30 Rock, Studio 60, SNL

Here’s the situation.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, an NBC show that concerns a fictional late-night TV show at a fictional network, has a stellar cast, great writing, excellent provenance, and slices of some of the best TV of the year. And yet, despite all that, seems to be floundering. It just doesn’t hold together, and if it continues like this, it might not last until Christmas. Maybe Sports Night plus The West Wing isn’t actually a good idea?

Meanwhile, 30 Rock, an NBC show that concerns a fictional late-night show at an actual network, with a rag-tag cast that includes Alec Baldwin, seems like a show that should fail — a Saturday Night Live spin-off that should see Tine Fey, actor/writer of the moment, finally fail. And yet its debut episode had an odd brilliance, and there’s a remote chance it might be the next Seinfeld.

Meanwhile, Saturday Night Live itself, an actual NBC show actually at NBC, two episodes into this season has failed to produce a single sketch that’s anywhere near funny. It’s not that they’re aiming too high, or too low: they’re just not aiming. Everything dies. And the cast seems to know it.



steve's picture
steve on October 13, 2006 - 15:46 Permalink

I could not agree with you more on this, Pete. “Studio 60” fails because it is the inverse of the “West Wing”. The West Wing was a show about something very serious (leadership of the free world), that brought a light touch to the whole enterprise. It was fun to imagine a White House full of wisecracking, sassy, literate banterers. The problem with “Studio 60” is that it’s a show about something funny (a comedy show), that takes itself way too seriously. I can’t really get into it because, I don’t really care if the fictional show goes up in thge ratings from one week to the next, or if the sponsors abandon ship — there’s no dramatic intensity because the subject is something so irrelevant.

I saw the first episode of “30 Rock” and thought it was hilarious — a ncie light touch, none of the heavy drama and seriousness and “issues” of “Studio 60”. It has the same off-kilter, slightly surreal tone of “Arrested Development”, which is perfectly appropriate for the subject matter. Plus it helps that I have always found Alec Baldwin hilarious, and here they really give him a juicy sleazy yet strangely appealing character to play.

Say hi to Bob and Yvonne.

Charles's picture
Charles on October 15, 2006 - 18:25 Permalink

The thing about Sorkin’s shows is that it’s not so much about the backdrop (the White House, a TV show), it’s more about the characters. That’s what I like about Studio 60, the way the different personalities interract.

As for 30 Rock, I thought the first show was pretty bad. Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin were good, but the rest of the cast and the actual plot was pretty boring. Of course it’s just the pilot, so it will probably get better. Saturday Night Live is definitely suffering from Tina’s departure though. The first two episodes of the season were terrible.