The title of this piece not withstanding—and it pays to understand that this is written by a man who has himself been tagged with the adjective ‘arrogant’ since his voice broke and he discovered how to talk down to people—I am not jumping on the Aaron Sorkin-bashing bandwagon. Not that I didn’t want to. Since watching Sorkin’s fluid, articulate acceptance speech for the Best Screenplay Oscar for The Social Network, he’s been in the crosshairs of my resentment. When my agent said to me a couple of years ago, “The only writer booking jobs these days is Aaron Sorkin,” I almost broke my BlackBerry in frustration. And when I read that he was under fire in the press recently for purportedly having fired his entire writing team on HBO’s The Newsroom (a story that was untrue), I was positively bilious with schadenfreude.
I’ve only watched a few episodes of Sorkin’s The West Wing, but I liked what I saw; it aired during years I didn’t live in the U.S., which fell in the middle of the twenty-year period I didn’t watch TV at all. But who didn’t like The West Wing? Well, I’m sure people with no engagement in politics or human relationships weren’t interested in it, who might be more inclined towards costume-driven supernatural shows, or sitcoms, but even if your tastes ran to something else, nobody could fault its production, its scripts, its performances.