Wow. Tonight's episode of Studio 60 was terrible. And I've liked the show throughout. I've kept watching, I've given Aaron Sorkin the benefit of the doubt, I've looked for the positive. But tonight's episode was just too stupid too often. I read a bunch of articles during the show's hiatus that said coming back it would focus a lot more on the relationships and less on the show. That's fine. I'd rather it be about the comedy show and be good, but if it was going to be about the relationships and be good, I'm okay with that. But tonight's episode was just... lazy. It seemed like every few minutes there was another predictable plot thread that hinged on illogical things happening that I just couldn't buy.
First, Danny and Jordan get stuck on the roof. The door locks behind them. The first scene of this, when it happened, I actually stopped watching and e-mailed a friend to say "They have cell phones. Why aren't they using them? This would never be a problem in real life." So they come back to the roof a few minutes later, and show them trying to get a signal on their phones but not being able to. They're on the roof of a three-story building. There is cell phone coverage inside the building. They're always on the phone inside the building. Implausible that the phones aren't working outside on the roof. Implausible. Even if it's possible, it felt contrived and stupid.
Second, Matt is bidding for a date with Harriet against someone he thinks is one person but it turns out it isn't him. Which everyone could see coming a mile away, and so when it actually comes, it's a complete letdown, and, again, completely contrived and stupid.
Third, Tom is forced to cancel his date with Lucy because Jack enlists him to go to a dinner to help him save the network. Would have been totally reasonable for him to tell Lucy the truth, but for no reason except to create contrived and stupid conflict, he lies to her, and then, of course, she's at the dinner too and catches him in the lie. Of course. Contrived, stupid, ridiculous.
Fourth, they film a piece with snakes and lose a snake. And Danny's afraid of snakes. And the only way out for the snake is the vent on the roof. And Danny's trapped on the roof. Give me a break.
Fifth, Jordan's trapped on the roof, which prevents her from going to the dinner, which means Matt has to introduce Harriet, which will happen in next week's second part of the episode, while Matt and Harriet are fighting and... it's just all too easy, too stupid, too fake. Aaron Sorkin has done much better and can do much better, and this episode just... made me angry. Nothing on TV should be able to get away with being this stupid. Sorry.
Updated to add: It makes me really happy to see that someone agrees with me. Alex Epstein's book about TV writing is really good. I'm glad he's written the same blog post as I have about this show. Come on, Studio 60. Don't be this bad. I want to like you.