Monday, November 20, 2006

Watch "Studio 60" tonight (spoilers)

You Americans should watch "Studio 60" tonight. It's a heck of a lot better than last week's episode, and that's not faint praise. The episode is about the show and post-show after the events in Nevada. It left me thinking by the end of the episode, "Wow, that all took place in real time."

Writers especially will appreciate this week's show, from the use of basketball overtime periods to designate acts to the advice to introduce a sidekick to help avoid voice-over exposition. That made me chuckle.

Those of us who watched last week's "30 Rock" can compare how the two shows treat the issue of product placement. "30 Rock" made fun of the issue, with blatant mentions of Snapple, comic to the point of an actor in a Snapple costume. "Studio 60" takes a more serious perspective through Danny and Jordan's discussion - which does its part to throw out some brand names. One cut from Danny and Jordan to the writers' room reveals Ricky sitting behind a beautiful MacBook, Apple logo front and center. Danny also fetched some sort of food from a vending machine at some point, but I didn't catch what that was - if that was product placement, it was ineffective.

The fictional "Studio 60" crew comes up with an elegant solution to product placement: they will design a set around LA billboard culture. I'm guessing the real "Studio 60" will be adopting that set for the same reason. It's a nifty recursive solution.

That these two NBC shows about TV writers raise the issue leads me to wonder if a directive on product placement came down from NBC management one show cycle ago.

I don't object to product placement. Last week's "House" had John Larroquette's waken-from-a-decade-in-a-vegetative-state Gabe ask what an Ip-Od was. Cute.

Bonus breakthrough:

As I drifted off to sleep Saturday night, I had a great new slant on the beginning of "Sheep's End" pop into my head. It's down in note form, but I don't have time to write it for a few weeks. It helps solve some nagging issues I had, with plot and cliche. And it adds a new joke, of the non-ass variety.


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