A Children’s Treasury Of Brutal Reviews Of Aaron Sorkin’s Terrible New Show

  wonkette teevee

I have issues with the current state of thingsIs everybody excited to watch the new HBO drama about teevee news from writer Aaron Sorkin, the guy famous for showing a bunch of glib robot character spout out Aaron Sorkin’s glib fantasy political views? Studio 60 and, to a lesser extent, The West Wing were all so unbearably preachy to watch that we didn’t think we’d bother with this new one, but now that every critic has spent the week crapping all over it, we’re excited to check it out simply for laughs. The show tackles the abysmal state of the current news media, but, according to critics, somehow manages to screw this up. And it even stars Jeff Daniels, who is generally great! Why does Aaron Sorkin have to ruin liberal politics and everything else?

From Emily Nussbaum’s perfect review in The New Yorker:

Sorkin’s shows are the type that people who never watch TV are always claiming are better than anything else on TV. The shows’ air of defiant intellectual superiority is rarely backed up by what’s inside—all those Wagnerian rants, fingers poked in chests, palms slammed on desks, and so on. In fact, “The Newsroom” treats the audience as though we were extremely stupid. Characters describe events we’ve just witnessed. When a cast member gets a shtick (like an obsession with Bigfoot), he delivers it over and over. In episode four, there’s a flashback to episode three. In a recent interview, Sorkin spoke patronizingly of cop shows, but his Socratic flirtations are frequently just as formulaic, right down to the magical “Ask twice!” technique.

[...]

There are plenty of terrific actors on this show, but they can’t do much with roles that amount to familiar Sorkinian archetypes. There is the Great Man, who is theoretically flawed, but really a primal truth-teller whom everyone should follow (or date). There are brilliant, accomplished women who are also irrational, high-strung lunatics—the dames and muses who pop their eyes and throw jealous fits when not urging the Great Man on. There are attractively suited young men, from cynical sharpies to idealistic sharpies, who glare and bond and say things like “This right here is always the swan song of the obsolete when they’re staring the future paradigm in the face.”

The show features three people of color. The most prominent is an Indian staffer named Neal Sampat, played by Dev Patel. The dialogue makes fun of McAvoy for calling him Punjab and referring to him as “the Indian stereotype of an I.T. guy,” but the show treats Neal with precisely that type of condescension. Neal is a WikiLeaks fan who writes the show’s blog, but he’s a cheerful cipher, a nerd who speaks nerd talk. There are also two African-American producers, who are introduced to the audience when McAvoy—who is publicly memorizing the names of his staff, having been accused of not remembering them—says, “Gary. Kendra. Gary’s a smart black guy who is not afraid to criticize Obama. Kendra got double 800s on her S.A.T.s, makes Gary crazy. I studied.”

Jake Tapper, reviewing it for TNR, makes the point that the important stories Will “Great Man” McAvoy focuses on, supposedly because they were ignored by the fucking media, were actually… pretty well covered! Don’t you remember reading/watching dozens of reports about governmental/corporate neglect that led to the BP oil spill? No, you don’t, because no one ever even suggested that until Jeff Daniels did on the teevee show:

But more often than not, Sorkin simply demonstrates his own confusion about what ails journalism. He begins with the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. One of McAvoy’s producers has expert inside sources at BP and Halliburton, so ACN’s “News Night” leads with the story as a tale of environmental disaster, corporate sloth, and government impotence. Meanwhile every other network—bereft of such information—is myopically focused on the fire on the oil rig and the deaths of eleven workers. But citing the BP oil spill is a curious way to charge journalistic malpractice: By my recollection, that was a story the media covered fairly aggressively and responsibly.

Other brilliant news coups that “sane Republican” Will McAvoy and his team of manic deathbot news heroes are proud of, according to Atlantic Wire terror merchant Richard Lawson, include reporting on the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords:

The show is mostly a bummer, a poorly conceived (why 2010???), heavy-handed affair (the Gabby Giffords sequence, set to Coldplay’s “Fix You” and full of plenty of “we did it” self-satisfied smiles, is almost offensive in its synthesized grandeur) that mistakes canned wit for sharpness and overreaching for depth.

It sounds so awful. Did you all watch Veep, though? Your Wonkette loved Veep. It was so much more realistic than anything Sorkin’s ever done, which is sad, because Sorkin actually tries to be realistic. Jokes are better than self-importance, the end.

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About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell

Hola wonkerados.

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291 comments

  1. Barb

    They should have landed a Palin for this show, assuring there would never be a second episode. The BP oil spill would be about Bristol's inability to hold KY "Yours and Mine" personal lube and a wine cooler at the same time.

    1. Guppy

      I'm sorry, but the "Yours and Mine" seems too classy a product for Bristol.

      In fact, I suspect everything can be explained by the use of petroleum jelly…

      1. Tommmcattt

        Petroleum jelly weakens latex condoms, increasing the chance of rupture.
        - Wikipedia Entry, "Petroleum Jelly, Improper Uses"

        1. Guppy

          Which is something Bristol and Levi would have learned in sex ed, the kind Governor Palin made sure isn't taught in Alaska.

          So, yeah, I'm liking this theory better and better.

    2. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Up to the point where it's the wine cooler she decides to hang on to, it makes sense. After that, not so much.

    1. Beowoof

      Well I think the Palin show will have a happy ending, where the youngest kid turns out to be the smart one. However, I won't know about that because I will never see it. I will need another Wonkette Blog of the episode.

      1. UW8316154

        Here's to the adorable little Aryan child growing up to be educated, liberal and culturally tolerant.

        /raises glass

  2. Beowoof

    I may watch because it's on HBO and thus no commercial breaks. I hate the latest ads for diarrhea medicine or more magic dick hard pills.

      1. Beowoof

        Its the only way I can watch the news. The Chamber of Commerce has a full on assault started on Louise Slaughter. Otherwise I am throwing shit at the TV.

    1. Geminisunmars

      Really? After a few days of concentrated pollitical ads (I'm in one of the targeted states) I already yearn for diarrhea and ED ads.

    2. NYNYNYjr

      I've got a new pill that gives you a hard-on AND diarrhea– you'll love the commercials, they're very knowing and Sorkinanian.

    1. Geminisunmars

      Sorkin likes to throw in an oxymoron now and then. Soon he'll switch it up and throw in an oxymormon.

        1. Geminisunmars

          I don't know why, but when I first read that I had an olfactory hallucination of old sweat and garlic.

    2. NotGodot

      See that's the thing, innit? "Sane Republican" is the new "Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative". It's a douchebag white person identity.

      1. Larry McAwful

        "Socially liberal, fiscally conservative" is code for "I want to do anything I like without caring about anyone else's well being."

    1. Generation[redacted]

      I couldn't really enjoy Dumb and Dumber knowing that while Jeff Daniels was partying in Aspen, Deborah Winger was in the hospital dying of cancer with Shirley MacLaine left to raise their children. And just where was astronaut boyfriend Jack Nicholson when she needed him? It was a sad, sad movie.

  3. flamingpdog

    In fact, “The Newsroom” treats the audience as though we were extremely stupid.

    This is America. The treatment is appropriate.

    1. Antispandex

      We have a whole network devoted to far right-wing "news". I think that shows that, as far as the average intelligence of the American public goes, we are about as bright as an appliance bulb.

    2. LetUsBray

      According to the latest survey, 86% of Americans believe the world rests on the back of a giant tortoise, and earthquakes are caused by said tortoise scratching its back, canine-style.

  4. Chick-Fil-Atheist™

    Jeff Daniels seemed genuinely upset that Fresh Air's Terry Gross brought up the toilet scene in Dumb & Dumber. It's Click & Clack's turn to be horrified!

    1. Butch_Wagstaff

      He said he almost passed out doing that scene. It made me like him even more. I have to like someone who's willing to give so much to a pooping scene.

      1. Chichikovovich

        He's a method actor. He'd been crapping in toilets for weeks before the scene was filmed.

    2. Larry McAwful

      "From WHYY in Philadelphia, this is 'Fresh Air', and I'm Terry Gross. And even though Click & Clack drop their transmissions every time they hear me say it, this is the Aaron Sorkin toilet scene interview on NPR."

  5. BarackMyWorld

    "The West Wing" was so unbearable that it won 4 consecutive Emmys for best dramatic series and had the kind of ratings any current NBC show would kill for (until they moved it to Sundays).

    Also, they were quite good at integrating slapstick, which took the edge off the seriousness.

    1. viennawoods13

      I loves me some West Wing. I even bought it on DVD when seriously on sale. I want those people for my friends. This afternoon, in fact, I was fantasizing about Jed Bartlett getting mad about some idiot from the DNC asking for donations in lieu of wedding gifts- obviously some shlub we had never seen before or since.

      1. __kth__

        The West Wing was one of the best shows on TV in the late 90s. It jumped the shark (surely we can still use this phrase wrt TV shows?) immediately after 9/11/2001.

        1. Doktor Zoom

          Actually, that was only the second season, believe it or not. And that one episode was so preachy and contrived that, in our DVD marathon, Kid Zoom refused to even finish watching, even for the important historical context, i.e., "look how shook up people were by 9/11–it drove them to make terrible TV!" And then the rest of the second through fourth seasons were pretty strong. And then Sorkin got busted for coke possession, and the shark was jumped.

          But even post-shark West Wing is better than most other TV. It's no The Wire, but then, nothing is.

          1. SorosBot

            9/11 produced tons of horrible, embarrassing art. Try looking at the horrid reaction issue of Spider-Man, in which watching the towers go down makes Dr. Doom cry. No, the only reason Dr. Doom should be upset by the attacks is because he wasn't behind them.

          2. Tyrannically_Joe

            I'm sure Dr. Doom was crying because he decided to store a number of his Doombots in what he believed to be the most secure location in the city: the New York City Emergency Command Center.

          3. bikerlaureate

            It's hard to explain how dazed everyone was in the week following 9/11 – we shot the pilot of a syndicated show on Saturday the 15th and it was still like plowing through treacle. I wasn't really into "TWW" at the time (and caught up with prior seasons later)…
            But still, knocking out an hour-long script in a couple days' time is nothing short of phenomenal. Even considering it was far from the best episode, and can't convey how disorienting that time was… I was impressed. (Faint praise, perhaps.)

            If one can table the impulse to view the scripts as indoctrination or revisionism, those middle seasons were crafted to a 'T'.

          4. BarackMyWorld

            It was 3rd season. Oh, gawd, that episode was horrid.

            For me, the show's shark jumping moment was when Bartlett got bullied into nominating a lame VP after his first one resigned and his daughter was kidnapped. Also, the summer before that season was when Sorkin got fired from the show.

            It wasn't a bad show after that, but not nearly as good. That was also when it quit winning Emmys.

          5. valgal2342

            My favorite show of all time. After the complete DVD price went down I bought it. That winter we had a big snow & ice storm and I was snowed in for a few days. It was the best West Wing marathon ever. I often hope for big snow storms in winter now.

    2. bikerlaureate

      Well, I hit a bad letter-combination there. Trying again…

      I appreciated your comment. "The West Wing" challenged me and caused me to do quite a bit of reading. By seasons 3 and 4 the technical chops were captivating.

      Sorkin's body of work speaks for itself.

  6. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Sports Night remains one of the best comedies of the 90's.

    And The Social Network was quite good.

    1. Guppy

      So we've gone from "Sports Night" to "News Night."

      Are both, by chance, on the same fictional network?

  7. SayItWithWookies

    After an episode of The West Wing my conclusion was no, I'm not going to watch a fictionalized improved-upon version of five minutes ago with a wise book-larnin' president who turns everything into a socratic dialog with a neat lesson at the end and a bunch of other quirky characters who toss around jargon in place of actual thoughts. Not one more fuckin' scene of Josiah (wtf?) Bartlett walking intently down a hallway followed by a gaggle of minions as he tosses them decisions and pithy rationales. Just no.

    Also, I don't have cable.

    1. BarackMyWorld

      The president wasn't usually the one walking down the halls. Most of the time it was Josh, C.J., or Sam (who were actually the main characters).

      1. SayItWithWookies

        Not in the first three episodes, which was the vast majority of my exposure to it. It was also too oddly reminiscent of the office scenes in Brazil for me to take seriously. He was copying a meme that had already been parodied into uselessness.

        1. BarackMyWorld

          The walk and talk thing became a Sorkin shortcut when he was writing the screenplay for A Few Good Men, and he needed a way to differentiate the movie from the play. I believe at the suggestion of Rob Reiner.

          1. SayItWithWookies

            Which came out in 1992, seven years after Brazil — hackneyed meme, is my point.

    2. poorgradstudent

      The best part of "The West Wing" was a thing a college friend of mine made titled the "Passport to Democrat Fantasy Land" with a picture of Barlett's smiling face pasted on it.

      1. BarackMyWorld

        Democratic fantasy: how all the characters were complaining for the first 3 years that he wasn't being progressive enough?

        Ok, actually that sounds about right…

  8. BarackMyWorld

    I AM GOING TO TOTALLY PISS ALL OVER A SHOW I HAVE NEVER WATCHED BECAUSE I DIDN'T LIKE THE LAST SHOW THE GUY DID.

    1. Chichikovovich

      Now that's quite unfair. Newell is not pissing on a show he hasn't seen. He's quoting a whole bunch of other people pissing on a show he hasn't seen, while he does a happy dance.

      1. flamingpdog

        Appropos of absolutely nothing (already started drinking), here's a happy dance for when you're feeling blue.

  9. Schmannnity

    Wordy reviews and yet nothing about whether Jeff Daniels gets blown up again like in Speed.

    1. ElPinche

      There soo many good quotes from that show. Yeah I also love Jonah, the skycraper of shit.

    1. flamingpdog

      I'm up for an episode of "Bristle Palin, Pet Detective". ____I wonder if Jim Carrey can add 20 pounds to his thighs in a hurry.

    2. flamingpdog

      I'm up for an episode of "Bristle Palin, Pet Detective".

      I wonder if Jim Carrey can add 20 pounds to his thighs in a hurry.

    3. Negropolis

      I could so do with less Jim Carrey, and lately, he's been pretty quiet, and my temper a little better because of it.

  10. flamingpdog

    This blog post has been up for 25 minutes and has 25 comments. I'm moving over to the newer post now.

    1. Chichikovovich

      Fortunately once the Friday night bottles of Tequila start flowing at Wonkette HQ, the posts space out a bit more.

  11. Chichikovovich

    CBC Television produced a series called "The Newsroom" a few years ago, and it went on for a few years. A work of perverse genius – It might have been the funniest TV show ever to come out of that network. I recommend people track it down instead – it's surely on DVD.

      1. Chichikovovich

        I'm not sure – apart from the title and the fact that they both take place in newsrooms, the Sorkin one sounds significantly different. Finkelman's show was centred around a hilariously weasely, cynical producer and the central newscaster was an intellectually challenged dope, who was largely apolitical even though he ended up running for Parliament (most of the time in a coma). Nobody except the dumped-on intern seemed to have any redeeming features. In the Sorkin show – if I am understanding the reviews right – most of the characters embody liberal heroic stereotypes of one form or another.

        But maybe I'm just not seeing something that's actually right in front of my eyes. Wouldn't be the first time.

  12. poorgradstudent

    You forgot to mention "Sports Night," the famous "comedy that's too good to be funny."

    1. Guppy

      But even that got awfully preachy, especially where the Olbermann character was concerned.

    2. BarackMyWorld

      The network-imposed laugh track sure didn't help. It was actually a drama with some funny parts in it, but the network decided otherwise.

  13. Lucidamente1

    Jeff Daniels was in the unwatchable Terms of Endearment. Terms of Endearment was directed by James L. Brooks. James L. Brooks directed the unwatchable Broadcast News. Broadcast News is about TV news. Studio 60 is about TV news. Jeff Daniels is in the unwatchable Studio 60. . . .

    1. __kth__

      If you want a real scary/hilarious blast from the past: long about the time The Purple Rose of Cairo came out (didn't see, heard it was lovely), GQ had a cover story titled "Is Jeff Daniels the next Cary Grant?".

      Also: Arachnophobia

        1. ElPinche

          So was Arachnophobia. Goodman should have got the oscar for best-supporting actor that year.

  14. SorosBot

    Oh come on, who didn't love Studio 60's insistence that a sketch comedy show was one of the most important, serious things anyone could work on, along with its sketches that the characters all said were brilliant but were actually dull and unfunny? It's such a shame that show died while 30 Rock lived on merely by being hilarious, irreverant and as smart as Studio 60 thought it was but without the self-importance.

      1. SorosBot

        The thing is, the serious, "this is important" tone he uses works for a show about the White House; for a show about a comedy show, it doesn't work so much. And I watched the first six or seven episodes of Studio 60 and wanted to like it.

        1. BarackMyWorld

          You didn't make as far as Bradley Whitford turning into a stalker or Matthew Perry having drug hallucinations? Because that was some quality television.

  15. rickmaci

    What do you expect? Of course it's crap. It's television. If you want Shakespeare, go see Shakespeare.

    1. CapnRadio

      There are a half-dozen shows on TV that I'd take over "Twelfth Night" any day of the re-run week.

  16. TribecaMike

    When did Andrea Dworkin have a sex-change? Let me rephrase that: When did Andrea Dworkin ever have sex?

    [THIS IS AN AUTOMATED MESSAGE - PLEASE DO NOT REPLY]

    1. TribecaMike

      That is a goofy funny show, but not for a minute do I buy her as a vice president. But not taking itself seriously is part of its charm.

      1. Generation[redacted]

        She is only slightly more believable than her assistant, Buster from Arrested Development.

  17. Billmatic

    This guy is one of the most terrible, overrated hacks in Hollywood which is filled to the brim with overrated, terrible hacks.

  18. edgydrifter

    All I learned from The West Wing was that the White House was designed by a damned minotaur.

    1. TribecaMike

      I gave up on that show after the first episode. A second Catholic president? I ain't buying it.

  19. CapnRadio

    EXTRA EXTRA! AARON SORKIN MAKES SHOW CRITICIZING NEWS MEDIA; MEDIA SHOWS TWO CAN PLAY AT THAT GAME!!

    REVIEW CREWS EFFUSE POOH-POOHS ABOUT GURU JEW'S NEWS VIEWS!!!

        1. MumbletyRadio

          I know, that devil! Sneakin' up on folks and the like~

          Can't help but mention a FidoMcCommenter* sighting, too; last few days it's been raining long-gone commenters and I hope they find "the water is fine" enough to stick around.

          *his/her avatar cracks me up as much as when I'd first seen it. Wearin' the hoodie before hoodies became ultra-cool!

          1. RadioSlut

            WTF??!? Someone stole my identity and think they are as funny as me. A New Radio. Hey, that might be a better Sorkin plot.

        1. Designer_Radio

          I remember getting in a Twitter Argument (I know; lame) with a Paulbot and he eventually accused me of having a Red Soviet Communist UpFist (or something) for an avatar. That was imaginative. It's actually supposed to be "B3D", but I may accept MenoraLite™ or PinkoPoundsPaultard® in a pinch.

        1. CapnRadio

          WILL THAT ASS MAKE ME STRAP IN, OR IS IT FOR TAPPIN', OR IS IT JUST THERE FOR ME TO BUST A CAP IN?

          That's my awful rap version of Marry, Fuck, Kill.

          1. radio-of-owls

            I think we've lost sight of the original purpose of this thread, which is to talk about me. What? What do you mean someone's already done that schtick??

  20. Tundra Grifter

    Jeff Daniels was great in "Pleasantville," the best movie from the 1990's that nobody saw. It's genuinely original – not a copy of a remake of a tv show plot or theme that was borrowed from a 1950's movie.

    It's funny, sad, moving, thoughtful, poingnant, intelligent.

    And it was such a crime it didn't win a special effects Oscar somebody should have called the LAPD.

  21. TribecaMike

    Daniels was terrific as a pompous Park Slope egotist in The Squid and the Whale. I'm sure his research only took a short walk through the neighborhood and hanging out in a local bar for an hour to nail the part. Speaking of Park Slope bars, incredible as it seems most of them don't open until after 5 pm, just one reason I rejoice in living in downtown Manhattan aka Billionaire Town, where we don't go for that namby-pamby shit. So fuck off Jeff Daniels, but only after pouring me a drink you lovable putz.

  22. Dashboard Buddha

    “The Newsroom” treats the audience as though we were extremely stupid."

    We're still talking about the average American viewer, right? Attention span is not our strong suit.

    "Characters describe events we’ve just witnessed. "

    I've taken to watching old episodes of Mythbusters (I'm almost over it, btw), and by judicious fast forwarding, I can cut a 45 minute show down to about 25 just by passing over the review of what was already done.

    1. Designer_Radio

      When the TeeVee industry expanded the amount of channels by a factor of ten, they also expanded the amount of show filler by at least that.

      Especially insulting (if you have enough self-respect or -importance to be insulted): The 1 minute recap of the 7 minutes of show you just watched, right before the commercial break.

  23. Antispandex

    I think we can just about count on the various media not liking any show that shows anything BUT a group of intrepid news readers, stuggling to report exactly what they are told in briefings…which we all know is the real news, because it's official. Also, it's become common knowledge that all real American "reporters" fight to give both sides (Fox of course excepted), even if one side of the argument is false, duplicitous, or just plain wrong.

  24. Biel_ze_Bubba

    The problem, at the end of the day, is that there just aren't all that many fans of The Alan Sorkin Show Schtick"

    1. Tundra Grifter

      Jake Tapper is interviewed at some length in the first-rate documentary about the Florida debacle "Unprecedented; The 2000 Presidential Election." Apparently he wrote a book about that fiasco.

      He comes across as intelligent, thoughtful, well-spoken, and very disturbed by what happened down there. Frankly, it was a side of him I'd never seen before. And haven't really seen since, but his role on tv news doesn't really give him the opportunity to display those facets.

      1. fuflans

        yeah i'm sure you're right. all snark aside, i've heard several prominent members of the media interviewed on thoughtful places like npr and they're different people. or – as in several newsweek editors i've heard – completely unrepresentative of their media outlet.

        they start out as the cream of the crop and come out of the sausage factory as sarah palin.

        1. Tundra Grifter

          I agree with you – kinda reflects the medium, doesn't it?

          Toward the end of his time at the Times I heard Bill Keller interviewed on NPR. Another thoughtful, intelligent, well-spoken individual. Very impressive!

      2. Negropolis

        I don't know what happened to Jake, then, because he became an insufferable, concern-trolling hack of the Fox News variety the minute Obama decided to run for president. The kind that reports from the angel of "conventional wisdom" and contrived narratives. He's one of the beltway reporters that get on my nerves the most.

  25. not that Radio

    It's still Jeff Daniels and you look like Jeff Daniels and we know you are Jeff Daniels. I think a lot of people are nervous out there. All right, Jeff. You were a terrific hologram.

  26. Tundra Grifter

    I'm tempted to say the only two Daniels worth a damn are Jack and Charlie, but I did think "The Answer Man" was cute.

    Still going to go with "Pleasantville," however.

    1. UW8316154

      Yessir, those two Daniels boys are the only ones 'round here worth a damn. Not like the no-good Walker boys – Johnny, Black and Red – dem boys are always gettin wild, chasin ladies and stirrin' up trouble for Officer Koon.

  27. mrblifil

    Sorkin also wrote a play called The Farnsworth Invention that went to B'way and was optioned by Spielberg for immediate adaptation into a film. It was about how the moguls of the twenties sat on the invention of television because it would phase out radio too fast, before it could make everybody money. I read it, it was pretty good. Got shitcanned by the critics too because it wasn't A Few Good Men or some shit. I'm sensing a pattern here. Generally my rule is to watch anything that irritates Jake Tapper, so I'm going to go with that.

    1. TribecaMike

      No shit? I caught The Farnsworth Invention off-Broadway about five years ago and really liked it. A pal of mine was in the cast and she loved being in it. Thanks for the info.

  28. MumbletyRadio

    Give Sorkin some credit for CHicago Hope, FFS. Kicked off with Mandy Patinkin and wrapped, sadly, with Mark Harmon reprising his old St. Elsewhere chops. In between though, I thrived on the "realism" that (apart from Harmon) included a cast *not* downloaded from some Most Photogenic lineup of bimbo's and Lothario's à la "E.R."
    I mean the only other stuff to watch on networks was "Titus" and "Becker" and "3 Guy/Girls and Some Pizza" so who can blame me for exhaling when Sorkin's bearable heaviness-of-being came on?

  29. Chet Kincaid

    Will this show have naked flappers? Sharp-tongued dwarves? Spats-wearing, bootlegging Oligarchs? Southern Hipster Vampires? Are you sure it's on HBO?

  30. TribecaMike

    I will only pay for premium cable if they remake McHale's Navy as a werewolf/vampire/mermaid soft-porn epic starring Ernest Borgnine as vampire hunter Lt. Commander Quinton McHale, Dame Edna Everage as Captain Binghamton, and Samantha Morton as an always nekkid Ensign Parker.

    No assholes like Kelsey Grammer need apply.

    1. TribecaMike

      Ms. Gross's interest in her guests' abusive childhoods and alcoholism is just plain morbid, but she's not nearly as bad as Alec Baldwin, who claims to be a libby-lib-lab fellow traveler, yet he makes a pretty penny shilling for a feckin' bank. Little wonder he's given up on pretending to run for mayor of NYC. Besides, Christine Quinn is next in line of succession and she's as patronizing as Stephen Baldwin.

      Next on TMZ: Garry Wills — Roman Catholic or Roamin' Hands?

  31. Millennial Malaise

    Aaron Sorkin is a leeeetle too earnest for me. While I totally got off on early West Wing – balled my eyes out several times – I couldn't even finish it. Quirky dialogue aside, I think he's really good at plotting a show but the preaching was just too much. And Sports Night? Studio 60? Ugh. I don't mind condescending douchebags as long as they are funny. I also kind of hate Josh Molina.

    I never saw Social Network because I irrationally hate Mark Zuckerberg even though I know little about him.

    1. poorgradstudent

      I liked "West Wing" because I thought Sorkin's preachiness actually WORKED in the context, and made the show an interesting mix of "realism" and idealism targeted right at the show's lib base. I don't know why, but at least in my case the best contemporary political dramas are the ones that crank up the cynicism or crank up the schmaltz. Those elements were definitely not there for "Studio 60."

      I agree with your last point too. Sorkin just has a habit of making things about topics I don't care about in the slightest. A show about the people who get paid big bucks for commenting on people running and throwing balls? A movie about the founders of Facebook? The laws of physics don't allow me to give any less of a fuck.

  32. UW8316154

    What is this "West Wing" and "Veep" and "Sports Center" you guys keep talking about?

    It's like the the cool kids are talking in the hall and I feel like a dork for not getting it.

    /24 years without a tee-vee

    1. TribecaMike

      I have a boob tube (high def), and I have no idea either. If Orson Welles, Jean Renoir, Luis Bunuel, Ida Lupino, Russ Meyer or Mario Bava aren't involved, I'm pleasantly snoozing, dreaming of Anouk Aimee, Tura Satana, and Jeanne Moreau.

      To view, perchance to dream…

        1. TribecaMike

          I'm straight and married and don't know you from Adam, but what the hell, sure! And while we're at it, let's rent a barn and put on a show!

      1. ElPinche

        Mario Bava??!! Hell yeah, Throw some Jesse Franco and some Shaw Bros in there and I'd pay for that station.

  33. DahBoner

    We're not stupid. We knew Bush was too stupid to know Dick Cheney was lying about the WMD's in Iraq…

  34. Asillie

    It's hard for me to wrap my head around, but this whole thing was defending reviews about a show you have never seen yourself?

  35. TribecaMike

    " One of McAvoy’s producers has expert inside sources at BP and Halliburton," and they didn't kill them why?

    Because they're pussies, that's why. They bring a plastic spoon to a script conference, you bring a plastic fork. They bring a plastic knife, you bring an emery board. It's the Culver City way.

  36. Designer_Radio

    OT: I'm just gonna repost this again for the second time on Wonkette today, because I'm feelin' all spammy. Plus, I was just looking at vacation photos with the fam today and came across the pic and thought a few Equally Depraved Wonketeers would enjoy it.

    I have to repost this, from my March trip to the south. I wanted to zoom in and get a better shot of the ironically poor person who supports the Hunger Games candidate, but the dude who owns the car came walking out of the store and I didn't want to be the "Gov't surveillance agent who oppresses liberty and libertarians" in his White Christian Male persecution fantasy.

  37. chascates

    Verdict reached in Sandusky case but not announced yet. Judge has called court back into session.

        1. TribecaMike

          Oh, he was much subtler than a child molester. He just bombed them by the bushelful from 20,000 feet in the air and called it liberation.

          1. RadioSlut

            And now he's in a buttfucking orgy with Mitt and friends. He would never apologize for America.

  38. DrunkIrishman

    Veep is fucking awesome – maybe the best new show on TV…and it's not just because I would totally love to be the meat to an Elaine/My Girl sandwich.

    1. ElPinche

      Veep is awesome. Waiting in the breakfast line for my croissant will never be the same. And oh yes, "My Girl" girl's butt is like …BAM!

  39. Negropolis

    This is exactly another example of the differences of liberals and conservatives. Only liberals take their own societal avatars and not just critique them, but malign them as unworthy and sometimes even harmful. Conservatives take truly shit media and ride it until the wheels come off. I don't get how liberals expect to win arguments in society when we throw our own under the bus, when we so thoroughly deconstruct and cart away our own arguments that it leaves liberals wondering (let along the rest of the nation) if their own ideology is a lie.

    West Wing and Aaron Sorkin are not my speed (I like my television lowbrow), but damn.

    1. Negropolis

      God forbid a liberal try and insert his or her voice in the American forum, and maybe a little obnoxviously, but do conservatives care if they are fucking obnoxious all the damned time? I don't think so.

      Liberalism should only be discussed in quiet rooms, right? Anything more open and anything with anymore volume would just be gauche and uncultured. So, here we are back in our tiny, quiet rooms where we don't just deride conservatives as unintelligent subhumans worthy to be mocked, but perpetually attempt to tear down any other liberal who has the nerve to believe that he or she has an opinion someone else might want to hear and might be made better by.

      I'm a Honey Badger Liberal. I don't give a shit. Maybe we'd all be a bit better off if did our own thing and worried less about what others are doing.

      1. bobbert

        As it happens, I have never seen even a piece of an episode of TWW, but I have to agree with your general point. I know people, who I like and respect, who thought it was quite good, despite being a little "preachy" at times. (Show me a dramatic teevee series that isn't a little "preachy" at times).

        We liberals want our surrogates — in politics, entertainment, academia — to be not only liberal, but impeccably so. This is a foredoomed desire, because not only corporations are people; people are also people, and will fuck up from time to time. That doesn't mean we shouldn't notice when they fuck up, but maybe we should try to remember the times when they don't.

      1. Negropolis

        I'm really not. There is an underlying concern-trolling of liberals within American liberalism that goes beyond simply having differences in opinion. But, leave it to you to come in an do the same thing. If we give the administration a hard time, you're chiding. If we're giving too much of an apologism for liberalism, you're chiding. Meh. I saw you do it to Chich, most recently. You don't play nicely with anyone, apparently. Then, I go read above where you're making it sound like everyone is defending Sorkin when I'm basically the only one that explicitly did it.

    1. TribecaMike

      Prison rape is no laughing matter, but I won't complain if he gets shived multiple times.

    2. Barb

      I saw an interview with some woman who testified for Jerry and said that he was a "great guy." Would she send her grandsons to spend the night at his house? If so, she is the dumbest bitch who ever lived.

      1. chascates

        The 'Duck Dynasty" about the Robertson family is the ultimate. If you've never seen the show try to find their excellent videos, including "A Fistful of Ducks", and "A Few Ducks More".

        1. Negropolis

          I can't get into anything with "duck" in the name. I even tried Hillbilly Handfishin', but I can't do ducks.

  40. TribecaMike

    As we speak, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are penning their next B'way smash, "Sandusky Gets Prison Raped By The Swamp People!"

    The Fed doesn't have the money that show will rake in.

    1. Barb

      Stan, "Oh my God, you killed Jerry!"
      "You bastards!" "What took so long?"

      Sorry, I truly believe that if you ever have the urge to rape or kill a kid, you must do society a favor and kill yourself.

  41. NotGodot

    To be honest I find it hard not to look at Sorkin and think of him as a typical liberal. IE he feels obligated to make up for whatever progressive views he has y waffling and preemptively letting the regressive types get their words in, he believes in women's rights in abstract but not in practice, and he believes something is terribly wrong with our current system of business and economics but refuses to accept any solution because it means more regulation and more government.

    This is why liberals are terrible, incidentally. Grow up, find a more substantial ideology (Social Democracy would probably work for most of you) and leave closet right-wingers like Sorkin behind to give Bain Capital blowjobs.

  42. TribecaMike

    "Sorkinian archetypes"? For the love of all that is holy, don't tell me I have to play "Escape From Monkey Island" all over again?

  43. fartknocker

    In watching the news about Sandusky my wife and I both noticed he had no emotion. If I was convicted of any crime, I would be scared out of my mind. We saw no emotion or empathy. Penn State should prepare to start writing some large checks to the molested persons. They sanctioned this for the purpose of college athletics.

    1. Negropolis

      His lack of emotion was apparent from the very beginning. The man has some kind of disorder aside from his many crimes. The only emotion I ever saw him show was that he seemed genuinely bewildered that people were shocked abut his closeness with children. Sometimes, you can tell these guys are putting on a show and feigning ignorance, but this guy is a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

      1. DerrickWildcat

        Exactly. Sandusky's, "interview" with Costa sealed the deal. He seemed to be genuinely unaware that what he was doing was about the worst possible thing you could do.

        1. bobbert

          Yeah, he's got a couple of screws misaligned at least. That interview sounded like he was talking through a mask.

    2. UW8316154

      Words don't capture my anguish for the victims. JoePa and Penn State institutionalized horrific sexual predation. Interesting about his lack of emotion – you are right, no empathy or comprehension at all.

        1. Fukui-sanRadioBarb

          Hey, it's on Netflix Streaming! Kick ass!

          Breaking Bad Season 4 still isn't though. Bah.

  44. Monsieur_Grumpe

    Can I brag that I never watched an episode of West Wing or does that make me a pompous liberal asshole too?

    1. bobbert

      Well, I've never watched an episode of The West Wing, and I'm a pompous liberal asshole, so does that help?

    2. Dashboard Buddha

      The only thing I saw about WW was the scene where the prez rips on the homophobic religious lady.

      Pompous Liberals Unite!

  45. Monsieur_Grumpe

    Really OT
    I play music for fun money and tonight we backed up a Loretta Lynn tribute singer. At the end of the show we play a Dog awful song called God Bless America Again.

    Watch the original if you can stomach it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q2DM829LQ4

    I like to call it God Bless AA.

    When the Loretta clone introduced the song she said that the “separation of church and state was pure bunk”. I had to bite my lip at that one. We're going to have a talk.

    1. Barb

      Oh my!

      We arrived at the ABQ Airport and they had 3 corny looking women in Howdy Doody looking outfits singing crazy old country songs. They were called the "Buck-ettes" I walked by and said, "They should be called the Nicorettes, because none of them are smokin'"

      1. Monsieur_Grumpe

        Nice. That was back when they were tight. I saw them at a rib fest and they were out of tune, fat and sloppy.

  46. Chet Kincaid

    Wow, concern-trolling over poor, besieged Aaron Sorkin! So, critiquing and snarking certain sacred liberal TV entertainment is the reason liberals keep getting their heads stuffed in flushing toilets by the Right? If the West Wing had had a chance of somehow preventing 8 years of Bush/Cheney, perhaps I could buy this.

    Whatever, I really liked "The Social Network," but found "The West Wing" boring. The various President Palmers and their successors were a lot more entertaining on "24," but because I did not get up on a soapbox criticizing the torture scenes, I am a Bad Liberal.

    Few things are as tedious as people demanding lockstep, positive aesthetic judgements on works of art and entertainment, just because the politics are admirable.

    1. Chichikovovich

      Few things are as tedious as people demanding lockstep, positive aesthetic judgements on works of art and entertainment, just because the politics are admirable.

      {nosnark}
      Very true. Whenever I read a glowing review of a movie involving saving threatened wildlife, evil corporations (and especially plucky children/teenagers saving threatened wildlife from evil corporations), heroic soldiers who come to question an immoral mission, persecuted gays, one-dimensional hate-filled Christian hypocrites, etc., I always deduct one or two stars automatically from the review. (Unless I know the reviewer to be a right-winger, in which case I automatically add one or two stars….) Reviewers just seem to lose all critical distance with these and similar themes.

      I can get enough tiresome morally outraged left-wing politics talking to myself. No need to pay out good coin to sit in a theatre checking my watch and wishing I was with my son watching reruns of Wrestlemania on TV.

    2. bobbert

      I may be one of the people you're referring to as a concern troll on this matter, so I'd like to point out the difference between symptom and cause. No was suggesting that critical commentary about Sorkin was the cause of anything.

      Now, being sober this morning, I skimmed back through the thread and must say that my own use of this as an example of liberal perfection-philia was wrong. Virtually all the Sorkin-critical comments were simply opinions about entertainment value, which are what you expect when you produce entertainment, such as.

      So, while I stand by my point about liberals demanding perfection, this thread is not a good example of that.

      And I should stay out of discussions of teevee and most movies, because I literally don't know what I'm talking about.

  47. Chet Kincaid

    I'm rooting for Sorkin to find the right way to do the Steve Jobs' biopic, which he has been commissioned to write. Based on "The Social Network", he's good for it. It's too bad this other project with Ashton Kutcher as Jobs is being rushed out there — there is no amount of makeup, writing, or CG that can make Kutcher look intelligent.

  48. Negropolis

    Yeah, but even your paraphrase is kind. It was more like **pause** "If I say I'm not attracted to children, I'd be lying" or something to that extent before he goes on to say that the attraction isn't sexual.

  49. ttommyunger

    I am more seriously fucked up than even I suspected. I am fucking retired and I don't have time to watch TV Dramas. What is wrong with me? I can barely manage to keep up with the Daily Show and Colbert Report and sometimes they back up three or fours shows before I find time to watch them.

  50. BarackMyWorld

    But citing the BP oil spill is a curious way to charge journalistic malpractice: By my recollection, that was a story the media covered fairly aggressively and responsibly.

    After what? A month? And then it was 'WHAT'S OBAMA GONNA DO ABOUT THE BP SPILL/HOW IS THIS AFFECTING OBAMA'S POLL NUMBERS???"

    And of course there was this: http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2010/05/16/9730

  51. FlownOver

    After watching the show (I know; a novel concept, right?):

    Typical Sorkin, which ain't bad for teevee. The sort of verbal comebacks you always think of half an hour after you need them, and characters you can like and dislike at the same time. Like the West Wing's portrayal of the WH, it isn't about how teevee news works; it's "wouldn't it be something if this is how teevee news did work."

    I'm guessing most of the critics wanted to be the first to write "That Springsteen concert really blew."

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