Friday, January 1, 2016

The Newsroom

aaron sorkin

I recently finished watching the last season of The Newsroom and I have to say, as much as I loved West Wing, appreciated the attempt of Studio 60 and liked The Newsroom, I think that's enough. No more Aaron Sorkin. Because if I learned anything watching all these shows it's that Sorkin is really not a guy you can call prolifically original. He's good at a very limited thing, the best at it, really, but he's done that thing, almost exactly verbatim on at least three shows (I haven't watched Sports Night). I've seen the same thing done in a few of his movies too. And I'm not even talking about something general like "snappy dialogue" I mean there are a collection of scenes that repeat pretty much exactly in all three shows. And once you've seen a couple of iterations, you can't help but notice when they come up again. I could elaborate, but if you search YouTube for Sorkinisms, you'll find plenty of videos like this one:

I liked The Newsroom, though. It was what you expect: inspiring, hopeful, idealistic, funny, smart. All fine and enjoyable. But mostly what I came away with was the fact that they need to make a Sloan Sabbith spin off series with Olivia Munn. I'd definitely watch that because, well, Olivia Munn, but also because that character might be Sorkin's best creation. A strong woman who is awkward but doesn't get completely silly for no apparent reason when she has feelings for a man. That's a far cry from some of the bumbling professional women we tend to see most of the time. And I don't know how much of that came from Sorkin and how much from Munn herself, because Sorkin has certainly given us the inexplicably goofy though supposedly smart and confident professional woman before.

The Newsroom

At the end of the day, I think enjoying Sorkin's shows requires you to be on the same political page as him to begin with. I guess I like his point of view for the most part, though the overwhelming idealism needs to be taken with an understanding that he's never presenting things as they are and he knows that. As for that snappy dialogue, no matter how much he repeats bits, he's still the best at it and in the right actors' hands these moments are comedic word ballets. Do we need another main character who was abused by his father seeing a shrink and fighting the process with smartass comments until the shrink outwits him? Well, not really. And the same goes for many of his other goto plots and hurdles for his characters. I think he's made his mark on TV and should move on now. Hopefully he finds some new notes to play and lets these be the classics he doesn't go to anymore.

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