Studio 60: Unaware of the Ratings
By Roger Catlin Hartford Courant
TV Critic in his TV Eye blog
At least the lead actors were back in action for the second burned off episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Thursday. Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford and Amanda Peet were all missing from last week's episode when it returned after being officially canceled.
Death and dying and discussions of ratings have long since started to infuse the show though. Or maybe, since this is a show about television, they would have been there all along; they only seem to stand out more in the show's current situation.
From the start of the episode, though, Whitford's director character Danny Tripp is urging his cast of late night sketch players not to worry about ratings in a speech that's pure Aaron Sorkin, writer and creator:
I've been hearing a lot of talk about ratings around here this week and I want it out of your heads. Ratings are the business of the network and the advertisers. Our customer is the audience and they are right out there, so let's eat em up.
Ratings are cyclical, Perry's character Matt Albie says later. Who the hell knows why anybody watches anything?
He says this while chatting with Steven Weber's executive character, Jack Rudolph, talks about computer software that can create sketch comedy - automation may make them all obsolete.
This is about the ratings, Danny says to Peet's character Jordan McDeere who is mad at him. I asked you not to open with the war, she says.
Opening with the war on the show within the show may reflect on including talk (or satire) of the war on the doomed series at hand. It was in the news, Albie says later, before it becomes a major story thread because of its connection with a cast member.
Critics are still behind the show, McDeere says.
"Critics don't pay our bills," Rudolph shoots back.
Kari Matchett, sexy and untrustworthy on any number of shows, from Surface to 24, was on the show again - as the lawyer defending the network for a sexual harassment suit who herself was being a little too flirtatious to be very professional.
There were longer running stories emerging too - a possible complication in Jordan's pregnancy, Tom's soldier brother being kidnapped by extremists overseas, the discovery of Matt's drug usage -- the latter of which may well reflect Sorkin's own history in TV.
At least this provided a dramatic reason the sketches on Studio 60 aren't funny - the main writer is all hopped up.http://blogs.courant.com/roger_catlin_tv_eye/