Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Episode Report Card
Miss Alli: C- | Grade It Now!
Raise Your Hand If You're Illiterate

Anyway, Matt's response is that abstinence among teenagers is a silly goal to pursue, since it's impossible. Harriet snots that the scripts will sell just as well without him. Matthew Perry has a real Chandler moment as he mockingly repeats back, "Yeah, they will," making it sound like "yahneynill." But he does it funnier. I do still have quite a bit of residual affection for him, I must admit. In the writers' room, he mentions something about teen abstinence, and Suzanne points out that Harriet is also "auctioning herself" on the organization's site. Lucy mutters about being a practitioner of "involuntary abstinence," but Matt just wants to hear about the auction. Suzanne says that Harriet is auctioning off the chance to be her date at an event where she's getting an award from Catholics in Media. Matt points out that she's not Catholic. Doesn't matter! Matt process this, then moves on to another law of power: "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will scatter." That will really come in handy if I ever have to take on a bad-ass herd of sheep. The hell? But he goes right back to the auction, asking about bids. Suzanne says somebody bid $500. Specifically, somebody named "lukes5858." Matt knows immediately that this is Luke Scott, whose first movie was apparently called 58. Matt wants to bid $501, and just as Josh Lyman once communed with the crazy internet through Donna (I'm not even linking to it, because let's not start THAT again), Matt can only do it through Suzanne. I guess this will be the conceit until they unlock Aaron Sorkin's keyboard. (I envision it being closed in a cabinet, like it's in the mini-bar.) Matt tells Suzanne to make up his username, so she christens him "BossSexy." By the time he objects, it's too late. Matthew Perry in this scene, by the way, is by far the most energetic and potentially likable thing left in this show. He's a nut case, but you sense that he sort of knows it and could potentially have a sense of humor about it, and the manic, kind of hard-to-manage weirdness here almost says "comedy writer." It's getting closer.

NBS board meeting. Someone named "Ted" is asserting his position as a member of the board, and Wilson White is all, "I'm sure your parents are very proud, Ted." Hee hee. I love Ed Asner. Some do, and some don't, and I totally do. It turns out that Ted wants to knuckle under to the FCC about its extremely politically plausible decision to smack a station around for airing a soldier's live expletive in relation to nearly being killed by a rocket-propelled grenade. Because...totally. It's completely believable that the FCC would adopt a position that soldiers are filthy-mouthed bastards destroying our nation and undermining our values with their potty mouths. Ted says that Jack should either pay a fine or just go ahead and put a five-second delay on the news. Jack speaks up rather insistently at this point, stating the complete obvious, which is that time-delayed news is censorable, and that's the only reason to do it. And he's against censoring the news. Way to take a stand! And on such a close call, too! Jack goes on to point out, a little too convincingly, how completely preposterous the idea of the FCC imposing this fine is, and I kind of couldn't have said it better myself. "This discussion is for an ethics class at a women's college," Ted says, because no time is the wrong time for a little casual misogyny. Ted points out that the fine is $325,000 per affiliate for a total of $73 million. Now, if you actually know anything about networks and affiliates, most affiliates are not network-owned, so they would not logically be fined by the FCC, and they haven't been in the past (Janet Jackson's boob, for instance). But that's, like, number forty on the list of things about this story that are stupid, so let's not bother. Jack says he's not going to pay it, and when they ask for the money, he's going to say no. And the story really loses all tension at this point, because it's obvious that when Jack says no, all right-thinking people, including the entire Congress and the president, will support him, and there will be no fine. Thus, there is not a real issue here to be resolved. Wilson looks happy with Jack's solution, and then Ted says, "And what about Macau?" Ted thinks that if they buck the FCC, then the deal with Macau won't be approved. Oh, I do hope we get to go back to that story. Jack points out that he's "not a Bedouin." See? See how literate? He said "Bedouin!" Jack says that he's as money-grubbing as the next guy, but there's no censoring the news in this particular country. Jack thinks that not only is he right ethically, but they have to stand up for themselves in order to avoid "laughingstock" status. Right on, brother. I wish this were about a less stupid set of facts, because this is something I do care about, you know? "I don't feel like a laughingstock," Ted says calmly, and Jack responds, "That's only because you're a moron." Heh. Wilson tries not to smile. Ted asks Wilson to back Jack up, and Wilson does. "Including and especially your being a moron." Ted wants a vote of confidence. Or, really, a vote of no confidence. Yays are for Jack's idea of fighting the FCC; nays are for removing Wilson as CEO. The hands are counted, and the nays overwhelmingly win. So that's a problem. "Well, this would seem to me a good time for a break," Ed Asner says. Sorkin is really in his sweet spot here, a couple of actual complex guys fighting for an actual worthwhile principle (which, incidentally, "fuck the public who doesn't understand my genius" and "fuck my girlfriend who never listened to me and NEVER SAID SHE WAS SORRY" are not), and at this point in the story, the dumb setup isn't getting in the way. This is what this show should be, right here, and just for a second, it's quite divine. So, of course, we go to black.

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Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip




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