Thursday, October 12, 2006

My TV reviews

A few thoughts on the TV season so far.

30 ROCK – Uneven but funny. And what an interesting spin, all the people who produce a sketch comedy show aren’t wonks. Alec Baldwin was inspired casting. The other brothers should be pissed now. Not only does he have the looks but also the funny. Tracy Morgan was good too and you could see the comic potential of that wacko character. But when they weren't on, when it was just Tina Fey and misc. cast members, my mind drifted to how much better THE OFFICE is. Still, 30 ROCK is easily the best of the many behind-the-scenes-at-SNL shows this year. I want to coin a new term: Situation Cartoon.

STUDIO 60 – Just continues to get worse. Last Monday night’s episode was absurd. Not a single moment that rang true, either story wise or relationship wise. As my writing partner, David says, “it’s Aaron Sorkin’s COP ROCK.”

TWENTY GOOD YEARS – Baby boomers get one show geared to them and it's this clam. Swell. When John Lithgow passes away the cause of death will surely be “choked on scenery”. His performance is too big for an IMAX screen. And after ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and LARRY SANDERS, Jeffrey Tambor must feel he’s back in dinner theatre. How does the multi-camera format of television ever hope to survive when the only new four-camera shows the networks are putting on are hackneyed derivative stiffs like this and THE CLASS?

THE NINE – Compelling so far. But I’m getting a little tired of conspiracy cover ups. (I expect the raccoons in MEN IN TREES to start gaslighting Ann Heche.) The cast of THE NINE feels like an expansion baseball team draft. You can pick one from PRISON BREAK, one from EVERWOOD, one from WINGS, etc. But Tim Daly is great, Chi McBride has now been on every one hour drama since 1998, and I guess Kim Raver will no longer be on 24. Good. Jack Bauer’s got enough shit in his life saving the world without having to deal with that harpy.

UGLY BETTY – America Ferrara is a find. But the show should be a half hour. Or move faster than the TV Guide crawl.

TIL DEATH – Brad Garrett have you met Michael Richards, Jason Alexander, MacLean Stevenson, George Wendt, Lisa Kudrow, and the other second bananas who thought America just wanted to see them, the writing wasn’t important?

HELP ME, HELP YOU – Ted Danson deserves better material. Maybe the smarmiest new sitcom on the air (that’s not on Fox). In the pilot he climbs into his ex-wife’s bed while she’s there with another man. The guy leaves and Ted winds up sleeping with her. So does that mean she bangs the boyfriend and then her ex-husband a half hour later? The following week Ted is in the closet overhearing his daughter have sex with that same middle aged boyfriend. And the topper is, the sex lasts for hours. The “ick” meter goes right off the charts.

GREY’S ANATOMY – I’m so thrilled it’s beating CSI. Maybe now CBS will hold off on CSI:DES MOINES and LOS ANGELES CSI OF ANAHEIM.

HEROES – X-MEN with no costume budget. J-Crew models that have super powers. Can do things with mirrors, walk through walls, fly, read people’s minds. In other words, a typical Cirque du Soleil troop. Fun comic book fare.

DEXTER – I hear it’s good. I don’t get SHOWTIME. Who does? I’ll wait for the Emmy consideration DVD.

The NLCS -- Great to hear Joe Buck. Tim McCarver in the first two minutes of Game One calls Albert Pujols "Luis". We must get him off the air.

So far I think I’m like most Americans. A few of the new shows seem promising. I’m not hooked yet but will try them a time or two. My favorite shows are still from last year. And thanks to Tivo I have no idea when anything is on – which night, what time? Nobody does actually. I think the networks make the schedules confusing on purpose. I mean, why else would NBC buy a show called FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and put it on Tuesday?


Anonymous said...

Ken, Kim Raver has credit for the upcoming season on '24' per IMDB. She's listed through 2007. That's sweet to have two series at the same time.

nobody said...


is "ugly betty" an hour long just so no one could label it a (gulp) sitcom? it's ridiculous, it just has no business being an hour.

Anonymous said...

STUDIO 60 was from Mars this week. I can't believe a writer's room would go to the mat to protect a plagairist. Absurd. And then those two lame jokes themselves. Why would anyone ever steal those terrible lines even once, let alone twice?
Juliette Lewis hosting MEET THE PRESS as a sketch premise? When? In 1995? Who even remembers her? she is so last century. Why not a current bimbo, like Lindsey Lohan, Brittany Spears or Paris Hilton? It can't have been to show-off Harriet's "Brilliant" Juliette Lewis impression.
Matthew Perry says he's attracted to Harriet despite her being an idiot because onstage she's so brilliant, and in the same shot we see her onstage being utterly unfunny.
30 ROCK is a cartoon, but it's more believable than STUDIO 60.
I couldn't make it past mid-point on 20 BAD MINUTES. Lithgow is still playing an alien.
But the new DOCTOR WHOs are great.

Anonymous said...

When Fey said “What, are you going to tell me my weight?” and Baldwin cooly replied “Oh, you don’t want me to do that” I think I laughed loud and hearty for a solid 30 seconds and then realized that’s the most I could possibly wring out of an entire season of Studio 60. I rightly walked on that show after the 2nd episode. So too, the Nine. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just don’t feel the need to be tied to it for a full season. That’s the problem with these episodics, you’re either in or you’re out. Twenty Good Years, geez. I love Tambor and Lithgow, and I was hoping for an Americanized version of BBC’s Manchild or The Golden Boys. Ugly Betty, ugly time slot. I’m TiVoing the Office. I’m watching Smallville. I can’t do everything.

stephen said...

What's really ironic is the Studio 60 plot about stealing a routine was itself stolen from the Dick Van Dyke Show.

And I have to agree with Seymour about parodying Juliette Lewis. How in the world would she be late-night comedy fodder this decade?

30 Rock shows a lot of promise. It made me think of the first episode of Cheers. Some uneven moments, but you knew it would get better.

I couldn't get all the way through 20 Good Years either. When I can't understand why the laugh track is laughing, I turn off the tube.

Anonymous said...

After just finishing Ian Gurvitz's excellent book, "Hello, Lied the Agent" (which I think I heard about here), I have a whole new appreciation as to why so many new comedies suck.

The thing that got me out of writing for episodic, prime-time television (not that I was ever really in it, but the thing that made me stop trying), was the feeling that you never get to have your vision of the show produced on screen.

Personally, I would have felt like a fraud (and I did on a number of the "Saturday morning" cartoons I wound up writing)when the story editors or producers changed virtually all of my words and made them into "their words."

So... the bottom line is, until you let writers maintain their vision of the shows they create, and protect that vision rather than watering it down with umpteen opinions, you're going to get the bland drivel that passes for situation comedy these days.

I honestly don't know what kind of clout you guys had on Cheers early on that enabled you to keep so much pointed, funny dialogue, and not the watered down network material that happens when it gets through the meat grinder of "notes."

It seems that whenever there is a unique breakout show, whether it's All in the Family, MASH, Cheers, Seinfeld, etc., it happens because people who have that unique viewpoint are able to protect it until it makes it onto the screen.

And by the way, clearly your Mary Tyler Moore script had that same kind of "writers vision" (for lack of a better word), so that it was clearly written with passion, clarity and bite. Reading it now it almost seems as if it were about 10 years ahead of its time, and that if a gritty vehicle for Mary was done in the '90's, it might have been better received.

At least that's how I see it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and one more thing (as if my last comment wasn't long enough)... Come on, we can give Studio 60 more of a chance! I don't disagree with the comments, but even with all of its indulgences and "unfunny" comedy, I think it still has real potential. I for one am going to give it the benefit of the doubt. I loved West Wing so much, it's the least I can do!

doggans said...

I guess I'm the only person here who is consistently enjoying Studio 60.

But that could be because I'm an ignorant college student with no actual television comedy writing experience.

Anonymous said...

From the NY Times televison page on 10/11:

"Ten years ago NBC had 16 sitcoms on its weekly schedule, including "Mad About You," "Wings," "Friends" and "Seinfeld." This season NBC has four. Two are modest hits: "The Office" and "My Name Is Earl." The new ones
are "30 Rock," and "Twenty Good Years," which both premiere tonight."

Will the sitcom ever make a strong comeback or has that ship sailed?

Anonymous said...

"30 Rock shows a lot of promise. It made me think of the first episode of Cheers." Again I invoke (and paraphrase) Mr. Baldwin "Oh... no. You don't want to do that". I like to keep Cheers pristine and perched high atop sitcom mountain where it belongs, unmolested by the rabble.

Robert "kebernet" Cooper said...

I guess I'm the only person here who is consistently enjoying Studio 60.

I can't say I am as down on it as others seem to be, and I thoroughly enjoying the pilot, but this last episode was pretty bad. As a fan of Sports Night and The West Wing, though, I am also willing to give it a little more time. Looking back on SN, it took several episodes to really find its groove too, but by the 8th it was some of the best TV going.

VP81955 said...

From the NY Times televison page on 10/11:

"Ten years ago NBC had 16 sitcoms on its weekly schedule, including "Mad About You," "Wings," "Friends" and "Seinfeld." This season NBC has four. Two are modest hits: "The Office" and "My Name Is Earl." The new ones
are "30 Rock," and "Twenty Good Years," which both premiere tonight."

Will the sitcom ever make a strong comeback or has that ship sailed?

NBC arguably sowed the seeds for the genre's demise with many of its shows from the mid-nineties -- formulaic claptrap such as "Suddenly Susan" and other bland workplace comedies. When "Seinfeld" left, NBC focused on similarly lackluster "Friends" clones.

Can the sitcom bounce back? I'd like to think so, but I don't know if the genre now has enough "attitude" for the young audience networks crave.

Anonymous said...

Hey all,

The first episode of Dexter was available on the Showtime website, free of charge. I don't have Showtime, and Weeds sure isn't going to make me get Showtime, but Dexter's the only thing I've ever seen from them that made me consider it.

Murph said...

Dear Mr. Levine,

Please assure us that you also devote some of your day to reading Fire Joe Morgan. Those guys are great.

Whaledawg said...


First, you can watch the pilot of Dexter here

Second, you forgot the new breakout guy of 30 Rock, the overly enthusiastic NBC page. That kid was hilarious. I expect to see him playing the gay best friend in a crappy sex comedy next summer.

As for sitcoms making a comeback, of course they will. They had a run in the late ninties that was more due to marketing than anything else, that combined with the economics of the sitcom caused the networks to overproduce.

At the same time, in the last 3 years some of the best dramas ever seen on television have appeared. When these shows run out of steam (if Lost is any indication that may be sooner rather than later) and a few sitcoms start hitting their marks we'll see them get overproduced again and all will be right with the world.

--Garrett Whelan

Anonymous said...

TWENTY GOOD YEARS couldn't even manage twenty good minutes. As a 55 year-old man who isn't yet dotty and has plenty of money to spend, I'm bummed.

And, I agree that this third episode of STUDIO 60 was pretty weak but when the story doesn't measure up I still enjoy the hell out of the show's style. I'm still pulling for it to find its rhythm. Hiring a real comedy writer to write the "show" segments would probably make an enormous difference.

Anonymous said...

Studio 60 is really so bad? Well I disagree because this is TV where it's relative, and the rest of the family of programs is awful in general. To me, the script doesnt seem to have alot of dramatic peaks and valleys but intends to just knit together smaller strands of ten seconds here and there - often really good partner dialogs, and reaction-takes, rather than out and out big laughs.

But I agree about Juliette Lewis, that was strikingly odd. Last week it was at least Tom Cruise as reference. Oh... wait a minute, all scientologists? hm...

There should be some way to do a website for a TV equivalent to fantasy football, where people choose ultimate teams and then play them against each other. I would like to see what programs get on those lists. In my opinion, I prefer to watch the attempt of Studio 60 and see how it goes, then the continuing bs they networks send out. Like:

Dansen's show is an example of the norm, not the exception - really vulgar laughs, and also just. not. funny.

Anonymous said...

PS --> I, too, am reading HELLO, LIED THE AGENT by Ian Gurvitz as you recommended, Ken. It is great. Very insightful, very funny.

Just curious though, the title must be a favorite Hollywood joke, huh? When you search for it on you get Gurvitz's book and another written in 1997 by Lynda Obst titled HELLO, HE LIED -- AND OTHER TALES FROM THE HOLLYWOOD TRENCHES.

Gurvitz writes extensively about coincidence. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Loved Sports Night and West Wing so much! Studio 60 hasn't hit out of the park yet, but, I'm willing to hang in a bit longer...

30 Rock? Crap. 20 Years? Crappier.

Ken, Los Angeles CSI of Anaheim was a bona fide LOL!

Unknown said...

Speaking of Joe Buck, we Texans used to call Jack Buck "Buck Jack" because of his habit of reversing players' first and last names. Pettis Norman of the Cowboys, for example, was always Norman Pettis to Buck Jack.

VP81955 said...

Hiring a real comedy writer to write the "show" segments (of "Studio 60") would probably make an enormous difference.

Cross one candidate off the list. Veteran comedy writer Jerry Belson, early partner of Garry Marshall and a three-time Emmy winner, died this week at age 68:,1,2428574.story?coll=la-headlines-entnews&ctrack=1&cset=true

Emily Blake said...

Heroes is amazing, but Friday Night Lights is hands down the best new drama this season. Everybody who sees it falls in love with it, yet its ratings are really low because nobody's watching. If they cancel this show I'm going to cry. You have to see it. Seriously. You will be amazed.

And as for The Nine, John Billingsley used to work out at my gym until the day his pilot got picked up. I always wanted to say hi but never had the guts. Then one day I watched him push a woman out of the way to use the only open ellyptical machine. When his 30 minutes were up he reset the machine and started over even though there were people waiting. Screw that guy. It doesn't matter how many hours he spends on the ellyptical, he still looks on screen exactly as he does in real life. Not pretty.

The Curmudgeon said...

"LOS ANGELES CSI OF ANAHEIM?" I don't know; that might be the first CSI show I ever watch.

And, Mr. Levine, is it possible that "Friday Night Lights" is on Tuesdays because the most likely audience for such a show might be out watching high school football on Friday nights?

Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

Reading today's blog, I was reminded how funny the word "clam" is. I remember seeing Walter Matthau talking about "funny words" and their usefulness in comedy. Words like kumquat, pants, noodle, etc.

Ken, I'm interested... what, in your opinion are the top 10 funniest words.

Anonymous said...

You're right about most of the programs, but I loathe that dreg Grey's Anatomy! Pure house-frau stew. Predictable as gravity and so soapy it dries out my skin. I'm surprized you like it!
I'd almost rather see CSI: El Paso or Roland Martin: PI (The story of and ex sport-fisherman turned gumshoe who catches criminals for the challenge - then releases them).

Milehimama @ Mama Says said...

I was so disappointed in Twenty Good Years. The only thing I actually liked about it was Judith Light, and apparently she won't be making any more appearances. Most absurd line? John to Jeffrey -"You were a hero."
Why, for telling the bailiff to call an ambulance?
Studio 60 - give me a break. Big *darn* deal (is this a family blog?) the Network president was married to a loser... who cares?
And the head writers - "We take full responsibility..." for some writer weinie who stole a lame act?
I'm liking Heroes, despite plot holes like Nikki burying the bodies so she won't get caught, and then leaving the stinkin' shovel in the dirt (covered with fingerprints). Also, it was durn shiny for having been worked in the sand for hours.
Every time we see how the characters are accidentally connected, it makes me pine for LOST, which does it much better.
All in all, it really sucks that SMITH was cancelled and Studio 60 wasn't.

Mike Barer said...

I bet Tim is George W's favorite announcer.

Anonymous said...

I just discovered this blog and spent far too much time yesterday browsing through the archives. I didn't get much work done, but thoroughly enjoyed it.

"Studio 60" just didn't do it for me. The major difference between it and the "West Wing" (which I loved) was that TWW was optimistic about its subject matter - Studio 60 always feels like a rant against everyone who has upset Sorkin in the last 10 years. It's unfortunate, as the subject matter has promise. I'm currently reading "Live from New York" and cannot put it down - good read. I was hoping "Studio 60" would be similar. Ah, well.

Reading that book and this blog has made me curious about the exact purpose of a network television executive. From what I can tell, their only purpose is to squelch creativity and force all programming into a single template named Lowest Common Denominator.

Perhaps you can give us your thoughts on the purpose of those strange beings and how perhaps we can defeat them?


Cage Free Brown said...

I get Showtime. I saw a promo for 'Dexter' and I just can't wrap my mind around it. A crime investigator who is a serial killer BUT he only kills "bad people". I'm officially an old fogie because I don't see how someone could put something like that on the air and get a good night's sleep.

Anonymous said...

I think there's a great misperception that Friday Night Lights is somehow a more rugged, (and yes, I'm about to say this) red state OC. In fact, judging by the episode I saw, it's more of a masculine weepy. It has great writing, is visually stunning and it has a very sharp understanding of small town dynamics--particulary the way in which men relate to each other, the community and their families. Good stuff.

Ger Apeldoorn said...

I watched the second episode of Ugly Betty and absolutely hated it. Not only were the characters cardboard, so were the scenes. Or written on cardboard. She looses The Book. Let's forget the fact that this whole thing about The Book is straight from The Devil Wars Prada (where Meryl Streep plays a believable bitch instead of a cardboard one). Then we get a scene where the son of the owner has to ask what The Book is. How could he not know, living in that enviroment? And if he really didn't know, how could he not pretend that he did know? Instead he just asks. Then she looses The Book. And we get a whole scene where she does little else than telling everyone how bad it is she lost the book and how important The Book is. We know that. We watched the episode up till here. Redundant storytelling with one dimensional characters who aren't one dimensional enough to be funny.

I went to the taping of The Class 7th show and maybe I was so pleased to be there that I wasn't really looking well, but I quite liked it. It doesn't remind one as much of Friends as you would fear. And if it succeeds, it will be of the producers gift to find great characters and let the actors shine. Some of these actors are great. What I don't like about it, is the shortness of the scenes. It's like Friends played at Will & Grace intensity.

And I have to say I liked Cop Rock. Or at least, I didn't think the music thing was the reason it didn't work. The reason it didn't work was that Steve Boccho did one story over the whole season and it seemed like nothing happened. After that he did Murder One and figured out how to do one story.

And may I remind everyone reading Ian Gurvitz's book that Rob Long (of Conversations With My Agent fame) also has a new book out... with a British publisher. It can be ordered at and it titled 'Setup, joke, setup, joke'. Knowing Rob Long, it's either about comedy writing or about the Bush administration.

deepstructure said...

tried watching 30 rock last night (tivo'd premiere). sorry but any comedy that resorts to guys in mullets with oversized glasses, fey nerdy black geeks and dropping plaster on the lead's head for scene exits doesn't get my vote.

why do they have to go there if they have a good show and (as they do), strong leads (tina and alec)?

and if we're dinging behind-the-scenes late night comedy shows for not having funny routines in their on-air productions, count this one in. that cat skit was lame lame lame.

Anonymous said...

I may have reached the end of my rope with Studio 60 after Monday night. There are definitely some impressive aspects of the show -- most of the acting, camera work, design -- but with every episode I find a new reason to be annoyed, and as a writer, I am apalled by what seems to be Aaron Sorkin's hatred for all TV writers who aren't named Aaron Sorkin. This roomful of hacks are supposed to produce hackier material than "The Nicolas Cage Show" and "Pimp My Tryke"? And yes, there is just no way the room would defend a joke-thief.

I wonder if Sorkin is even aware that the two main hack writers, played by Evan Handler and Carlos Jacott, are actually the most likable and sympathetic characters on the show.

I plan to stop watching... but I also get so much mileage out of actively hating the show.

Corrie said...

You don't get Showtime? Well, you should start. I got it for Weeds alone, which was worth it. (Seriously, if you're not watching Weeds, as a comedy writer, you're really missing out.) Now Dexter makes it impossible to cancel, and I hear TAL is coming to Showtime soon as well.

Showtime is the new HBO.

Kenny said...

The difference is that 30 Rock doesn't proclaim that the cat lady sketch is God's amazing, hilarious gift to comedy--it presents it as a sketch that rightly bombs, something that the writers had intended to cut. And despite that it is still something that could more believably appear on a real sketch show than anything you see on Studio 60, and the fact that it is terrible but believable makes it funnier. It spoofs sketch shows rather than humorlessly enshrining itself, which, as Studio 60 proves, is death to comedy.

Anonymous said...

Sing it, kenny.

Dwacon said...

I have noticed that Ugly Betty seems to crawl more slowly than molasses running down the peak of a glacier. I enjoy the characters (especially Ashley Jensen from the Ricky Gervais series "Extras") and hope the show lasts... but as you say, in a 30-minute incarnation.

Michael Duff said...

You really like 30 Rock better than Studio 60?

I think even recycled Sorkin is better than this.

The jokes feel so labored to me, like everybody is trying to god damn hard to be funny, the strain of it overpowers the laughs.

Maybe I just haven't seen enough Sorkin to recognize what he's ripping off, but I think Studio 60 is head and shoulders above 30 Rock.

I say this as a big fan of Tina Fey. Hoping she doesn't have her career ruined by this awful, awful show.

deepstructure said...

kenny - that was disingenuous (on the show's part, not yours). they present a sketch but cover themselves by saying it's terrible and shouldn't have been on the show? so the one time the show about a comedy show presents a routine it's terrible because it was supposed to be?

lets call it like it is here - comedy is difficult to write - snl is a font of evidence that more often skits fall flat than funny. so writing a show about a comedy show has it doubly difficult and probably won't be able to be incredibly funny most of the time.

so i'll give them both a break on writing great sketches for their shows - it's not really the point anyways.

but if it's a choice between the behind the scenes show that's smart and snappy, and the one with mullet-headed geeks in it - i'll go with smart and snappy.

Anonymous said...

MSM-TV this season sucks.

All three Law & Order shows are crapola, one has to wonder what sort of bad drugs were dropped in the water cooler in the writer's room at Dick Wolf Productions.

Studio 60 is proof that Aaron Sorkin is a moron. This idiot confuses glib with good, shallow with serious, and commits the ultimate crime against writing of confusing "character" with "caricature." All his caricatures speak with the same voice, Aaron's voice, and like all cokeheads, he thinks that every bit of drivel that drains out of his fried brain is gold. Having two guys walking down a hall reciting exposition is not the same as speaking dialogue. That Hollywood thinks this drug-addled dope is a genius is a slap in the face to the rest of us who actually can write. And no show-runner I've ever worked with would let that bald-headed traitor live after his treason with the focus group reports. And no writer with any talent I know of would let that fuckwit get away with dominating the room as he does with his hackery with a public ass-kicking. This show is about as close to a truthful "behind the scenes" look at "how it's done" as "The Unit" is an accurate portrayal of the Delta Force (another ewaste of innocent film stock whose only claim to worthiness is it's keeping a lot of otherwise-unemployables from living in cardboard boxes).

"Smith." Utter crap. Hollywood may be the last respectable outlaw profession for upper-class white boys, as David Freeman once said, but nobody likes hack-written crooks and who the hell would care about some halfwit bimbo who gets off with an identity-theft ring, an idiot who steals a motorcyle for the hell of it after shooting people we know nothing about and care for even less, and that most hackneyed of criminal archetypes, the jazz-loving seen-it-all leader who's only in it for 4 or 5 more jobs till he has enough to retire. Ray Liotta deserved a helluva lot better. I'd have loved to have been on the staff and written that Samoan drug dealer so he got to kill each of those caricatures with the gut-wrenching strangulation they each were in such desperate need of.

Of course, once you get above Channel 13, there's actually afew things worth watching.

Where else can you watch the most three-dimensional discussion of the war in Iraq than on BattleStar Galactica? As an SFFWA member, I love Great S-F that deals with what Great S-F always deals with: the here-and-now, but off in the then-and-there.

Dr. Who: all the whimsy and enjoyment of the original, with great cheesy effects like we always wanted back then. The return of Sara Jane and K-9 this last episode was wonderful.

Nip/Tuck: the new season is more outrageous than before, and taking on Scientology on its own level is braver than anyone else ever.

And as someone stupid enough to have missed "Six Feet Under" when it was on HBO, thank you Bravo Channel for bringing it back, even with the cussing censored. This show is so good that, as a writer, I find myself watching the 2nd and 3rd weekly rebroadcast just to get it all.

And thank goodness for "Project Runway," what every guy needs so that while SWMBO is watching the 4th rerun (they edit those shows after initial broadcast to change them, did you know? My wife was the blogger who discovered that) he can go do those "guy things" in the garage we're always getting grief on.

Anonymous said...

Here's good news about Studio 60 (no matter your opinion of the show): you only have 9 more episodes to put up with. Warner Brothers sold it to NBC with a "no cancellation for 12 episodes" clause, since it was created by a "genius."

Of course, on December 11, it will sink without a trace like all anvils do when thrown into the Well of Bad Shows...

Kenny said...

First of all: There has been only one episode of 30 Rock versus four of Studio 60, so it's unfair to say the show will always be this "disingenuous." On the other hand, Studio 60 has had ample time to prove that it is always boastful as well as unfunny.

Who knows, maybe 30 Rock down the road will change and The Girly Show will be portrayed as good. But even if 30 Rock continues down the path you call disingenuous, it will follow the tradition of most shows-within-a-show, which are generally made out be not as good as the actual show, and have their badness played for laughs. This is probably the wiser strategy because a) if the fake show were really so good, why not just make it for real? and b) when you claim beforehand that something is hilarious you distort audience expectations, which makes it very difficult to be funny even if your joke is hilarious.

Also: That dork with the mullet is a weird actor who wears that glasses/mullet/trucker hat combo no matter what role he plays. He's appeared looking exactly the same as a mentally challenged man on Curb Your Enthusiasm and the Project Greenlight turkey "Feast." So it's not so much a gag as it is what this guy looks like.

-K- said...

I just saw tonight's (Oct. 16) Studio 60. Is it a drama that isn't dramatic or a comedy that isn't funny?

It's both.

My suggestion: drop the "being an extremely intelligent and senstive writer writing for tv is just so darn hard" aspect and concentrate on the war between Steve Weber and Amanda Peet.

Mary Stella said...

I desperately want to like Studio 60, but it's making it difficult.

Ugly Betty is my favorite new show, even at an hour length. Not that the show needs it, but possible stunt casting -- a guest shot by Sara Rue.

Love GA so far, although McDreamy and Meredith continue to be the two least interesting characters for me. McSteamy is another matter. Last week's ending scene in the bar with Callie -- Whew!

Anonymous said...

I'll second a vote for Dexter. I've only seen one episode (and not the first), but I found it very well done, although the internal monologue can get a little tiresome.

A crime investigator who is a serial killer BUT he only kills "bad people". I'm officially an old fogie because I don't see how someone could put something like that on the air and get a good night's sleep.

I'm guessing you weren't big on Nabokov either?

Ron Buckmire said...

Battlestar Galactica is as good as ever. The only new (to me) show I am considering adding to my Tivo is "The new adventures of Old Christine."

I suppose I might give the second season of Dr Who a try, but I thought the first season was pretty execrable.

Anonymous said...

If you are not watching weeds on showtime you are missing out. It is the only show on TV that leaves me shocked at the end of each episode, it has the quality we dont see on network tv. Give studio 60 a break, go back and watch the early episodes of the west wing, it will take sorkin to get us to care about the characters. I really enjoy it,

Anonymous said...

I love Studio 60, if only because Adam Sorkin has the chutzpah and/or opportunity to say what others won't/can't.