5 thoughts on “When Studio 60 Went to Gilbert and Sullivan for Cutting Edge Comedy

  1. It wouldn’t be QUITE so egregious if they didn’t lead into the whole Gilbert & Sullivan thing with “…You know who did the best frat humor of all time?” No one besides Aaron Sorkin thinks the answer to that question is “Gilbert & Sullivan.” I don’t think even Gilbert & Sullivan would answer that question with “Gilbert & Sullivan.”

    It’s also utterly strange that I *think* we’re supposed to think that Harriet is surprised by the “$100 dollar hooker’s reach around” tag, as if they somehow skipped that line when they were rehearsing the number all week just to surprise the Christian Lady on air. Because it doesn’t really play as a bit in the song, it plays as Harriet being *genuinely surprised* as what they just sang. If it’s supposed to be a gag within the sketch, then Thomas Schlamme shot it wrong. Because you don’t turn AWAY from the camera to deliver a punchline, but that’s exactly what they show Harriet doing.

    It’s so nuts when people who actually produce TV for a living make inaccurate shows about how TV is made.

  2. I still have the lyrics to this song running through my head, and after 15 years I only JUST realized that the only reason Aaron Sorkin had Harriet be baptized at age 11 is so he could have a could rhyme for “going straight to heaven” in this number. Because really, doesn’t it make more sense for the character of Harriet to be Christian from birth?

    That’s up there with Neil Simon giving Felix the last name of “Ungar” just so he could do the “We’re all out of Corn Flakes, F.U.” joke in The Odd Couple.

  3. I always thought that, since the series was supposed to be about the behind the scenes going’s ons of a sketch comedy show, that it should never actually show any of those sketches for the obvious reason that people would focus on whether they were good or bad, rather than on the drama behind the scenes.

  4. At the very least, Sorkin should have gotten someone with actual sketch comedy experience to write the in-show sketches, rather than doing it himself. (Later in the season he brought in Mark McKinney, but by that point it was far too little, far too late.)

    Or not have everyone CONSTANTLY telling us how brilliant a comedy writer Matt was. (ESPECIALLY when Sorkin admitted Matt was the character he based on himself. Matt checked off more than a few boxes on a “Mary Sue checklist”.)

    At least 30 Rock made it a point to tell us that the show-within-a-show WASN’T supposed to be particularly good, so if we saw a sketch that wasn’t particularly impressive… well, no one in the show was saying it was. (And they were still better than Studio 60’s sketches.)

    And the worst part is, Sorkin CAN be funny. Hilarious, even. Heck, Studio 60 itself had some great moments (Cal not being able to see that his Santa statue was giving a Nazi salute may have been my favorite scene in the show), but Sorkin’s style of humor just doesn’t translate to sketch comedy. It could have been a great show, but instead it ended up almost painful to watch at times. (Not that that stopped me from watching every episode, though. But there were just so, SO many things that were just BAD.)

  5. I binge-watched this show with my wife after checking out the DVDs from the library, and the sketches generally were one of the lowest points of the show other than the one actor’s Nick Cage impression of Nick doing different jobs. Those we laughed out loud at.

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