For all of it’s real news stories and perfect 20/20 hindsight reporting and positioning, The Newsroom never manages to be something other than preachy and condescending. However, it is able to use those tools and execute real cheesy schmaltzy scenes perfectly. Is it the type of stuff I want to see or normally enjoy? Nope. On some level it hits all receptors where it becomes kinda fun to watch and just enjoy. It is completely shallow; but execution should count for something. Take “The Genoa Tip” for example, news stories featured include: Troy Davis being executed in Georgia, U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki being killed in a drone strike without trial, and Occupy Wall Street is starting up with NYPD officers arresting protesters on porous grounds. All of which are used to slowly prod Will McAvoy back into doing the thing he was meant to do: read the news. Darn it felt kind of good when that happened. Will McAvoy is Ron Burgundy minus the salon quality hair.
Will being a grumpy dick over being pushed of the September 11th tenth anniversary coverage for the majority of the episode is decent because he is the snarky know-it-all kind of guy. Terese with plenty of logical reasons why he is so perturbed. Even though deep down it just comes down to Will hates not getting his way and his job actually has consequences. If he were such a great know-it-all he should be untouchable. Not so much.
Don gets some heat running into grumpy Will arguing for coverage of the Troy Davis execution, of which he is apparently an expert. That isn’t a terrible leap and Will with his background as a prosecutor provides a good expert counterpoint for the debate. Not that it lasts long as Will just ends it by resigning to the fact that he could cover it and that he might even agree with Don, but he’s off in the corner being mopey. Same goes for the debate over Anwar al-Awlaki’s death from a drone strike. A U.S. citizen turned terrorist killed without a trial. Will doesn't even try to defending it other than asserting that he knew what he got into and that Democrats get to touchy feely for military action. Rember Will is really a Republican. Both debates aren’t all that fun to watch. They felt like Sorkin doing Sorkin debates out of expectations and flow without heart.
Will googling “Will McAvoy Hate” while sitting alone was horrendous. Why would someone who works in television this long do that? I suppose you could use that as some sort of example of Aaron Sorkin reacting to The Newsroom season 1 in some kind of meta commentary. It is such a hollow interstitial scene. Contrast that with the archival footage of Will’s first time at the desk, September 11th, 2001 (of course it was). “I'll be with you all night, I'm not going anywhere. I'll be right here,” is his solemn vow to the audience after hours behind the desk and a short pep talk from Charlie. Jeff Daniels sells the hell out of that line. Daniels performance has been able to transcend past the cheesy bombast of this show. Daniels even makes the best out of Will going off on random Police Officer behind the desk as he drags his feet releasing Neil, who was arrested at an Occupy rally. It’s an annoying bout of rage against the machine but it’s the breaking point the whole episode has spent building up. “Obviously what I'm doing is dealing with the easiest one!” He yells, after rehashing the Davis and Anwar al-Awlaki bit incase you forgot. There’s just real heart to that scene. Heart that was lacking in the mechanical movements leading up to that point.
For someone who has consistently been painted as someone with little regard or disdain for the internet, it became quiet the tool throughout “The Genoa Tip”. The continued breaking of the formerly love (insert geometric shape) of Maggie-Jim-Lisa-Sloan-Don was kicked off by YouTube. The poster was found out through Foursquare and bought off with a tweet. Will googles his own name. And Neal gets out of jail free via Ustream. All types of web 2.0 companies just getting product placements this hour. Mackenzie doesn't even freak out and break a phone.
In the moment as Maggie and Sloan departed through the magical TV version of New York's subway system enroute to a laundromat in Queens, the prospects of the coming scene being good appeared low. Maggie and Sloan, being women in an Aaron Sorkin show, they aren’t exactly the best. The descension into vapid social media culture of people who think they hold sway because they have 300 followers (likely a lot of bots) was both great and terrible. In the end arguing over how to properly phrase a tweet and the leveraging of a simple @ reply to pay off the women who posted Maggie’s lil Sex and the City meltdown was mildly funny and amusing. The poster freaking out over Sloan’s Twitter followers and narcissism is the kind of vapidness this show does well. The situation was absurd and all types of dumb but it kept with the hollow cheesy tradition of the show. The one thing this show does well.
The Bits At The End
Mackenzie is the one setting the fires most of the time. How is it she got so far up the journalism food chain?
The Sagely advice of Maggie: 2 Rings and Voice Mail, they saw it and don’t wana talk. 4 Rings and they just aren’t there. I need to take stock of my life now you guys.
Lots of people in the formerly love (insert geometric shape) of Maggie-Jim-Lisa-Sloan-Don talking about control of narrative
I’m just saying I thought Sarin gas was something made up for The Rock. I was wrong. Ya’ll should go watch The Rock even if you’ve seen it before watch it again.