for Sorkin to apologize for The West Wing, but I suppose it’s good that he has finally recognized he has a problem:
At Tribeca Film Festival on Monday, April 21, Aaron Sorkin apologized for trying to teach us a bunch of lessons on “The Newsroom.” As the show moves into its third and final season on HBO, Sorkin admitted that he is only now beginning to figure out how to write it.
“I’m going to let you all stand in for everyone in the world, if you don’t mind,” Sorkin said to the audience. “I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with ‘The Newsroom’ and I apologize and I’d like to start over.”
Sorkin added that he chose to use the recent past, not to revel indulgently in how things ought to be done, but because he did not want to make up fake news. “I wasn’t trying to and I’m not capable of teaching a professional journalist a lesson,” he said.
Continuing in his overwhelmingly humble mea culpa, Sorkin admitted he is “just now starting to learn how to write” the show, while lamenting the fact that he had to practice for a public of several million people and longing for the simplicity of debuting a play with previews.
Sorkin has just realized that it’s possible his writing style might be a bit too didactic? Seriously? I wonder whether, with his new-found self awareness, he has any regrets about this gem:
For better or worse, The West Wing has always been a didactic series, but it took finally the urgency of the recent news events for Aaron Sorkin to write an episode that was literally didactic — that is, teacherly — by setting it in what was for all intents and purposes a classroom. The set-up: in response to a reported security breach, the White House “crashes” — no one is allowed to enter or leave — just as aide Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) is speaking to a class of honor students.
The class decamps to the basement; the nervous kids only want to ask Josh questions about terrorism. And from here on out, for the bulk of the episode, class is in session for Professor Sorkin, who doesn’t need to bother even with the scanty dramatic figleaves he usually knits together in order to deliver himself of soliloquys through his characters. Here, the kids just serve up one setup question after another — “Why are they trying to kill us?” “What do we do now?” — that allows for a series of well-meaning, well-expressed, but by now well-worn disquisitions on how Islam does not teach terrorism, spy satellites can’t replace human intelligence and killing innocent civilians is not noble. After a few questions, Josh announces that he needs to get “some of my friends” to field the tougher questions, allowing him to usher in the rest of the White House staff cast. It’s a little like the scene in a kids’ dental-hygiene film where the host says, “Now I’m going to get our old pal Mr. Floss to sing us a song about tooth decay!”