I’ve been away from the tv the past two nights and finally got to watch this week’s episode of Studio 60. Best episode yet.
It wasn’t just the guest appearance of Sting or the recurring appearance of Ed Asner. And it wasn’t the guest appearance of Christine Lahti who looks absolutely stunning now in her mid-50s. The whole premise of this week’s show was bold and strong and reflected everything that is wrong with television entertainment and the risks involved in changing it.
NBS was pitched the next big reality show hit. “Seek and Destroy” is making it’s way to all of the networks looking for the highest bidder. This show takes average couples and while the reality show is being shot, private investigators look for dirty laundry in their lives. “Maybe the girl is a devout Roman Catholic and she had an abortion when she was a teenager”. “We’ll find internet pornography addictions” the developer pitches.
NBS’ entertainment chief, played by Amanda Peet passes. Her immediate boss says no, this show is going to be the hit of the season. “Not on our network” she says. Rudolph calls in the President of the Network, Asner, who asks why she wants to pass. Jordan McDeere says the show is “patently disgusting” and would have a negative impact on the culture. Asner says okay “if you want her to cook the meal, you have to let her buy the groceries” (an old Bill Parcells quote).
She wants to break the cycle of everything that is wrong with network tv. She is convinced if the network airs better shows, they’ll find a bigger audience.
God I hope she’s right.
This show is struggling to find an audience. The numbers have dropped each and every week. I think it’s the best 60 minutes on tv today. The ending tonight (or Monday night) featured Sting doing “Fields of Gold” with a lute accompanying him (I’m downloading the song on iTunes right now). The lead characters who once were romantically involved had a moment. The beauty of these last 10 minutes literally brought tears to my eyes. The dialogue was brilliant. The characters have me cheering for them and the show to succeed. Harriet Myers, the star actor on the show-within-a-show has reeled me in with her story of growing up with a Christian mother.
This week, she actually gave her Christian testimony on the episode. WOW! I can’t even think of the last time I saw something like that on network tv. It was compelling and totally believable and totally the way a real Christian person might talk. She isn’t portrayed as a nut job, just a woman who deeply believes in God and Jesus Christ and who allows those beliefs to shape her life and her decisions. She isn’t holier than thou and I’m sure she’s going to fall down a few times. But what a statement this is. Somebody in Hollywood has actually known a normal Christian person.
I hope NBC gives this show some time.