I think it’s time for me to explain why, after a life as a Democrat, I’ve turned my back so vehemently on my former party, and why I reject the word “liberal,” even though I once embraced it, and still hold to the classic ideas for which is stands. However, this will not be that post. I have a fair amount of work today, a short day in which to do it, and a backlog of fatigue. So, I’m going for the easy post, which is a quick comment on this week’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which I finally got around to watching.
As you know from an earlier post I did, Sorkin’s hostility to “Right Wing” Christians is pathetic and pathological. His lack of courage — that is, his picking on an easy target that he knows won’t strike back — was again evident in this week’s show. I don’t even have to waste time summarizing the plot, which was vapid and turgid. It’s enough to know that Studio 60 is a show about making a sketch comedy akin to Saturday Night Life (“SNL”). The big enemies are Bush, the network, and “Right Wing” Christians. Bush is dangerous to the country; while the network and those pesky Christians keep trying to mess with the heroes’ job security (as well as to stifle free speech, of course).
Because of the SNL premise, it is incumbent on the show to come up with some sketch ideas. This week’s sketch was called “Science Schmience,” and was apparently a parody of a Jeopardy-style game show. The contestants were an Orthodox Jew (played by Rob Reiner), who is a Kahane follower; a Taliban member; a Right Wing Christian; a Wiccan; and a college student. Throughout the show, you’d get interludes where the camera would bop in on rehearsals for this “comedy” sketch. The “host” would ask a question rooted in science, and you’d get to hear one of the “contestants” give a response rooted in faith.
Interestingly, the camera never got around to picking on that Taliban man’s beliefs. That is, there were moments were the Christian and the Jew were made to look like ignorant fools. There was a moment when the college student gave the right scientific answer but was told she was wrong under the “science shmience” rubric, and the “Wiccan” got to make a witch hat joke. The Taliban man’s only line was to the effect that “the Jew is right,” and even that wasn’t as to a religious point.
In other words, for all his big talk about freedom of speech and striking back at religious bigots, Sorkin never touched the Taliban man’s presumed extreme religious beliefs, violent political ideology, misogyny, etc. It was such a pathetically obvious avoidance that it simply reinforced the fact that Sorkin will only attack those he knows won’t strike back. This is a bad show, not because it’s badly written (Sorkin is a good writer) or badly acted (the ensemble is strong), but because its ideas are manifestly wrong. Ultimately, there is nothing Sorkin can do to use a fantasy to tout his courage, when we’re all well aware of what’s going on in the real world. No wonder the show is a ratings disaster.