New York Times writer Bill Carter two days ago on “The West Wing”:
Mr. Sorkin had gained a reputation as an idiosyncratic creative mind whose writing–full of intricate, dense dialogue spoken by unusually intelligent and passionate characters–was unique to television.
And, Wall Street Journal critic Dorothy Rabinowitz today, comparing Rob Lowe’s new series “The Lion’s Den” to his old one, the selfsame “West Wing”:
Mr. Lowe should be feeling quite at home with…the familiar beat of sniffy one-liners being batted out among members of the law firm’s staff–all much like the verbal potshots pinging and ponging and generally passing as human speech in “The West Wing.”
Are these critics watching the same show? Under close reading, actually, their characterizations of the show’s dialogue aren’t all that far apart–it’s just that Carter appears to think that unrealistic dialogue is some kind of achievement.