So here we are.
Tomorrow night, Aaron Sorkin’s latest series, The Newsroom, premieres on HBO. I figure that this occasion is as good a time as any to pull out one of my dusty old scribblings from a decade ago: my Ode to an Aaron Sorkin Monologue.
This was written in 2002, during the height of The West Wing, when the Sorkin monologue still seemed magical and new, even after I’d already been charmed by Sports Night. Then came the dark days... the Studio 60 days. We don’t speak of those days. Especially with people who loved Studio 60. (I’ve worked in television for a long time, with intelligent and educated people, and never once has an entire crew casually chatted between takes about Molière. And seriously, retiree parents not knowing who Abbott and Costello are? But no... no... I’m not getting into that now.)
Anyway, I know that some advance reviews for The Newsroom seem to indicate that the Sorkin monologue, alive and well, may have swelled more than a bit on the pomposity scale. But for now, let’s take a trip back a decade and remember a simpler time and a simpler (but never simple) monologue, and sing its praises:
ODE TO AN AARON SORKIN MONOLOGUE
It’s never less than half a page
Near act break Two or Three
It guarantees a statuette
And peer validity
Felicity H. and R. Guillaume
Would certainly agree
They’re often hard to memorize
And lean to left a wee
They boil the blood of suits, from
Networks A -- or N -- BC
But on the coasts, both East and West
Hailed by the industry
And Martin Sheen, though he’s a star
Scours every script to see
If that week’s stirring, raving rant
Goes to Rob or Brad or he
For be it sitcom, feature film,
Or prime time dramedy
An Aaron Sorkin monologue
In stereo or HD
Sounds mighty nice, but more than that
I say sans irony
Because you know what’s coming when
They wax historically
The well-trod territory’s such...
...It gives you time to pee
I never said it was a good ode. It would have been better if I could have figured out how to rhyme “Landingham.”
Yes indeed. Welcome to me.