In 2007, I was one of those awful people who was proud of never watching television. (I’m still one of those awful people who never watches television, but I no longer believe it makes me better than anyone. Baby steps.) So Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was the first time I’d seen an Aaron Sorkin show, after a half-decade of breathless, too-good-for-this-world hosannas about the greatness of Sports Night and The West Wing. I made it five or six episodes in; the recap of the “STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF AFGHANISTAN” episode, which I read before watching, extinguished even the negligible curiosity I’d developed. I kept reading the TWOP recaps for a while — they were funnier and less of a time investment than the show — and then trailed off there too, about six or seven episodes before the show actually ended.
So I’ve only known Sorkin as either a hearsay genius or a plainly-visible peddler of impossibly self-serving overwrought garbage; I never inhabited the sweet spot where my prejudices, tastes, and intellectual vanity were flattered. Although God did I want to find the Gilbert & Sullivan sketch funny or revelatory in the “oh my god someone’s doing G&S on actual TV” sense, but a) couldn’t buy that it was an actually popular sketch, and b) Simpsons Did It.
(Never watched any of his movies, either. If the centerpiece of a movie is a big grandstanding speech delivered by someone other than Jimmy Stewart or Gregory Peck, count me out.)
So I’ve been actively enjoying the pans of
The Network The Newsroom. Never having had a rooting interest in Sorkin, and bearing a vague grudge against him for making what could have been an interesting show about show business a show instead about Great Men and the Women Who Are Cute but Wrong They Love, with a take on televised comedy that would have been derided as stuffy, pretentious, hacky, and old-fashioned by the writer’s room of the Alan Brady Show, I’ve become someone rooting for failure. Which is not my default setting, but in this case I don’t feel bad at all. (Still not gonna even hate-watch it. I’m one of those awful people, remember?)
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- beautravail said: I like your Freudian slip of calling it “The Network” (maybe Sorkin does in his own mind, too)
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