Thursday, January 01, 2009

Sports Night

I know this is the post where I'm supposed to talk about New Year's resolutions, but I'm honestly not going to look at the ones I made at the start of 2008 because I think it'll make me too depressed. And besides, I suspect they're the same ones I'm about to make now. Which is to say - finish the novel and send it around to publishers, lose some weight and get in better shape.

We'll see how I do. Although we did get a Wii Fit for Christmas/Cathy's birthday from her brother. There's nothing quite like being gently mocked in a cute Japanese voice for being uncoordinated and inquiring as to whether or not I trip over things often.

The Japanese are deeply disturbed group of people.

My Wii Fit age started at 45, went down to 24 and is now hovering in the low 30s. Which is kind of good, I guess. And also deeply confusing. I have friends in China who have one, who are vegetarians, much thinner than me and at least one of them goes and climbs mountains on occasion. And his Wii Fit age was 60. I'm confused, but enjoying it. There's nothing I enjoy quite so much as mocking vegetarians for having an unhealthy lifestyle.

The other thing we've been doing over the New Year's break is engaging in a Sports Night marathon. I bought the first two seasons months ago and we've only just started watching it. We blew through the first season in about two days and we've just started season two. We're really enjoying it, but man, it's very strange to watch. Aaron Sorkin created and wrote most of the episodes. So the dialogue crackles, the characters are funny and intelligent and a 22 minutes episode just flies by in the best way.

But man, it's weird to watch. Because the only two seasons of Sports Night came out before Sorkin's really big show, The West Wing. And Sorkin plundered this show when he made West Wing. It's not just some of the same actors who made the leap, although they did. We've been going "Hey, it's Will. Hey, it's Donna. Is that Ellie?" all the time. But he also took dialogue and plot points and used them in West Wing. Lots of them.

I know some people griped about it online, but even I'm kind of astonished by how much he did. Hell, Sorkin was guilty of taking things from West Wing and recycling it onto Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. But I'm still kind of floored watching this. And I got to say, it's diminishing some of my appreciation for Sorkin. I consider him one of the best TV writers of the past 10 years. Yeah, Studio 60 failed, but it was a noble one. He was trying to do something that most people didn't appreciate. He wasn't doing a show about a late night comedy program, he was trying to show what divided America wasn't as great as what united it. It was bold, ambitious and he didn't manage to quite pull it off. And that's at least partially for the bizarre reason that he couldn't make the sketch comedy funny. But hell, it was a good try.

But seeing how he clearly reused dialogue, themes and characters without so much as changing a word is a bit...disheartening. I thought he was a great writer. Now, maybe, he's just a really good one. Yeah, good writers steal from others (and that's a line of dialogue from all three shows), but stealing from yourself quite so brazenly?

Last Five
1. Song for the dumped - Ben Folds Five
2. See you when you're 40 - Dido
3. Babylon II - David Gray*
4. For a dancer (live) - Jackson Browne
5. 21st century living - Matthew Good

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so what are the girls like there?