Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"STUDIO 60": ZONKED ON THE SUNSET STRIP

Masi Oka guest-starred as himself on this week's episode of 'Studio 60'. The episode can either be considered as the first part of an unnecessary two-parter, or as the middle segment in a tediously drawn-out trilogy. (Gods of Kobol, I hope the Harriet dinner storylines end next week!)

The actor's contribution to the episode showed him filming promos for the show-within-a-show, also known as 'Studio 60 (Live On The Sunset Strip)'. It's a great premise for utilizing quick cameos by the guest stars - the promos for 'Saturday Night Live' have been a staple on the air for years (and sometimes they're even funnier than the show they're promoting!)

But with these promos, much ado was made about Masi Oka starring in 'Heroes': he came right out and said that he was starring in NBC's mega-hit; 'Studio 60' cast member Harriet Hayes appeared in the promo with him dressed as a cheerleader and whispering "Save me, save the show!"; and he had to explain to her that the character she was spoofing was indestructible while his character could bend time.

I gotta tell ya, to me this looks like an insurmountable Zonk. In a perfect Toobworld, 'Studio 60' and 'Heroes' should be existing in the same dimension, and not think of each other as being TV shows. I've dodged a few Zonk bullets in the past in regards to 'Studio 60' - a show about the behind-the-scenes machinations of a late-night TV show is bound to have them! - but this time I think I've met my match.

In the past I would have done the pretzel logic thang - twisting myself into a chiropractic nightmare until I came up with a suitable splainin to keep both shows in the same TV dimension. I did this for 'Studio 60' when a "Bartlet 4 America" poster showed up on the wall of one of the dressing rooms.

But the thing of it is, I just don't think it's worth the trouble anymore. I had such high hopes for 'Studio 60' when I first saw the pilot via Netflix. And then the next three episodes made me alternate between anger and nausea as I watched Sorkin basically use his show as a combination soapbox and cudgel. There was a glimmer of hope that things were improving as the Christmas break approached, but these last two episodes (the first since the show's return) have dashed those hopes.

Trading in the soapbox for old cliches is certainly not the step in the right direction.

It's a shame too, because there are characters I really like on this show - Matt, Lucy, Cal, Jack, Wilson White, and Mark McKinney's staff writer, - and I hate to see them wasted like this. (Not that it probably matters, but I had tired of Bradley Whitford as Josh on 'The West Wing' before the role expanded with the Santos campaign, and I'm finding his character of Danny on this show to be creepy.)

So I'm ready to just wash my hands of the whole show and banish it into the Toobworld corn-field - some other TV dimension where it can Zonk away at its heart's content.

I don't really care which dimension to place it, although I think the one where characters think of all other TV shows AS TV shows (where 'Hi Honey, I'm Home' resides) might be the best fit. But I do know that it probably can't be the same dimension where you'll find 'The West Wing' (and 'Mr. Sterling' and 'Smallville') even though that "Bartlet 4 America" poster could be seen on the show. Despite the Sorkin connection, I'm fairly certain that George W. Bush is the President of the United States as far as 'Studio 60' is concerned, and not Matt Santos.

So adios, 'Studio 60'. I'm leaving you locked out on the Toobworld roof. I'm not ready to give up on simply watching the show just yet, but then that's due more to the fact that I'm taping prime-time while I sleep/get ready for work/commute to my overnight job, and there's really nothing else on at 10 pm on a Monday night that interests me.

Not much of a recommendation, that.....

The only one coming out of this Zonk smelling like a Rose is Masi Oka. Despite the fact that 'Studio 60' is now banished to an alternate dimension, there is no adverse effect on his tally for inclusion in the League of Themselves. If he can appear in three more TV series as himself, he could eventually be inducted into that wing of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame!

BCnU!
Tele-Toby

"Through a dozen adventures, which have had no resolution,
We now come to an end to this, this morality play
."
Wo Fat
'Hawaii Five-O'

2 comments:

crossoverman said...

When was there a "Bartlett 4 America" poster on a wall at Studio 60? When and where?

Excited!

Toby said...

The episode is "The Option Period" and it's to be found in Harriet's dressing room, hanging on the wall to the left of the screen. In the scene, Tom and Simon have gone into her dressing room to argue over something or other.

Hope that helps!