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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Studio 60

Just finished the complete episodes of Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60. I enjoyed the show, but I have to say: Why would you make a show about comedy that isn't funny?

Anyone who has seen anything Aaron Sorkin has done wouldn't accuse him of being funny. Witty, insightful, powerful, dramatic, important--wry, maybe. But he's just not funny. And in all 22 episodes we never see a full sketch that the show creates. We see clips and get sketch titles--like "Cooking Healthy with Nicolas Cage"--which seem like they could be good, but no finished products. I think that could have been a substantial contribution and may have helped lighten the show.

My only other issue with the show is that it's haughty. The depth and power written into The West Wing rang true because it was about the White House. When the Studio 60 producers agonize and make stands and argue with executives over Standards and Practices, patriotism, and then invoke the evils of McCarthyism I just kind of think: "Does anyone really give a crap about what sketch comedy shows do?" There's a lot of hyperbolic action in the show, well, because it's a drama--but it also came off as a little self-important.

Other than that it was really good.

Monday, August 23, 2010

"You speak English?"

"I speak a few words."

"How many words?"

"All of them."

"Why do you tell people you can't speak English?"

"It's fun."

From Studio 60: Live at the Sunset Strip, ep. "The Harriet Episode: Part 2"

Monday, August 09, 2010

From Scott Bedbury, the Starbucks chief marketing officer, in A New Brand World:

The Starbucks brand's core identity was less about engineering a great cup of coffee than about providing a great coffee experience. Of course, it was about providing the highest-quality coffee beans, ground correctly, brewed with the purest water, at the right temperature, and for very specific periods of time. But just as "Brand Nike" was not simply about torsion control or midsole cushioning systems but about the pleasures delivered by sports and fitness, so the Starbucks brands was about what Abraham Maslow might have called the coffee "gestalt"--the atmospherics.
Seems obvious, but it requires some understanding to arrive at this conclusion. It's easy to get focused on one particular aspect of the business, but the overall experience is what really matters--and that includes, well, everything.