Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Why I can’t watch the final Studio 60…

Last night. Dinner.

Vicky and I are sitting down to dinner at the sofa for our nightly 30-60 minutes of television. We scroll around our DVR menu, looking for something to select.

“What do you want to watch?” Vicky asks.

Well…. Let’s see… there’s Live Earth. There’s the last episode of Studio 60. There’s a new episode of Good Eats. There’s the last episode of Studio 60.

“Let’s watch Good Eats,” I say.

“Why not Studio 60?”

Studio 60 was a very good television program. It gave you hope that, maybe, one day, somehow, there could be more shows like that. It was too good for television, which may have killed it in the end.

I’ve been thinking of watching the final episode of Studio 60 since it aired about a month ago. I’ve been thinking of writing a post-mortem for it. People have talked about how, for a show about a comedy show, the comedy show wasn’t that funny. So? That would make it just like SNL. People have talked about it being too topical, as if that’s possible.

Listen, there were a lot of things that annoyed me about Studio 60 but that wasn’t because it was a bad show. Actually, it was because it was a good show.

… Hmmmm, that doesn’t sound right. It needs more explanation. I think it’s time for:

When Good Isn’t (Lecture 239 in a whole series of more lecture than you’d ever want to hear)

There’s been some talk about the “Friends Curse”. You know what I mean: Friends alumni can’t hold down a show. Joey’s show, Joey, only lasted two seasons. Chandler’s show, not called Chandler but called Studio 60, only lasted one season.

Yes, that’s right. Joey lasted longer than Studio 60.

And this makes a good point.

Joey didn’t last longer because it was a better show. Joey lasted longer because it was NOT a better show. Joey was light, easy, and non-threatening. You never heard anyone call out for Joey to be cancelled. It survived the way concentration camp victims survive: by staying out of sight and out of mind. It never tried to be a great show; it just wanted a paycheck.

Studio 60, on the other hand, was great. As a result, it offended people, it challenged them, and it was sometimes difficult to follow… Actually, it did none of this, but I can imagine it happening to Christians and/or Republicans. It got into people’s faces and some people didn’t like it.

That’s how entertainment works. People don’t go to Broadway to see earth-shattering plays; they go to see Disney. People don’t read novels (and you’ll forgive me as I cry), they watch movies. They don’t even watch good movies. They see Transformers!

The old story in Hollywood is “aim low”… actually, that applies to politics as well… and the biggest loser is you.

Farewell, Studio 60. Be sure that I’ll watch your final episode soon and I’m bound to cry when it’s done.

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