Drex is watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip for the first time and I’m watching The West Wing for the first time so it’s safe to say that TV Hangover has been pretty drunk on Sorkin’s words lately. So, ten things!
1) The news about Jeff Daniels starring in Sorkin’s upcoming HBO pilot is ridiculously exciting and could only be better if Bradley Whitford also joined the cast.
2) Sorkin’s recent cameo on 30 Rock was amazingly perfect and should go down as one of the best meta television moments in the history of meta television moments, or whatever.
3) My obsession with Aaron Sorkin runs so deep that I don’t even feel weird about the fact that I have admitted, on more than one occasion, that I would like Sorkin to teach me how to write dialogue by regurgitating his words into my mouth much like the way an owl vomits sustenance into its young’s mouth.
4) Sports Night is Sorkin’s least known show and, in my opinion, his best (again, I haven’t finished The West Wing, so don’t hold me to that). I have no interest in sports, the show premiered when I was way too young to appreciate it, and it had a LAUGH TRACK for a while but! I think it’s one of the absolute best shows that I’ve ever watched. It had similar themes to all of his work — politics, race, drug abuse, etc. — but it never seemed as forced and heavy-handed as his later shows. It’s one of my favorites, I rewatch it the entire series a couple of times a year, and one of the reasons I’ve never watched The West Wing is because he abandoned Sports Night for it. Also: Peter Krause and Josh Charles as Casey and Dan are one of my favorite television duos.
THESE GUYS. THESE GUYS ARE PERFECT.
5) I hate the terms “underrated” and “overrated” but for real? Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is pretty underrated. I constantly defend this show. It’s the butt of so many jokes and yes, 30 Rock is superior BUT they are also entirely different shows. (Working title: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip of California, which is on the opposite coast of New York so it’s definitely not related to Saturday Night Live in any way and also it’s not related to 30 Rock which takes place in New York — still not California! — and it’s really just unfortunate that we began at the same time and they got Tracy Morgan and we got D.L. Hughley.)
6) Studio 60 DOES get hard to defend it towards the end; I view Studio 60 as the special child of Sorkin, the one that always means well and was really cute and endearing as a child but then it grew up into an asshole teenager who read a couple of wikipedia entries re: politics and religion and decided to yell opinions at everyone. But you know it would grow out of that phase! It’s a shame it never got the chance! Okay, also it’s really hard to believe that the show-within-the-show is such a success and important in their entertainment world because the bits of sketches they show are AWFUL.
7) Still, it’s not as bad as you would think, it’s worth a watch and it obviously has all the best parts of Sorkin, so much so that I pretty much exclusively refer to it as Studio Sorkin on the Sorkin Sorkin — the walk-and-talk, the rapid dialogue, the hyper-intelligent characters that make you feel simultaneously smarter and dumber while listening to them, the dangling modifiers, the conversations consisting of three different subjects at once, the meta jokes, etc. It feels forced at points (and there are some episodes that are downright terrible) but at the end of the day, the characters are mostly SO GREAT that it’s worth it.
8) Speaking of characters, I’m always lukewarm on Sorkin’s relationship storylines EXCEPT Danny’s on Studio 60. Like, his relationship arc is amazingly written and adorable and heartbreaking and it just wrecks me. Danny Tripp rips my heart out on a much realer level than Lloyd Dobler ever could and it’s upsetting that he’s not a real person chasing me around a television studio.
Bradley Whitford rocks the rolled up sleeves like no other. Matthew Perry is okay.
9) All of my thoughts on The West Wing so far are premature because I’m only up to like, episode six (it’s taking me forever to slog through this series) but I have to say that Bradley Whitford and Rob Lowe are the best at convincingly pulling off all of Sorkin’s dialogue.
10) “If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. If you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.” - Sports Night