Bullitt's Bros

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Worst Television Show of All Time

So, I've seen every episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

It is the worst show I have ever seen this much of. Yes, there could be worse shows--I suppose Small Wonder might have been more maddening (she never killed anyone!), but I was young and not the type to play outside, so I literally didn't know I had anything better to do.

We could argue all day about whether Studio 60, or Small Wonder, or Dinosaurs, or Wonder Showzen is the worst show of all time. That's not to the point; what matters are the answers to two questions: (1) why is such a bad show? And (2) given (1), why the hell am I watching it?

I'm going to answer the questions in the order I posed them.

Now, if I were really to list everything that was bad about Studio 60, this blog post would never end, and frankly, I have a dissertation to get to. So let me just write impressionistically.

First, the characters. Or rather, the character. He is Aaron Sorkin. More specifically, (a) he is a history buff, (b) he is a political activist, and (c) he is a comedian.

Let me be a little more exact:

(a) He has access to wikipedia.
(b) He copies and pastes emails from Moveon.org directly into his scripts and has his characters read them under the auspices of talking about the great American tradition of lighting or some shit.
(c) He talks about comedy, and his attempts to actually produce comedy are laughable. Wait; laughable is too close to funny. I'm just going to say "flatulent".

I was being a little bit unfair when I said that there was only one character. There are actually two: the male character and the female character.

The female character ... boy, oh, boy. What can we say about her?

Well first, she is having PMS. There's that.

Second, she has huge heart-to-hearts regarding issues that are about as relevant as the fact that one time, she had a dream, and in her dream, the male character didn't have respect for her. In other words, she is a hysterical mess.

Here's the show's "logic":

There is a 25-year old Jamie Tarsus character who runs the programming for "NBS".
The flagship show is their late-night comedy show (named Studio 60) that has been running since 1986.
She spends all her time thinking about Studio 60 and how great it is.
The show runs on Friday nights--because that's the night everyone is home watching TV.
The Christian right is omnipotent, and spends all their time watching and thinking about Studio 60, because they run sketches like "The Nicholas Cage Show", which just burns their butter.
Oh yeah, Studio 60 always takes a stand by poking fun at the Christians by making fun of their Biblical literalism, which the Christian right cannot take, because it's never happened to them before.
Also, the Jamie Tarsus character wants to put on a show about the UN.

Let me repeat that. She wants to put on a show about the UN.

If Hugo Chavez was the wacky neighbor, maybe ("Presidente Bush, I smell rotten eggs? Ees your eggs rotten? No, ees just jou--jou smell like sulfur!" Huge laughs. Bush shakes his fist at Chavez). Having SNL, basically, be your flagship show is a stretch; but making a show about the UN is by far the most ludicrious stretching ... no, stretching is too weak ... the most ludicrious fisting of reality I've ever heard of.

I feel like I haven't yet conveyed why it is that I hate this show so much. It is unbearably smug, and it is as disconnected from reality as Bobby Brown in an Aha! video.

Let me communicate to you how this is so. One of the featured players' parents have no idea what Studio 60, the flagship show of a major network, on which their son is one of the three main stars, is. That's right, she doesn't know what is the TV show on which her son stars.

You know why? Because she's from Columbus, Ohio.

That's right: Aaron Sorkin does not believe that people from Columbus know how to use a TV.

And yet where does the Studio 60-obsessed Christian right come from?

He doesn't say. Maybe Iowa?

Enough, already. Why do I watch this turd?

Well, sadly, it's about Saturday Night Live, and I can't resist. Plus, the lighting is good.

Also, there's something fun about demonization. I just love hating this show. Just when I think it can't get any more unrealistic than the Maureen Dowd character cutting off her interview to get a look at Sting playing a lute, the bottom falls out and two of the writers hire one of the world's worst black comedians to write for their show because his schtick is that he doesn't tell any jokes and talks about racism. Just when I think that you can't get more smug than two people having a fight about one of them appearing on the 700 club, and therefore being unworthy of his attention, they have a song to the tune of the Mikado with lyrics concerning the personal lives of the writers of the show; what's worse is that the show portrays this sketch as a shining jewel of tightly written comedy.

Think about what that sketch is really, though: take Weird Al Yankovich, and make him do a parody of "Under the Boardwalk". In Sorkin-universe, this makes you a comic genius.

How can I not watch this show?


  • Hold the fucking phone. Are you dissing 'Weird Al' Yankovic?

    He's the anti-Sorkin! He makes lonely white nerds seem LIKABLE! Plus, he has never, NEVER raced a steadi-cam down a busy hallway while trading pseudointellectual quips with Bradley Whitford!

    In Sorkin's defense, I lived in Columbus for six years. While there, I managed the Clintonville Coin-Op Laundry for two years. Do you have any idea how many people I encountered who couldn't master washer/dryer technology?

    Enough for me to empty the batteries out of the laundromat's TV remote. If there's a way to electrocute oneself with a TV remote, those silly bastards would have found it. Of this, I'm certain.

    By Blogger Professor Mouth, at 2:45 AM  

  • I thought the answer was going to be "My Mother the Car."

    By Blogger kmosser, at 9:22 AM  

  • There actually are plenty of folks in the mid-west that don't watch television. I, on the other hand, only watch television. I steer my eyes away from real life.

    And I don't hate the show, but I agree with you on every point. Weird.

    By Blogger BIG, at 10:24 AM  

  • "...it is as disconnected from reality as Bobby Brown in an Aha! video."

    Oh God, that's great. I am definitely going to try to work that into some future conversations.

    By Blogger Akrasia, at 11:11 AM  

  • I only saw about ten minutes of 60...10 horrible, eye-melting, ear-insulting minutes.

    On a related topic, I like 30 Rock so far...

    I've only seen half the first one and the whole episode about Tracy Morgan.

    By Blogger Mikey Y, at 7:18 PM  

  • This show has come up over and over lately. Everyone in Hollywood has an opinion about it and the people I respect generally share yours: Studio 60 is a big, fat turd. It's amazingly tin-eared, as if Sorkin didn't bother to even watch an episode of Saturday Night Live or talk to a comedian or comedy writer. I think his process was: read article about SNL in New Yorker. Start show. I also watched a few episodes to revel in the awful and man, science shmience? Seriously?

    By Blogger Joe, at 5:05 AM  

  • Mikey... 30 Rock? Seriously?

    By Blogger BIG, at 10:00 AM  

  • http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,226092,00.html

    By Blogger Mikey Y, at 5:35 PM  

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