PLUS, THE SHOW SUCKS If I may be permitted to add an aesthetic topper to Charlie and Ezra's discussion, it should also be noted that Sorkin is an egregiously overrated writer. Trying to avoid falling into the film trailer method of criticism being practiced by some quarters of the right, I gritted my teeth and watched the two most recent episodes. And, the fact is, Studio 60 is a bad show. The first episode of the two-parter was for the most part merely dull. But last night's was almost as bad as the 9/11 episode of The West Wing, which I believe had the highest pretension-to-achievement ratio of any show in television history. But leaving aside the political merits of the discourse -- which I agree are negligible -- what's worse to my mind is that the show consists pretty much entirely of characters reading B+ high school position papers at each other, as opposed to talking like human beings. Everything is spoonfed the audience; nothing is dramatized. Whether or not the character modeled on Kristin Chenoweth is too sympathetic, what's worse is that you can't believe that she would be having these conversations. And even worse is the judge played by John Goodman. The thing is, most actual rural red-staters don't reassert their purported red-state resentment, in terms that seem to come straight from David Brooks columns, again and again and again. .(And, of course, there's the larger problem of trying to milk a two-parter out of a situation that is both contrived and entirely devoid of interest in the first place.) The show is probably bad politics, but it's certainly bad TV. (And, yeah, this means I agree with Jonah Goldberg. Well, when he's right he's right.)

--Scott Lemieux

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