Dear readers, please allow the following dead horse to be beaten: Aaron Sorkin is a genius. I realize that I am stating the obvious. I also realize that I have not yet seen Sorkin’s Two Greatest Works, A Few Good Men and The West Wing. I will get there, have no fear. Now, onto fake ESPN.
I loved this show. I didn’t love it as much as I loved Studio 60, because (a) I have a weird crush on Bradley Whitford, (b) in my eyes, late night comedy > late night sports, and (c) I prefer the drama format to the sitcom format. But seriously, folks, those are my three minute complaints. This show, all meager two seasons of it, had so much heart and wit and chemistry. Of course it got cancelled. Damn the man.
This show made me wish that there was an actual show like Sports Night on the air. I realize that’s a confusing statement, because the real show and the fictional show have the same name. But you see which one I mean when I explain it that way, right? Good. Anyway, ESPN is good times once in awhile, but if Dan Rydell and Casey McCall really existed every night to put me to bed with razor-sharp repartee and sports highlights, I’d never change the channel. Pater Krause and Josh Charles are so incredible together. Adorable. They complement each other perfectly, they respect each other truthfully, they offer each other criticism respectfully. And then there’s the rest of the team: Jeremy, the nerdy fact-man, Natalie, the right-hand everywoman, and Dana, the superhero. I wish I had known about Joshua Malina before so I could have formed a fan club for him early on. Sabrina Lloyd… let’s just say that I probably wouldn’t have been friends with her character, but she played it damn well. And Felicity Huffman, well, she’s one of the best on TV, both in the late 90s and now. She makes Desperate Housewives look like a walk in the park and yet she still reads some of those absurd lines that Marc Cherry writes for her like they were crafted by Sorkin. Bless her.
This is the kind of show that makes you want to get into broadcasting, not only for the rush of live TV and potential screw-ups and triumphs and all that, but for the type of relationships it builds. Admittedly, both Sports Night and Studio 60 were romanticized versions of what actually happens behind the scenes at these shows, but still. You have to be seamless, and when a group of people becomes seamless, becomes a machine, becomes a mass of trust and fluidity like that, it’s operatic to watch. I hope to be apart of something like that some day.
Bravo, Sorkin and Sports Night. I mean, home run. And I want the theme song as my ringtone, dammit.