Monday, October 23, 2006

Studio 60: Live blogging on the Sunset Strip with Shakespeare's Sister

Updated throughout show.

Mannion: The blonde has yet to see an episode of Studio 60. It's on past her usual bedtime. "What you've written about so far hasn't made me want to stay up to see it," she told me tonight.

Now, because I get lonely here at night and want to share some quality TV time with my loving wife, and we've finished off Season Two of Deadwood and Season Two of House hasn't arrived from Netflix yet, I figure I'd better get some positive things written about Studio 60 pronto.

So I've brought in a ringer. A fan of the show. Someone I'm sure you all know and love, star of stage, screen, and radioactivity, ladies and germs, let's have a big round of applause for...

Shakespeare's Sister, her fans, her parrot, and her all-girl orchestra!

Hello, Mannionites. Shakes here, with many thanks to Mannion for giving me the keys to the Lancemobile for the evening.

As mentioned above, I find myself here only by virtue of having enjoyed Studio 60 so far, because I am otherwise patently unqualified for the job. I am a terrible watcher of TV, typically avoiding any series that forces me to pay attention to it on a weekly basis to retain some sense of what’s going on, that doesn’t have as its primary demographic "nerds," and/or that doesn’t give me at least as much pain as pleasure. Thusly, I admit to watching things like American Idol, mainly because I hate it, only to be told I have terrible taste in television—something I already know because television executives have been telling me for years, by canceling every show I like.

The mere mention of Freaks and Geeks can still bring tears to my eyes.

I’ve also never seen an episode of West Wing (grateful fans of which have applauded my decision to never tune in and thereby ensure its success), so the last time Aaron Sorkin and I were intimate was Sports Night, leaving me with expectations muted by the passage of time. I turned on Studio 60 more for Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford than I did for the man who created their characters.

And I certainly haven’t been disappointed. I believed, quite easily, from its start that Matt and Danny were old friends and loyal partners. Like Mannion, I’ve been less enthusiastic about the relationship between Matt and Harriet, for much the same reason. Harriet, I keep thinking, should be a little less easy to read; she should be…perkier. Every line should leave a question mark hanging in the air: Is she daft, or cunning? I’d prefer not to know whether she’s completely unaware that she’s tying Matt in knots, or glad of it. Her being evidently glad of it, and our nonetheless liking her, is predicated on knowing her better. Last week’s show remedied that a bit.

But forget Matt and Harriet. The real action is the developing relationship (not of the romantic sort) between Danny and Jordan (Amanda Peet). Last week’s subplot in which Jordan won that much more of Danny’s trust, and hence, a big favor, simply by showing a bit of integrity, was superb—and because Whitford and Peet are so fun to watch together, it nearly made me ignore the metawink of the scene, in which a fictional show bemoans the lack of precisely the kind of integrity so rare in television that it can be only be found on a fictional show designed to critique that lack of integrity.

Okay, enough of where we’ve been. Liveblogging where we’re going begins shortly…

9:02 - "Dome of pleasure?" No one thinks the Fortress of Solitude is called the Dome of Pleasure. Superman didn't hang out at a strip joint.

9:15 - "No, I want to put him on retainer." Ha.

I like the idea of being at the cast party, although I'm already bored with Matt and Harriet again. I have high hopes for the addled Sid Caesar fan to warm the cockles of my very heart, though, because I'm a sucker for shit like that.

9:30 - One of the things I like about both Matt and Danny is how they immediately respect anyone who calls them on their shit. The reason I like this is because I can relate. D.L. Hughley is shaping up to be one of my favorite characters in the show.

Jordan needs friends. Oy. I liked the exchange about Harriet's and her juxtaposed gossip nuggets in a celebrity rag, though. "My father was thrilled to read that." "I bet he was." Ah, bonding.

Tom's dad is a prick. And a cardboard prick at that. Just push him over, Tom! In front of a cat. Cats like to chew on cardboard.

9:41 - I got ten smackers that says that baseball has a phone number on it.

Mr. Shakes says, "Simon needs to be a writer!" Gee, ya think?

My cockles are very warm from Scarface.

9:58 - New black writer. Quite a night for this guy.

I would have won ten smackers, if anyone had been foolish enough to take my bet. cockles were getting warmer, warmer...and then...why it's Matt, all growed up! I've been left with cold cockles. Smirking cockles. Sigh.

Why do I like this show? I ask the same question every week, because every week I gripe to Mr. Shakes about all the things I think are too much or too little, and everything seems to be one or the other. It's the characters I like. They're stuck inside this giant pendulum that's swinging way too wide, back and forth. But it's in rhythm...and I think its arc will narrow, and then everything will fit.


Thanks very much to Mannion for allowing me to invade, and thanks muchly to the esteemed Mannionites who kept me laughing with co-live-blogging in comments!

Mannion again: Thanks, Shakes! Wasn't she great, folks? And working without a net too! And let's give it up for our special surprise guest star, James Wolcott, who unfortunately left his accordian at home tonight. Maybe next time he'll remember and favor us with his trademark rendition of Lady of Spain! Thanks for stopping by, Mr W.

Please, kids, remember to tip the coat check girl on your way out.

Folks on the West Coast tuning in late, you can still leave your comments too. Bar's open until 2. The band will be playing all night.


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