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The Social Network, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin

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18 Responses to “The Social Network, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin”

  1. IOv3 says:



  2. berg says:

    good one …. I always liked the “I am God” speech by Alec Baldwin in Malice

  3. Hopscotch says:

    I concur berg, that whole film is a mixed bag. Some of Baldwin’s lines and that scene particular is a hoot.

    Sorkin repeated himself years later on Charlie Wilson’s War. In Malice in the middle of the rant, Baldwin says, “…and I’m never sick at sea.” And Philip Seymor Hoffman says the same line in his opening rant in Charlie Wilson’s War.

    It’s a reference to Gilbert & Sullivan’s The HMS Pinafore, which only a G&S nerd like myself (and Sorkin) would bother noticing.

  4. cadavra says:

    Sorkin staged a G&S number in an early spisode of STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. The NBC execs were probably hurling themselves out of windows when that aired.

  5. Hopscotch says:

    I do remember that episode, and perhaps references are better than outright re-enactment. But that show had a lot of other problems.

  6. Bob Burns says:

    good questions. thanks

  7. yancyskancy says:

    That G&S tribute must have been in the first episode of STUDIO 60, because I remember it and it’s the only episode I ever saw.

  8. Anghus says:

    God damn studio 60 sucked.

  9. cadavra says:

    STUDIO 60 was extraordinary. A brilliantly realized and sensationally smart and entertaining series that was assassinated by a network that had next to no interest in it from Day One and only bought it to keep Sorkin from leaping to their competitors.

  10. Hallick says:

    Studio 60 was never a top tier series, but there was a stretch in the latter episodes when Matthew Perry’s character was slipping into some kind of exhausted mental illness over his ex that was genuinely fascinating to watch in the “where the hell is this show going here???” genre.

  11. Hallick says:

    “HMS Pinafore” was also a running bit about duty in a second season episode of “The West Wing” that ended with cast members singing “For He Is An Englishman”.

  12. cadavra says:

    Hallick: Yes, the second half of the season–when everyone knew the axe was falling–was definitely a cut below the first half. I was particularly unhappy that they dropped the plot thread about the reporter in Iraq who blurted out “Fuck!” live on-air when an RPG exploded over his head; I would’ve given anything to see Asner telling the FCC where to shove it. But even the later episodes were still better than most anything else, and the early entries, especially the one with Eli Wallach and the two-parter with John Goodman (who won an Emmy), are as good as TV drama gets.

  13. anghus says:

    Studio 60 was the worst show ever in the history of television.

    ok, not really.

    i watched Studio 60 and loathed it. then i ended up in the greatest debates with people who loved and loathed it. so i kept watching just so i could keep talking about how terrible it was. it really was self indulgent bullshit. i don’t feel like launching into day long debates on a show that tanked after one year, but the things that were most ridiculous

    1. a show about TV that didn’t know anything about TV.

    This argument was mainly focused on Amanda Peet, who was terribly cast as the most unrealistic television excutive ever. Bob Balaban on Seinfeld was the best, for the record. In this imaginary world Sorkin creates, cable news networks run stories about her pregnancy. In what world would that happen? In what world does the news/tabloid media give two shits about who the guy/gal running programming at NBC is fucking?

    If you make a show about TV, shouldn’t it feel real? Especially if you’re dealing with such realistic and serious issues, which brings me to point 2.

    2. Nate Cordry

    I don’t remember his characters name. But i know every week he declared MY BROTHER IS FIGHTING THE WAR ON TERROR. Forced…. so fucking forced. Speaking of forced.

    3. DL Hughley

    I don’t remember his characters name. But i know every week he declared IM BLACK! And he made speeches about being black. Gripping stuff.

    Sorkin’s characters in Studio 60 and Sportsnight seemed to have one shtick. And they played it at varying levels of volume. Speaking of….

    4. Sarah Paulson

    I don’t remember her characters name. But she was a Christian. And every week she talked about being a Christian.

    And that’s all these characters did. They had one thing, and they talked about it. Every fucking week. The black guy and the Christian Girl and the Guy whose brother was in Iraq or Afghanistan, or wherever talked and talked and talked about their feelings about being black and christian and having a brother at war.

    I think Studio 60 was an interesting concept. But the execution was laughable. Truly awful television.

    I find it strange that a lot of friends i debated Studio 60 with are the same people trying to convince me that Glee is ‘genius’.

  14. cadavra says:

    FWIW, Peet’s character was based on Jamie Tarses, whose personal life was indeed tabloid fodder while she was running NBC. And in a world where the Kardashians and the shaved apes of “Jersey Shore” turn up EVERYWHERE, it’s not really so far-fetched that a young, umarried and pregnant network head would be considered newsworthy. Have you ever watched the jaw-dropping “Showbiz Tonight” on HLN? You will weep.

    As for The Big Three, I will concede that their respective tics did occupy a fair amount of time, but in Sorkin’s defense this was a show with one hell of a lot of regular and recurring characters, and sometimes broad strokes are necessary to make characters pop. And even at that, it was generally cleverly done; in one episode Simon (that’s the black guy) dragged Albie to a comedy club to see what he’d heard was a smart new black stand-up, only to be mortified when the guy turned out to be spewing the same old “I-like-big-butts” kind of humor that most black comics do. What makes Sorkin a genius is that he starts with the familiar and manages to take it to places most other writers would never think of.

    By comparison, the characters on “30 Rock” haven’t changed or grown in five years: Liz is still an love-starved dork, Jack’s still a greedy pig, Tracy’s still a moronic fuck-up, Jenna’s still a self-obsessed loser, Kenneth’s still a grinning goofball, etc., etc., etc. Plus we almost never see anything (realistic or otherwise)related to the actual production of TGS. Yet this has been the gold standard of sitcoms since the day it premiered. Go figure.

  15. christian says:

    There are more fart jokes in 30 ROCK.

  16. wester says:

    Studio 60 seemed to know even less about comedy than it did about TV and that was what ultimately killed it for me.

  17. yancyskancy says:

    Some may argue that when you’re making a series based on an SNL type show, less funny equals more realistic. But yeah, I bailed early for the same reason wester cites.

  18. Andrew Pelt says:

    The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
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“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon