Confession: My brother and I have this problem where we choose our life goals and dreams based on Aaron Sorkin shows. Seriously though. He’s like a quieter-but-just-as-stressed-out, real-life Sam Seaborn, and The West Wing made him want to be a lawyer. Or at least take all these Constitutional Law classes with a butt load of reading for the hell of it.
I, on the other hand, fancy myself more of a Matt Albie / Danny Tripp / Jordan McDeere / Best of All Worlds combination. And Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip made me want to be a writer. Or at least a TV writer.
It was the summer after graduation, and I went to Paris to finish up school. Little did I know, Netflix was unavailable overseas!
Tragedy. Until a friend convinced me to buy season one of Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip on iTunes. One season of television, for a month. Because this show ended up being so amazing, one season of television was all that was necessary. I watched it 3-6 times, made everyone I know watch the pilot (okay, more like 20 times), wrote (two, very very bad) pilots instead of short stories for my class, and decided to write TV. I mean, according to Aaron Sorkin, it’s a lot less lonely than writing novels and TV writers get to paid to make jokes/wear jeans to work/mostly pace back and forth feeling feelings about their exes. Oh, and everybody is super stressed out all the time.
Basically everything that happens on Studio 60 happens on the West Wing, except it’s about late night comedy room crises, Network ratings drama, and torrid love affairs between the artistes behind the Fake Saturday Night Live But Set in LA sketch comedy show. So, if you’re a West Wing fan and have already watched the full 7 seasons of that multiple times and/or have one of those DVD boxed sets that comes in a pseudo-briefcase-chest with the discs filed like top secret documents inside, you should definitely watch this show. And if you like The Newsroom you should watch too because, you know, Sorkinism.
Things that are amazing about Studio 60:
1. The adorable movie-making-bros-4-life dynamic between Writer-Executive-Producer team Matt Albie and Danny Tripp AKA Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford AKA Chandler Bing and Josh Lyman.
2. Comedy and Drama! Checks and balances! Comedy Writers react with self-awareness (and great success!) to Network’s hesitation about hiring new and politically incorrect showrunners to bring the laughter back to late-night comedy. By writing a song.
3. Aaron Sorkin is upset about the Christian Right – fact: dumb people still believe in angels – and so is the impressive and hot new lady president of the Network (“NBS” … = NBC + CBS?), Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet), who is determined to put quality over ratings.
4.”The Big Three.” The COMEDIANS, y’all.
Simon Stiles (D.L. Hughley): Yale School of Drama graduate / “funky” black guy who is plagued by his inability to do a Cosby impression. Also, as his name would indicate, he got styyyylez. And quippy race remarks.
Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson): Ultra-religious blonde with perfect curls. She’s perfect. But she’s religious. And still funny! How unique! Also, she used to date Matt Albie. Oh my god you guys, drama.
Tom Jeter (Nathan Corddry): The cute-short earnest with a brother in the army and parents who just don’t understand. And a penchant for bad luck.
5. The love affairs. Which I can’t even say anything about because I’d so totally spoil it for you except to say that they’re so totally ridiculous and Sorkin-y that you can’t help but be amused because NO ONE IN REAL LIFE TALKS THAT WAY.
Here’s the trailer:
Watch it, love it. Hey! Instead of going out next Friday, how about cuddle yourself to sleep with the words “Live from Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip, it’s Friday night in Hollywood…” and this catchy tune.