Aaron Sorkin is a Genius

The West Wing, Moneyball, The Newsroom., just to name a few. These aforementioned pieces are the works of screenwriter/producer/playwright Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin’s passion for creating smart and witty scripts has made me a fan of his, and my current obsession with The Newsroom can only lead me to believe one thing: Aaron Sorkin is a bloody genius.

Broadcasted from 1999 to 2006, The West Wing highlighted the inner workings of the White House in almost an idyllic way – it’s Sorkin’s democratic prerogative, after all. Although viewership waned slightly after Sorkin left NBC as a producer, the heart of this masterpiece still managed to rake in 16 million viewers. Not too shabby. With its progressive politics, Sorkin demonstrates how democracy and government are supposed to be done. While maybe not the most realistic, The West Wing did receive positive criticism from government staffers because it shows what it takes to do government. And do government right. The President is the face, but there is so much intricate detail that goes into making decisions for our country. Detail and trust. The President not only has to trust his advisors, but also his Congress. And many times, we saw the President powerless – guess that whole checks and balances system works, huh? Yet the best part – the genius part – was the way in which The West Wing had politicians, in particular the President himself, speak out. We rarely see politicians do that nowadays. Well, we do, except many are simply trying to appease their own parties – and the extremes of those parties at that. It’s an unfortunate situation when you see the individuals we have elected no longer catering to our voices, our needs, but rather to the moneyholders, the big backers, the things that will help them keep (or up) their status and position in government. They seem to have forgotten all about those of us hanging out somewhere in the middle of the winged spectrum.

Similar to The West Wing, The Newsroom is all about how news should be done. Yes, it has a humanitarian aspect of how these stories affect our nation and it demonstrates the characters as real people with shit of their own to deal with, but it also causes its viewers to ask questions. To wonder why. To see that there are multiple sides to every story, but the facts will win out the day every time. From my massive girl crush on Sloan Sabbath to my desperate need to have Mack’s job, this show is everything I wish the news was. And I believe could be. Or at least will be when if I make it into a newsroom. Currently in its second season, I’m hoping for many more, and also hoping Sorkin does not vanish come the finale of the fourth season.

The genius of these two shows comes not only from the dialogue, but from Sorkin’s vision of idealism. And the beauty of it is it is not an unreachable idealism either. The nation has the potential to do politics and government the way The West Wing represented, and we sure as hell have the ability to make a Newsroom-esque show on a nightly basis. ABC, CNN, anyone? Do I have any takers? Anyone willing to forget about the ratings for a quick minute and present the facts and the stories that matter. I’m sure you can see some of Sorkin’s idealism is rubbing off on me.

Yes, reforming government and the way politicians well, do politics, is something that would most likely take years, it should be a priority for newscasters and producers to want to inform their audience of what really matters. What is actually going to impact them as citizens of these United States. And I guess that’s what I love about Aaron Sorkin. He has proven what should be a priority for us through his snarky scripts and his ability to invent characters we actually give a damn about. Speaking of which, can Mack and Will just get together already? I’m not prepared to do the whole Friends Ross and Rachel debacle where I have to wait until the series finale to see the two finally get their shit together. Make it happen before ten years, Aaron, that’s all I ask. Other than that, I have very few complaints. His work is witty, sarcastic, well thought out, and can make even the biggest cynics wish this little piece of television was our reality. Your work is genius, Sorkin. Sheer genius.

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