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“Studio 60″ Finally Turns Out The Lights

While I have been enjoying the respite that the final episodes of now cancelled “Studio 60″ have given me this month amidst the summer wasteland of TV reruns and reality junk, I have to say that Thursday’s season finale–which ironically lead the series at long last to win the night in the ratings–was a reminder of why the show was so frustrating for fans and critics alike.
After the last three weeks of juggling multiple storylines which included flashbacks to the show after 9/11, cast member Tom’s soldier brother being captured in Iraq, exec Jordan McDeere having severe pregnancy complications, and the ongoing tumultuous romance between Matt and Harriet, last night’s episode finally brought the four-episode arc as well as the series to an end. The lackluster finale showed how producer/writer Aaron Sorkin can sometimes be a victim of his own genius because he set up too many scenarios in need of dramatic pay-off and made us care about too many characters to effectively bring a authentic resolution to the world he created.
At the end of one of the longest nights in television history, we never truly got the whole story of what happened regarding Matt and Danny’s firing, and we had to settle for a bunch of neat, tidy, and unrealistic endings to the other plot points. Jordan miraculously recovered, Tom’s brother was saved, and Matt and Harriet are back together again. All of these happy endings go against the complex and often chaotic nature of Sorkin’s characters.
Are we really to believe that Matt and Harriet will live happily ever after? Wouldn’t a more realistic and thought-provoking statement have been made if Tom’s brother unfortunately was killed despite all efforts to save him? Worst of all, for all of the show’s pondering of the importance of religion in how our country’s culture is shaped, no one on the show seems to have come very far spiritually as a new day dawns, not even Harriet. For those of us that have been followers of not only “Studio 60″ but “Sports Night” and “The West Wing,” it felt like we were cheated just a little bit.
But while I may be unsatisified with the series end, I will still be looking forward to the DVD release this fall, for which Sorkin will be providing commentary for the episodes. Maybe then I will get some of the missing answers I wish I would have seen last night.

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