Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Studio 60 on thin ice

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip continues to jab at Christians. Last night they might have gone too far. I think the hope is that having a “show within a show” they think that they can get away with things because they’re not actually putting offensive things on the air – they’re showing a group of actors and writers thinking about putting it on the air. Now theoretically, that should show nuanced discussions about the issues but it more often just shows Christians responding in a knee-jerk somewhat narrow-minded way so that the main characters can give a smart, sophisticated rebuttal.

In last night’s episode (“Nevada Day, Pt 1”) Harriet, the resident Christian, is quoted in a column about her opinion regarding gay marriage. Her response (including King James English, standard for Sorkin characters who quote the Bible) showed what was pointed out as an attempt at being open-minded while not actually being that way. Harriet came across as a jerk last night while Matt and all the others got to be the ones who were actually the “nice people”. Tom Jeter was arrested in L.A. and was extradited to Nevada (on an outstanding warrant for speeding) where it was discovered that he had “half a joint” in the pocket of the jacket that Simon gave him. Simon gets to be all “that was my jacket – this is my fault” showing that, even though he apparently smokes grass and makes jokes about Christians he’s really the one who is open-minded and more Christian in his actions than Harriet who apparently can only spout pious statements about it. There is also a hint that Jeter was speeding in Nevada for a very good reason – something that will undoubtedly be revealed next week – making yet another character who has character as opposed to mere rhetoric.

Having Harriet as the resident Christian was a nice idea for a show or two but it’s starting to get to me. There are lots of other places to go with this show. Aaron Sorkin is doing what Matt accuses Harriet of – congratulating himself for being open-minded while actually attacking those he doesn’t like. It’s time for this show to move on to other issues or else it will be time for me to move on to other shows. Or perhaps I’ll just keep watching my West Wing DVDs.


Mary said...

Hiya Bob,

I think the trouble when there is one Christian character on a show is that then there is only one representation of "Christianity" on the show. I don't expect Harriet to be, say, Reformed. I expect her to be Baptist-evangelical, which is how she was introduced.

I don't look at her thinking that she represents >me< or even "Christianity". I see her as displaying a particular form of Christianity.

HOWEVER, it does seem to be a form of Christianity that is already well-represented in the media and is one that others are able to take potshots at most easily.

If Sorkin really wanted to explore faith matters, he'd have a couple of Christians on the show who didn't always agree. (Adding an Episcopalian to the cast would be a fun idea.)

On WW the Bartlets were Catholics, but you also had Toby and Josh talking about their Judaism from time to time. So religion wasn't represented by one person in one way. And Jed struggled w/ his faith at times. Plus, Arnie Vinick had that great faith conversation w/ Jed over ice cream. Classic.

BTW, the Matt-Harriet relationship is supposedly based on Sorkin's own dating life with Kristin Chenowyth (deputy press sec to Toby on WW; later aid to Leo).

In any case, I'm hanging with Studio 60.

Bob K said...

Thanks for your comment, Mary - I think your main points, that Harriet is only one type of Christian and that Sorkin has proved he can write Christians with Bartlet are valid.

But did you see last night's show? (Nevada Day, Pt 2.)

Harriet got knocked by the other Christians for not being closed-minded enough. So, Sorkin admits that there are other Christians, it's just that they're worse than Harriet.

The worst thing, though, was that, in typical Sorkin fashion, this judge knew everything about Tom's brother's background, was able to spout it all from memory and it made whatever crimes he had committed moot. Not to mention, why didn't the prosecutor just leave his paint-ball gun in the car???

Last night's show didn't make me feel a whole lot better about the show. It just felt like a lot of Sorkin dialogue strung together.

bethany said...

the paint-ball outfit was the best sight gag ever. Worth the improbability. I think it was Sorkin dealing with his own critics, and then humanizing them.