Monday, October 16, 2006

Slow strangulation

Hello, I'm Aaron Sorkin, the reprobate teevee-show creator and self-professed genius responsible for "A Few Good Men," "West Wing," "Sports Night," and, currently, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." Have you ever wondered what it would look like to take a brilliant idea for a show -- one that's been excellently cast, to boot, and given a plum time slot -- and choke it to death in front of diminishing numbers of viewers? I suggest you tune in to NBC on Monday night at 10 p.m. to find out. We even foley in the sounds of celery stalks breaking to replicate the noise that vertebrae make as they are slowly and gruesomely cracked by the hands of a creator who somehow has no idea how to handle his great fortune.

Am I smoking gypsum and dijonnaise blunts again? That must be the case, because how else can you explain how tone-deaf and flat-footed the early steps of "Studio 60" have been? I somehow made a movie where Tom Cruise seemed plausibly clever, and another where Michael Douglas seemed plausibly warm and human. I created one of the most lauded shows of the last decade, "Sports Night," and in so doing, launched the careers of Peter Krause and Felicity Huffman. I even exploited America's love and Kennedy and Clinton porn and spun the "West Wing;" insufferable, yes, but the birthplace of the Thomas Schlamme School of Tracking Shots and pop-gun political banter. So, how is it that I'm dropping a bucket into my own well of public ignominy and pouring the abnegation into your TV for a hour a week, laid bare for all to see -- and fucking it up? (Drugs are bad, mmmkay?) I'm practically making an infrared-cam Paris Hilton video of what goes on in TV comedy, a subject that should be irresistable and unfuckupable. Yet, the fuckupage abounds.

I'm making a show within a show about the most cutting edge sketch show on TV, and all the sketches that get aired look like MadTV rehearsal cuts. My show has the most tortured and gifted humorous writer in the history of TV, yet, all be produces is the comedy equivalent of circus peanuts. My show within a show is full of Hollywood's greatest comedic sketch talents, and yet all they can do is walk around biting their bottom lips, trying to out-grave one another like Jesse Owens in the 1936 Berlin Earnest-lympics. For a light and humorous sketch comedy hour, the people involved in putting it together sure do walk around like it's Medecins Sans Frontiers.

How did I fuck this up? Have I huffed one tube of carnauba wax too many? I took a slam dunk, "Sports Night" crossed with "The West Wing," and somehow turned it into "Falcon Crest" crossed with "Coach."

Hmmm... do you think John Wells is busy now that they canceled his "Smith" over at CBS? He did such a great job of purloining "The West Wing" after I cracked-out a few years back that I might just consider taking a long car ride with Oliver Stone, Robert Downey Jr., a handgun, and a bag of psilocybin mushrooms to San Diego for a weekend. Consisting of four years.