So back in the fall of 2006 (WOW, six years ago… really?!), two TV shows were released that seemed to be so similar in concept that it was kind of strange that NBC would be airing both of these shows in the same season. Both Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and 30 Rock would go behind-the-scenes of a weekly, late-night live variety show like Saturday Night Live. I remember when I heard about them both, I was debating which one to watch. Always being a fan of Tina Fey, I was more excited about that show than Studio 60, but I vowed to give them both a shot (mainly because I liked Matthew Perry, too).
Back in 2006, I had no idea who Aaron Sorkin was. I’d never been into politics, so West Wing wasn’t something that interested me way back when. (Expect an ‘OH MY GOD I LOVE THE WEST WING’ blog entry very soon, because I just started watching it.) After seeing the pilot of Studio 60, I have to admit, I was blown away. The show was smart and fast-paced and engrossing… and the characters were diverse and flawed and wonderful, and they were all portrayed beautifully by an amazing cast. The writing “knocked my socks off,” as one of the characters said in an episode– a line that stays with me always.
After seeing my first episode of 30 Rock, I was equally engaged, only my interest was fueled by the fact that one of my favorite bosses was also watching the show. And he reminded me of Kenneth, so it was a win-win. That fall was the most pivotal season of my life, though, and as much as I wanted to keep up with both shows, I had a hard time doing it… and when I heard that ratings were not good for Studio 60, I abandoned it after only a couple of weeks.
I have been a loyal 30 Rock fan ever since– and that was FURTHER fueled by the fact that I moved to Manhattan for a month and actually went to the building and did a cool NBC tour after I’d quit my miserable job. So anyway, I have bought every episode of 30 Rock on iTunes and I watch them over and over again. My favorite episodes? Oh, God, there are many. I love The Head and the Hair. Here’s a little clip.
Also, I love Kenneth’s view of the world:
And my favorite line EVER (well, that I can think of this very second): Damn! I can’t find a good video. Anyway, it’s “I’m’a call you back. I snitting next to Borpo.” (This was said while Liz was on prescription pills and she thought she met Oprah.)
So anyway. Yes, I have loved 30 Rock from the start.
BUT… last year, I decided I wanted to watch Studio 60. I’d seen the Social Network and remembered how much I liked Aaron Sorkin, and decided to give his dead series another try. It was freaking magical. I literally cried in every episode (granted I cry at a lot of things). But the story was so good, and the relationships were so difficult and real and… GAH. I can’t do it justice. Here are some videos.
Brilliant little musical number:
A beautiful mashup of a relationship that seems doomed… but very well may triumph:
And, yeah, I just cried watching that again.
My point is, what seemed like two copy-cat shows actually turned out to be two wholly unique and entertaining pieces of television history. One is fresh hilarity that showcases some of the most talented comedic actors ever; the other is a drama so touching and intense that it’s possible the world couldn’t have handled a second season anyway.
Kenneth Ellen Parcell would be proud.
Anyway, I just found out I could watch the first episode of the Newsroom for free on youtube, so that’s what I’m gonna do. From what I understand, it might be worthy of a ‘television I love’ post, too.