Aaron Sorkin has a problem. He doesn’t know when to stop. I love that he’s something of an idealist. I love that he writes dialogue in a way nobody actually speaks. I love the effortless ways he can build tension into a script with nothing but words, as seen during the broadcast of a news program in the first episode of his new HBO series, The Newsroom. The problem is that he has no filter. He has no sense of proportion. He doesn’t understand that the idealism with which he writes is only appropriate in certain settings.
When Sorkin was dealing with a fictional presidency surrounded by fictional politics in The West Wing, it worked. A dash of realistic policy jargon, stirred in with some heightened dialogue, hilarious characters, and a format that allowed for the fantasy of the perfect modern President to take shape on television week after week. Of course, then Sorkin came back with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in which he attempted to bring the same level of social import and awareness to a setting that could never believably call for it. A Saturday Night Live-type show dealing seriously with weighty concerns? It didn’t help that we never actually got to see the fake comedy show being remotely funny enough to justify its own existence. The Newsroom sits somewhere between these two spheres of Sorkin, which makes it all the more frustrating. Click to read more.