November 17th, 2005 | brainjuice
The other day, some sides from the script of Aaron Sorkin’s new pilot, STUDIO 7, fell into my hands: his new behind-the-scenes series, this one about a “Saturday Night Live”-style comedy show. Sorkin really has the knives out for “Saturday Night Live.” Heavily influenced by NETWORK (which characters acknowledge in the script, often a sign of the writer not being quite comfortable with his lift/homage and ethically covering his arse), it puts a WING-scale cast into a tangle of personal history.
Amusingly, one of them is a director who can’t work because of a drugs infraction that prevents him from getting insured, explained in such detail that it clearly comes from Sorkin’s own well-publicised adventures in drugsucking. There’s a few little quirks: one of the show’s cast is a committed Christian, kind of the “Ainsley” role, a figure of tolerance whose faith nonetheless causes her professional and relationship problems. (Apparently inspired by a Christian SNL comic.)
The whole thing comes wrapped, of course, in that wonderful dialogue. Sorkin has a few phrases he loves the sound of, that I suspect come from his family or friends: “I hate his breathing guts” is a phrase that’s turned up in WING (with a “your” in there), that always leaps out at me because I’ve never heard anyone else say it. Every writer has a few of those. It’s a nice little signature on the work, to be honest; it says there’s a single voice on the work, not a committee. (Of course, another writer friend suggests that it’s a bemushroomed Sorkin’s drug-enhanced attempt to follow a network note to the effect that “fucking” is still a no-no word.)
Doubtless Tommy Schlamme will come in and make it all strut and spin — some of the visual gags seem written for him and his timing. The casting will be interesting. The lead spends most of the sides I’ve read half-blind and out of his brain on Vicodin…