Oh, Sports Night. It’s been more than a decade since you went off the air — May 16, 2000 — and I still miss you. So let me take today, as I do every year, to get sentimental over how you were the best little show people didn’t watch.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about your greatness, and it won’t be the last. You just were too awesome, and did too many wonderful things, for me to ever feel like I’ve gotten it all down. I know for a fact that if you hadn’t popped up on ABC, I would be an Assistant District Attorney right now, instead of writing this column. Not that there’s anything wrong with prosecuting bad guys, but hearing Aaron Sorkin‘s brilliant writing for the first time was the exact moment I gave up the law for the TV set.
I can say that Josh Charles as Dan Rydell was my first celebrity crush. I had a soft spot for Peter Krause as Casey, too; I finally met him in 2008, and it’s going to stand as one of the best moments of my entire life. As will the time I met Joshua Malina. And when I met Brenda Strong. Really, everyone on this show was, and still is, special to me…down to the guys and gals that worked in the control room (that’s Ron Ostrow as Will, Jeff Mooring as Dave, Tim Davis-Reed as Chris, Greg Baker as Elliot and Kayla Blake as Kim, and yes, I wrote that from memory).
There are so many little memories I can trace back to you, too. I owe you for introducing me to the works of David Mamet. For giving me my first look at future White Collar star Tim DeKay (in the episode “Cliff Gardner”). For turning NFL Draft Day into a holiday for me. For the “Casey” bracelet that my best friend gave me as a graduation present. And for the fact that he still, eleven years later, will randomly call me up to ask if I remember where Helsinki is…
I could go on. But I’ve got a date with your DVD set.
Instead, I’ll give a shout-out to my colleague Ivey West, who wrote a pair of great pieces about Sports Night himself, which you can find here and here. And I’ll open the floor to my fellow TV lovers: what are your fondest Sports Night memories? Favorite characters? Favorite quotes? Let’s share them all one more time.
Happy Sports Night Day, everyone!