What would you do if you were a highly acclaimed TV writer, who’s writing a show that critics rave about yet is being canceled because the public just doesn’t watch it? For Aaron Sorkin the answer is simple tell the viewers and the network to fo f*** themselves.
And that’s what going on at the end of “K & R, Part 2”, this week’s episode of Studio 60. I’m pretty sure this triple episode was written after Sorkin realized the show is canceled and decided to use Simon’s improvised press conference to tell everyone they’re a bunch of idiot teenagers and add that he’d be glad to see the reporters die.
But, you might say, Sorkin already called everyone stupid and lazy back in September, during the pilot, only then he used Wes Mandell to say that. However, there’s a big difference between the pilot and this week’s episode. In the pilot, Wes’s monologue was the launching point of the show. It got him fired but at the same time opened the door for Matt, Danny and Jordan to fix TV, bring it back to its glory days. Simon’s diatribe was sort of an admission by Sorkin that he failed. He tried to write a TV show that will turn TV back into what it used to be. He tried to write a show that was topical, intelligent, deals with important issues yet manages to draw mass audience. But he failed. And since he can’t blame himself for that failure, he has to point his arrows somewhere, and he chose to direct them at both the network(s) and the audience.
But his negative attitude towards the network isn’t just manifested in their coverage of Mark Jeter in Afghanistan. He’s going back to 2001 and the beginning of the war. Last week the seeds were planted to the big confrontation between Jack Rudolph on the network’s side and Matt & Danny on the side of artistic integrity, freedom and common sense. This week the seeds started growing as Matt wrote a sketch mocking Carl Rove and was told to cut it by the Standards & Practices guy. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that next week Jack will fire Matt and Danny about this sketch. However, Jack wasn’t seen this week and the network was represented by S&P. I think it was done in order to let the audience forget that only recently jack was on the good side of that fight, as he stood up to the FCC over their demand to censor the news, plus he’s been a sympathetic character in the last couple of episodes, both before the break and after it. It would be weird to see him suddenly back as the bad guy, so having S&P face Matt and Danny this week before the blow off with Jack next week.
With Studio 60 coming to an end in two weeks, I think Sorkin will take the chance and kill the show within a show with it. Simon’s rant might be a catalyst for NBS to cancel the sketch show, and play another part in Sorkin’s saga of “networks are evil and TV isn’t as good as it used to be”. But the only real question right now is who he will target next. In part one, last week, Sorkin made a point that the US government can’t be counted on. This week it was the entire American public. What, or who, is left for him to target next week, as he heads to the series finale? Tune in next week to find out.