4 Things Aaron Sorkin Puts In Every Show


The indefatigable Aaron Sorkin has inked a deal with HBO to write a show set in the world of cable news. It’s tentatively titled “More As the Story Develops,” which is not only boring, but loaded with self-important, unironic metaphor. Nevertheless, Sorkin is a skilled writer and HBO seems to know what they’re doing what with “The Sopranos” and “The Wire,” and all. Whether it turns out to be a hit or a miss, it will likely contain some of Sorkin’s favorite things (which are not as fun as Oprah’s).

A cute conservative blond woman who exists in a mostly liberal world but everyone ends up loving anyway:

We all know Aaron Sorkin‘s relationship with Kristin Chenoweth taught him to love small, golden-haired Republicans—a theme he can’t seem to deviate from. First there was Ainsley Hayes, the associate White House counsel on the “West Wing” who was cruelly hazed by her liberal colleagues before becoming their beloved friend. She got naked in her office and the president walked in on her clad only in a pristine white bathrobe. Hilarity ensued. Harriet filled this role in Studio 60, playing a Christian with a sense of humor who teaches her colleagues to pray. Her religion is a major issue (for some reason) as the two leads battle the religious right…for the soul of SNL. In Charlie Wilson’s War, Julia Roberts goes blond to play Joanne Herring, Tom Hanks’s spunky side-kick/love interest who flirts him into sending weapons to Afghanistan (yes, I know, it’s a movie, not a TV show — just go with it).

A lone, down-to-Earth black man who brings calming wisdom to neurotic white people:

Dulé Hill was always there to offer perspective when the White House aides got all nutty on West Wing. He was from the poor part of D.C. and his mother had died, so he had real-world experience, unlike the sheltered white guy in the Oval Office. Robert Guillaume played the gravel-voiced voice of reason on Sports Night, as he kept his sometimes-childish employees in line. And, of course, D.L. Hughley was the most grown-up comic in “Studio 60.” Black people are so real.

An emotionally stunted male lead who is bad with relationships:

Oh, Josh Lyman, how I love thee. He’s the type of man who would be terrible in real life but on the West Wing I didn’t mind that he strung Donna along for eight years, never letting her advance in her career out of love. Josh is a wounded puppy—a man’s whose sister died when he was young and therefore he cannot form grown-up relationships. Or at least that’s his excuse. In Studio 60 Bradley Whitford let Matthew Perry assume the role of juvenile yet lovable guy whose self-righteous self-obsession stands in the way of love. Perry tells everyone that he and his girlfriend broke up over the national anthem, when in fact they broke up over the 700 Club. And, of course, neither of the guys on Sports Night had a clue. Anyone else think Sorkin is idealizing himself while excusing his bad romantic behavior?

A cast of characters, all of whom sound exactly like Aaron Sorkin and can only talk while walking rapidly through a workplace:

If you watch his shows (especially West Wing), you realize he doesn’t really develop distinct voices for different characters. They’re all smart, funny, ironic, fast-talking, educated people who have the same cadence and style. They sound eerily similar to Sorkin himself. Thus Sorkin’s scripts lean heavily on his actors to give the characters unique tones and rhythms, which Allison Janney rocked at. Also, why doesn’t anyone sit down and talk? Sit down and talk! I know you’re busy, but it’s exhausting just watching you.

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