Monday, July 16, 2012

The Newsroom: Everybody Lies

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I've been commenting to my husband (this is one show that we actually watch together) that I enjoy the opening theme song. But, now that I've heard it four or five times, I've come to the conclusion that it's a bit long for an intro. Of course, that's really quite the nitpick when it comes to this program... who has their first holiday episode feature New Year's Eve? Seriously... is there any precedence for this? I found it to be weird. I also thought it strange just how much lying took place in this sixty-minute episode. Jim lies to Maggie, Maggie lies to Don, Charlie stops lying to Will, and all of the other major news stations lie to the public. Yeah... not the best idea for a news outlet to do something like that. Not that you can't cover-up a mistaken death, but it was probably a great example to include so early in the series... it almost even justifies the craziness it's been doing with speeding through time.

The Newsroom "I'll Try to Fix You" (S01E04): It's New Year's Eve and the gang is at the office. Sloan advises Will to talk to a girl, but it turns out that she's a gossip columnist, so Mack tries to whisk him away from potential trouble. [I love a gold dress on NYE as much as the next person, but I don't like the fit of hers. at all.] He doesn't understand what a "take-down piece" is, and when midnight hits, he won't kiss the woman because she sets out to be mean to people. [I guess we're supposed to respect him in this moment? Also, Sloan being alone was strange.] That's only the tip of the iceberg, though. The next morning, there's an article in the New York Post that suggests Will groped the TMI writer, when all he really did was block her kiss.
Charlie suggests that Will dates the wrong women, so he has Sloan set him up... with a woman who carries pot and a gun in her handbag. [you have GOT to be kidding me!] Sloan then admits that the girl is kinda crazy. [why set them up if she's crazy?? and TWO PhDs?? ugh.] Will goes on a date with another woman, but she's too into reality television for him. This date ends with a drink to the face, and it makes it to the New York Post once again. Charlie wants to put out a statement but Will is more concerned that Sloan believes her friend may shoot Will out of jealousy. [WHY would you be friends with this woman?? nice shout-out for Annie Get your Gun and Oklahoma!] Before you know it, Will is on the cover of TMI magazine, and Charlie realizes that all of this is stemming from the owner of both the magazine and the station - she's out to get Will. [I thought something funny was going on...] Charlie has to come clean about the meeting he had just after Election Day, and that sacrificing ratings for integrity might land them in trouble. Mack questions the three-year non-compete clause in Will's contract and learns that it was added when he negotiated to be able to fire Mack at the end of each week. [...that sucks. he lost millions AND now has to deal with that clause?!?]

In a non-Will storyline, Maggie helps Jim finish some work on New Year's Eve - mainly picking out stories that didn't get enough attention throughout the year. [that red dress fits Maggie funny. I guess because it's Lisa's, her roommate. They are NOT the same size.] He almost hits on her but Don shows up, with Maggie's roommate, Lisa, set-up for Jim. Maggie tries to signal to Lisa that Jim is kinda off-limits, but that doesn't work in the end, and they spend the magical moment of the New Year on the terrace, overlooking Times Square. [time-out. if you've never been to Times Square on New Year's Eve, you really should go. It's not the most comfortable 6-7 hours you'll ever spend, but it's an unforgettable memory and my favorite New Year's ever, beating Paris, London, the millenium parties, and every other NYE I can remember. combined.] Well, soon enough Lisa and Jim are seeing one another, though Jim lies to Maggie about it being more than a one-time thing. Don, being the underhanded meanie, makes sure that Maggie realizes Jim and Lisa are in bed together. [hate him. hate.]

Now, onto what takes place in the actual Newsroom this episode... They want to give five minutes each night to cover some stories more in-depth. Neal has been angling for some Bigfoot coverage, and Will actually gives him a chance to present. [why? also, I didn't laugh at the mass water-toss at Will... just me?] Other possibilities include the Greek debt crisis, the underfunding of the Department of Justice, the Chilean miners, and Brittany from The Real Housewives of New Jersey having a ten-year-old daughter that her mother raises. [not really on that last one - that was a piece for the tabloids.] They actually do a piece on Obama misconceptions - the idea that he spent $200M/day on his India trip is absurd and has no source. They look at the chronology of how different people talked about it and added stuff to it to make the numbers add up. They also disprove the idea that Obama is not coming for everyone's guns - in fact, he is very friendly toward the NRA. [interesting to cover the Obama ideas over other things, especially when dispelling preconceptions is difficult to do much after the fact.]

The big event of the episode, however it the congresswoman shot in Tucson on January 8th, 2011 - everyone has to drop what they're doing and get on that, and they struggle to decide whether or not to call that the woman died - everyone else is saying it but they don't have a source aside from NPR. The ratings guy wants Will to make the announcement, but Don backs the idea that one source isn't enough. Turns out, the woman was still alive, so they made the right call in not saying she was dead. [ I guess that was supposed to buy them some credibility?]
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