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Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip 1.09 - "The Option Period"

A decent episode. It'd be good by anybody else's standard but Sorkin's and a handful of others.

Random comments:

  • Jessica Simpson - not sure who she is (though I've heard the name), but she's got to be a good sport to let herself be made fun of like that. I assume of course that all appearances by real people - even those just in dialogue - are cleared first.
  • Rick eschews responsibility for the script format stuff-up ... unlike his much more admirable stand in "The West Coast Delay". Even before the revelation that he and Ron were hiding something I didn't consider this inconsistent characterisation. The stakes weren't as high this time around, so the threshold of being forced to cross into altruism wasn't reached.
  • We hear about the show falling flat, but don't see it ... maybe Sorkin was afraid we wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the jokes that are supposed to be funny and those that aren't?
  • "And I returned that call." Hmm... is there a hint of Jordan/Danny frisson in the air? Later: Yup.
  • Harriet's nude shot. What is this, Enterprise?
  • But ... wow. It actually has story relevance! Not (quite) gratuitous.
  • The discussion around Harriet's dilemna this week (doing a lingerie layout even though the magazine just wants to fetishise her faith) was less polemical than the discussions we've seen to date, and more interesting. I like how the Simon and Tom take for granted that there's nothing hypocritical per se about a devout Christian posing in a girlie magazine, just worry about the repercussions of it on their friend.
  • Matt's concern that the Peripheral Vision Man show would reflect badly on him (and only quite incidentally the show) seemed more egotistical than anything else, regardless of how accurately he assessed its quality. He made the right decision in the end.
  • I expected the "option period" of the title to refer to the pickup of Studio 60 itself, but no, the show wasn't quite that self-referential ... this time. Though the bit about a guaranteed 13 episodes might qualify.
  • Didn't expect Ricky and Ron to leave so quickly though ... have they gone off to Mandyville? If so, at least they got an on-screen exit.
  • The writing staff walking out because of a demanding new (or in this case, old) guy, leaving the new guy with an inexperienced staff is a callback to season four of The West Wing when the same thing happened to Will Bailey. Expect Matt to put Darius and Lucy in football sweaters and get their names mixed up.
  • Similarly, the need to introduce budget cuts mirrored an arc in Sports Night, though the resolution was a lot faster and more pat.
  • Hmmm ... 6% of the pattern budget equates to 15 FTEs! This is one expensive show! Of course, each of the "Big Three" get paid as much as 15 others, so ...
  • There are a lot of mirrors scattered around the studio, including the vending machine. Sure, it could be because there's a need to have mirrors around (given the constant quick-changes going on), but I suspect they're just there to make the shot compositions more interesting. Twice this episode we saw one character reflected in a mirror while talking to someone else.
  • "This is both good and profitable. You know how this confuses me." A catchphrase for this show, and Sorkin's career generally.
  • Product placements this episode in dialogue: Nokia (twice). Adidas. Universal Pictures (part of the NBC Group). Apple (thrice, twice via iPod brand). Gibson Guitars (thrice). Final Draft. Sony (twice). Samsung (twice). Not counting Fox, which I'll accept for reasons of verisimilitude, seeing it's a competitor of NBC.
  • Trek reference this episode: "Vulcan mind meld mojo." Heh. Cute, but obvious. Next time, throw in Cardassians again - does much more for your SF geek cred. Cause that's important, right?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 21, 2006 12:17 AM.

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