Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sports Night . . .

Thanks to Adam for the reminder, as Sports Night is being reissued again. (

I could go on and on for a while about this show, and it's relations to Aaron Sorkin's other work, and it's failings, and it would probably be a rehash of a number of conversations I have had with Jason, but I'll just enumerate a few random thoughts. (If you want a synopsis, wiki it.)

* The show had one of the worst soundtracks and one of the most painful laugh tracks of any TV show that I have ever watched. The laugh track has been discussed to death over the years, since the network essentially forced it on Sorkin, but it remains quite jarring to hear it after not watching the show in a long time. The soundtrack though, by "Snuffy" Smith or whatever his name is, is one of the worst uses of the electric guitar in the history of recorded sound. It's quite bad. And yet he's done the soundtrack for West Wing (grand but tasteful) and Friday Night Lights (I know they use Explosions in the Sky for much of their music, but points to him for his contributions not being distractingly, stylistic different from EITS's work). The mark of good art is "Show Don't Tell" and in this case his music was the Anti-Wire (yes, I just compared a TV soundtrack to a TV show). Instead of letting viewers have an opinion, they were beaten over the head about what to feel.

* I really like the second half of the second season and I think this is a divisive point. To not give away too much, most of the characters in the show settled into a very comfy stasis pretty early on in the show, and only really when Sorkin ditched the show to start working on West Wing did the characters start becoming untethered. And although things sort of rehardened back to normal toward the very end, I still think this bit of spice made this part of the series the most enjoyable.

* Things that seemed fresh in Sports Night lose a bit each time around. It's fun to imagine how much the reshuffling of art would have an effect on it's commercial failure or success (I could and perhaps will rant about what would/could have happened had Trent Reznor just put out something like The Slip or With Teeth in 1998 or so). What if Studio 60 had come first, would it have made it longer, would Sports Night then seem like a retreat? I don't think Studio 60 was a bad show, but certain things that were done in Sports Night and West Wing were recycled or mutated or shoehorned into Studio 60, and they tend to lose the emotional impact the umpteenth time around.

1 comment:

Jason Heat said...

Truly some of the worst music on television.