I know I spend way too much time writing, thinking about and, more importantly, blogging about television, but I am just too enamored of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip to let another week go by without examining why it is so good.
First, and I felt this way about The West Wing for the first three or four years, Sorkin et. al. shows the world not how it is, because that's way too depressing. But he shows how it could be. But more importantly, how it should be. On The West Wing, this meant we got to see how the world could be if we had a President that, I don't know, knew something about economics. Was a Christian who didn't believe in literal interpretations of the Bible. Believed in the separation of Church and State. Upheld the Constitution.
Now, and I know even as I write this it sounds ridiculous, Studio 60 demonstrates how TV could be. But wait. Maybe it's not ridiculous. How much time do most Americans spend watching TV? If TV were more intelligent, more democratic, more socially engaged, wouldn't that be beneficial for boneheads like me who spend so much time watching it?
Let's take tonight's episode, for example. As Middlebrow pointed out, this is what SNL should be. On the fake SNL, Studio 60, there was a skit about Santa being caught on the Dateline Predator cam. Funny, right? And Danny (Bradley Whitford. I heart him) made room on the show for a tribute to New Orleans complete with black and white photos and a brass section from N.O. And, more importantly, the boy got to kiss the girl. Satisfying.
This show also afforded not one but three characters the opportunity to make speeches and stand up for the First Amendment. Ed Asner!! got to make a speech about the First Amendment. On primetime television, baby.
More importantly, and this is my main point, people, so listen up: the show is not saturated in irony and sarcasm. Here's what I love: characters make speeches about the First Amendment and they are serious. They are not tongue in cheek. The show is saying that these sexy, rich people feel things and that's cool. It's smart and funny. It's okay to feel. In fact, the show goes out of its way to make you feel things. About New Orleans, for example, or the First Amendment.
And that, my friends, is why I love it. Plus I love all the actors and the witty banter. There's that too. And the blonde woman from the British Office. Did I mention Bradley Whitford? And Matthew Perry has left that other show far behind. I may heart him too.