"Studio 60" spoilers just as soon as I figure out the rules of cricket...
You know, I think I might tolerate this show a whole lot better if I had never heard of Aaron Sorkin, never read anything about Aaron Sorkin, never met the man. It's not because it gave me artificially high expectations for the show, or that I'm bothered he's recycling bits from his last two shows (he stole from "Sports Night" on "West Wing" and it didn't bug me there). It's that I feel I know far too much about the man's life and work habits, so I can't not see how he's working himself into the show.
In the original version of the pilot script that was circulating around the 'Net earlier this year, Danny's date to the awards dinner was "Martha, a sexy red-headed journalist" -- in other words, former Sorkin girlfriend Maureen Dowd. Given how much of his personal life Aaron had already thrown into the episode (being fired from "The West Wing," his relationship with Kristen Chenoweth), I was relieved to see that he cut the character out of the final version. So then he has to go and bring the character back in for an arc just so he can work out some leftover issues with yet another ex -- and, for an added weird twist, he hires the wife of his best friend (and the quasi-inspiration for Danny) to play her. Too distracting, too uncomfortable, too... ugh.
Then there's the plagiarism subplot, which could have been much more concise if Aaron himself had just walked on screen and said, "You see? This is why I don't let my writers do anything? Now do you get it? Huh? Huh? And how about that Juliette Lewis sketch? Didn't you love how I had to defend its incredibly dated nature within the episode? Huh? Aren't I awesome? McKinney never could have written something that self-indulgent! And did you know I could hang out with the Pussycat Dolls whenever I want to?"
I know that I'm an atypical viewer in this respect, but at the same time I can't imagine a typical viewer giving a tinker's damn about the need to reshoot the joke for the West Coast feed. As many have said, it's one thing to generate this level of intensity when a hurricane is threatening the 7th fleet or the president has plotted to assassinate a foreign leader, but to use the same self-important tone for this?
For the first three episodes, my take on the show was that I wanted it to be better, given the people involved. Now, I think I'm reclassifying it as a trainwreck, the show I like to watch just so I can look at the screen and yell about all the things that are going wrong with it. If only I knew nothing about Sorkin. Anybody know if Lacuna would take an out-of-state third-party check?
What did everybody else think?