STUDIO 60: "THE OPTION PERIOD"
Reference link: STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP: "The Option Period"
To me, this feels like the episode where Sorkin's finally figured something out. Where real world now informs what he can do in Sorkin world. The ratings blow, but he's got a pass for the rest of the season (which he probably knew well before it was officially announced, and so when writing this one blah blah blah). Assuming the ratings stay the same or continue to drop, one can probably expect to not get a renewal for a second season. Now, he can just unleash it all. Be as inside as he wants and fuck-all to anyone who can't keep up. There's no reason for him to consider the audience in anyway or to try to do this or that, so he can go to town. Damn the torpedoes.
He's got other stuff going on besides Studio 60, anyway. The Farnsworth Invention on the stage, in fact it runs from February 20 to March 25th in workshop at the La Jolla Playhouse (I got fifth row, stage right just off center...ha ha...suck it). Charlie Wilson's War starts shooting in early 2007, so as far as "only being as good as your latest work," the show won't be his latest work.
Also, with the decreased license fee and probably less access to the characters by way of a reduction on the appearance guarantees to the cast, he's got some constriction and limitations so often force creativity. I don't think it's any accident that last night's apparently well-received episode was clearly a budget-saving bottle show. Some of his best stuff has been ("17 People" comes to mind).
Now he has taken the net out from under the guys, chucked Ricky and Ron for the more interesting Lucy and Darius and has Jamie hanging over a pit of fire after being set up as being the savior of the network. I could do with a little less of Harriet Hayes reliving the life of Sorkin's ex, Kristin Chenoweth, but with more media attention. There are, I'm sure, better parts of Sorkin's own experiences he could write about and it would probably do wonders for the show and the ratings.
I hope this is the case. The worst that can happen is we get more of the same as it's already been. Big deal, it'll be gone by the end of May. However, if he really does chuck everything and do...whatever...and it actually works (just play along for a sec), then maybe some people will come back to it, some buzz will build, the season will end strong, it'll get renewed and we can all tear Sorkin a new one because the beginning of the second season wasn't as good as the end of the first or because it wasn't what we wanted.
Well, you can.