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Aaron Sorkin Is A Hack Update

[ 1 ] February 3, 2007 |

I have been, ah, less than optimistic about the quaility of Reading Outtakes From Persuasive Speech Competitions While Walking In Offices On The Sunset Strip and did not even have my low expectations met when I saw the thing. But while I can’t stomach it anymore, some people are still watching. And:

Wait, I’m confused: was it Sorkin’s dream to write for “SNL” or to write for “Three’s Company”? Because between the Two Dates On One Night and Locked On The Roof, all the episode was lacking was the Misunderstood Overheard Phone Conversation where Matt started to believe that Harriet was pregnant. Doesn’t matter if you have Danny comment on the hackiness of the roof situation; it’s still hacky, and no amount of highbrow name-dropping can disguise that. Commedia Del’Arte, this ain’t.

I’ll go with the cell phone issue, as the latest TCA press tour was held at a top LA hotel where you could only get reception in the strangest of places, and being outdoors wasn’t always a help. But Tom lying to Lucy about the dinner was the most idiotic of Idiot Plots, a decision made for no reason except that the plot wouldn’t work without it.

Seriously…Two Dates On One Night? Gawd. Lance is also on the case.

Via Lance, I also see another good post by Ken Levine. (Speaking of which, we need to persuade Dave to tell the story of Levine doing color with the Fredo of the Carey family.) Levine is right that it’s hard to take pleasure in the show’s failure; to have someone given a high level of creative control fail is not really good for the medium, because for too many execs the lesson won’t be “Aaron Sorkin is horribly overrated” but “Let’s send that script to the CSI factory for some focus-grouping.” But I think this can cut the other way: look at the bizarrely positive reviews this pretentious train wreck has received. (It could be that these critics all just have bad taste, but I think there was a lot of wishful thinking going on; many of the critics proclaiming it a classic in September couldn’t even find room for it on their Top-10 lists by December.) Creative autonomy, while better for TV on balance, is not a guarantee of success in any individual case (ask Steven Bach); I don’t think it does anyone any good pretend this show is anything but terrible.

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