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Friday, October 27, 2006

By Ken Levine: If Aaron Sorkin wrote a show about baseball

A pedeconference on the mound…

THEY REACH THE RIGHT FIELDER, AN AFRO-AMERICAN NAMED CHET.

CHET

Look up in the stands, guys. Not four black faces. Would Jackie Robinson even want to break into this game now? If this sport speaks to minorities now it speaks in Spanish. Afro-Americans make up less than 5% of the major leagues. Compare that to basketball, football, or even golf. Satchel Paige said, “don’t look back, something might be gaining on ya.” I just did. It’s now hockey.

Repoz Posted: October 27, 2006 at 12:40 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: online, television

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 27, 2006 at 02:11 PM (#2226143)
Studio 60 sucks.
   2. Rodder Posted: October 27, 2006 at 04:08 PM (#2226251)
The "show within the show" is terrible. It is supposed to be about a cutting edge show, but their big skits include impressions of Juliette Lewis and Holly Hunter. That may have been cutting edge in 1996. And why do they have to go so far out of their way to insist that everyone from the midwest is a moron? On the last episode, the character's dad from Columbus, probably late 50's or so in age, never heard of "Who's on First." Never even heard of it? I loved "The West Wing" and have watched hoping for more of Sorkin's genius, but the writing is not nearly as tight, insightful or funny.
   3. JMM Posted: October 27, 2006 at 06:38 PM (#2226418)
why do they have to go so far out of their way to insist that everyone from the midwest is a moron? On the last episode, the character's dad from Columbus, probably late 50's or so in age, never heard of "Who's on First." Never even heard of it?

I don't think that was supposed to be so much about "everyone from the midwest," but about the extreme disconnect between Nate Corddry and his parents. The problem is that they went with "Who's on First," which was too much of a shortcut by Sorkin in trying to make that facility the end all and be all of comedy history. He might have been better off making it someplace that Stan Freberg or Tom Lehrer or the Fireside Theater worked -- something that's still historical and that a comedy nerd would have obsessed over, but is obscure enough that it would be believable that Mom and Dad wouldn't know it -- but it seems like Sorkin wussed out, afraid that the audience wouldn't know who any of them were (or that it would matter if they didn't). Or he should have just fictionalized it like they did so much of the rest of the history instead of going with something that really exists and is really that famous.

As for the "show within a show": wupposedly Mark McKinney is going to start/has started writing the show within a show stuff, which should help.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 27, 2006 at 06:41 PM (#2226423)
The "show within the show" is terrible.

Agreed. I thought the cold opening in "Cold Opening" (the singing montage) was a good idea, but horribly executed.

I also hate the pretentiousness of the characters. It was endearing on SportsNight and West Wing, but its grating here.
   5. Kyle S Posted: October 27, 2006 at 07:05 PM (#2226448)
I like the show but think the Harriett character is pretty bad. She's supposed to be hilarious? Really?
   6. JMM Posted: October 27, 2006 at 08:21 PM (#2226531)
Agreed. I thought the cold opening in "Cold Opening" (the singing montage) was a good idea, but horribly executed.

And, apparently, SNL did a "General's Song" bit. In 1995 aka one of its worst nadirs.
   7. Jefferson Posted: October 27, 2006 at 11:05 PM (#2226669)
They never shoulda cancelled "Sports Night."
   8. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: October 27, 2006 at 11:27 PM (#2226679)
I like the show but think the Harriett character is pretty bad.

She's pretty much why I stopped watching. I found myself wishing they would just kill her off. So I quit watching. I didn't particularly like anyone else, so my overriding feeling about the show was, "Jesus, I hate that lady."
   9. Walt Davis Posted: October 28, 2006 at 12:01 AM (#2226687)
Seems to me it would go more something like this:

Leo: Can you throw your curveball for strikes?
Danny: My curveball?
Leo: Yeah, your curveball.
Danny: For strikes?
Leo: Yeah, for strikes. Can you throw your curveball for strikes?
Danny: So you want to know if I can get guys to swing and miss my curveball?
Leo: No, I'm more interested in can you get it over the plate.
Danny: On the fly?
Leo: Well, yeah, preferably. Can you throw a curveball that the umpire will call a strike?
Danny: Sure, he woulda called that last one a strike.
Leo: Yeah, maybe, if Jones hadn't hit it 470 feet.
Danny: So you're asking me if I can throw a curveball that will be called a strike but not hammered but also not swung at and missed?
Leo: OK, close enough, I can go with that.
Danny: You're not worried about my changeup?
Leo: No, just your curveball.
Danny: Not my slider?
Leo: You don't throw a slider.
Danny: I used to until ... Dana.
Leo: Really? I always thought Sabrina Lloyd was the cute one.
   10. AndrewJ Posted: October 28, 2006 at 03:08 PM (#2227265)
Agreed. I thought the cold opening in "Cold Opening" (the singing montage) was a good idea, but horribly executed.

And, apparently, SNL did a "General's Song" bit. In 1995 aka one of its worst nadirs.


Somehow, I don't think the 16-year-olds who'd be watching SNL (or an SNL-esque show) would have any fricking knowledge about Gilbert & Sullivan. The last generation who'd have immediately understood a "Major-General's Song" spoof would've probably been my grandparents.
   11. JMM Posted: October 28, 2006 at 04:00 PM (#2227280)
They probably don't know it by name or that it's Gilbert & Sullivan or from The Pirates of Penzance (I had to look that up), but it's recognizable enough from being referenced elsewhere that they know it's something famous and that it's been referenced on a bunch of stuff they've seens (The Simpsons, etc.). And, of course, if it's done well and is really funny, it doesn't matter if the audience knows G&S or not.
   12. AndrewJ Posted: October 28, 2006 at 06:12 PM (#2227326)
He might have been better off making it someplace that Stan Freberg or Tom Lehrer or the Fireside Theater worked -- something that's still historical and that a comedy nerd would have obsessed over, but is obscure enough that it would be believable that Mom and Dad wouldn't know

Speaking of comedy nerds, there's a great (and relatively recent) book about comedians of the Tom Lehrer/Stan Freberg generation titled SERIOUSLY FUNNY by Bay Area reporter Gerald Nachman. It's worth a read.

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