Like a lot of people over the past week, I tuned in to watch the first episode of Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO series The Newsroom. Unlike a lot of people, I actually enjoyed it. A lot. There have been a ton of negative reactions to the show thus far, and while I hear the next few episodes get significantly more preachy, I can’t help but wonder if the recently circulated supercut of re-used Sorkinisms also had something to do with it. It seems that everyone is ganging up on Aaron Sorkin for doing what Aaron Sorkin does best. But if you like Aaron Sorkin’s previous work, is there really anything wrong with that?
Granted, I never watched The West Wing, so maybe I will eventually grow tired of his rapid-fire dialogue, but this topic has come up on the Film Junk Podcast quite a bit lately, both with regards to Wes Anderson’s filmography and also certain composers who re-use pieces of their own scores in other films. In the age of the mash-up where people steal bits and pieces of everything and call it original, you’d think that this would be a little more acceptable. Obviously I still think writers, directors and musicians should push themselves to evolve and try new things, but are we all being a little too harsh on artists who keep on doing what made them popular in the first place? What do you think? Is it okay for an artist to re-use his own work and pass it off as a new creation? Why are certain artists held to higher standards than others? Why does everyone hate The Newsroom so much? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.