Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Spoke too soon (aka open thread)

So life got in the way of any TV watching, which means I still haven't seen "Grey's Anatomy." And with "Sopranos" season coming into view, every spare minute I have may be devoted to rewatching all 65 episodes for our new mondo-jumbo episode guide. So apologies if the blog gets a little skimpy for a while. I'll do the best I can.

In the meantime, today's column is a mailbag, and the first letter gives me a chance to wax philosophical on when exactly "The Simpsons" fell off a cliff creatively. And if anyone has any specific TV questions (whether it's my opinion on a show I haven't mentioned here lately, or something factual), feel free to post it in the comments and I'll do my best to answer. Fire away.


Anonymous said...

I can tell you exactly when I knew The Simpsons was beginning its slide: the lemon tree episode. The plot was a reach, the gags weren't all that funny, and everyone kind of stands around waiting for funny things to happen to them. There were some inarguably brilliant episodes after that one, even long after that one, but that was the first time I saw a Simpsons episode I didn't immediately want to rewatch, and that was sad.

I became quite depressed when listening to the seventh season DVD commentary tracks and hearing all the writer-types saying every. single. episode. was their favorite episode ever. I don't know when I'll stop buying the DVD sets (I must buy season eight just for "Brother from Another Series") but I foresee that the end will come shortly after I hear all the creators wax rhapsodic over some generally mediocre season.

Anonymous said...

No matter how "The West Wing" ends, I'm disappointed that John Welles is at the helm instead of Aaron Sorkin. Any truth to the rumors that Sorkin had a definite plan all along to end the show on a poign

Alan Sepinwall said...

For all his genius, Sorkin was never much of a planner. Bartlet's secret MS came about entirely because he wanted to write a scene where Jed was watching a daytime soap and needed a medical condition serious enough to sideline the guy for a day without any work.

So I seriously doubt he had anything more than a sketchy idea of what the finale would be like, if that, and he certainly wouldn't know what to do with characters like Kate Harper and Matt Santos.

(On the other hand, if Kristin Chenoweth isn't in the cast of Sorkin's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," I'll be shocked. All of the characters are blatantly modeled on Sorkin, Schlamme and their friends and exes -- Aaron and Tommy are the heroes, Jamie Tarses is the head of the network, Maureen Dowd is a character, etc. -- and one of the show-within-the-show castmembers is described as blonde, beautiful, possessed of a great singing voice and comic timing, and a devout Christian. Though I don't think height was mentioned, can you think of any other actress in Hollywood who could play that better?)

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed to know sorkin doesn't usually have a Gran Plan. It certainly seemed like the Bartlett Administration was supposed to be a special updating of Kenndy's Camelot.

For all his writing skills, it is true that Sorkin hasn't differientiated the premises of his shows much. They all are behind the scenes at a sports show/the White house/ a sketch comedy with essentially the same stock characters and their foibles. i should have known they were all based on the same friends of his.

Thanks for answering my question.