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The Method Actors of "Studio 60"

9/19/2006 1:44 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Last night, the pilot episode of the long-awaited and much-hyped "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" finally made its debut, and while the storyline offered plenty in the way of inside baseball on a "Saturday Night Live"-like show and other Tinseltown talk, perhaps the most important plot points revolved around drugs.

Specifically, excessive use of illegal drugs. And it didn't escape our notice that several people associated with the show -- Matthew Perry, Aaron Sorkin, DL Hughley, and Three 6 Mafia -- have had their own associations with drugs. Here's a closer look:

Matthew Perry: The ex-"Friends" star plays Matt Albie, the writer half of a hotshot writing-directing team who's just holding it together through the pilot because he's had back surgery and is taking Vicodin for the pain. Perry himself has been in rehab at the Hazelden facility for addiction to prescription painkillers -- including Vicodin -- and has acknowledged serious problems with alcohol and pills in the past.

Aaron Sorkin: The creator/co-executive producer/head writer of "Studio 60" plead guilty in 2001 to possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms, crack cocaine, and marijuana after the drugs were found in his bag at Burbank Airport (but didn't serve any time). Bradley Whitford's character Danny Tripp has a history of drug problems, and he and Matt return to the fictional show in part because he failed a test for cocaine.

DL Hughley: The comedian and sitcom star hasn't had any drug problems of his own to speak of, but he has spoken extensively, in his routines, on his show, and in interviews, about his tough existence growing up in the gangs-and-drugs culture of South Central LA. As he once told a Birmingham, Ala. newspaper, "My reunions are really small 'cause there ain't nobody there to be in them. Everybody is like dead or in jail or on drugs." Hughley's character on "Studio 60" hasn't succumbed to any kind of drug problem either -- at least not yet.

Three 6 Mafia: The Oscar-winning rappers (by the way: is there a showbiz-themed show that they don't appear on?) are blatantly labeled drug users during the show -- when two TV execs look for an empty room in which to pow-wow, they walk into the recently vacated Three 6 Mafia dressing room, and find pot-smoking periphernalia everywhere, not to mention a serious cloud of smoke. The group's lyrics are riddled with pot-smoking references ("Fly so high in funkytown/Mega blunts I gotta smoke," to use one example) and back in 2000 their hit song "Sippin' on Some Syrup" caused enough of a cough-medicine-taking epidemic that the Drug Enforcement Administration had to crack down.

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2959 days ago


I wasn't very impressed with the overall show, but I'll give it one more chance to find a plot line that's new. Perry is Perry no matter what's show he's in, no acting required.

2959 days ago

Mike V.    

This show is boring. The first 10 minutes of the show was great. The remaining 50 minutes was a waste of time. Matthew Perry is over rated as an actor. Hopefully the show will pick up next week, otherwise I'll be back to watching CSI Miami.

2959 days ago

Banana Martin    

Personally, I hated it.

I didn't expect much, and it didn't live up to my expectations.

I expected something smart (maybe just hoped) and all I found was recycled jokes, stereotypes and industry complaints, all set around a blatant rip-off of SNL, complete with cast-member character steals (the fat guy who has wasted and made an ass of himself in front of Saul Paulson....Horation, anyone?).

It's a sad day at NBC when it would betray one of its longest running series with such a cheap imitation.

2959 days ago


I love this show. I honestly wasn't expecting that much because there was too much hype, but I found myself not wanting it to end. By the time the hour was over, I was shocked because it flew by!

2959 days ago

Karen C    

I agree with Mike, one more week, if this doesn't shape up it's back to bad acting David Caruso!

2959 days ago


I loved it. Smart, hip, fast moving and original. It was great fun picking out the star cameos... some un-named, like Akiva Goldsman [Oscar winning screen writer].

Amanda Peet is a new style character... no wheepy or hysterical emoting as she faces challanges. I was disappointed in the Steven Weber character though, as he seemed to be the stereotypical spoiler boss.

We'll see how the season develops, when things aren't as frenetic as the pilot .

2959 days ago


This show is actually very promising. The pilot always has to set up all the relationships and the will most definitely get better. It's Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Schlamme after all! It has no where to go but up folks...

2959 days ago


Loved this show...thought it was both very funny and showed the promise of ongoing relationship drama. That tirade by Judd Hirsch at the beginning was outstanding and both Perry and Whitford proved excellent in their roles. Don't believe these other folks who say Studio 60 isn't any good and they're heading back to CSI: Miami. That just means they don't get it (and, let's face it, if you think CSI: Miami is smarter than Studio 60....well, you're not as smart as either one of them.)

2959 days ago

Alyn Brodsky    

The show is total crap. Not one redeeming quality. Send in the clowns.

2959 days ago


I loved this show! But then again, I still think the West Wing is one of the
best written and acted shows we've seen in years too.....but I just found
myself getting angry that there were commercials! I just wanted more...great cast....and for those who though it was lame....go figure? It
was brilliant...can't wait until next week! that is getting old...ugh.

2959 days ago

Mr. Maine    


I liked the show and I generally hate TV. Maybe it's BECAUSE I generally hate TV. The opening Howard Beale speech that Judd Hirsch gives made me want to stand up and cheer. He was right- tv is that bad right now.

And the fact is the show takes place behind the scenes of SNL. They changed a few details, but it's supposed to be SNL. Complaining about that is like complaining about how the West Wing "totally rips off the real White House", or the Sports Night "totally ripped off Sportscenter!" Get with the Sorkin program, yo. That's what he does.

And yeah, SNL has sucked for 25 years- funny only rarely and satirical or intelligent never. I very much appeciated that point as well.

It's not quite "Network", but it's at least trying.

2959 days ago

Banana Martin    

Of course it's basically set oat SNL.

But the fact is, no one at SNL was involved. It would be like me, a total outsider with no connections, deciding to make a TV show about the inner workings at SNL and using current and past cast members as templates for characters.

To me, though, that's the least of what's lacking on thispredictable show.

2959 days ago


I say give the show another week, it could be just like a movie that starts out slow and if you keep watching you find it was one of the greatest movies you've ever seen. It could be, it is full of great actors.

2959 days ago


I thought the show was brilliant & I was upset when the last scene finished and I heard 'stay tuned for previews'.
Sorkin is an acquired taste, kind of like asking people raised on cheetos and ding-dongs to suddenly appreciate foie gras and sushi.
I say let the haters go back to CSI & David's ridiculously bad clooneypoorposture impersonation.
Give me Sorkin or give me Cable!!!

2959 days ago
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