Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ten Hut...There's An Officer On Deck

This admittedly is less of a typical post and more of a public service announcement from the good people at Slack LaLane. If you didn't already do so last night, it's time to start taking Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip seriously. Aaron Sorkin is officially back.

Last night's pilot brilliantly set up the whole series, a behind-the-scenes look at a Saturday Night Live kind of variety show. And as I expected, Sorkin's banter hooked me from the get-go and reeled me in before the first commercial break. Now we're left to rejoice and welcome back the greatest monologue and dialogue screenwriter of the last two decades, the intelligent and witty visionary who brought us A Few Good Men, The American President, Malice, Sports Night, and the first four genius years of The West Wing.

After just one episode, it's clear, Studio 60 is the next great Aaron Sorkin-Thomas Schlamme project. In typical Sorkin fashion, the cast is a fast-talkin', quick-walkin' ensemble of attractive ladies and handsome fellers. But above all else, the show is shot beautifully. Really, there are serious film directors that can learn an awful lot about presentation by watching the cinematography of both this show and old episodes of The West Wing. I'm guessing the cameramen are the most underpaid people on the show.

Annoying Bossman Steven Weber and Christian Cast Member Sarah Paulson are classic over-actors and need to scale it back, but the rest of the cast is already falling into the perfection of their written roles. Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford already have the chemistry it took Whitford and Rob Lowe a full season to build on The WW, and Amanda Peet is both sexy is hell and yet incredibly believable as the president of the network: She stole the show. Throw in DL Hughley, Timothy Poindexter Busfield, Nate Corddry, Judd Hirsch and Ed Asner, and you've got yourself a helluva television show with staying power.

Studio 60 is already smart, it's clever, it's well-produced and, best of all, it's poised to get better with each episode. So I'm guessing it'll be cancelled in a few weeks. Better watch it before that happens.

Slack Link of the Day: Arrrrr, ye bilge rats, today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and somewhere Peter Sarrrrsgaarrrrd is hiding out.

Slack Video of the Day: Here's a six-minute clip of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip for those of youse that couldn't set your TiVos properly. And while I wish YouTube had a much better library of West Wing classics, I guess we gotta use what we gots. Here are a couple of old bits in honor of last night's debut: Parking Tickets, Changed Timezones, and Star Trek Geekery.

Slack Song of the Day: How 'bout we Hornsby it up today -- first let's see some Softer Bruce, then some Rockin' Bruce: Loser, Mandolin Rain, Tennessee Jed and The Way It Is.


At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree -- great show. I never watched the West Wing, but from what I saw last night, I wish I had. Of course, I did feel mildly uncomfortable though when Matthew Perry's character kept talking about all of the painkillers he was on .....

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Bravo shows the re-runs..just don't start with the post-Sorkin era. Make sure you watch from the beginning, or close to it. If you wanna talk about the most brilliant show ever, The West Wing is certainly in the running.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger ahren said...

"the most brilliant show ever, The West Wing is certainly in the running."

come on. with the recent uptick in the quality of television being driven by the pay channels, west wing can't even realistically be considered in the top 5 shows of its own era.

(receiving endorsement deal from hbo in 5...4... 3...)

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Mr. Underhill said...

I've always been fascinated by the concept of the "Pirate Accent." Serously. And I mean that aside from the fact that it's an outrageously ridiculous accent and super-fun to imitate. My real wonderment comes from the fact that there is a pirate accent at all and that the pirate accent we have come to know is clearly invented. Being a pirate is a job, not unlike being a lawyer or, say, a postman. That said, why the f*ck do people who become pirates all have the same accent? Does it happen once they get on the boat, is it really that sudden? Is it an effect that occurs after years of pursuing "booty" and laughing about the fact that it's called booty? But the real quandary is that pirates are an internation concept - every country with a coast boasts at least a few pirates. So why do Juan, the Spanish pirate, Helmut, the German pirate and Doug, the British pirate all talk the same?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what Grinds My Gears.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

HE SAID IT!!!!!!!!

At 2:41 PM, Blogger marie lyn bernard said...

West Wing is one of the best shows ever. It's right up there with Six Feet Under. Just seeing Josh Lyman up on screen again is enough to make me a loyal watcher. I got the pilot from Netflix a month ago and watched it again last night. I know there are a lot of nay-sayers, but I think it's gonna be good--and I love Sarah Paulson (she's usually a stage actress) so I think she'll be a good part of the show.

I also think it's funyn that Sorkin used to write West Wing on crack. And that West Wing became my government porn when our own administration was so deeply terrible.

At 2:43 PM, Blogger hoobs said...

An interesting question, Mr. Underhill. Similarly, why do gay men often have the same accent regardless of what part of the country they are from? A warm-up comic at a Dave Chapelle show once posed that question a number of years ago.

On the Studio 60 tip, I thought it was great. Interesting subplots in the making, and Sorkin always seems invested in invoking some sort of social change through the media of television (sometimes too ideal, but still...). My one gripe is all the squinty-eyed smirking in the show, overly emoting the idea "this is gonna be a great show!" Can it; let the proof be in the pudding.

At 6:33 PM, Blogger Shakespeare's Sister said...

Studio 60 is already smart, it's clever, it's well-produced and, best of all, it's poised to get better with each episode. So I'm guessing it'll be cancelled in a few weeks.

LOL - my thought exactly.

At 2:26 PM, Anonymous MattyB said...

I wanted desperately to not like this show, and for about 2 minutes it seemed like my wish would come true. I thought "eh, the West Wing only i don't care about the backrooms of tv like i do politics." Then Judd Hirsch with an assist by Poindexter saved the day. I actually liked Weber and I won't diss Paulson becuase she was on Deadwood.

This is also, and i swear, the first time i ever liked Matthew Perry in anything -- including Friends.

The Wire it ain't; but as a West Wing replacement...well we may be on to something.

At 2:28 PM, Blogger MattyB said...

Although...."if you said 54 seconds i would have given you a raise", is one of those over the top Sorkin cheesey ass lines. We know Whitford's character is cool...let it go.

Just as long as he doesn't get out of a cab in front of "NBS" headquarters and yell "you wanna piece of me" all will be Ok.


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