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Culture Lust by Angela Carone

Remembering Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Interesting column yesterday by LA Times columnist Patrick Goldstein on Aaron Sorkin and the failure of his dramatic series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip .

Screenwriter and playwright, Aaron Sorkin

I, like Goldstein, am a huge fan of Sorkin's writing. I've seen every episode of The West Wing , many of them twice. I've also seen his new play The Farnsworth Invention , which was workshopped this year at the La Jolla Playhouse . It's now on its way to Broadway, where it deserves a long run.


Sorkin's writing, especially his dialogue, is always dense, witty, and generally builds to grand statements about politics and cultural values. I remember a line of dialogue from a West Wing episode, delivered by the character Toby Zielger , which stated how important it was to have a presidential candidate with "gravitas." I remember wishing the same from our current president, but also realizing Sorkin expected the same from his own writing. There have been times when Sorkin's pursuit of gravitas weighed down his writing, where he would verge on the didactic. But, I was always willing to go along, knowing he was a trusted guide to my imagination.

On a dramatic, one might say horrifying, turn of events, Goldstein reports that NBC evenutally replaced Studio 60 with a reality series featuring real-life wedding crashers . I guess it's safe to say that NBC doesn't care about gravitas these days.

-- Angela Carone produces arts and culture programming for These Days and Culture Lust . Please read our guidelines before posting comments.

July 18, 2007 at 10:17 PM
I so, so badly wanted to like "Studio 60." I love Josh. I love Chandler. I love, love, love "West Wing." Hard as I tried, I couldn't love "S60." NBC finally showed the final three or so episodes left in the series. I couldn't bring myself to watch. They're still on the DVR. -----


July 19, 2007 at 04:52 PM
I find it more than a little ironic that the show made fun of horrible "unscripted" programming... and was replaced by a reality show. Good television shows need time to percolate. (Just to be clear, I'm not sure this was good television. I kinda liked it. Better than other shows still on TV.) A lot of the shows I love get a second viewing. I go back and watch DVDs or reruns and I find that the first season sucked or was totally different than the rest of the series. Canceling a show halfway through the 1st season seems shortsighted. I'm sure someone did a fancy cost analysis... Do you think Amanda Peet's child will have any guilt growing up that she helped ruin that show? :)