Tenspeed & Brownshoe

Friday, October 20, 2006


For the past couple of weeks, all I could hear about was how much people didn't care for NBC's Studio 60. Personally, I really love the show. Or...I loved it. The show's premise is actually kind of similar to my own situation with my co-director and co-producer, Larry Strong. Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford's characters (Matt and Ben) are scarily close to Larry and I. Even more incredible, we were hired to direct a new sitcom the day the show premiered. So naturally, I felt a kind of...I don't know, kinship, with Studio 60.

Recently, that's changed.

There are a few reasons why people don't like this show. People within the business object to the far fetched premises of the storylines. There was one episode where a staff writer stole some jokes from another writer and Matt & Ben made everybody redo that segment. Twice. This of course is so far from reality it wasn't even interesting. They never checked on any facts and it was just silly.

But I think what most people are objecting to is the Writing for Studio 60. Every single scene contains some sort of reversal. In one scene last week, Amanda Peet's character starts reciting some statistics and then Whitford's character says, "You're using a crib sheet, aren't you?" And of course she pulls out a crib sheet. Which wouldn't be so bad if that didn't happen IN EVERY SINGLE SCENE.

It's too much and it destroys any hopes of taking a scene seriously. In essence, scenes never have any stakes. Which is fine for a comedy like Arrested Development but totally wrong for an hour long drama (with elements of comedy). If they tone down the reversals, I think the audience would react a bit more favorably with the show.

I'm still watching Studio 60. I think you should do. But Aaron Sorkin needs to just let his great cast get through a scene without virtually mugging to the camera. Besides, NBC needs to keep more scripted shows on the air and less Deal or no Deal shows...