Monday, September 18, 2006

The Sork

You may never have seen Sports Night. You may not know why The West Wing changed drastically after Season 4. You may not know that that Navy lawyer movie with Demi Moore in it was originally a Broadway play. But I hold that if you listened to some dialogue from any of those pieces you'd hear the similarities, the music of it. And I know you'd recognize some of the issues close to the writer's heart.

Aaron Sorkin is that writer.

If you know me at all you know how much I love him and what he does. (OK, he's a nutjob I don't think I'd want to live with him or anything but I want his work to be available to me at all times.) I'm all about rules and etiquette and being kind to those around you and yet, I'm willing to forgive him so much. I am not willing to forgive the powers that be at NBC who decided that schedules and money (and the sanity of the rest of the team) were more important than the stories he tells.

The West Wing shows it most clearly. The 3 creators of the show were Sork, his partner, Tommy Schlamme and John Wells, best known for the creation of ER. When Sorkin was fired from the West Wing (he wrote all but one episode prior to his departure) Wells took over the helm. And, though I've only been able to watch a couple of episodes after Wells' became the pilot, I can say that if you can stomach it, it shows the basic differences between Sork and Wells.

Sorkin finds what is dramatic in the everday.

Wells finds what is everyday in the dramatic.

Sorkin - A hurricane shifts course and directly hits a US Navy fleet. The President gets on the phone with the one person in the communications room of the lead ship, a young private who is both injured and frightened. Despite a room full of advisors, knowing that he can't change an act of God, the President stays on the phone with the boy as long as the line stays open, reassuring and guiding him.

Wells - A medivac helicopter crashes on an ambulance bay killing a disliked character.

Tonight Sorkin is back. NBC, having lost West Wing and Friends and pretty much anything else anyone was watching, have had to return to their genius team of Sorkin and Schlamme. Due to my Netflix membership I was able to preview the pilot episode and it's just as good as I thought it would be. Maybe even a little better.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip takes place backstage at a sketch comedy show a la SNL. The content is less sketch and more backstage. There are the strong women, the damaged men, the newbies, the old hands, the sage leaders. All the witty banter. All the sociological issues that Sork continually explores. And he's doing it in the very medium that he's criticizing. I mean, talk about making the problem your solution!

I've curbed the potty mouth long enough. It's motherfucking brilliant!

Just go watch it. If you're the one vote that doesn't get cast and this show gets canceled I am telling you, heads will roll!


  1. You know I'll be watching. (I have yet to send the Netflix pilot back.)

    Your two sentence Sork vs Wells comparison was MFB.

  2. I don’t watch TV much due to time constraints. I hardly watched any of The West Wing. But just reading about the new show in the paper has me very interested. So, I turn on the TV last night and catch the last minute of the new show. It was a great minute.

    Well, after reading this I’m really interested. Next time I’ll look at clocks and read TV listings and lock everyone out of the “TV room” at just the right time.

    I agree with Julie's second paragraph--even though I never really watched the show.

    (My word verification was entirely left hand. Very convenient. Thanks.)

  3. Vanx it's on NBC Monday nights at 10pm. If I notice a time when you could catch a repeat of the pilot I'll let you know.

    And yeah, that last minute really does rock.