‘The Newsroom’: Sorkin borrows a bit from… Sorkin

by | June 25, 2012 at 9:20 PM | TV News

Aaron Sorkin (Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images)


LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) – If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Aaron Sorkin sent a big ol’ mash note to himself with Sunday’s premiere of “The Newsroom.”

Vulture pinpoints 14 moments from the pilot of HBO’s new series that sound eerily similar to previous Sorkin projects such as “The West Wing,” “Sports Night” and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” – and if it sounds like there’s an echo in here, don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong with your hearing, it’s just Sorkin being Sorkin – while virtually quoting Sorkin.

The similarities start at the top of the pilot, as Jeff Daniels’ Will McAvoy attends a political panel and talk turns to the National Endowment for the Arts.

“I am not happy to pay for a painting I don’t want to look at, poetry I don’t want to read,” the conservative panelist huffs.

Sound familiar? It might, Vulture points out, if you had seen the “West Wing” episode “He Shall From Time to Time,” in which a Republican congressman asserts, “I don’t know what to say to people who argue that the N.E.A. is there to support art that nobody wants to pay for in the first place.”

Vulture also points out that, in “The Newsroom,” McAvoy grouses that the U.S. has the highest number of adults “who believe that angels are real,” whereas on “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” the Matt Albie character gripes that “68 percent of Americans believe in angels.”

Even the concept of ichthyophobia resurfaces in Sorkin’s latest venture, as it’s revealed that the Mackenzie MacHale character (played by Emily Mortimer) has a fear of jellyfish, while “Sports Night”‘s Dana Whitaker (portrayed by Felicity Huffman) suffers from a phobia of fish in general.

Maybe Sorkin figures that, if you’re going to borrow, you might as well borrow from the best?