Why can't Aaron Sorkin develop characters fully?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Don Black, Feb 2, 2002.

  1. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    I mean sure the main characters on TWW are pretty well flushed out. But we also have MANY ancillary characters who get like 1-2 episodes of intense screen time and then we barely ever hear from them again. Take, Ainsley Hayes or Connie Britton's character .. or XXX Platt's character or even Charlie. It's really frustrating to see such sudden character abandonment imho.
     
  2. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Don - I agree. West Wing is one of the three shows I watch consistently, and one of my favorites from the past several years. But I've noticed recently, that its greatest flaw is the abrupt shifts in plots and characters.
    First season, we had Danny Kincaid flirting with CJ. Second season, buh-bye.
    The political/election consultants vanished without a trace, after it seeming like they were finally accepted by the staff.
    Ainsley!?!? Must have more of her! [​IMG]
    Zoe and her Secret Service Agent (now on CSI) -- all gone after second season opened.
    And this past episode's end should have consequences (Toby's "talk" with Bartlett); but I doubt they will be pursued.
    Oh well. I still love the show. But I do wish for more character and conceptual continuity at times.
     
  3. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    I guess it's because Sorkin is really the only writer and he doesn't have the necessary checks in place to keep him focused. He just jumps between plot lines whenver he feels like it. Oh well...
     
  4. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    You also have to consider the actors' schedules getting in the way. Especially for someone like Platt. If they aren't specifically contracted for a number of shows, they are free to pursue other jobs.

    Sorkin might have been counting on keeping Platt around awhile, but he got busy and they couldn't get him back. But since that storyline has ended abruptly (and implausibly if you ask me, i.e. no President in an election year is going to accept a censure, regardless if it's the right thing to do or not), I wouldn't look for Platt to return anytime soon.

    I'm more worried about what he isn't able to do with the main cast. It seems they've had a lot of spotlight shows lately to showcase a specific actor, like Leo's alocohol problem, but they either drop the storyline; the President bailing out Leo, or they never go anywhere to begin with; Sam (Rob Lowe) and the state of the union.

    Still a very strong show thanks to CJ, Josh and of course the President.
     
  5. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

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    I don't think Bartlett "bailed out Leo". I think that the president did the right thing. Not only did he admit publically that he had done wrong, he accepted that this would have concequenses, and took them on himself. The fact that he also managed to help out a dear, and trusted friend keep his personal problems out of the mudslinging was even better.

    I too want to see Ainsley come back, and played for more then comic relief. The woman had brains, and Bartlett saw this. She just needed more, er, exposure to the President and his staff.
     
  6. Dave Barth

    Dave Barth Stunt Coordinator

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    The serial elements of this show are substantially weaker than the self-contained elements of individual shows. I was shocked to hear Leo mention his marital woes last week. I didn't think that had come up since midway through the first season. It's still a very good show, but it has obvious room for improvement, too.
     
  7. Sean Cauley

    Sean Cauley Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, DaveF, it would appear that the Toby/Bartlett bit from the end of last week's episode is going to be followed up, and right quickly. Apparently (mild casting spoiler), Adam Arkin will be reprising his psychologist role from the season 2 episode "Noel," this time meeting with the President.

    And I think I heard that Emily Procter ("Ainsley") had signed some sort of deal for a CBS pilot that included her non-participation in other networks' shows for the time being; nothing came of it, so she's supposed to be coming back soon, I think. The same thing happened with Tim Matheson ("Vice-President Hoynes")when he contracted to do Wolf Lake, which has since tanked, and with John Amos ("Admiral Fitzwallace") on The District, which has kept him away from The West Wing since the end of the first season. It's a shame to lose the actors and continuity, but it's a risk you run with using guest stars so often; they might find a more permanent job when they're not working for you!
     
  8. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    >Ainsley!?!? Must have more of her!
    You wanna see more ? Check out the terribly lame "Body Shots". How does black leather and whips sound ? [​IMG]
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Sean - Thanks for the info. I hope they do follow up on that issue. That was such an involved speech on Toby's part, that it shouldn't be dropped. And I look forward to seeing Ainsley again.
    Tom - I don't think my girlfriend would approve [​IMG]
     
  10. Michael St. Clair

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    Some possiblities:

    1) Sorkin's strength is dialog, not long-term character development.

    2) Sorkin would be better off in a show with a more limited cast over the long haul, like 'Sports Night'.

    Man, I miss Sports Night.
     

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