Monday, November 13, 2006

So it isn't just that I'm bitter that they stole Nate Corddry

The whole will-it-or-won't-it-cancellation saga of Studio 60 has been settled, in favor of won't -- which just pains me deeply.

Not that I could have really told you why. Other than crying to the heavens "This from the man who gave me Sports Night?", I haven't been able to put my finger on exactly why I find that show not only dismal, but offensive to me in some basic way.

Proving both her writing and analytical chops (as usual), Linda Holmes (Television without Pity's MissAlli) gets it absolutely, sparklingly right:

Despite aiming for intelligence and meaning, the show simply shows no signs of knowing enough about comedy to be credible.

Television and the internet are all full of beloved comedy institutions analogous to the fictional one in the show. Obviously, there is “Saturday Night Live” itself, but don't forget “The Daily Show,” “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” and other outlets like The Onion. Even a moderately media-savvy viewer has read a lot about them. Every time Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert is interviewed, every time we see the endless list of writers when Conan’s staff is up for an Emmy, and every time another book about “SNL” is released, we learn a little more about what these environments are like. And what have we learned? They are explosively creative, collaborative, jealous, and fixated on one thing to the point of madness: being funny. . . .

The show has been criticized for pretending the stakes could really be as high on an “SNL”-style show as they are in the White House, which is clearly nonsense. The stakes are enormously high for creative people, who drink, cut their own ears off, and go mad because they want so badly to be brilliant.

What "Studio 60" needs in order to be successful is a working vocabulary and understanding of the kind of workplace in which it is set. Without that, it cannot work. It's not that viewers aren't willing to care about comedy, but because no one in the audience can care if it isn't even compelling to the characters.


Blogger katie said...

Forgive me, but in a way, I'm glad because now I won't feel so bad (and left out) about never seeing it.

Tue Nov 14, 01:19:00 PM EST  

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