Monday, July 7, 2014

Sork of July – Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip 1.4

Wouldn't it be awesome if Aaron Sorkin did a West Wing type show, but set in the world of high school student government?  Instead of hosting foreign dignitaries they'd be hosting delegations from other schools.  Instead of forming policy they'd be putting together school dances and pep rallies.  I think it'd be pretty great.  

Eh, it's just a thought.  

Today's episode is "The West Coast Delay."

Host & Musical Guest: No mention of either host or musical guest

# of references “Crazy Christians”: Zero, zilch, nada!

Sketches Referenced: Meet the Press with Juliette Lewis

Sketches Shown: Meet the Press with Juliette Lewis

This episode starts the ball rolling on a few fronts.  It introduces a couple of important characters in Darren Wells and Martha O’Dell.  They are pieces that propel the show throughout the season. 

Wells is a professional pitcher who gave Harriet a signed baseball bat with his phone number on it.  Of course Harriet didn’t realize this and decides to regift the bat to Matt, who immediately realizes what he’s been given. 

Naturally this propels Matt into a jealous tizzy.  He’s so jealous that not only does he talk to Tom, but he takes Tom’s advice on how to handle the situation, which is to have a sex symbol sign something of her and give it to him.  It’s an idea that Matt almost sees to fruition. 

Instead Matt decides to “stamp her down” which amounts to grabbing her and kissing her.  Tom tries to talk him out of it, pointing out that Matt is her boss, without pointing out the crossing of several lines.  But it’s all for naught as Matt ends up walking into Harriet’s dressing room and finding Wells planting one on her lips. 

O’Dell is a Pulitzer Prize winning writer who is doing a Studio 60 cover story for Vanity Fair.  Jordan signs off on the story because Vanity Fair reaches “Alpha Consumers” who are way better than normal regular people.   She’s got full access to the show for the piece, which surely won’t be a problem. 

The title of the episode comes from the fact that the West Coast delay is used to rewrite a segment of News 60, which will then be performed live on the West Coast.  Matt allows for a 90 second contribution to News 60 from Ricky, Ron and the rest of the writers room.  While they’re offended, they also want to show him what he’s missing by excluding them from the process.  They settle on a bit for Simon about how America has to many labels and eats too much food, that’s pitched by Hal a quiet young writer. 

Of course after the show wraps, it’s revealed (via the internet) that the writer’s room contribution was lifted wholesale from some stand ups act.  It’s a huge error and both Danny and Matt want the name of the writer, but Ricky and Ron are class acts; they won’t name names and offer to resign in his place.  Danny and Matt respect their stance, but don’t take the resignation. 

Of course there’s a whole legal aspect to stealing someone’s bit, which necessitates the redoing of News 60.  Cal gets some to play a big part in this episode, doing it live requires cutting into a broadcast and impeccable timing.  But Cal runs the control room like a pro. 

In the end it turns out that the stand up stole the bit from another writer, who  in 1991 wrote the bit and performed it while he was on Studio 60, so they owned it in the first place.  Oh you guys! 

The only problem with the whole “lifted bit” story is that Ricky and Ron explicitly state, before the title even comes up, that the entire writer’s room is supposed to work on Hal’s bit and Simon wants to tinker with it too, but the end result was exactly the same as the stand up bit that’s posted on YouTube.  So Hal stole this bit, it passed through the writer’s room, through Ricky and Ron, through Matt and through Simon and nothing’s changed? 

From a tv standpoint it makes sense that the two bits are identical, that way there’s no confusion.  But from a reality standpoint, it’s very difficult to believe.  Also, the idea that a bit from 1991 would kill in 2006 is kind of preposterous. 

On the plus side, we do get Danny explaining why Matt doesn’t write well with others and is a guy of solitary genius.   It’s an acceptable explanation as long as you forget about how Matt got to this point in his career.   

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