Here at Sharp, we’re fans of Aaron Sorkin. In my office, in fact, I have a framed cocktail napkin with the words “Bartlet for America” scrawled across it in permanent marker. It was a gift from a co-worker (and I’d like to think my having it impressed Mr. Sorkin when I interviewed him a few years back—though who knows with those Hollywood types.) Recently, a couple of editors started watching The West Wing on Netflix and the news was received the same way Mormon Missionaries react after hearing someone is going to be baptized, which is a very specific simile but basically means: we were all very pleased.
Actually, fine, we’re mostly fans of The West Wing, here. But we still look forward to whatever the King of Self-Important Banter has another project on deck. Which is why the news that Sorkin is taking meetings with DC and Marvel, exploring whether either comic book giant has a property for him to tackle, filled us with joy.
What if he made a show all about J. Jonah Jameson’s newsroom. Or, the political/business intrigue surrounding Lex Luthor. Or Prez! He already knows Washington, after all. I mean, the exciting possibilities are endless. Be honest, Matter-Eater Lad’s name already sounds like it was written by the verbose scribe.
Only, then you think for a moment longer. And you read this: “Sorkin says he’s ‘never read a comic book’ and has no particular affinity for any superheroes, but if either Marvel or DC can present him with something that is really interesting, he’d love to ‘want to go back and start reading from the first issue on.’
This is both classic Sorkin thinking (Hey! I can figure it out!) and the root of some of Sorkin’s biggest mistakes. He had never worked on a late night comedy program, and it showed when he made Studio 60. He also has never really understood the appeal of the Internet (as those who are familiar with Josh Lyman’s experiences with chat rooms on The West Wing know), and so, despite it’s other, many strengths The Social Network did kind of miss the whole point of what Facebook is about. So, to have Sorkin looking to make something involving superheroes is kind of a mixed blessing. It’s also, just on it’s face, more than a little condescending. I’ve never read one, but how hard can it be? The answer: just ask Ben Affleck. And he is a comic book fan.
Still, we can’t help but hope that this does amount to something. There are, after all, plenty of unknown superheroes he could basically reinvent, each with their own super-ability to walk, talk, and patronize whatever female superhero happens to be superheroing next to them.