Have you been watching Newsroom? Aaron Sorkin‘s HBO series about a cable newsroom that decides to embrace journalistic integrity in the wake of the BP oil spill is a fun anthropological look behind the scenes of a CNN-esque office. But to say it’s dialog heavy would be an understatement. To keep our attention, Sorkin uses what I call – and what he made famous – The West Wing Effect. The West Wing Effect is a long, Steadicam tracking shot that follows two characters down halls, around corners and through offices as they deliver their lines. The walk-and-talk/West Wing Effect dynamic distracts us from what would otherwise be long, expository dialogue. Don’t get me wrong, I love the West Wing Effect in Newsroom but there’s only so much a shot can cover up. With long, expository lines that feel as though they have no narrative significance, sometimes you just have to cut. it. out.
I have a high tolerance for dialog-driven content (duh, I’m a woman) but I’m falling asleep by 10:35. I know Sorkin isn’t going to take my note for shorting dialog so I have an alternative solution: These two IKEA chases pushed together mean I can take my Newsroom naps in the most bed-like setting possible without actually being in bed (because that would be depressing). Just wake me up when the five minute tracking shot is over.