Creator: Aaron Sorkin

Roxy Sorkin, your father just won the Academy Award. I'm going to have to insist on some respect from your guinea pig.

Aaron Benjamin Sorkin (born 1961) is an American screenwriter, producer and playwright. He's the man behind Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Sports Night, The Newsroom and The West Wing. His scripts have many distinctive traits, including a dialogue style known for timing and finesse that has garnered the moniker "Sorkinese". His shows are also notorious for characters walking down hallways while expositing at high speed.

Also has a habit of projecting his personal life into his shows — duly lampooned on Saturday Night Live (a sketch in which The West Wing's characters reenact Sorkin's marijuana hallucinations).

Sorkin also wrote several plays, such as A Few Good Men and screenplays such as the film adaptation of A Few Good Men, The American President, Charlie Wilson's War, The Social Network, for which he won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Moneyball.

He has several projects upcoming, including a Steve Jobs biopic and a film based on the scandals of the John Edwards presidential campaign. The HBO TV series The Newsroom, starring Jeff Daniels premiered in 2012 and ended with a shortened final season in December 2014.

He had a well known on/off relationship with Kristin Chenoweth for several years.

Trope Namer for:


Tropes associated with Aaron Sorkin

  • As Himself: In Entourage and 30 Rock.
  • Author Avatar: A tool for Writer on Board.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Dana in Sports Night and Harriet in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
  • Character Filibuster/Motor Mouth: Some of his characters have more poetry memorized than anyone in the world (besides English majors) and love quoting it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His works are set in a World of Snark where rapid-fire Snark-to-Snark Combat is the name of the game.
  • Dear Negative Reader
  • Expy: He loves to iterate his characters from one work to another. The president and staff from The American President are pretty blatant precursors to parallel characters in The West Wing.
  • Fox News Liberal
  • Kirk Summation / Break Them by Talking / "The Reason You Suck" Speech: It's almost ripe for parody how many Sorkin storylines end up with someone smacking down someone else (and their point of view) with a climactic rapid-fire Character Filibuster. Most apparent in his political shows.
  • Rousseau Was Right
  • Self-Deprecation: In his appearance on 30 Rock which, given his famously thin-skinned reputation, is nothing short of astonishing.
  • Signature Style: Machine gun fast dialogue. Comedic repetition. Casual ShoutOuts by the metric ton. Tall, smart, sexy, sassy women who give as good as they get. Characters who veer oh-so-close to cynicism, only to come back to hope and idealism. Extremely liberal world view (at least by US standards). He includes common criticisms of his writing style in his short play Hidden in this Picture; a film director tells his Sorkin-proxy screenwriter the following
    "I think your work has a tendency to be long-winded and cynical, I think you have trouble handling exposition, you take forever to introduce the inciting action, and all your female characters talk and act as if they've just stepped off The Love Boat."
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: An Idealist through and through and goddamn proud of it.
  • Speech-Centric Work
  • Strawman Political: Any and all conservative characters will be so bad at arguing their points it's a wonder they can tie their shoes. Unless they're an MSNBC Conservative who joins in taking shots at the more "extreme" ones....
    • Especially hilarious, considering Sorkin's constant denial that his material ever has a political agenda....
    • While Sorkin does give some conservative positions a fair hearing (if only to better rebut them), he doesn't even bother when discussing gun control, invariably making gun rights activists inarticulate fools. One West Wing episode is devoted entirely to Leo and Josh convincing five Congressmen to change their votes on a gun control bill - and none of them even tries to defend their position, opposing the bill solely to further their personal agendas.
    • He's also been accused of doing this with leftists (as opposed to liberals) - basically, anyone to the left of him gets the same treatment. He's particularly bad about portraying opponents of free trade.
    • For one specific example of the above, one episode of the The West Wing features an ultra-liberal Senator who chews Toby out for the President alienating his base,note  and he's portrayed as a Jerkass despite making a perfectly reasonable point.
  • Take That: Has been notorious for including references to people he didn't like in his works. Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip was when it reached its peak as almost every episode contained a cheap shot at someone Sorkin had dealt with. He has since improved a lot though.
    • Or the more egregious example of him devoting an entire subplot of The West Wing to insulting an Internet forum critical of the show.
  • Writer on Board