I credit his work with getting me through the dark days of the Bush administration. An over-exaggeration? Not really. It's been five years since the last Aaron Sorkin TV series ended, and that's a very long time for an idealist like me to wait for world order to be restored. Sure, there were movies and an Oscar win in between for him, but I really need more of a weekly dose on television to successfully navigate the too-often troubling and murky waters of the current world we live in.
Admittedly, I came a little bit late to the game and began my love affair when West Wing began, mostly because Sports Night, well, had the word "sports" in it, so I didn't see it until long after its run had ended. Be that as it may, I fell hard and fast for the common thread of welcomed wordy intellect, heart, and humor that permeate all of Mr. Sorkin's work. And when the threat of pending doom, be it from catastrophic global warming, incessant greed, or just plain stupidity threaten to send me running for cover, I pull out just about any episode of any show that Mr. Sorkin has written and assure myself that there's at least one other person who "gets it" and not only feels the way I do, but gives beautiful voice to those feelings.
It's not that the characters who inhabit these bustling alternate universes are perfect. Far from it. They are flawed in the most human of ways. But they are also brave and courageous in ways I would like to believe we all can be. They have backbone, as few do, when push comes to shove, and integrity always wins out. Who doesn't want to live in a world like that?
So yes, I still want to be able to envision a world where people embody the best of noble attributes. And sadly, that world exists only on TV.
And so I sat down to watch The Newsroom, full of hopeful anticipation that this fictitious show about cable news would somehow artfully articulate the eight kinds of crazy we all witness everyday on the real cable news networks. And my hope was fulfilled -- beyond my wildest expectations.
In "We Just Decided To," the first episode of The Newsroom, everything that frustrates, enrages, and/or depresses me about the current climate we live in was addressed when the lead character, newsman Will McAvoy, brilliantly portrayed by Jeff Daniels, responds honestly to a college co-ed's question about why America is the greatest country in the world.
"We sure used to be," his character says, before winning my undying love with gems like "We waged wars on poverty, not poor people," and "We aspired to intelligence. We didn't belittle it." (That was the point at which the little choir in my head began singing "Hallelujah!")
So, Mr. Sorkin, if you're reading this, thank you for finding such a wonderfully entertaining and inspiring way of suggesting that we can be that better version of ourselves, the one that affects positive change because "We Just Decided To." That's really what it comes down to, isn't it?