I know I’ve been trumpeting the greatness of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip for quite some time but, mostly, that was all based on potential. I still loved the show, but I knew that it wasn’t near as good as it could have been. It has been inconsistent, both from episode to episode and within every episode. Nonetheless, Aaron Sorkin had managed to create a slew of great characters who certainly had the capability to form the basis of a great drama. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip finally delivered on its potential last night. Reminiscent of “The West Wing’s” glory days, “The Christmas Show” came together and had it all. Quirky, Sorkin-esque banter, interesting drama, great character interactions, laugh-out loud moments, and, most impressively, a deft juggling of the large ensemble cast.
An episode like last night makes you realize how great a venue for drama a late-night TV show can be. The character conflicts are only expedited by the pressures of putting on a live TV show. That pressure makes everything else that much more tense and manic. Here’s what happened:
- Matt decides he wants to put on a Christmas Show. Most everyone else doesn’t want to, but Matt is determined to spread the holiday cheer.
- Jordan is pregnant and Danny accompanies her to the OB/GYN. He realizes he’s falling in love with her and, at the tail end of the episode, tells her so.
- In the still barren writer’s room, Simon and Tom create an anti-Christmas vibe by debunking almost everything to do with the legend of Christmas in a historical context. Tom does this to try and impress Lucy.
- Jack Rudolph must figure out how to deal with one of his reporters yelling the F-word on national television, after a missile detonates 50 yards away from the reporter in Afghanistan. The FCC hands them a big fine and Jack must wrestle with his morals. It turns out Jack actually has a heart. (By the way, who knew how great Stephen Weber was? Except for “Wings” fans. They knew.)
- Harriett is offered the role of a lifetime in an upcoming “Rolling Stones” biopic. She takes it, even when she learns that the director also wants to date her. Matt learns of this, then pulls Harriett aside, wordlessly, mid-broadcast and kisses her.
- In a fairly touching moment, Danny takes five minutes out of the live broadcast to allow out-of-work New Orleans musicians to perform an awesome version of “O Holy Night”.
And there are countless other little side stories too. I couldn’t be happier that Studio 60 left a nice taste in the mouth of all their fans going into their hiatus. I know I can’t wait for the next episode. -Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer