Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Studio XY

I realize I've been MIA for awhile, and there's a lot of really interesting/horrible things going on in the news right now (from Bush's appointment of anti-sex education, anti-birth control Dr. Eric Keroak to oversee the nation's family planning programs, to a US soldier confessing to the gang rape and murder of a 14 year-old Iraqi girl). The Nicaraguan president has banned all abortions in the country, Robert Altman died, Murtha lost the majority leader position, and Trent Lott made a 'comeback' as minority Whip.

So what am I going to talk about? So much has gone on and I'm going to talk about...TV. Something's bothering me about Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The dialogue is wonderful - Aaron Sorkin is a genius when it comes to snappy, fast paced dialogue and realistic conversations. I know some people have complained the show is too preachy, others that the show-within-the-show isn't funny enough. I have slid to both sides of both of these arguments. But my problem after seeing Monday night's show? The show is too sexist.

I know. It seems predictable. But I can back myself up, at least if the show continues in the direction it's headed. Let's look at the female characters in the show:

1)Lucy (Lucy Davis) is a minor role so far. She plays a staff writer on the show, whose insecurities two episodes ago made her write a horribly unfunny revenge sketch aimed at her boyfriend with whom she'd just broken up (a fact that the head writer immediately guessed, accepting her tears and hug with a roll of the eyes - "women," the audience can imagine him thinking). She is insecure

2) Jeannie Whatley (Ayda Field) is a secondary character on the show. She is known around the set as a gossip (Monday's episode had her spreading information faster than the internet) and a slut. She is insecure.

3) Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson), a major role and star of the show-within-the-show, is supposedly 'extremely talented'. This past episode, she debated doing a lingerie spread...for the whole episode. Who did she debate it with? Two of the secondary characters. Sorry - two of the MALE secondary characters, who enlightened her with the real reason the magazine wanted her. Hayes then meets the head writer (an ex-boyfriend) who, despite his neurosis and complications, is able to lay out her real motivation for doing the spread, which then leads to the obvious conclusion that she shouldn't do it. Problem solved in one minute! No problem! Neurotic ex-boyfriend to the rescue! Oh, and her bra was showing above the neckline of her dress for half of the episode. Somewhat insecure.

4) Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet) is the studio exec. This character is the one the stings the most. In the pilot and first few episodes, this character was independent, strong, sexy, and confident. She didn't have an ego, but she knew how to get things done. Sure, we need to see humanity in this character. But the show put her in her place fast. They gave her an ex-husband who has been spilling dirt about her in preparation for an entire book full of sex clubs and other fun odds and ends. This has led her to become frazzled and unsure of herself. She spent an entire episode asking Harriet Hayes to be her friend. Her job is in jeopardy because of the ex-boyfriend, and the tears have been coming more and more frequently. Her subordinate, the director of Studio 60, talks to her as if he were the dominant one. As do all the other male characters. She is now completely insecure.
And those, ladies and gentlemen, are the women of Studio 60. See how they glow? I do enjoy the fact that not all the ladies are skinny and gorgeous, but that is little consolation when they are all blubbering fools. I realize I did not give much attention to the nuances of Paulson's character, but I believe that the character is inconsistent and find it hard to nail down what those nuances are. The best I can say is that she's wishy-washy.

I'm not ready to give up yet. But this was on my mind. I still think the show is smart, but I'm a little disenchanted.


In still other news, I had a student tell me that he heard someone on the radio today saying, "I'm the decider!" He thought it was funny because it sounded like apple cider. Odd.

1 comment:

Adam Elend said...

interesting. Plus it's a lame show. Takes itself way too seriously. This ain't the White House, Aaron.