Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sports Night


In my attempt to fend off the temptation of The West Wing, I decided to watch another of Aaron Sorkin's shows: Sports Night. I'm immediately greeted by the Sorkinisms I'm accustomed to: the walk-and-talk, the quick pace and banters, the rhythm of the dialogues. Unlike his other shows of hour-long dramas that I'm familiar with (TWW, Studio 60, The Newsroom), Sports Night is a half-hour comedy. It's not a sitcom; the humor is much drier than the typical sitcom, but it's definitely funny. They used laugh tracks in season one, and it's awkward and distracting; I'm glad they dropped that in season two.

Sports Night shows us the action behind the production of an ESPN-esque show. The show within the show is modeled after ESPN's SportsCenter; and its presenters, Dan (Josh Charles) and Casey (Peter Krause), are modeled after SportsCenter's Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick. The onscreen banter emulates Olbermann and Patrick's, and the behind-the-scene struggles for ratings and against network execs mimics their real-life counterparts.

I watched the episodes in a marathon. No, in a sprint. It only took me a few days to finish the two seasons. There are a few "themes" that I recognized from Sorkin's other shows, and the setting reminded me a lot of Studio 60. It's a great show, and it's a shame that it was canceled before its time. It's not The West Wing –– I think Sorkin's style of writing works best in TWW –– but it has that sense of humor that I really enjoy. It's funny, it's smart, and unfortunately seems to be one of those great shows that many people missed. I now have to look for another show to watch. I might try to catch up on The Newsroom next so I don't miss the Sorkinisms, or look for great, older shows that I've missed.