Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sork of July - Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip 1.11

This is not the pic I wanted (via
We're halfway through Sork of July and it feels pretty good.

One of the disappointing things about Studio 60 on dvd is the lack of commentaries.  There's one solitary commentary on the set.  It's a lonely commentary that seems to have been recorded in at least two different sessions.

My point is that despite it being Studio 60, the dvd does not have nearly enough Sorkin.

Today's episode is "The Christmas Show."

Host & Musical Guest: None mentioned, though it's implied that the musicians from New Orleans are the musical guest.

# of references “Crazy Christians”:  0

Sketches Referenced: HBO's Ho Ho Hoes, Hookers on the Pole, Immaculate My Ass, Nancy Grace

Sketches Shown: News 60, To Catch a Predator,

It’s Christmastime around Studio 60.  Since it’s a show written by Aaron Sorkin, this means that one character is trying to spread Christmas cheer to their coworkers.  It’s particularly fun since the show takes place in California, so the Christmas spirit is hard to come by.

Matt tries to recruit the writer’s room in crusade. Lucy, Andy and Darius are a tough sell, but Matt is convinced they can pull of a Christmas themed episode, despite Wes being convinced it was a corny idea.  Tom and Simon are also pulled into effort. 

Naturally every time Matt checks in on the progress he finds the room has discovered more and more evidence debunking Christmas.  Santa was a concoction of Coca-Cola, the Star of Bethlehem was actually a comet, Jesus wasn’t white and Santa’s reindeer have been misnamed.  Still Matt carries on. 

In other Matt related news, Harriet has gotten a job offer to play Anita Pallenberg in a Brian Jones biopic.  Of course the offer comes from her ex, Luke Scott and he wants to date her again.  Matt is completely supportive of her, though he knows it’s just a ploy for Luke to get back with her.  But beyond that, Matt believes she’s perfect for the role. 

So when Luke shows up to the show, Matt decides to make a move by kissing Harriet just before News 60.  The kiss has the desired effect, as Harriet interoduces herself as “Matt” at the start of the segment.  Way to go Albie! 

This episode is so tight that even Jack has an story.  Apparently The NBS Nightly News was doing a story embedded with a unit in Afghanistan, when they were attacked and the soldier used a bad word.  The FCC is going to fine NBS 325k per affiliate, which amounts to 73 million.  But if Jack fights it, it could mess up the Macau deal. 

Jack’s advisors want to put the news on a five-second delay.  Jordan objects because news producers and reporters are already “leaving the networks for cable over credibility issues.”  (That’s a pretty funny line in 2014.) 

Eventually a unusually casual Jack speaks to Wilson, who is at Studio 60 with his family to watch the show.  He tells Wilson about the FCC situation and offers to resign because he doesn’t know what else to do and he doesn’t want to mess up the Macau deal.  Wilson puts him at ease, by saying he wants to fight the FCC, he’s been waiting for this fight. 

Before we get to the final storyline of the episode let’s go over some stray stuff that happens in this episode.  We get the Tom mentioning that he’s got intentions for Lucy.  There’s a mention of a “demented Santa Claus” mere weeks after Dylan’s “demented Mexican Santa” sketch.  Kevin Eubanks appears to buttress a subplot about New Orleans musicians, which features the acting debut of Trombone Shorty.  And it’s this story that, once again, allows a musical performance to do the emotional heavy lifting in the episode.    

There’s also the Three Wise Guys sketch that Darius pitches that immediately brought back horrific memories of this SNL sketch from last year. 

Which finally brings us to the most disturbing story.  On another show, you’d look at this episode as the turning point, when the character went off the deep the deep end, sort of like when the computer came Sterling Cooper & Partners and Ginsberg eventually loses it.  This storyline concerns Danny. 

Danny goes with Jordan to her prenatal checkup.  It’s there where we learn who the father is (the guy who gave Danny’s drug test results to Jordan)  and that it’s ok for Jordan to tell people that she’s preggers. 

But Danny has caught feelings for Jordan.  Matt notices it because Danny is concerned about her and defends her.  Danny also starts acting weird around her.  It’s mildly cute. 

But then things get more troubling.  Danny admits that he’s driving past Jordan’s house, despite it being way out of his way.  That’s creeper-esque. 

And finally Danny confronts Jordan during the show and makes the following confession; I believe I’m falling in love with you. If you want to run, I understand, but you better get a good head start, because I’m coming for you.” 

It is beyond disturbing.  He delivers the line with such seriousness and conviction that it’s very much a threat and at least a warning.  It is very creepy.  It's creepy enough that you hope the next episode makes things better.  

We'll find out tomorrow.

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