.
Kristen Baldwin: They lost me at “You look like one of them, but you talk like one of us.”
WP: But… But… how is the idealism here ANY different than the idealism of West Wing? I mean, a bunch of characters sitting around saying things like “I serve at the pleasure of the president”?? Do you think Condi Rice and Tony Snow clasp each other on the shoulder and say that sort of thing very often? I just think because TV is expected to be inherently devoid of value, people can complain this show is over the top… but think about one of Scott’s big complaints about this week: that Amanda Peet turned down a ratings bonanza of a reality show in favor of an artistic sitcom. Well, maybe I’m wrong, but — isn’t that the sort of thing we are BEGGING networks to do every single day?
KB: But watching a show about network execs making the “right” choices while music swells in the background isn’t inspiring — it’s just a little awkward and boring, especially when it’s presented with such gravitas you’d think they were healing AIDS babies or something.
WP: Maybe, Kristen, healing AIDS babies starts with decent network TV. We just don’t know.
DR: I don’t know, but I just wrote a pilot for my own hour-long primetime drama where a bunch of people keep trying to convince me to throw my old newspaper in the trash can, but I decide to gallantly do the right thing and carry it over to the recycling bin instead. (Working title: Big Blue Bin.) The sad part about it is that the stakes are actually higher in mine than in Studio 60.
Tim Stack: Dalton, the first episode should be pretentiously titled “The Long Crumple.”
WP: I just think we all have a little bit of a double standard here. We roll our eyes and make gagging noises about Flavor of Love, but when something actually aspires to a higher goal, we tag it pretentious. Frankly, all good TV, in my opinion, is idealistic. (You think Friday Night Lights is really capturing the world of central Texas football?) But I’m done now.
TS: I actually like Studio 60 AND I like Flavor of Love. But at the same time, Studio 60 IS incredibly pretentious and talky and there is something obnoxious about Hollywood kissing its own ass. At least Flavor of Love is honest in its complete trashiness. There’s no pretense that it’s going to change the world.