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Article

''Studio 60'': Rifts and reconciliations

On ”Studio 60,” Jordan decides Danny is crazy datable, Matt is sucker-punched by Harriet’s confession, and Tom gets a second chance with Lucy

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Bradley Whitford, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Art Streiber

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip )

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season

”Studio 60”: Rifts and reconciliations

Where’s Gary, you ask? Gary’s dead. Okay, sick. Gary’s sick. Back tomorrow, probably. But tomorrow is not tonight, and tonight (which is probably tomorrow by now), I, Scott Brown, hater, will be your Studio 60 TV Watch MC.

In a way, reader, it was meant to be. I have been hating Studio 60 for five wonderful months now, and they’ve been the best five months of the last six months. It takes a lot of energy to hate something no one’s even watching, but week after week, I muster that hate. I love it. I live for it. I don’t know what I’ll do when Studio 60 is gone — vandalize old Julian Schnabels, maybe? Kick Yale-educated puppies?

That’s a dilemma for next season. Tonight, reader, it is this season. Even more specifically, it is tonight, and Studio 60 just ended. And I am, as always, agog. Why? Four little words, scrawled in carefully product-placed eyeliner: ”I’m crazy about you!” Jordan and Danny, sittin’ in a tree! Sucky writing, O-M-G! Because, you know, it wasn’t creepy enough, Danny wooing Jordan with faxed letters of recommendation from the Hollywood establishment, or Jordan changing her phone number to evade his constant, desperate, newly sober dials, or Jordan asking him to friggin’ stop and Danny answering, ”No,” in a tone of voice only the deeply delusional wouldn’t recognize as ”stalkery.” But that was all just table setting, friends. Now the entrée is served! Jordan really was into Danny all along! She only doubted his motives. But a couple of hours locked on a roof can do wonders for a gal — especially if she’s preggers! (Network presidents can have babies, but they definitely do not have bladders — outsourced to Macao, no doubt!)

Of course Danny wins. A Sorkin man always wins. And it’s all about winning — every Studio 60 scene must have a victor, as a friend of mine once pointed out. Snappy dialogue is a zero-sum game, a blood sport, but ultimately, good triumphs. A harsh truth, wittily rendered, can close a business deal with a hard-case Chinese communist (Jack), lure back the lady you had alienated with a silly, extraneous line (Tom), and heal a racially inflamed rift — heck, throw in a few antiquated epithets, why don’t ya? It’s all, as they say, in the game. That’s right, Darius and Simon settled their dispute over the former’s relative blackness, but only after running the whitefolk out of the room with some appropriately violent posturing. Then Simon cleared the air by proclaiming, ”Writing rulez!” And yes, I am 80 percent sure he said it with a z.

So Simon wins. Danny wins. Tom wins. And Matt…watches his stage get pickaxed in slo-mo without batting an eyelash. Matt does not win. Matt, speaking at a dinner for Harriet…botches a joke! Matt! The God of Chuckle! Mr. Good on His Feet! Harriet threw him off by admitting (brace yourself, Christian America) to lusting in her heart. You read that right: She has been thinking about men, men other than Matt, a man, let’s all remember, she is not currently dating. This is, of course, an extinction-level event for our hero, who’s driven immediately into the arms of a Bombshell Baby (which is kind of like a Pussycat Doll, but filtered through a ’40s sailor musical). By the end of the show, he’s ready to marry this woman, or any woman, it would seem. Have you ever in your life, outside of an Oxfam fund drive, seen such needy men? How did they ever get a date in the first place? And why am I still watching?

Because next week, we get a bad-wig flashback to How Matt and Harriet met — appointment television, friends. And because I cannot stop. I surely do love this show, people. And this is how I love: by hating. I trust many of you will love me back, in kind, below.

Questions to ponder: How will Danny and Jordan fare now that they’re off the roof? Will Matt get his joke-telling mojo back? Why did Jack’s calling Zhang Tao names actually work? And will Gary be back TV Watching next week?