Serial Watcher – Studio 60 – Episode 1-18

Studio 60 continues to shine as it’s showing the rest of the episodes that were produced before the cancellation was made official. If last week’s episode was heavier on the comic side with the various disasters that plagued the show, this week we got a drama heavy episode and there was nothing funny about any of the bad news that came this week.

Let’s do a quick roundup of what’s wrong at Studio 60, shall we? The ratings are down, not only from week to week but from segment to segment; Matt’s high on Percocet and who knows what other medications (including Flintstone vitamins) and can’t write a good show, though he claims to quit by the end of the episode; the lawsuit is still going on; Danny can’t separate “boss” Jordan” from “girlfriend” Jordan and both Tom and Herb screw up live on the air.

But all this is just the appetizer before Sorkin pulls out the big guns of the drama department. First Jordan’s baby stopped kicking. She hasn’t kicked all day and while Jordan tries to play it cool, Danny takes it seriously. I didn’t really like the scene where he tries to play doctor by using a stethoscope from the props room because it made him look childish. It was on the same level of using the guillotine on the doll before the long break in the series it just didn’t fit Danny and the type of boyfriend he seems to be. Asking a stage hand whether she had something drink before asking her to drive Jordan to the hospital was more like him and nice touch that somehow redeemed his character after the stethoscope scene.

But the real heavy hitter was Tom’s brother. It was something that they built up to the entire episode. Starting with the phone calls from Tom’s parents and the lack of e-mail messages, it was bound to end bad, and it did. The news that Mark Jeter fell hostage was a bit of a shock (I expected him to die) and it was a nice dramatic twist. It allowed everyone to display some nice acting, especially Nate Corddry (And some good job by the makeup artist, who made him look even paler than usual at the end). It was all a callback to the opening skit of the show, which dealt with the war in Iraq, despite Jordan’s order not to open with the war it reminded that whether we want it or not, the war is still going on and soldiers are still at risk.

This episode also brought more attention to the “Big Three”. We first heard about Simon, Harriet and Tom in the pilot they were the main axis of the show everything revolves around them with the rest of the cast being their supporting actors. Throughout the season we’ve seen them take care of each other, stick together and that’s why the network execs at the pilot were worried about their reaction they knew that they’ll stick together and if one of them left, they all will. But more than a professional thing, they’re almost family. The bond between Tom and Simon is so strong, I bet Simon sees himself as Tom’s older brother and he takes it upon himself to take care of him.

With so much drama in one episode, I have to wonder whether it was a desperate effort by Sorkin to appeal to the masses before the show was canceled, he tried to throw everything at the wall at once, hoping something will strike a chord with those watching at home. Or perhaps it was a network order, to inject as much drama as possible into the show. Either way, while it looks like an attempt to do anything to draw viewers to Studio 60, it was very well done. Sorkin knows how to write these things and with such a talented cast, it’s also well delivered. It’s just sad to see a string of good episodes while knowing that it’s not gonna last, as Studio 6 only has four more episodes left before it shuts down for good.