First Impressions

The Class/Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip

Distributed By: NBC

Reviewed by Ismael Manzano


            With the onslaught of new shows across the board this season, I’d be remised if I didn’t try to capitalize on the opportunity to do a few extra reviews and get an excuse to watch a lot more television than I should be allowed to watch.  With that said, I’ll be doing two short reviews this time.  The first, the new CBS comedy, “The Class,” and the other, the new NBC drama, “Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip.”  As these are the only two new shows I’ve been able to catch this week, others will follow in the weeks come.

            I decided to watch “The Class,” for three reasons: It had Jason Ritter in it, whom I loved from “Joan of Arcadia”, it had Lizzy Caplan, whom I loved in “Related”, and it had the most offbeat premise I can remember in a long while.  Ethan (Ritter)  is a love struck, overzealous nerdy guy who does everything full throttle in a relationship.  He gathers together all of his classmates from the third grade—the grade in which he met his current girlfriend—for a twenty year reunion.  But the act of kindness blows up in his face and his shrew of a girlfriend dumps him, citing his emotional openness and over-the-top gestures as the reason for the breakup.  Some of the classmates hadn’t seen each other since the third grade, others never stopped thinking about one another, and others have gripes they never got over.  But now that they’re all together, they find their own reasons to reconnect with long lost friends. 

            I loved this show.  I admit that I had my reservations, but I’m glad I pushed that aside and gave this show a try.  It was great.   Lizzy Caplan as Kat, did a great job as the sarcastic, jaded girl with an attitude.  It’s a role she’s played several times, but one that she pulls off so well that you can’t help but love it.  They even managed to make sensitive topics such as suicide seem funny. It’s definitely not the average concept for a comedy show—or any genre show for that matter—and I think that’s what made it so interesting; I hope that’s what’ll get people tuning in, because it’s really a great show, and a great lead in to “How I Met Your Mother,” another brilliant comedy.  Catch it on Mondays, 8pm on CBS.

            On over to NBC at 10pm the same day, and you have “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”  The show, starring Matthew Perry as Matt—I’m not sure whether that’s funny or lazy—and Bradley Whitford (of the West Wing) as Danny, two big-named writers who have just been asked by Jordan (Amanda Peet, The Whole Nine Yards)—newly hired President of NBS (a network television giant)—to run the biggest variety comedy show on the network. 

            Problems: Matt and Danny, used to work for NBS before they were fired four years ago; Mat recently broke up with a main actresses on the show, Harriet, (Sarah Paulson, American Gothic); the head of the studio, Jack (Steven Weber, Wings) hates their guts, and their new boss, Jordan, has as much to prove and lose as they do; and Danny is struggling with a cocaine addiction that just cost a job for him and Matt. 

            “Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip,” despite having the longest, most annoying name in the new fall line up, is actually a very good show.  It’s a jaded look at  the gritty side of the comedy business.  It’s SNL meets The West Wing, which was most likely purposeful, because it’s about a NBC comedy show with Bradley Whitford.  If the show wasn’t on NBC, I would say that it was complete rip off, but being on NBC, it was hysterical, smart and dramatic.  All in all, I liked the show very much and look forward to seeing more in the weeks to come.  They have a lot of potential and room to maneuver with the show, and have the luxury of tackling both comedic issues and highly dramatic ones.  I can’t wait to see what they do with it.  Check it out for yourself; now that I’ve caught you up, it shouldn’t be hard to follow. 

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