IMDB, that always reputable source, lists Aaron Sorkin as the writer of last night's Studio 60. The show opened with a White House press room war sketch, and I thought to myself, "Man, I love Aaron Sorkin when he's political."
That dovish theme didn't last long, though, as it gave way to, among others, the "Nobody talk about the ratings while in the studio" theme, the "We're being sued because of things that happened before we resurrected the show" theme, the "Matt's drug issues" theme, the "Don't bother cast members during the show" theme, and the "Something's wrong with Tom's brother" theme, which would surely lead back to the opening political touchstone.
But, not for a while.
So, nobody talk about the ratings, even though the real show is a ratings flop. Don't bother the cast members during the show, but Mary the lawyer can aggressively hit on Matt, and apparently that's fine. Mary works for Gage Whitney, which was the fictional evil corporate firm Sam Seaborn had worked for in West Wing. I like her, although if it had been a male lawyer making such flirtatious remarks to a female client, that would be harassment and everyone would, rightly, be up in arms. It works out for her, though.
Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam on The Office, was the fictional guest host, and we only see her in the good-nights. I wish she'd been more involved in the episode, only I can't think of a single point in this script where she would have fit. Lucy Davis, who plays Lucy Kenwright on Studio 60, played the secretary in the British Office. Lucy usually factors into scenes involving the writers' room, although in this episode she operates mainly as Tom's girlfriend, and may implicitly be one of the reasons the characters can tell their lawyer that the writers' room is now a much more woman-friendly place.
In the end, the show did come back around to politics, but in a way that made me curl up in a ball and rock back and forth and say, "I hate Aaron Sorkin when he gets political." It's a gift to be able to make political situations seem personal, real. The problem is, low ratings or not, I truly like these characters, and I don't like to see them get hurt.
It is, however, the stuff of good drama.