I Heart Sports Night


If you were to ask me my favorite all time movie, I would be hard pressed to narrow it down to just one — so many genres and time periods! Seriously. How could one really compare Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to All About Eve, or Die Hard to His Girl Friday? If you were to ask me my favorite book, again, almost an impossible decision. How could I choose between the beautifully lyrical writing of James Baldwin, the razor sharp skills of Gustave Flaubert, and the laugh-’til-you-cry poignant narratives of David Sedaris?

But ask me my all time favorite television show, and you’ll get no hesitation at all — Sports Night. Here’s a little background info from Wikipedia:

Sports Night is an American television series about a fictional sports news show (also called Sports Night) and the people who work there. It focuses on the friendships, pitfalls, and ethical issues they face while trying to produce a good show under constant network pressure. Created by Aaron Sorkin, the half-hour prime time comedy-drama[1] aired on ABC for two seasons, from 1998 to 2000. The show stars Robert Guillaume as managing editor Isaac Jaffe, Felicity Huffman as executive producer Dana Whitaker, Peter Krause as anchor Casey McCall, Josh Charles as anchor Dan Rydell, Sabrina Lloyd as senior associate producer Natalie Hurley, and Joshua Malina as associate producer Jeremy Goodwin. Regular guest stars included William H. Macy as ratings expert Sam Donovan and Brenda Strong as Sally Sasser, the producer of West Coast Update (another show on the same network as Sports Night) and rival of Dan

Now there would be a total fight for my second favorite television show of all time (including but not limited to Gilmore Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The West Wing, and Little House on the Prairie — interesting, mix, I know) but back to my FAVORITE…

Sports Night rocks so hardcore in my world that creator/writer Aaron Sorkin made it to my list of ‘Men I Would Leave My Husband For’ (No, not really, it’s just one of those fantasy lists women make!) I am not one of those people who typically re-read or re-watch things over and over. I love lots of movies, but don’t necessarily feel the need to watch them again (unlike my husband whose DVD collection rivals a network or studio library — and yes, he actually watches the movies he owns MULTIPLE times!). I love certain books, but there are so many books to read, that I don’t really take the time to re-read favorites without a specific reason.

But Sports Night — I could watch every episode a hundred times and still not be sick of it. Greg and I are now in the middle of our third Sports Night marathon, where we watch about four or five episodes in a row each night until we run through the entire series.

I’ve tried to figure out why I like the show so much. Is it the fast-paced, witty dialogue? The smart humor? The brilliant cast? The great direction of Tommy Schlamme? (That name always cracks me up!) I guess it’s how all those things work together. But mostly I watch, and I am transported to a world I seriously want to live in. While watching the other night, I whined to my husband, “I want to work at Sports Night!” (as in the fictional show that the fictional characters work at)

I know pretty much nothing about sports, but watching these characters makes me so envious. They have a cool television job complete with its own lingo and coworkers who are smart and funny and totally lovable. I want to BE Dana. Well, actually, I have this fantasy where my friend Lisa is Dana (because she’s much more a Dana than I am) and I am Natalie and we get to work together in this very cool place where we can be smart and creative and hang out together every day.

The show just puts me in a good mood. Sorkin’s style of dialogue is infectious and Greg and I quote lines to each other all the time. Did I say how the show puts me in a good mood? No kidding.

I am sad the series only lasted two seasons, but Aaron Sorkin went on to create and write The West Wing at the same time this show was on. He was pretty much carrying two shows at once, and something had to give. Sadly, Sports Night was what gave as it didn’t really have great ratings (I DON’T KNOW WHY!), so The West Wing won out. I still think Sports Night is his best work, and Sorkin must think so too because you will find recycled plot lines from Sports Night show up later in The West Wing, and his subsequent series, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (also a show about a show).

I have followed the careers of Sorkin as well as the lead actors from the show, Peter Krause and Felicity Huffman, who will always be “Casey” and “Dana” to me! I am glad I have the DVDs to watch whenever I need a boost or some inspiration. In the meantime, I’m looking for a workplace like Sports Night to send my resume.

Categories : journeys in life


  1. Irene says:

    Send it to Alan Sorkin! Mom

  2. Irene says:

    Sorry … AARON Sorkin!