My head hurts, PopWatchers. And it’s not because I’m hung over, like usual. No, my head hurts because Aaron Sorkin has BETRAYED MY TRUST by choosing the week after I very publicly defended the man and his Studio 60 to run THE WORST TELEVISION EPISODE OF ALL TIME.
Let’s see. Which part was most egregious? Was it Simon (D.L. Hughley, pictured) complaining about how the writing staff was a bunch of white guys who all went to Harvard and then managing to hire the only black comedian in L.A. who acts like Chris Stevens’ half brother Bernard from Northern Exposure? Or was it Tom’s dad not knowing what “Who’s on First” is – something my father, who doesn’t even know what NBC is (for real) can still identify/recite? How about all of the assorted war mumbo-jumbo? (AFGHANISTAN!!!) Or… I know! Sorkin trying to make the “art can change lives” point I was trying to make last week but doing it as ham-fistedly as I’ve ever seen him do ANYTHING, and that’s INCLUDING that one time Martin Sheen yelled at God in the National Cathedral!! “You can say their names now, Eli.” REALLY??? THIS is how you’re going to convince people that your show can actually be important someday, Aaron?? By name-checking CLIFFORD ODETS?? You are KILLING ME HERE.
Look. I still believe in the redemptive power of television. And I still believe – as evidenced by Tom’s tour-guide monologue for his parents (which would have been terrific if any one of the many other plotlines swirling around it had been even remotely compelling, btw) – that television is necessary because it helps us know who we are, who we were, and who we are becoming. But because I am a scholar of these things, and I am not 9 years old, I do not need a lecture on that (or WWII) (or HUAAC). I just need an hour of entertainment. Remember entertainment, Aaron? That was the stuff you used to put in West Wing episodes, you know, drizzled around Sheen wandering the halls, endlessly repeating “shibboleth” or whatever? Entertainment! What Sports Night was 99-point-9-percent-pure?
Gah. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea you titled this episode “The Wrap Party.” [insert sound of my hair being pulled out here]
Now I’m going to have to work twice as hard to defend this damn thing. Thank God for the trio of twit girls. They were funny. (“But what do you DO?”) And Lauren Graham. Who makes everything better. Even sucky episodes of Gilmore.
Oh, people… What if every show I like sucks now? PopWatchers! I am descending into madness! Is there any reason why Studio 60 should not be dead to me now?