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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The End of "Studio 60"

Thursday night marks the end of one of the biggest disappointments in TV history…

For months, we were told what a great show it was going to be. It had a great writer, a fantastic director/producer and the networks got into a bidding war just to get their hands on it. And then “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” premiered and it all went downhill from there.

The first episode was okay, though not as great as what we would expect from Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme, but it was still pretty good with fast-paced dialogue and crackling characters—the things the duo was known for with “The West Wing” and “Sports Night.” But then the second episode came along, which culminated in the “hilarious” opening sketch of the fictional “SNL”-like show-within-a-show, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” And the sketch was just not funny. At all.

Then the next episode aired with more unfunny sketches like “The Nicholas Cage Show.” And it’s hard to do a show that goes behind the scenes of a sketch comedy when the sketch comedy is not funny.

And of course, there was Sorkin’s political views getting banged over our heads on a weekly basis…

When the show started to falter, Sorkin quickly tried to change the show to a romantic comedy. But pretty soon the Matt-Harriet scenes started to look like Sorkin was just reusing his Casey-Dana scenes from “Sports Night.” And the Jordan-Danny thing? I really don’t even have a clue about that one.

Last week, I actually sat down and watched the show and Sorkin was back to his old tricks. We finally learned why Matt and Danny were fired five years ago and—no big shock—it involved politics as Matt refused to apologize for a skit that featured Bush political operative Karl Rove interviewing movie studios about making more patriotic films after 9/11. The show even took a shot at Bush’s speech at Ground Zero. I guess Sorkin had been waiting a long time to get that one off his chest…

Tomorrow night, NBC will air the final episode. It’s entitled “What Kind of Day Has It Been,” which was also the title of the season one finales of “Sports Night” and “The West Wing.” Reports are that Sorkin did try to give the show some kind of closure. I’m hoping that’s true, so we can at least see Matt and Harriet get together. We never got that with Casey and Dana…

The series finale of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” airs Thursday, June 28th at 10 p.m. on NBC…