Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Common Sense Media says

Smart ensemble drama probes comedy's complexities.

Age

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters make complex ethical decisions and deal with the consequences, for better or worse. A strong female character holds a prominent posiiton of power.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

One character, who is an attractive woman, is accused of using her sexuality to climb the corporate ladder. Relationship issues and some talk of sex, but very little besides kissing is shown. Characters are sometimes shown in underwear/skimpy clothes, generally in the context of changing backstage between skits.

Language

Words like "ass," "bitchy," "damn," "balls," "sons of bitches," and "hell" are used occasionally.

Consumerism

NBC is mentioned once in dialogue. Purists could argue that regular guest stars who appear as themselves (like Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives) are promoting themselves and their projects.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One character is flying high on prescription drugs like Vicodin when we first meet him; another has an on-again, off-again problem with cocaine addiction. Characters are shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes in social situations.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this all-star ensemble drama from the creator of The West Wing explores thought-provoking, grown-up issues like censorship, office politics, ethics, and media bias -- topics that are worth discussing with older teens but might not interest them. If teens do want to watch, parents should be aware that illegal drug use is part of the storyline, but the focus is on addiction recovery and staying clean.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

West Wing executive producer Aaron Sorkin follows that hit show about the inner workings of Washington, D.C., with a series that goes behind the scenes of another inescapable cultural institution: television. After network bosses decide to cancel a controversial sketch in fear of offending conservative viewers, a longtime Studio 60 producer (Judd Hirsch) decides to go on the air to inform the public that they're all being "lobotomized." His outburst kicks off a media frenzy that prompts the network's new president, Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet), to bring in high-profile writers Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford) to turn things around. Steven Weber, D.L. Hughley, Sarah Paulson, Nathan Corddry, Timothy Busfield, and Ed Asner round out a talented ensemble cast.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Blessed with an intriguing storyline, smart writing, and an A-list cast that's hard to beat, STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP isn't just entertaining -- it actually makes you think about the nature of media and power. Heavy stuff, to be sure. But the series does it in a palatable way, taking viewers behind the scenes of a hit weekend comedy show (also called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) that's produced live -- think Saturday Night Live -- to see what happens when things go off-script.

Studio 60 is first-rate entertainment for grown-ups, but its complex plots and mature themes (including office politics, drug addiction, and insinuations about using sex to get ahead) make it iffy for younger teens.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether TV networks have a moral responsibility to educate, enlighten, and challenge their viewing audiences -- or whether they're merely in business to entertain the masses. Are ratings a reflection of what people really want to see, or are hit shows just a product of good marketing? What's the difference between a smart satire that makes a point and crude comedy that goes too far? Can a joke still be funny without pushing the envelope and running the risk of being offensive? And who gets to decide where the line is drawn?

TV details

Cast:Amanda Peet, Bradley Whitford, Matthew Perry
Network:NBC
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written byjohnthemon February 6, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Mostly good, a little overdrawn.

Some mature subject matter makes it 13+, nothing really explicit or inappopropriate for the intended audience.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byRevolver147 April 9, 2008
AGE
0
QUALITY
 

Has the look of a winner if given enough time to develop.

The story set up was laid out very nicely, grabbed my attention right up front. The characters all seem to have the potential to carry several story lines and appear able to hold our interest. If the network allows this show to develop an audience it has the potential to become a winner.
Adult Written byfrankvfanelli April 9, 2008
AGE
0
QUALITY
 

Sorkin Soars

I have now watched Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip about 5 times now (Gotta love TiVo)! It is everything I expected from the West Wing creator and his colleague Tommy Schalamme. It has the look, feel and quality I have missed from Sorkin since he left the WW. However, it has a freshness about it that does not make it seem like a re-tread of his former shows. The ensemble cast was well chosen which makes it appear they have been working together longer than the time it took to shoot the pilot. The Perry-Whitford pairing is a match made in heaven, but the addition of Peet between them hints the potential for a Sorkinesque banter/love triangle; which is going to make some great television! My hope is that it is not too smart and cutting edge for the dumbed down Reality Television viewer (Project Runway notwithstanding); A point made on by Hersch's character I might add. This is one to watch!

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