Friday, October 27, 2006

Enough With The Music Already!

It's been all-music-all-the-time on this POS blog lately.  Let's mix it up.

I think I have officially stopped watching Studio 60.  It's entertaining enough, I guess.  But that's just it, isn't it?  "I guess."  If they haven't got me by now, what would I miss, really, if I stop watching?

I don't know, it just feels contrived.  Sports Night looks like a crappy office, and thus feels very true.  The West Wing looks incredibly lush, which of course one would expect from the White House, but is inhabited by uncharacteristically cute and quirky individuals.  Hence the appeal.  Studio 60, on the other hand, is the mother of all TV shows.  If a show treated itself like the White House, you'd have Studio 60.  It's beyond belief.

More importantly, you lose an important Sorkin element: seeing an austere environment populated by quirky nutbags.  It's the juxtaposition of context that makes Sports Night and The West Wing work as much as they do.  Weirdo smart-asses running America, or a pull-up-your-bootstraps TV show, is appealing.  Being amusing is enough, because that amusing behavior breaks down barriers of seriousness.  Those barriers don't exist in the Studio 60 world... because it's a comedy show!  OF COURSE they're funny!  It's exactly what you expect!  They're in context!  Where's the surprise?

Removing that fish-out-of-water element leaves you with being amused by the weekly dramas surrounding the assembly of a television show that's too impeccable, and not funny enough, to believe.

It's really too bad, because it seemed like Sorkin-heads have finally reached critical mass.  We could have supported a fledgling show.  But I don't see this making it much further.  The cost of paying all these actors has to be friggin off the charts.

Slowly, but surely, catching up to real time.  I'm a couple episodes into Season 3 now.  I gotta say, Season 2 was the most consistently mind-fucking series of TV I've ever watched.  Every episode left you in need of a hug.  And the cliffhanger goes in the Mindfuck Hall of Fame.  I was mesmerized. They sure know how to end a season.

Gotta say, though... I'm hoping they don't start to slip.  The apparent distress caused in episode 2, by the news that Dr. Troy's gorilla patient had been killed by her mate, teetered well into Unintentional Comedy terrain.  Oh noes, the gorilla died.  But for God's sake, Doctor, did the Thompson's gazelle survive???  The hallmark of Nip/Tuck is making ridiculous circumstances believable, but that may have been the first one that totally failed.  I'd rather not have that happen again.  Hopefully it's just a blip on the radar.

Great movie.  Leaps and bounds ahead of Infernal Affairs, the Hong Kong classic on which it's based.  It's no GoodFellas, but still one of the better gangster movies in recent memory.  As laugh-out-loud funny as a serious gangster movie will ever get.  Not that it's all a big joke;   It's certainly faithful to Boston, in terms of accents, locations, racism, and the gallows humor.  And what's more, Crazy Jack seems perfectly at home in my fair city.  Maybe he should move!

My main complaint is with the the conclusion(s).  Without spoiling anything, I expected something a little more jarring.  And given that it wasn't, I'm not sure what the intended message is (besides "bang," that is).  I really can't elaborate further without ruining everything.  But I want to see it again... maybe another look will make my gripes disappear.

Anyway, definitely worth the price of admission.  I give it 4 pahhhking spahts out of 5.

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