My Brother, Defender of Sorkin

January 23, 2007

JORDAN: Hang on, ’cause I’m curious. What if you did tank tonight? What do you think would happen?

MATT: Strangers wouldn’t like me, friends wouldn’t like me, the network wouldn’t like me, the press wouldn’t like me, women in general wouldn’t like me, and Harriet wouldn’t like me.

[“The Option Period,” Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip]

Well I’ll be. This afternoon I read Ken Levine’s response to Aaron Sorkin’s recent comments about the widespread criticism of Studio 60. This was the first I’d heard of Sorkin’s critic-diminishing talk at a recent press event at the Studio 60 offices.

But now, lo and behold, my brother Dan has weighed in on the issue, and been quoted in the LA Times. Unfortunately, he is quoted, at least in part, by way of a Myspace page, and you know I don’t approve of those Myspaces things, but still. LA “gossip rag” (I feel like an insider when I use that phrase!) singled him out of the LAT article, and contains several good links to follow for more overblown Sorkin drama.

Since this is my own damn space, though, I’ll tell you what I think of Studio 60 and its critics. I’ve seen every episode of the show yet aired and expect to see every episode they ever air. To the critics who say it’s stilted, sometimes flailing, smug and not yet on even footing, I agree. But it’s fascinating to watch Sorkin work, the cast is stellar and scene-to-scene I always find things to appreciate.

To those who say that Studio 60‘s premise doesn’t work because it is not a proper vehicle for debating important issues, like The West Wing was, I have to ask: Do you make the same complaints about Veronica Mars or Grey’s Anatomy? Why is it a requirement for Studio 60‘s success as entertainment that it wrestle with issues like The West Wing did? Once he’s written a show about a US President, he’s not allowed to write something smaller? I don’t get it.

I watch scenes like the one in tonight’s episode, where Steven Weber’s executive makes his case in front of the network’s parent company’s Board of Directors, and I see opportunity enough for the kind of revealing workplace drama that I like in shows like ER, at least. As a workplace “dramedy” (I hate using that word), I like Studio 60. As a thriller, I grant you, it is no good. But from Sorkin, whose writer characters are all in search of outside approval, can we really be so surprised that he might not take anonymous criticism so well?

And at least Mark McKinney is there now to help the sketches not suck out loud.


One comment

  1. Holy crap, one of the Kids in the Hall is on there? Now I have to watch it.

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