Once upon a time, many, many years ago my movie buddy (who was mad crazy for Tom Cruise because of Top Gun) talked me into to seeing A Few Good Men. I wasn’t vaguely interested in seeing it because I wasn’t much of a Cruise fan and I couldn’t stand Jack Nicholson. But, I LOVED the movie. The writing, the dialogue, the wit just blew me away. Unfortunately, I don’t remember taking particular note of the screenwriter’s name. Years later I discovered that Aaron Sorkin first wrote the play (his sister is/was a JAG lawyer) and then the film script. He also penned The American President.
Several years later, although not a fan of sports or ESPN, I started watching Sports Night on TV. I immediately fell in love with the show. So smart, so funny, and just wonderful. And, thus, I discovered the amazingly talented Aaron Sorkin. His words flow from the actors’ lips, much as a ballerina or ice skater flows across their stage or the ice. His words were musical, poetic and moving. Shortly before the demise of this terrific television series, Aaron began scripting The West Wing. Politics, the White House, oh my. Be still my heart.
For those of you who haven’t seen The West Wing, this is what television COULD be and so rarely is. So much of what is on the small screen speaks to the basest, most juvenile, uneducated and/or disconnected natures of the human beast. Some of the most popular shows elicit either rage, promote violence or are just plain stupid humor. In most cases you can turn on the TV and disengage your brain. Not so with anything that Aaron Sorkin scripts. That’s not to say that Aaron’s work doesn’t inspire emotional responses, it most certainly does. His humor is wry, sometimes sarcastic, other times subtle and occasionally slapstick. His words can elicit righteous anger and the deepest, most profound sorrow. Most notably, he can take you on an emotional rollercoaster, moving through each of these emotions, in the span of less than an hour.
His follow up to The West Wing was the short lived Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Unfortunately, it debuted the same year as 30 Rock. Both series are backstage looks at a Saturday Night Live type television show. Critics loved 30 Rock, but not so much Studio 60 (the far superior show, IMHO). Studio 60 paired Matthew Perry (of Friends) and Bradley Whitford (of The West Wing), a match made in …….a perfect match! I recently watched the entire series on http://www.hulu.com/ and enjoyed the show even more the second time around. Absolutely brilliant writing, character development, touching storylines and laugh out loud scenes. So sad that so few watched this wonderful series and that it didn’t get a chance to reach more viewers. BTW, it is available on Netflix, so rent it. You will love it.
On vacation this past Friday, I watched 2 episodes of The West Wing on Bravo. The spark was rekindled. Oh, Aaron, I could listen to your words 24/7. Your talent at creating a world I want to live in, populated by people I want to know blows me away. For a moment in time I am transported into that world and I relish each and every visit there. Amazon offered the complete series at a ridiculously low price that very same day, and although I really couldn’t afford to spend the extra money, I ordered it. I cannot imagine a time when I wouldn’t want to watch, rewatch and then watch over and over again this incredible series, with marvelous actors and delicious dialogue. Who needs chocolate when you have Aaron Sorkin? The box set is on its way to me and I can’t wait for it to arrive.
Thank you Mr. Sorkin for enriching my life, making me laugh, making me cry and breaking my heart. I really do love you!