We’re back into gateways people and now we’re going to talk about the one that I’ve probably already talked about the most around here.
I’m of course talking about the work of Aaron Sorkin.
(I also noticed that most of the gateways were super dude oriented, OK? I think we’ve improved a great deal on that particular score!)
The West Wing had such a tremendous impact on me as a kid. I loved this show so much, that my friends knew better than to try to get in touch with me on Wednesday nights. And of course A Few Good Men is to this day one of those movies that I watch every time I see it on TV. (And sometimes I’ll even pop in the DVD, if I need some comfort food.) Of course later on came Studio 60 and the less I say about that magnificent train wreck the better, although I could go on for hours, and somewhere along the line I watched reruns of Sports Night.
The thing that was different about Sorkin from my other early proto fandoms was that watching The West Wing or The American President or even Sports Night was that they made me very proud to be smart. They made me happy to love words and read books. Sorkin’s characters are unapologetic nerds, and ambitious and successful ones at that.
And these people can talk.
They talk, and talk and talk, and while some of it is just blabbing a lot of the time they’re actually saying things. They’re saying things about patriotism, and justice, and the power of art.
And that’s why I think a lot of people don’t quite like The Newsroom.
I love The Newsroom, most of my friends love The Newsroom. My sister calls it The Snoozeroom, but that’s a different story.
The Newsroom is Sorkin turned up to 11. These characters are insanely smart, incredibly driven and have integrity coming out their butts. They’re a mess in their personal lives (another Sorkin hallmark) but at work, they are on it.
And they make beautiful speeches and it’s amazing. Yes, it’s a rose colored view of the world. Yes, it trusts a lot more in human nature than just about anything else on TV, especially anything else on HBO, the home of cynicism about The Human Condition. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s all fantastic, but The Newsroom’s tone doesn’t quite fit in with say, Game of Thrones.)
But I like that optimism. I like walking away from something and remembering that hey, smart, interested motivated people can maybe save the world. There are good people who are willing to work to make things better.
It’s why I’ll always think that Moneyball is better work from him than The Social Network, even though the latter is a much better movie. Moneyball is the one about ideas that change something. The Social Network is the one about ideas that make one dude super rich and even more super lonely.
Also, it one of them has Chris Pratt playing baseball.