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Studio 60, Aaron Sorkin's new TV project

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by SGladwell, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. SGladwell

    SGladwell Well-Known Member

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    My mom forwarded a Times article to me about the West Wing, and after I got over my shock that they originally intended Vinick to win I found an interesting paragraph about Aaron Sorkin's new project, Studio 60. I did some more digging, and this show looks like it is going to be really interesting, being to SNL what Sorkin's earlier SportsNight was to SportsCenter. Also, it looks like the cast is going to be pretty blue chip. Beautiful, lanky Amanda Peet (from Melinda and Melinda and other things) is one of the female leads. The male leads are Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford, which I think will work just fine as long as they're not named Chandler and Josh. The one Sorkin thing it doesn't have is a towering elder statesman of acting, like Martin Sheen in the West Wing or Robert Guillaume in SportsNight.

    I rarely look forward to TV series. The last time I can think of doing so was after the second season of the West Wing, when I was looking forward to the third. But I'm looking forward to this one.
     
  2. Arethusa

    Arethusa Well-Known Member

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    I eventually found West Wing sickeningly prone to propaganda (a few episodes like Two Cathedrals still stand as superb; most do not), and very seductive propaganda at that— at least to young a kid in a high school, at the time. I rather loved Sports Night, though.
     
  3. whoopee

    whoopee Well-Known Member

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    Vinick came across as more likeable than Santos, IMO.

    Once you accept that Sorkin was out to show that government and its operatives have hearts and want to do good through big government, it becomes strikingly clear how much better written the first four seasons were compared to the mass of boob tube programs. I wish him luck.
     
  4. Horace

    Horace Well-Known Member

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    I don't know anything about Studio 60, but at Studio 54, LK was known to throw decadent parties in the back room. My attorney Roy Cohn and I used to attend.
     
  5. Arethusa

    Arethusa Well-Known Member

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    My issue wasn't with the liberal/democratic bias. In all honestly, it was the focus of the show, but the show wasn't liberally biased. Corrupt politicians on both sides were shown, as well as noble ones.

    The propaganda was very clear: Sorkin wants you to believe the system works. And it doesn't.
     
  6. whoopee

    whoopee Well-Known Member

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    There were many failures - the idealistic flights of fancies of Bartlet, Sam, and whoever else felt like breaking out of the Democratic operative mode were often shot down. But they achieved some success by striving within the confines of the government. I think his writing implied that the system could work and that it shouldn't automatically be distrusted or dismissed.
     
  7. Arethusa

    Arethusa Well-Known Member

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    That was part of my problem with it, really. He wrote about the system and not the people (with exceptions, which I loved: Two Cathedrals was damn good, as was Somebody's going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail; both episodes, notably, were not about the government). That I found his view of the system both unrealistic and propagandist only made it much worse.
     
  8. whoopee

    whoopee Well-Known Member

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    Of course, it didn't help that much of the show fell in the years of 2000 and onwards.
     
  9. Huntsman

    Huntsman Well-Known Member

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    I enjoyed the quality of the dialogue. Where else can someone adduce the law of large numbers, quote Kant, and make a joke about alliteration? Wonderful.

    Never watched it for the politics.

    Regards,
    Huntsman
     
  10. Arethusa

    Arethusa Well-Known Member

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    In all honesty, the dialogue almost always felt like a stitched together collection of What Aaron Sorkin Learned This Week. The quotations, the references, and the laws were always banal and far too often apocryphal. I really felt Sorkin came together and worked when he stopped trying to be smart and stopped trying to convince me that America Works and is Noble Ok and showed me human beings. Didn't happen often enough, but when it did, it was superb.
     
  11. Huntsman

    Huntsman Well-Known Member

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    LOL, I do know what you mean, though I thought it sometimes was posessed of a great deal of wit. But as a college student, if there was talk of anything that anybody learned at any time that could not be directly traced to A) the Simpsons, B) South Park, C) Family Guy, or D) Aqua Teen; I'm likely to be on board.

    I'm with you about the humanity -- Josh: "If you were in an accident, I wouldn't stop at a bar." Donna: "If you were in an accident I wouldn't stop for red lights." I'm not really a big TV person generally, so I can't cite titles, but I know 'Somebody's going to Emergency' becasue the song was in it, and yes, it was good. I also liked the one with the poet. What I liked least was plot devices that forced emotion -- the shooting and the kidnapping. They both felt cheap to me.

    ~ Huntsman
     
  12. SGladwell

    SGladwell Well-Known Member

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    The propaganda was very clear: Sorkin wants you to believe the system works. And it doesn't.

    You sound an awful lot like someone who came into age politically during these nightmare years. Rest assured that government wasn't always this bad. It's only after hacks dedicated to convincing you that government doesn't work finagled their way into power that our system started failing every citizen of this country and too many others as well on such a massive scale. True, there are still lots of loopy and unbalanced positions that government of either party will take (in foreign policy, see Mearsheimer and Walt for a brilliant dissection of one of them) but overall the system can work so long as the people running it are dedicated to making it work rather than driven to watch it fail. I'd quote the Bartlet-Bailey dialogue when Bailey was nominated to serve as deputy communications director in the inauguration issue, but then I'd have to cue up my season 4 DVD set and find it.

    Two Cathedrals is an amazing piece of work, and only one other time have I seen music used so skillfully in television drama. (The other time was also the West Wing* the last episode of the 3rd season, with Jeff Buckley and the play scene/Sharif assassination scene) but to me it's almost too cinematic for the show, which I think excelled most when it raised the level of everyday life in the White House to poetry. Sorkin is the master of that, IMO; SportsNight did it consistently, too. That is to say, the vast majority of the show from seasons 1 through 4, and beyond that maybe "The Supremes" in season 5. (The one with Glenn Close. I think I have the name right.)

    My favorite TWW episodes are the first two Christmas episodes (where Toby finds a dead homeless veteran, and Josh discovers that music reminds him of gunshots) and the one in the third season (?) that goes from a discussion of why James Bond is an effete wimp (to paraphrase, "he's ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it") to a call to Donna's retiring AP English teacher made from the Oval Office. To this day if someone tells me they're reading a modernized translation of Beowulf, I call it the James Bond edition. I think that episode also starts with my all time favorite TWW scene, with Jed and Abby walking and discussing the church sermon and Sorkin channelling Bartlet to tell us his philosophy of writing. (The "words are like music" monologue.)

    *When did it go from The West Wing to just West Wing? I still prefer, and use, the former name.
     
  13. whoopee

    whoopee Well-Known Member

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    It's still The West Wing.
     
  14. SGladwell

    SGladwell Well-Known Member

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    It's still The West Wing.

    Not according to NBC, who everywhere but in the show's actual title sequence (including its credits) refer to it as simply "West Wing."
     
  15. whoopee

    whoopee Well-Known Member

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  16. LabelKing

    LabelKing Well-Known Member

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    I don't know anything about Studio 60, but at Studio 54, LK was known to throw decadent parties in the back room. My attorney Roy Cohn and I used to attend.
    That was my thought too. I have no idea what this Studio 60 is.

    Halston used to get a little too frisky.
     
  17. j

    j Well-Known Member

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    In all honesty, the dialogue almost always felt like a stitched together collection of What Aaron Sorkin Learned This Week. The quotations, the references, and the laws were always banal and far too often apocryphal. I really felt Sorkin came together and worked when he stopped trying to be smart and stopped trying to convince me that America Works and is Noble Ok and showed me human beings. Didn't happen often enough, but when it did, it was superb.
    The fact that everyone spoke in a fake (and similar, just not realistic) cadence always turned me off to that show. The subject matter I could take or leave - I am always up for propaganda done well, and this wasn't that.
     
  18. Nick M

    Nick M Well-Known Member

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    The fact that everyone spoke in a fake (and similar, just not realistic) cadence always turned me off to that show. The subject matter I could take or leave - I am always up for propaganda done well, and this wasn't that.
    Pretty much my problem with it too - I have never seen an episode that didn't play out exactly like this:

    How to write for The West Wing.
     
  19. countdemoney

    countdemoney Well-Known Member

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    The show was never the same after Ainsley (Emily Procter) left.
     
  20. Bradford

    Bradford Well-Known Member

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    I have heard about this new show and am hopeful that it will be as good as Sorkin's last few. SportsNight was one of the best shows ever - and having the complete series DVD collection, I am lucky in that I can still watch it when I choose - just wish it had lasted a few more seasons.

    The West Wing had its ups and downs, but most of the ups came when Sorkin himself was crafting the dialogue and most of the downs came when he had stepped away and other writers were trying to turn it into another typical primetime soap opera. (SportsNight also declined in quality a bit when Sorkin left briefly to start the West Wing - but the characters were stronger IMHO).

    Looking forward to Studio 60!
     

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