Aaron Sorkin may have finally gone over the edge with the sermonizing, preaching and lecturing on Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip. The show has already been floating in an astoundingly bizarre alternate dramedy universe in its depiction of a live weekly comedy series, with its lame sketches, college-level references to Commedia dell’Arte, Gilbert & Sullivan, Ibsen and the Christian right, and the use of executive producer Tommy Schlamme’s long-in-the-tooth wife Christine Lahti as the femme fatale.
But all it took was one line to turn the entire series into a joke on Late Show with David Letterman.
And with next week’s episode being bumped for a Monday night airing of Friday Night Lights, the late night ridicule might be enough to pull the white sheet over Monday Night Dead.
We haven’t seen any recaps, so it may still be a spoiler, so we’ll save the line for after the jump:“Your little brother is standing in the middle of Afghanistan!”
That was it, one line by a guest actor, but coming from out of the blue as it did on a series about a Hollywood comedy show, it was a doozy.
The line wasn’t intended to be a joke– but a moment of high drama– uttered amid an episode that was crammed with so many political and cultural references you’d think the writer was flying on crack or something: Christians, comedia dell’Arte, the United Nations, the history of comedy, vaudeville, Gypsy Rose Lee, racism, homophobia, LPs vs CDs, the state of black comedy, race relations, gang violence, the prison system, the invasion of Normandy, Alzheimer’s, the Paris Opera House, the Hollywood blacklist, Sid Caesar, inadequate body armour for American troops in Afghanistan, the difference between skits and sketch comedy, Abbott & Costello, slavery–
But the most stunning moment occurred after Nate Corddry’s Tiny Tom character takes his unrealistically bumpkin parents (they never heard of Abbott & Costello) on what sounded like an NBC page’s memorized tour of the theatre, and then defended his work as a top comedy star.
That’s when Dad blurts out: “That’s swell, Tom, but your little brother is standing in the middle of Afghanistan!”
You could hear the jaws dropping in living rooms everywhere.
And Letterman caught it. He repeated the line over and over on last night’s show, reminding himself and the audience that Studio 60 is supposed to be a drama. Most embarrassing, he kept it up as he led into to his interview with Tina Fey, creator and star of NBC’s in-house rival, 30 Rock, which at least tries to be funny.
Our bet is, if Dave keeps up the joke, it’s curtains for Studio 60.