Saturday, September 23, 2006


Readers of Roger Catlin's column in the Hartford Courant wrote to him this week about a framed picture hanging in the office of Judd Hirsch's character on 'Studio 60'.

"I got more than one phone call about it and this e-mail from Leigh Pechillo:

Having watched Studio 60 last night, did you happen to notice a photo on the wall in Judd Hirsch's office? There was a photograph of an Olympia Dinner, and from what I could see on the brief glimpse, it looked like the Olympia Dinner on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington? Do you happen to know if it was a photo of that establishment?

Well it certainly seems to be. "

I saw the episode three times - twice on the Netflix disk and in its broadcast premiere Monday night - and I never noticed that picture. Aside from the fact that I look at that type of stuff all the time in search of the most trivial aspects with which to make my TV connection, I used to live for the Berlin Turnpike when I was in high school/my first year of college. After work at the Meriden JC Penney's on Fridays and Saturdays, my buddies and I would take off to see what was playing at the drive-in on the Turnpike and then grab a late night bite at places like the Olympia.

Roger Catlin continues:

"Some callers wondered if it was supposed to represent some sort of Connecticut connection for Hirsch’s character, Wes Mendell.That kind of connection would make more sense if 'Studio 60', the show within the show, was shot in New York City, like the show it emulates, 'Saturday Night Live', instead of Los Angeles."

Perhaps, but everything about Judd Hirsch says "East Coast", and it's easy to imagine that Wes Mendell headed West to work on the show. Why not bring along some mementos that reminded him of back home?

Alas, Roger Catlin concludes:

"But there’s no use wondering about the Olympia coming up in some of Aaron Sorkin’s stellar dialog in coming weeks – Hirsch’s character was fired and his office cleared by the end of the debut episode."

It's true. Wes was packing up a box of his stuff in the office when Jordan McDeere tracked him down. The picture of the Olympia Diner most likely ended up in there as well......

Ah, but the possibilities! Did Wes once work up the Turnpike, at one of the TV stations in Hartford? Perhaps at the affiliate which carried 'FYI' on 'Murphy Brown' (where Miller Redfield used to work?) Did he ever know Tyne Daly's character on 'Judging Amy'?

But like Mr. Catlin says, we'll never know.....


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