Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hollywood Propaganda?

If you have yet to see Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, you should try and catch it Monday nights at 10pm on NBC. It’s a great show with some amazing actors (Matthew Perry and Amanda Peet to name just two of a very large and impressive cast) which depicts the struggles of Hollywood heavy hitters—the public's interference in their personal lives, the pressures of network sponsors as well as the social lives of celebrities and producers alike.

It's fun, well written and exciting to watch, but recently I have noticed a few things that have been making my ears perk up with curiosity.

It made me posit the question, "Is Hollywood using propaganda to regain the trust of Christian conservative right?"

I know, Hollywood and Christian Conservatives sounds like a contradiction in terms but hear me out.

The show has begun painting what used to be considered the evil liberal world of Hollywood as just a few people who, sure have made some mistakes in the past but are trying to forge ahead in the name of uncensored media.

Danny Tripp (played by Bradley Whitford) is the executive producer and recovering (recently relapsed) cocaine addict who the audience grows to love for his hard hitting approach to the show and dedication to his best friend, head writer, and all around fuck-up Matt Albie (played by Matthew Perry). Matt Albie and Danny Tripp return to the show after being forced to leave for making controversial criticisms of Bush directly after 9/11 and have returned with new fervor and an interminable desire to make the show better and uncensored in political topics (the show is, by the way, modeled after SNL).

The newly appointed President of the network, Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet) after entering the show as the bad-ass bitch who bossed around the Network Execs and fostered the growth of the new Studio 60 was in our most recent episode brought back down to reality after an expunged DUI comes back to bite her and is plastered all over the news.

So where is the propaganda? Examine the evidence:

1. A bit called "Crazy Christians" is taken out of the line-up when network execs forcibly pull it, which is the catalyst for the previous executive producer of the show to blow-up on screen resulting in his being fired and Matt and Danny being hired.

2. The same bit is preformed on their homecoming episode despite conflict with the network and their sponsors. What happens? They get great ratings.

3. The two main characters both struggle with substance abuse problems, but we are supposed to put that aside and love them because they have such great personalities (sound familiar?).

4. The News sketch decide to drop a bit which criticizes a high school in a rural town after they pull their performance of Grease (it's too sexual) and decide not to perform the Crucible (it casts Christians in a bad light) because the small town of 4000 people are "Just trying to raise their kids," and "50% of the town works in a bakery which makes bread." Salt of the earth people, and "Why are we making fun of them" etc. bla bla bla.

5. One of the main actresses Harriet Hayes (Sarah Paulson) is criticized for being a born again Christian, and they play on the idea of her spiritual superiority. For example, they are having electricity problems from some sort of natural disaster and they have no idea how to fix the wires which seem to be severed from the power source. So:
Lights are off, "It's just that God loves me and hates you guys,"
"Oh yea prove it,"
Lights go on.

Funny yes, but what are they trying to say?

Inevitably they pull the Christian joke and replace it with a bit about silencers on guns in Minnesota and a bear's reaction to the new law. And yes, it's stupid.

Is Aaron Sorkin trying to say, "Hey, we Hollywood types aren't bad guys, yea we may have made mistakes in the past, yes maybe we poke fun at the president and Christians, but we know when we are wrong and we know when not to go too far."

I'm not quite sure, but it's weird, It freaks me out, and I guess I'm just going to have to tune in to see why this show chooses to be so borderline on issues of religion with the cast and with the jokes they air on "Studio 60."

1 comment:

squishypaws said...

whisper:::isn't it matthew perry...