news-night-2.0

10

“He’s getting creamed by guys twice his size, but he doesn’t care because it’s all about the team. And all he wants, he just wants to be on the list to dress for the game. And it’s the last game of his last year of college and he’s not on the list – They walk in, one by one, put their jerseys on the desk and say ‘Coach, I want Rudy to take my place on Saturday.’ And there’s a whole line snaking out of the coaches office of players holding their jerseys.”

Will: Seriously, I know everyone’s name. I was up half the night learning to pronounce Calanasia Zbrezniak.
Don: Cally doesn’t work here anymore.
Will: Dianastasia Jorma?
Don: Nope.
Will: Mohammed al Mohammed el Mohammed bin Bazir?
Don: Went to Fox.
Will: Fox hired someone with three Mohammeds in their name?
Mac: But let’s give them a hand, for effort!
[Round of applause]
—  The Newsroom
Reese: If I hid in a locked vault buried under the AWM building, Will would find me so I could break down the numbers for him because Will McAvoy is the biggest ratings whore in the business, I’m not the bad guy.
Charlie: Nobody’s the bad guy. Though if you call Will a whore again, I’m going to take out your teeth one punch at a time. [Smile]
Reese: Anything else?
Charlie: No, sir.
—  The Newsroom

Sorry, not sorry for The Newsroom spam.

Re-watching this show I remembered thinking about how on the mark it was when I first started watching it last summer. Having watched it again I hope that more people do and realize the important messages this entertainment television show is providing that our actual media isn’t.

“America isn’t the greatest country anymore, but it can be.”

That's not a gun, that's a rifle, and that rifle has a name, and her name is Jen.
  • Ross: Mr. MacAdoodle-
  • Will: McAvoy
  • Ross: I beg your parden?
  • Will: It doesn't matter.
  • Ross: Why don't we just build a damn wall? The Chinese built one and we can se it from space. Are the Chinese better than us?
  • Will: No. Although there's a saying, "Show me a fifteen-foot wall and I'll show you a sixteen-foot ladder."
  • Ross: Why don't we just build a seventeen foot wall? Hell, build it eighteen feet.
  • Will: Yup. But you see their point. Right?
  • Ross: Whose point?
  • Will: The people who build ladders.
News Night 2.0

The problems with The Newsroom, as I see them, having just watched the second episode, News Night 2.0:

  • This is the first time Sorkin’s written a show for pay-cable, and thus there are no commercials. No commercials mean no definable, self-imposed act breaks. This also means that there’s-
  • No cold open. Sorkin’s cold opens usually make or break, and mostly make, his episodes. I feel like we’re cheated without them. A great cold open sets up the next 40 minutes. Here, we don’t get a set up. And we get 50+ minutes.
  • There’s no one with Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels). Yes, he has Mackenzie (Emily Mortimer), but there’s no Dan to his Casey, no Sam to his Josh, no Leo to his Bartlet, no Danny to his Matt. He has no buddy; he has no one to bounce off of. He needs someone to play with, someone to high five across the news desk or thank in a speech or argue with in a hallway. Will McAvoy is a great character played brilliantly by Jeff Daniels, but he has no one to share his scenes with. He needs a friend.
  • Fake newsmen covering real news is SO WEIRD and that it’s set in the past, but not so far back to be historical or interesting, is even WEIRDER. I want the next episode to jump ahead two years and start covering mostly fake news so I can care about the characters and not care about the news.
  • MacKenzie is too bonkers to take seriously except for when she’s supposed to be really serious, in which case, she’s too serious to then be bonkers later. Dana was nutso about relationships and Casey and things, but she was a damn fine executive producer. I don’t see that from MacKenzie yet. She seems more like an adult, seasoned Natalie, only without being seasoned.

And the things that work, as I see them, having just watched the second episode, News Night 2.0:

  • Alex Graves directs this episode, reuniting with Sorkin, and man, the episode shows. It’s good to have someone helming a Sorkin show who cut his teeth on Sorkin shows.
  • I didn’t hate Olivia Munn. In fact, and I can’t believe I’m saying this… I kindof liked her. Granted, she’s playing basically a smarter (economics versus…uh…whatever she did for G4) version of herself, so, that helped.
  • Alison Pill.
  • John Gallagher, Jr.
  • Alison Pill and John Gallagher, Jr. Though the entire relationship is so fucking forced, I still like them arguing, and arguing, and arguing.
  • Sam Waterston as Charlie Skinner. I’ll keep saying it, that guy is winning all the everythings.
  • Jeff Daniels is too good, too angry, too bitter, too smart for not having anyone to bounce off of. Just think how much better he could be if he had that?

We’re two shows in. I’m a S60 apologist, as it was pointed out to me last night, and reviews for The Newsroom continue to be bleak.

But I like it.

It’s cynical, it’s jaded, it’s bitter; it’s Casey McCall from the pilot of Sports Night without the “this is why I love Sports” bit to turn him around, which means it’s pretty much all of the back half of S60 when everyone was bitter about 9/11 and things they shouldn’t have been bitter about. But The Newsroom is also filled with a lot of people who want to do better and be better, and they want to do it right, even if they can’t do it with what they’re given, yet. It’s the romantic, idealized way of viewing the world that Sorkin loves, and for the inexperienced members of the newsroom characters in The Newsroom, and for Charlie Skinner, it works. It’s the mid-level (Don) and leads (Will) who don’t particularly see anything romantic or ideal about their jobs, no mater what Will says. (Yet.) It’s fantastic to watch Jeff Daniel’s blow up as Will. And we get glimpses of why he used to love the news, but, it’s not there. Yet.

I still don’t know what people were expecting, it’s Sorkin through and through. And yeah, maybe that’s not a good thing, always, but you know what? I’d rather watch Jeff Daniels scream and curse and rant and rave for ten minutes every ten minutes than watch [insert shitty television show here].