Better Late Than Never: 10 Random Thoughts on the Series Finale of Studio 60

Credit: NBC

Well, ladies and gentlemen. We have come to the end of Studio 60 on the Sunset. It has been an absolute rollercoaster journey through heartbreak and pain, joy and happiness, and everything in between. “What Kind of Day Has it Been” Sorkin asks. He always asks that question in every television series he’s ever created. Every series is different and Studio 60 proves that is the case.

What kind of day has it been? Well, Tom’s brother is saved. Jordan survives. Danny adopts the baby and they name her Rebecca Tripp. They’re going to get married. Matt comes clean with Harriet and they begin to date again. The series ends with the cast giving Matt and Harry their blessings. They are exhausted but they are now prepared for another week of the show. Matt peers at the countdown clock and gets to work.

It’s a shame that the show wasn’t given a second season, but at least it didn’t end on a cliffhanger. The episode wrapped up nicely and neatly and yet, anyone who is fanfiction inclined has plenty of material to work off of. Overall, the ending fit, and I’m thankful for this journey. Check out my thoughts and my shorter than normal review over the finale.

  1. Matt’s reaction to the baby is exactly the type of reaction I would expect from Danny’s best friend. So priceless. So adorable. I love them and I love Matthew Perry. So much. When are he and Whitford going to be in something together again? Preferably a comedy. 
  2. “What’s her name?” “Baby Girl McDeere.” “You’re hoping she’ll become a stripper.” Matt. You’re so immature it’s ridiculous but I adore you. Don’t ever change. 
  3. “He’s easy.” Meaning, Matt, that you are high strung and hard to handle. You’re always arguing with Harriet and she is exhausted by arguing with you. You are not easy. Luke is easy. Luke is also an ass, but that’s neither here nor there. 
  4. And now we know what happened and how Danny and Matt were fired. Wes did throw Danny and Matt under the bus, but mostly Matt. Thought, you know, that’s not really the case. What happened was Matt being stubborn and refusing to cow under the network and the politics of running a TV show. He said he wasn’t an angry young man, but that’s a lie and we know that. 
  5. I love that we’re getting glimpses of Danny’s loyalty after Matt quit. I think it’s noble and because of this, we now know that none of what happened with Jordan was out of character. This is a man who is defined by the people he loves. If he’s fallen for you, if he’s your best friend, be prepared to have a friend for life and be prepared to know that he will stand by you if he believes in you. 
  6. Oh, God. Danny just gets the papers and the doctor comes out. No. No, I’m not okay. This is not okay. I’ve been saying this for four episodes now and it just keeps getting worse. Can we not let Danny breathe? Please?
  7. Wait did it not get worse? Danny has the baby and is with Jordan? Does that mean it’s not going to get worse? I still have fifteen minutes left. If this is a bait and switch and things are about to go downhill I don’t want it. 
  8. Oh my god, this is so freaking precious, I can’t handle this. Rebecca Tripp. What a name. What a family. I love them all. 
  9. It only took 22 episodes, but Jack finally proved he wasn’t an empty shirt, nor is he an absolute asshole or company hack bent on doing things the right way or what he perceives to be the right thing. He’s an actual morally decent guy. I did not see that coming.
  10. Tom’s brother is okay! This episode has been a rollercoaster and I’m okay with that because it was a good rollercoaster. 

Series finales always have this urgency to them. They strain under the things unsaid and desire to break free from the shackles of finality. Studio 60 does this well and it’s all thanks to Sorkin. There is a feeling that he didn’t want to finish this story. He wanted to continue, but he knew he couldn’t. What resulted was one of the best days he’s ever presented with his oft-repeated question “what kind of day has it been?” Was it the best finale in the history of the world? No, of course not, but the finale felt natural. That’s all anyone can ask for in a series that has reached its end, no matter when it reaches its end. Natural endings are always the best kinds of endings because most things are wrapped up. There are still questions, but they aren’t urgent questions. They’re open-ended like many of our own questions we pose every day. Sorkin’s good at that kind of thing.

Basically, without many frills and without dramatic tensions ramped to the extreme, Studio 60 went out with a comfortable whisper. Sorkin crafted a finale that was as solid as the rest of the episodes. He gave closure to these people we’ve only just met and it capped off a chaotic nine months with quiet finality. Sorkin does manage to give us an emotional send-off. I’ll give him that. I spent most of the episode expecting the penny to drop and Jordan to die, but that would’ve been too much of a cliffhanger. Great fanfiction fodder, but not good series finale fodder. Not only that, we were given complete character arcs between the main four characters, including bonus development with Jack.

Danny, who started the series a bit off his rocker after having fallen off the wagon, ends the series with a daughter, an even bigger family, a fiancee, and his two best friends are together again. The show is in good hands. It will continue to push the envelope with Matt and Danny at the helm. Matt, the chaotic “rock” of the relationship, goes off the rails but wrestles himself back in and comes out the other side a changed man. He and Harriet, despite being in two fundamentally different mindsets finally agree that they love each other and they are the ones they love. Jack, though getting a divorce, changes from a pompous company hack to a man who understands that no risks mean no rewards. Will we ever know all the endings of all the plot threads dropped for the sake of a cohesive finale? No, but that’s okay because that’s life. We don’t always know all the answers and our lives are okay with it.

What matters is Sorkin delivered a well-written send-off that felt true to the characters he crafted. Everything felt right. Nothing felt off-kilter. Getting there might have felt off-kilter, but in the end, the show found its footing in coming full circle. For that, I’m eternally grateful. It was a breezy finale, but sometimes, those finales are the best. Not every finale needs to be full of bombast. All that’s needed is emotionality and Sorkin, thankfully, delivers.

Starting on October 26th, I will begin my Pushing Daisies binge. In the spirit of a true binge, one episode will be posted every day of the week for the next five and a half weeks or so. So, be on the lookout for those when they begin. Until next time.

Shelby Arnold
Hop On In