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High Fidelity ‘Studio 60’

Fittingly, on Valentine’s Eve, I want to take the opportunity to talk about last night’s Studio 60 and the romantic idea of the grand gesture.

I will never claim to speak for all women, so you can let go that deep breath you’re holding. However, in this woman’s opinion, the grand gesture is overrated. I understand its symbolic function in art. The little things–a kiss on the way out the door, a grocery-stand flower on a random Thursday, a text with a smile in the middle of the day–these are the truly big things in relationships, the reaffirmations, the thread that keeps us attached when the little annoyances start tearing at the seams.

But these things don’t transfer so well onto paper or film, and so we have John Cusack holding a giant radio over his head, or John Cusack showing up to a family gathering soaking wet from the monsoon outside, or John Cusack lying on the ice at RockefellerCenter.

That’s all fine and good, if you like old movies on USA. But please, in real life, remember the little things. It’s not that I’m against romance, it’s just that people get tired and lazy, and the grand gestures are a difficult standard to achieve, and nearly impossible to maintain, and often cause the little things to be omitted.

What does this have to do with Studio 60? Thanks for asking! There were two instances when last night’s show veered dangerously close to the now-dreaded Grand Gesture territory. Flashback Matt and Luke, in competing efforts to get her attention, both wrote sketches for flashback Harriet. This tactic, I’m happy to inform you, is not a grand gesture, because they are both writers and, um, that’s their jobs. It’s a good thing, too, because there’s nothing more embarrassing than a failed grand gesture. A grand bellyflop, possibly? Ow.

The second plot danger zone: contemporary Matt has written way too many sketches for Harriet (looks suspicious) and has to start cutting them. He purposefully chooses to save the singing teacher sketch, the premise of which Luke had originally developed for Harriet.

Is this an effort to show that Matt is the bigger man, is not threatened by Luke, and is superficially looking out for Harriet in an effort to win her back? Safely, no. This is, in fact, his concession of defeat. He has retrieved his hat from the ring. No overt romantic agenda = no grand gesture. Most likely, we have not reached the end of the Matt and Harriet story line, as they are both main characters.

But for the time being we are safe. Happy Valentine’s Day. May you all receive $4 food coloring-dyed flowers.

By Guest Blogger Liz McKeon