Friday, February 25, 2011

Sports Night: Revisited - The first in an occasional series

One of the highlights of my dull and dispiriting summer of 2001 was falling for Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night. I can't remember if I watched the show during its initial two-season run on ABC in 1998-2000, but it didn't make an impression on me until I began watching the endless midday repeats on Comedy Central during those barren weeks spent at home from college.

I feel like the show is often dismissed these days when it's thought of at all. It's either overshadowed by Sorkin's far more successful (and superior) follow-up The West Wing, or pointed to as the first warning sign of the faults and excesses his detractors would come to loathe. So since I've been meaning to try my hand at television criticism for some time, I figured I would revisit one of my old favorites with a more critical eye.

I'll be working through the 45-episode series in blocks of three or four episodes at a time, grouping them by story arcs as much as possible, but primarily focusing on a couple of overarching themes. I'm not going to spend a lot of time recapping plots or identifying major characters except when necessary, but I'll try to make the discussions accessible to anyone with at least a surface knowledge of the show.

Finally, a style note: In order to distinguish between the show we're watching from the eponymous show-within-the-show the characters are producing, I'll refer to the former in the traditional mode of italics, Sports Night, and the latter in plain text, Sports Night.

With that in mind, off we go. One fan's reappraisal of Sports Night, ten years later, beginning at the beginning:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Belated reflection on a scene from Cairo

I've always been a sucker for a good team-up. I have this innate aversion to the human tendency to divide and categorize ourselves, like among like; the flip side of that is a soft spot for seeing those divisions transcended. Whether in real life (e.g., the "Christmas Truce" in the early months of World War I) or in fiction (like the countless iterations of the X-Men joining forces with Magneto's brotherhood), a story of rivals making common cause, however fleetingly, always strikes a chord with me. The power of these moments lies the paradox: noble unity made possible because ignoble divisions exist in the first place.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Flashback: An Elegy for Mitt

Reprinted here, a limerick I composed in tribute to Mitt Romney and his thwarted 2008 presidential bid, originally posted as a blog comment on The New Republic's website Feb. 7, 2008. Why? Beats the hell out of me. Inspiration takes odd forms sometimes.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Modest Proposal for Climate Deniers

As the great blizzard of 2011 descends upon the United States, the only rhetorical device being deployed more frequently and more annoyingly than snow-based portmanteaus (or neoSNOWgisms, if you prefer, because God damn it I can't help it either) is right-wing idiocy about how the existence of cold weather disproves all climate science. Never mind that this claim has been dismissed time and fucking again, or that the elevated intensity of snowstorms is actually evidence OF climate change. We all know that science and logic just bounce off deniers like ninja stars made of Nerf.

Instead of trying to rehash these tedious arguments over again, I suggest we instead propose a deal to any climate denier willing to put his money where his noxious mouth is: