We need to talk about The Newsroom
And I’m going to try and do without one reference to a previous Aaron Sorkin project (and that will be difficult, I must say.)
*Setting – We know how it ends. Two-year-old news isn’t very interesting. (It’s also cheating because Sorkin gets to make the right call everytime…because he knows Gabby Giffords didn’t die.)
*Will McAvoy – The lecturing has got to stop. I can’t take it anymore, especially prefaced by his “mission to civilize.” If that means provoking every person who meets you to throw a drink at your face, you are the bad guy, you aren’t winning. You will die alone. From the gun scene in his living room (where he made his point about women and guns by pointing a gun at a woman) to his outrage over tabloid journalism to his disbelief that anyone would be interested in reality tv…all of it was a little lecture from Sorkin telling us how bad we are. That’s not how you civilize, that’s how you piss people off and lose the argument.
*The Women – I’m putting them all in one category, because they all annoy me. (Women are so wacky and silly, aren’t they?) There are three women who are interchangeable and their job seems to be reacting to the men or giving a dumb idea that the men can dismiss with casual disregard and sometimes cruelty. There’s an economist (Sloan) who has so far shown herself to be good at grammar (no word yet on her math skills.) The producer (Mackenzie) seems pretty smart but sometimes she’s ditzy and clumsy and overwhelmed. But I reserve most of my hate for the woman (Maggie) who started the show as a secretary. But then, that very night, she made a good decision and was promoted to associate producer and now six months later, she always has the right answer. Except that she’s a total wreck who can’t acknowledge the bad relationship she’s in or the crush she has on her co-worker. The spat in the producer’s room during the Bigfoot presentation was, for me, that character hitting bottom. I don’t think I can ever like her. No grown ass woman in a workplace would behave like a 6th grader, and it was especially awful because Jim had the maturity to chastise her privately even though she instigated it publicly.
*The Themes – Stop with the Don Quixote. That guy was a wackjob and there’s nothing glorious about trying to be like him. Plus it’s the height of hubris to think that only you have the smarts and wherewithal to create a different America one broadcast at a time. (And I have it on good authority that hubris never ends well for humankind.) Stop with the Coldplay swelling up over news footage. It didn’t mean anything, so it just felt like a transparent attempt to make a news team doing their job seem like firefighters marching into the 1st tower.
I don’t want to end this on a negative note, so I will mention that I thought Jane Fonda (in Episode 3) was awesome. And the 10pm producer, Don, is very realistic, like many producers I know…competitive, smart with a lot of smart-ass, sometimes a jerk, but mostly decent.