What I’m about to ask of you all is the impossible. It’s a frustrating, soul-destroying endeavor. It cannot be done. It can’t be done to anyone’s satisfaction, least of all your own. You will wrestle with it. You will torture yourself. You will scratch out names 15 times, and when you’re done, you still won’t be happy. You could spend 10 seconds or 10 days, and you will not complete the list in a manner that pleases you. Every person that you leave off will create a crater-sized ache in your chest. You may see my list, or someone else’s list, and that list will make you angry. Because it’s not the RIGHT list. But there is no right list. It’s an impossible task.
It is this: Rank the 5 Best Aaron Sorkin characters.
That includes ALL of them: “Sports Night,” “West Wing,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” The Social Network, The American President and even A Few Good Men. Get your rankings in now, because in a few weeks, you’ll have to contend with characters from Moneyball. And please, don’t fool yourself into think that because the people of The Social Network or, later, Moneyball are real that they aren’t Sorkin characters. They are, and you can hear it in every line they deliver.
And no cheating. I know you’re going to want to include an honorable mention. Or ten. You might even want to combine characters from one show, reasoning that they worked together so frequently, it only seems natural. But that ruins the point. The point is not to rank the best 10 or the best 20. It’s about ranking the Best 5. Because it can’t be done. Finding a number one? Maybe. I feel comfortable with my number one. Maybe even number two. But I feel seriously at ease about three through five. I’m itching to change them. But I know that, no matter how many times I do, it won’t matter. It still won’t be the right list.
Let’s see you do better.
5. Mark Zuckerberg
4. Toby Ziegler
3. Dan Rydell
2. CJ Cregg
1. President Bartlet