Better Late Than Never: 10 Random Thoughts on Studio 60 Episode 13

Credit: NBC

We are just a few weeks away from the series finale of Studio 60. The next few weeks are going to bring a couple of two-parters as well as a three-parter that I am eagerly anticipating, then it’ll be onto the series finale. I’m pretty excited to bring these next episodes to you. The back half of TV series are usually the most intense and the most fun to watch because we are inching toward a culmination of all the plot threads that Aaron Sorkin has been weaving together and he has a lot of them. I would try to figure them all out, but I’m sure I would miss a few of them. 

To quickly recap from last week, Danny found out that Jordan is pregnant by her ex-boyfriend. The same ex-boyfriend who leaked the results of Danny’s positive drug test. The same positive drug test that prevented Danny from directing Matt’s movie about Nicola Tesla. Yet, for some reason, Danny accompanies Jordan to her OBGYN appointment. Then he proceeds to proclaim his love for her and then proceeds to harrass her. 

Matt attempts to outbid an online user trying to buy a night with Harriet for charity. He thinks he’s bidding against the new director in her life, one she’s already dated and one Matt doesn’t like in the slightest. Will he win a date with her to the Catholics in Media awards? Will Danny honor Jordan’s request for him to stop pursuing her? Let’s find out. 

  1. Jack is talking about honor and shame, which are two very important parts of Chinese culture and you know all that Tom can think about is the fact that he’s living that life as he speaks. He has a brother in the military who is often lauded within his family. He has a father who looks down on him for choosing to become an actor and a comedian. These two things are at the very core of who Tom is, but Tom also followed his dreams, probably against the advice of his parents who are clearly blue-collar workers. He’s probably listening to Jack thinking, “if the girl is happy doing sketch comedy, let her do sketch comedy.” 
  2. Is Jack….sleeping with Halle, the new head of alternative programming? Because I don’t believe his explanation in the slightest. Not at all. He paused too many times and was obviously holding something back. Either that, or he hired Halle to replace Jordan if and when the time came that Jordan would be fired. Either way, I like Jack but he’s starting to get on my bad side again. 
  3. “I think she’s asking you to stop.” Matt, being, for once, the voice of reason. Because, you know, he understands respect and boundaries. Thank goodness. 
  4. I understand the need for conflict. I do. I’m a writer myself, but what is with this conflict with Simon and Darius? I know Darius is a fledgling writer, but all of this feels manufactured in a way that doesn’t sit comfortably with me. It feels too much like a set-up for something that’s coming and I’m not sure if it’s something I’m going to like. 
  5. “No, they’re vipers.” “Harmless vipers.” Cal. Cal, man, I love you. I do. But have you never done a science research project on snakes with your kids? Obviously not because there is no viper in the world that is harmless. These are scary, scary dudes. Not pleasant. 
  6. Okay, but seriously, I love Tom and Lucy. Please tell me that the whole dinner with Kim doesn’t derail this whole relationship because it’s beautiful and sweet and adorable. 
  7. I feel like the whole snake thing intercut with the whole Harriet thing is a fantastic metaphor that I can’t explain right now, but it’s there. I love it. Is it accurate and true to their relationship? Not really, but I promise, the metaphor is there. Also, is anyone else amused by Cal’s quietly understated panic paralleled with the viper wrangler’s dry almost deadpan delivery? Because I am. 
  8. The wonderful moment the penny drops and it turns out that Luke (you know, the movie director that is slightly creepy the more I think about it) was *not*, in fact, bidding on Harriet, but it was a skater boy with long hair and eyeliner who doesn’t know how to dress for a fancy dinner at a Catholics in Media event. 
  9. Matt presenting Harriet in front of hundreds of people feels like a very bad idea. Or it will be a very good idea. I’m not entirely sure which one it’s going to be, but my money is, surprisingly, on the very good idea. Why? Because Matt is clearly in love with her still and even though he makes horrible choices in how to profess and proclaim that love, it’s there and it’s obvious to everyone BUT Harriet. 
  10. No, no, no. Not Lucy and Tom already getting off the rails. No. It’s not allowed. I was rooting for them. We were all rooting for them. Or maybe it was just me. I don’t know. But they were cute for one fleeting moment. 

I’ll be honest and say that despite my liking the idea of Danny and Jordan at the beginning of the series, the past two episodes haven’t been the greatest and shouldn’t really indicate the start of a stable relationship. In fact, now that I think about it, (and I have thought about it) Danny and Jordan just aren’t great. Maybe that’ll get better now that Danny has respected her request and apologized for his behavior. I’m glad that Sorkin wrote and didn’t allow Danny’s character assassination to continue. 

But that’s not a very important part of this episode. The most important part of this episode, I think, is Matt and Harriet and Darius and Simon. A lot changes in the dynamic between Matt and Harriet in this episode. I mentioned last Wednesday that Matt respects boundaries in his own goofy way and I fully believe that if Harriet asks Matt to stop, he will. Well, it finally happened. Harriet tells Matt that they’re over at the dinner, that whatever they’ve been skirting around, is finished. 

To say that I’m surprised is an understatement. Paulson and Perry have such fantastic chemistry that I’m not entirely sure that Sorkin will be able to resist giving them things to spar about. Of course, if they have things to spar about, it’ll feel like unresolved sexual tension, and then I’ll just be wanting more. It’s a vicious circle but we all know how well Sorkin is at writing couples… (I will forever be mad that Josh and Donna didn’t get together in the third or fourth season of The West Wing.) With that being said, I don’t know how he would benefit from keeping Harriet and Matt apart. This season is basically anchored by these two characters and how they interact and their personal life together. Yes, it is technically a drama about a sketch comedy show, but come on. We all know we’re not here for the sketches at this point. 

Needless to say, it’ll be interesting to see how Sorkin handles this change. Will it be a plot thread that gets dropped or ignored like the Martha O’Dell plotline? Don’t think I’ve forgotten that little thing. We haven’t heard hide nor hair of that plot in…quite a while. I’m starting to think we’ve seen the last of Martha and we won’t know how the article is received. If I’m wrong, I apologize ahead of time. Anyway, if it’s a plotline that gets dropped for some inexplicable reason, I can’t wait to see more of Matt’s shenanigans. And, more importantly, will Harriet dump creepy director Luke?

Second, and I only want to touch on this briefly because I don’t want to step on any toes or say anything wrong about something I don’t understand, but the whole thing between Darius and Simon feels…wrong for what Sorkin set up in their first episodes together. Based on Darius’ failed stand-up routine, it’s safe to say that Darius is from the wrong side of the tracks and maybe he even grew up exposed to the kind of life Simon experienced as a child. 

But the way that Simon treats Darius feels out of character. They have a shared experience and Simon is prickly because Darius wouldn’t do something that Simon complained about when they first met. Simon didn’t like his original stand-up comedian because of his combatant nature and the way he pandered to white audiences by enforcing the stereotype of a deadbeat and a somewhat combatant Black man. But now, Simon’s upset that Darius wouldn’t write a sketch about a combatant African fruit. It seems like a double standard and a petty thing for Simon to get angry about. I don’t know. As I said, I don’t understand this dynamic. I just know it’s rubbing me the wrong way.

Shelby Arnold
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