Do writers keep telling the same story until they get it right? In the past week, I’ve watched Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love and Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom (pilot episode available for free streaming on HBO.com), and I met author Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections, Freedom, Farther Away). Throw in the trailers for Judd Apatow’s new film, This is 40, billed as the “unofficial sequel to Knocked Up,” and Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, his sixth (?) film set in Brooklyn, in which he even reprises his role of Mookie from Do The Right Thing in 1989, and you’ve got some really interesting case studies for this theory.
In all of the examples above, I see so many common themes, characters and situations in these artists’ work that it’s difficult to deny that they may be just chipping away at the same block of stone, one iterationat a time. Maybe that’s okay, and they just get better at it, or maybe it’s a sign of creative stagnation? I think it depends on the subject and the work, but it’s definitely a topic worth discussing.
However, I’ve also just watched an advance screener of the first five episodes of season three of Louie (the TV series on the FX network that returns tonight at 10:30 pm in the U.S.) and it throws a wrench into this theory. Louis C.K. just may be the exception to the rule. Well, almost. read more