You Have Three Sevens, And I Have A Straight: The Reassuring Certainty Of Aaron Sorkin

studio 60From the moment it started, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" pretty much had me. Everything old was new again: The show had the same look and feel of the fourth season of "The West Wing," the last year Sorkin worked on that show. The credits even used the same typeface, which is extremely satisfying to person like me. But "Studio 60" is about a weekly sketch comedy show, and as such bears more similarity to Sorkin's first show, "Sports Night." Sorkin even uses the same phrases, like he always does. Having someone say "I hate his breathing guts" or that they'll do "whatever I damn well please" isn't so much a line of dialogue as it is a tried and true Sorkin standby. Half the reason I watch now is not see what's new but to see how he'll use the stuff he's said before. In this way, Sorkin is one of the most consistent writers in modern television: He will always return to the same themes, the same ideas, and examine them through the same worldview. Even the names get recycled from show to show. Matt Albie and Jordan McDeere echo Albie Duncan and Jordan Kendall, and Danny Tripp is Danny Concannon is Dan Rydell. And I'd bet all the money in my pockets that "Studio 60" will make good use of Lisa and Simon in the future, whoeever they might wind up being. Granted, the pilot episode wasn't perfect; it lacked Martin Sheen's sheer screen presence or Peter Krause's ill-advised 7th-grade skater 'do. But it had enough pop to see it through an hour, which is more than you can say for most shows. It's just too soon to tell where this thing will head: whether it will sink, succumb to its own sense of importance, or manage to walk the high road and provide some genuinely good TV. No matter what, I'll be with it all the way.