The much anticipated Aaron Sorkin show about a newsroom, The Newsroom, premiered last night on HBO. It was extremely Aaron Sorkin-y. The buzz on the Twitters was that most reviews were negative. I enjoyed the premiere – despite its many faults. I’m assuming many reviewers panned The Newsroom because they were shocked to find a program completely up its own ass with a feeling of self-importance that featured a great deal of dialogue that would never take place in real life. Plus, the walk and talks. Oh, the walk and talks…
At times, The Newsroom was a caricature of other Sorkin work. At other times, it was close to being pretty damn awesome. Once the BP oil spill took place, much like in real life, things got better. The characters got busy doing their jobs and stopped giving impassioned speeches about why the news – and this show and everyone involved – is so damn important. Things need to be taken seriously. We need to take a serious walk. Seriously.
The highlight of the show was Sam Waterston. That’s right, ya’ll – Jack McCoy went into television when he stepped down as District Attorney. He also bought a bow tie. The bow tie is of course the easiest way to give a character a personality trait. Waterston/McCoy’s Charlie Skinner is an alcoholic who gets all the best lines. “I will beat the shit out of you. I don’t care how many energy bars you eat” is perhaps the greatest line of all time. McCoy always yells his big joke lines, but it’s worth it. Also, he’s old. That’s why he doesn’t know how long a Tweet is. Get it? Why can’t the girl with Twitter just split it up into multiple Tweets? Who knows. It’s 2010. Nobody knows how to make multiple tweets yet!
It is emblematic of the show teetering back and forth between good and great cheese. It feels important one minute and ridiculous the next. Of course the news anchor is on vacation with Erin Andrews. Twitter, YouTube, blogs … These are important cultural references in 2010!
Important Walk and Talk Quote Break:
“A good show for 100 people instead of a bad show in front of a million.”
“I ain’t afraid of nothing. Except jellyfish,” said a British woman.
“I’m too old to be governed by fear of dumb people,” said Alcoholic Jack McCcoy.
“I am the only one who isn’t dramatically doing anything,” said the douche bag former producer.
These are important and funny things that people say.
Meanwhile, an important and unfunny thing that people don’t say is, “I’m not ready to meet your parents.” Is that a real thing? Like, a real thing with adults? This is a serious question. Television shows and movies have been using this trope as long as I can remember. Yet here it is in the pilot of Aaron Sorkin’s big important newsroom show about a newsroom called The Newsroom showing us that this douche bag is not the right guy for the drummer from Sex Bob-omb.
Despite all that, I enjoyed it overall. Like I said, once we got the dateline “April 20, 2010 – NEWS IS HAPPENING!” things took off. I’m sure the series will be full of banter-filled walk-and-talks that will make your eyes roll and your head spin, but the parts in between have potential. The Newsroom isn’t great and it deals in plenty of stereotypical self-important cheese, but at least its not boring. The Newsroom is Entourage if the main character had been Vincent Cronkite instead of Vincent Chase. I’ll keep watching until we get to the parts that all the reviewers complained about. At that point, I’ll keep watching because there’s nothing more fun than a train wreck.
Stray Thoughts That Could Not Be Confirmed By High-Ranking Confidential Source
Olivia Munn is in the opening credits. I may have known she was involved in the show, but this still made me laugh out loud. What is Olivia Munn doing there? And why is she in the opening credits, but not the opening episode?
Jesse Eisenberg, who has ties to both director Greg Mottola (Adventureland) and creator Sorkin (The Social Network) showed up as a voice. Amazingly, they had him voice a faceless stuttering dork. Who would have thunk it?
2010 puts this show right in the wheelhouse for someone to make a Slumdog Millionaire joke at Neal’s expense.
Maragret Judson, the blond in the newsroom, was an assistant of Keith Olbermann and Sorkin discovered her while “embedded” at Countdown to research for this show. Now she’s an actress. Wonder what he saw in her?
There will not be weekly recaps of The Newsroom. Unless, Jeff
Bridges Daniels cuts the head off a horse or gets some dragons.