In the war room, Reese is purring to the numbers guy about how many viewers Will lost. Numbers guy says they made enemies of Fox and the conservative media then a brief disagreement breaks out over whether the audience got the most relevant information and coverage. To make sure we know Reese is the moustache-twirling villain, he just shrugs that off because “it didn’t feel like it,” and wants to know how many viewers Will lost. Seven percent, or roughly the number he gained after Northwestern and “breaking” the BP story. Of course, they forget that he totally shat himself while covering SB 1070, but I’m sure that didn’t affect his numbers.
Meanwhile a dark specter rises up out of the shadows to oversee the meeting. Oh wait. That’s just Jane Fonda doing her best Ted Turner impersonation because she’s got some issues to resolve. Reese thinks losing that much audience used to spook Will but not anymore and Charlie is forced to prove that Sorkin doesn’t hate the internet by pointing out how Media Matters, Think Progress and the Columbia Journalism Reviewpraised their coverage. As did Howard Kurtz…but I’m not sure he’s your best cheerleader.
Is this really appropriate lighting for a conference room?
This segues into Reese nonsensically asking if this was also around the time Will had his epiphany about the Tea Party. Wait? He didn’t have that epiphany a year earlier? Oh right. He’s Republican. Will thinks the Tea Party isn’t what it started out as, but that was already old news since Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity were outed for co-opting the Tea Party movement in 2009 to thwart the ACA. (Don’t mess with a news junkie. We remember.)
Regardless, Will’s in Charlie’s office while Charlie appears to be sober and Mackenzie hovers in the background. Will’s loaded for bear and wired on caffeine to make a tortured analogy between the Tea Party the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) and the more anarchic Yippies because he thinks the radical right has taken over the “spontaneous” Tea Party movement like the Yippies took over the SDS. Charlie just sits there waggling his eyebrows.
I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.
Even Mackenzie can’t figure out what the hell Will’s going on about so she blurts out “Get there.” Will’s shocked into action because he didn’t realize she was there (?) and says that his party’s been hijacked by the radical right and doesn’t know why that’s not the main story every night. Doesn’t he watch Olbermann and Maddow? Oh, I see…Will thinks that the radicalized right aren’t Republicans so a Republican should be doing the story to out them, then he makes a completely incoherent reference to Audrey 2. As Will triumphantly storms out of Charlie’s office, Charlie tells Mackenzie she’s bringing Will around and she makes sure we know that Charlie’s the one who faxed Will the information. Huh? Why all this faxing?
Elvis is singing about being a hunka burning love, so it’s time for a news montage about how Will took on the Tea Party and the Tea Party won. First, he talks to some Stepford Wife about the logical inconsistencies between taking an oath to uphold the Constitution and the Grover Norquist oath, then Sorkin flat out plagiarizes two very high profile Maddow stories and has Will browbeat a Rand Paul proxy about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 before ripping into Sharron Angle about thinking all press should be friendly. But Will makes a corny joke to show us that he’s firing on all cylinders and everyone laughs and laughs.
Oh bourbon, never leave me again.
Back upstairs Reese wonders when the newsroom became a courtroom. Charlie points out that Will used to be a prosecutor. So was Nancy Grace. Oh, but he was the Doogie Howser of prosecutors who graduated law school at 21 and had a 94% conviction rate (including plea bargains?), just in case we forget he’s the smartest guy in the room. Then Charlie says he decided to turn the newsroom into a courtroom because the voters need a “fucking lawyer.” Like Dan Abrams?