Without a doubt, the most hyped show of the new fall season was “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” and for good reason. It was created and written by Aaron Sorkin, the genius behind “The West Wing” and “Sports Night.” It stars Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford and a host of other very talented people. Most importantly, it takes place behind the scenes at a TV show very much like SNL. While the show-within-a-show concept is hardly new (“The Dick Van D**e Show,” “Murphy Brown”), “Studio 60” breaks new ground by taking on a new venue, the late night sketch show.
I must admit that when I heard about the show, I was excited to see it, mainly because I have been an Aaron Sorkin fan since I saw The “American President.” Unfortunately, I was disappointed in a big way. The two biggest problems with this show are the two reasons it fails completely. The first problem is that the characters take themselves WAY too seriously. I loved the seriousness of “The West Wing” and, more importantly, I bought it. Every decision they made affected the life of somebody in America. On “Studio 60,” they all seem to forget that it’s just a TV show. and it’s not even a very good one, which brings me to my next point.
The show-within-a-show is not funny! Every time I see them rehearsing “the news” or doing a wacky celebrity impression, I pray that it will make me laugh, but it never comes. If I am I to believe that Matthew Perry is such a genius he can write a killer comedy show all by himself every week, you have to give me something better than a lame Juliette Lewis impression. To be honest, I haven’t seen a Juliette Lewis movie in so long, I don’t even know if the impression was any good or not.
I decided to give the show one last chance last week and was pleasantly surprised. The show was exactly what it should be about; a bunch of Hollywood comedians and writers trying their best to make a funny show, despite idiot network execs and audiences with terrible tastes in humor. As a comedian, I can relate to that and I liked it. However, when Matthew Perry and D.L. Hughley went to talk to a young comic in the dressing room of the Improv Comedy Club I had to shake my head. It seems that nothing has changed since 1988, when “Punchline,” the shittiest movie about comedy, tried to convince us that comedy clubs all have a room where the comics keep their stuff and hang out before a show. COMEDY CLUBS DO NOT HAVE LOCKER ROOMS! The best part of this episode is that D.L. says Budd Friedman called him to check out the hack comic. I guess Budd is so desperate to appear on television again that he will let this show make him appear to be completely out of touch with what is funny just for three seconds of screen time.
Personally, I hope the show does well, mainly because if it doesn’t it will only lead to more dumbass game shows on NBC. Fuckin‘ Saget.