Less smarmy than the actual opening credits.
Welcome back to Aaron Sorkin’s televised therapy session, aka The Newsroom. Clearly not wanting to delve too deeply into the midterm elections, this episode spans the six months between SB 1070 and the 2010 Republican landslide. I wonder who he’s going to completely rip off so Will can be the all-knowing, all-seeing, Big Daddy we so desperately need in these uncertain times?
Straight away, something is different. Sorkin has deigned to allow someone else receive a writing credit on the episode.
Oh, oracle…have you found someone to mentor?
Of course, it’s this guy:
Fauxhawk, hipster glasses, artfully crafted stubble AND MTV?
I kid. Gideon was quite a good reporter with MTV and has his broadcast journalism bona fides, including a degree from Columbia University and a Peabody, so I’m sure whatever might chap my ass about this episode will still be all Sorkin’s fault. Starting with the leap-frogging structure. Seriously, don’t get clever until you actually know what the hell you’re talking about.
An authoritative basso profundo is spouting a lot of broadcast jargon I don’t understand and we fade up on Jim in the control room as he and Mackenzie look pensively at Will. Meanwhile, the schmaltz comes out early as the entire newsroom stops what they’re doing to gaze hopefully at the monitors to see…file footage of Richard Clark testifying before Congress? It’s from 2004 and he’s apologizing for how the government, and by extent he, failed to protect us on 9/11.
Not that we’re delving into anything related to 9/11. This is just Will’s self-aggrandizing opening to launch into a
Special Commentan apology for being a lazy hack who couldn’t be assed to do a real news program. Wow. Either someone thinks really highly of himself or he thinks he’s a national disaster of epic proportions.
It would carry more authority if you sat on your jacket hem.
While Will “apologizes” ostensibly for himself and claiming not to speak for others, he…launches into how, as “a leader” of the industry, he “was an accomplice” to a laundry list of ways the industry failed to properly inform the public, while sensationalizing trivial stories and how “we failed to report on tectonic shifts in our country.” He does understand that “I” and “we” are not the same thing, right?
As he continues to tell us what we already know about how the nightly news sucks and that it was an intentional dumbing down for ratings, we see he drinks Stella while writing the comment longhand. Before I can wonder where the monocle and pipe are he faxes a copy to Jim who has a fax machine, not a printer that receives faxes or a laptop that receives a scanned copy of a fax but an actual fax on an actual fax machine. I get why Will’s an analog douchebag, but Jim? Wasn’t he born in the 80s?
Weren’t fax machines already obsolete when he was in high school?
As Will continues “apologizing” (I do not think that word means what he thinks it means) Jim forwards the comment to Neal…via email…while Neal’s getting some play, so even the nerd has more game than Jim. This will be important later.
With the apology part more or less over, Big Daddy Will segues into a history lesson about how back in the 50s Congress forgot to insist that the evening news be non-commercial as we watch Will, Mackenzie, Jim…and Neal?…have a middle-of-the-night meeting working out the logistics of the “apology.” Is that really so critical it couldn’t wait until morning? Especially since Will already established he normally gets in around 11:00? He couldn’t just show up at, say, 9:00?
Will continues bloviating, as the entire newsroom, which is visible behind Will during broadcast mind you, stands around watching the monitors of this great man making a great speech so we know we should be in awe of how great he is.
Mill around, people. Mill. Around.