The West Wing

Does ‘The Newsroom’ Reveal a Grand Unified Sorkinverse™?

For the most part, The Newsroom‘s final season is dying-broadcast-news-business as usual. Will McAvoy continues to be an insufferable blowhard. Olivia Munn continues to be way, way better than the show. And the Internet continues to be the Big, Bad Bogeyman that’s taking journalism to hell in a hand basket. (At one point, Meryl Streep’s daughter says the word “retweets” in a way that is supposed to convey profound shame. It does not work, but not for lack of trying.) But there is one new, potentially earth-shaking development here — one with very important consequences for our understanding of Sorkinland. … Read More

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25 Best Writing Emmy Winners You Can Stream Now

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will air this coming Monday, August 25. The ceremony will celebrate the best of the best in television, including handing out awards for writing. This year, the drama and comedy writing categories are brimming with amazing episodes from Breaking Bad, True Detective, Veep, Orange Is the New Black, and more. The writing categories have a long history of awarding tremendous episodes of television in both genres — and, thanks to the Internet, you can now watch most of them online. Here are 25 of the best winners, with links so you can stream them… Read More

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Allison Janney’s Second Act

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Women Should Be Next on Aaron Sorkin’s Apology List

In a rare moment of humility this week, Aaron Sorkin apologized… sort of. He said a few words to journalists who do the kind of work he portrays on The Newsroom, in an attempt to smooth over any misunderstandings about how he portrays their profession. … Read More

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The Ethics of Loyalty: ‘Game of Thrones” Startlingly Contemporary Moral Compass

The massive popularity of Game of Thrones is something of an outlier in the field of what we might call Quality TV. Much of the 21st-century television renaissance has involved shows that have, in various ways, held up a mirror to what’s going on in post-millennial America: it doesn’t take a genius to draw a line between the subprime mortgage fiasco and TV’s constant narrative theme of a trapdoor opening under an average, middle-class life (Breaking Bad, Weeds, Orange Is the New Black, innumerable zombie shows), while the rise and rise of the antihero seems to parallel a widespread sense of moral ambiguity, a feeling that the world isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. In this context, an epic sword-and-sorcery drama — one that is, let’s be honest, a giant soap opera with lots of death and inventive swearing — seems somewhat out of place. Why is it so popular? You might argue that it’s pure escapism, but I think the answer is more nuanced than that. … Read More

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Should ‘Community’ Stay In Session — Or Is It Time to Graduate?

For the past 12 weeks, in this space, Flavorwire has recapped the abbreviated, delayed, and frequently problematic fourth season of NBC’s Community. As you certainly all know by now, the third year of the often brilliant series concluded with the abrupt sacking of creator/showrunner Dan Harmon, whose distinctive, idiosyncratic sensibility gave the show much of its voice, and whose comic genius was reportedly matched only by his inability to suffer suits gladly. The transition to new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio was certain to be bumpy, and it was. But now that Community‘s senior year has come to a close, it’s worth asking: should the show carry on, or is it time to send the Greendale crew (and the gifted actors who play them) out into the Real World? … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. After facing the ire of many professional musicians, Amanda Palmer has announced that she’ll now pay the volunteer string, brass, and saxophone players who have been joining her on stage with money — not just “beer, hugs, merch, free tickets, and love.” [via ArtsBeat]

2. Best Coast is opening for Green Day… Read More

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Watch a Supercut of Shockingly Similar Aaron Sorkinisms

If, for some reason, you continue watching The Newsroom and you come across a line you’re sure you’ve heard before, don’t assume it’s déjà vu. It’s more likely you really have already encountered it — in some other Aaron Sorkin TV show or movie. This fantastic seven-minute supercut, billed as “a tribute to the work of Aaron Sorkin: the recycled dialogue, recurring phrases, and familiar plot lines,” reveals just how often the renowned writer steals from himself, from catchphrases to dads with secret girlfriends to gay Jesus asides. Hear the cavalcade of “I’m really quite something”s, “I’m not other people”s, and “This isn’t happening”s below. … Read More

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Watch 'The West Wing' Cast Reunite in a Walk and Talk for a Good Cause

Perhaps it’s because we can’t help comparing HBO’s new comedy, Veep, to it, but The West Wing has been on our minds more than usual lately. So we’re pretty excited to see that Funny or Die has reunited the cast — yes, even Martin Sheen — for one more of its signature walk-and-talks. This new clip finds Allison Janney’s C.J. Cregg commandingly marching her quick-quipping staff down the hall to the Oval Office, where President Bartlet is primed to give yet another stirring, historically minded speech. Best of all, this reunion is for a good cause: The West Wing cast is promoting Every Body Walk!, a fitness initiative aimed at getting all Americans to spend half an hour a day walking. (Walk and talk, Every Body Walk! — see what they did there?) Watch the video after the jump. … Read More

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