As you may have realized from a previous post, this has been a weekend of family business, so it was only this evening that I finally got to "Studio 60" ...
I ended up not elaborating on last week's episode because it ultimately felt as if there wasn't any point to it. The show's not coming back. It doesn't deserve to. Case closed, right? I'm watching out of professional obligation -- some notion that Aaron Sorkin's name means that I should at least play out the hand -- but it wasn't good last week and I didn't expect it to be any better this week either.
Mostly it wasn't. The show just lumbers. I don't buy anything any of the characters are doing. They're playing out the hand, too, and they know that they won't be saved by the river card.
Which does not mean I was unmoved by the closing scenes with Tom. But neither does it mean that it didn't find the scenes self-important. Yes, there are more important things in life than the TV ratings -- and, by implication, the TV shows that try to generate those ratings. I have been surrounded this weekend by things that are more important than a TV show. By family. By a major moment in my family's life. By joy and bittersweet memories. I don't need Aaron Sorkin to tell me that's important.
I do need Aaron Sorkin to not make crappy TV shows.
I do need him to provide something that, at the end of a tiring day, provides pleasure or insight or provocation -- that, in sum, does not make me feel as if I have wasted an hour.
I need him to make comedy sketches that are -- what's the word? -- funny. Which he didn't do even when Matt was supposedly sober and on his game.
I need him to make an episode that does not feel as if he is playing a losing hand.
And I need him to keep his self-righteousness to himself, especially in the face of his own massive creative failure.
There are times, after all, when an entertaining TV show can be important, too.