Monday, July 9, 2012

The Newsroom: Six Months in One Hour?

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I'm not one of those people who can watch/listen to something and guess who the writer is. I can't tell episode-to-episode on shows, and I certainly can't tell one series from another or one feature film to another. Some people can. Jonathan, for example, is fabulous at it. Well, I finally felt a twinge of what it must be like for people like that - this episode just screamed "written by Aaron Sorkin" to me. Well, you may have noticed that the internet is full of articles comparing The Newsroom to other Aaron Sorkin series and movies, and though I've noticed some similarities myself, I was amused at myself for noticing some Sorkinian/Sorkinesque writing in this episode. Of course, I realize that this episode was actually co-written by Sorkin, but that's good enough for me. Now, I also need to say that this episode confused me quite a bit... why are we covering six months in this episode? I liked going week-by-week. Plus, if it's already November 2010, we're going to catch up to present-day way too quickly... unless they want to do a ton of flashbacks or something! What do you make of this strategy?

The Newsroom "The 112th Congress" (S01E03): First off, know that the episode starts off on November 3rd, 2010 with Charlie in a room with the network President and his mother (who really runs things). It then flashes back to May 4th, 2010, with Will making an on-air apology for some of the things that he has done for ratings and to gain favor, over promoting quality and integrity in journalism. [interesting. and odd.] He recommits himself to the goal of forming "a well-informed electorate" in the midst of the mindset that "news is only useful in the context of humanity." [hmmm.. I'm not 100% sure what to make of this. just sounds kinda strange to me.] You also need to keep in mind that this speech wasn't approved by Mack. She had planned for Will to open with three minutes and twenty seconds about the Times Square Bomb - noting the fact that both the bomber and the guy who alerted people to the smoking bomb were Muslim, something that the other outlets are ignoring. [wow... Maggie can be WEIRD.] We then see a bunch of parts of the broadcast sthat took place as the various primaries took place. [kinda cool, but altogether too quick.] We hear from Rep. Bryce Delaney, who lost a long career in Congress because of a response regarding Obama and socialism and the fact that he co-sponsored a bill with a Democrat to help veterans. [why was this particularly included?] We hear about the Koch Brothers and how they give money to the Tea Party. We see Election Night (November 2nd), hear a Gypsy reference, and witness an intense conversation regarding the debt ceiling. Back to the actual meeting, it seems that there are concerns with the ratings, the lack of human interest stories, and how the news is too much "for the left." [...really?] If Will doesn't tone it down, he could get fired - even though he's the second-most watched cable anchor. [yeah... I don't believe that would stick... and what was the deal with the Rocky Balboa story? the opponent really didn't know Rocky Balboa was left-handed? I should watch those movies...]

Of course, there was also some workplace drama... Will keeps having his dates meet him at the studio (all sorts of girls, though the most notable was Danielle, a NY Jets cheerleader), driving Mack crazy. [I had a good laugh at "you have ink on your face." "I work with pens!"]
Plus, it's revealed that Maggie takes Xanax and freaks out when her pills are taken by her roommate's friends. Jim figures it out and helps her to calm down. [" I wish your face would stop moving so I could punch it." ha!] Jim is totally falling for Maggie, though she's dating someone else. Eventually, we see that Mack has been with a guy for a few months, too. ["I'm not going to sweep in like she's a rent-controlled apartment" was funny.]
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