Watching the (interminable) five-part finale of Studio 60 (finally) conclude last night, I was struck again that much of this could have been salvageable had Sorkin made the show within a show a late-night news show (something Nightline-like) and not a sketch comedy show. That would have let him embed the political stuff a lot more smoothly. As it was, a lot of the comedy stuff felt forced and faked, and the political stuff - generally speaking, the good stuff - felt shoehorned in. Even the Harriett-Matt stuff might have worked better in such a scenario - neither Harriett or Matt ever felt loose or cutting enough to be comedy geniuses, but instead felt oddly buttoned-up - which might have worked well for a writer and anchor at a news show.
That being said, the series did give us some nice moments, the Christmas episode being the highlight, especially the brass band finale. And it showed us that Bradley Whitford could play someone besides Josh Lyman (his Danny was different enough to impress, if not different enough to wow me) and that Steven Weber has real chops.
What last night's finale really left me wondering, though, is if Sorkin - who has a new Broadway play scheduled for the Fall and a Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts political film scheduled for Christmas release - will at some point return to TV. I still suspect that TV is his natural medium, although the aforementioned projects may in the end prove me wrong. But this can't have been a fun experience, especially given the clearly personal nature of the writing. Has he been scared off for good? Or will learn from the mistakes made here and try again at some point? I'm curious to learn the answer.
One more thing - how weird must it have been for Kristen Chenowith (the real-life inspiration for the Harriett character) to watch that episode?