Aaron Sorkin's Crack About Television

"Studio 60" writer Aaron Sorkin's slip of the tongue incited mad blogging by critics. (By Reed Saxon -- Associated Press)

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By Lisa de Moraes
Saturday, July 22, 2006

PASADENA, Calif., July 21 "Television is a terribly influential part of this country, and when things that are very mean-spirited and voyeuristic go on TV, I think it's bad crack in the schoolyard," Aaron Sorkin told a couple hundred thunderstruck critics at Summer TV Press Tour 2006 at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington.

[Dramatic pause.]

"Why did I use that word? -- everything was fine!" the much-ballyhooed writer asked rhetorically while critics in the section of the ballroom known as Power-Strip Village began madly throwing the quote up on their blogs.

Sorkin, you'll recall, was allowed to enter a drug-treatment program in lieu of serving time after his arrest in 2001 at the Burbank airport for possession of cocaine and hallucinogenic mushrooms -- aka Hollywood snacks.

Speaking of crack, Sorkin's comment acted like a drug on the critics, who were stumbling toward the end of their second week on the tour -- a sort of Bataan Death March With Scrambled Eggs.

Which is why Sorkin was just wasting his breath when, a few minutes later, he offered every critic in the room a hundred bucks if they would not use the quote in coverage of the Q&A session to promote his new NBC series, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." The show is a wicked send-up of an "SNL"-esque late-night series on a network that smells a lot like NBC.

Critics' high did not end there: One astute reporter asked Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford, who play Aaron Sorkin and his longtime professional partner, Tommy Schlamme, on "Studio 60," to comment on the fact that their characters bear more than passing resemblance to Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Schlamme.

"It's like bad Vicodin in a schoolyard," Perry responded.

Manic blogging.

Perry, you'll remember, also entered rehab in 2001 for what his reps then called "early stages of chemical dependency," or an addiction to Vicodin after wisdom-tooth problems and injuries from a watercraft accident.

And you thought creativity was dead in Hollywood.

"Great -- thanks! I'll follow that. I've never wished I had had a drug problem," Whitford cracked.


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