The Newsroom: Getting High On Your Own Supply

The Newsroom S01E07: "5/1"

On May 1, 2011, two very significant things happened to me. I, like the rest of the world, learned that American forces had killed Osama Bin Laden, and I also moved from my home city of San Francisco to New York City. Literally, May 1 was my move-in date. I arrived in New York the day prior to the spontaneous celebration and emotional introspection breaking out across the city. I've arrived in places around major events before--most notably moving to San Francisco as a child just after the '89 earthquake, and moving to Boston the week the Celtics won their first championship since 1986—but this one stands out quite a bit more. By a country mile, really.

Having seen the outpourings of emotion from the entire city (as a relative outsider, no less), it was strange to watch The Newsroom attempt to recapture those feelings in last night's episode, "5/1." Aaron Sorkin has received a fair amount of criticism for his use of the real news in a fictional show, with some critics (myself included) calling it exploitative, or at the very least, jarring. It's an awkward element of the show that doesn't always fall in line with Sorkin's over-the-top writing sensibilities. It's one thing when his characters are leaning into the Tea Party extremists or tabloid news. It's another when it's Gabrielle Giffords or the architect of 9/11.

Such is the double-edged sword Sorkin wields week after week. He believes that bringing the real news into the fold makes the stories he's telling more impactful. At times I think that's accurate, but in others, it makes for an awkward, sometimes downright uncomfortable juxtaposition between the weight of the news happening in the real world, and the lighthearted, often frivolous interactions between Sorkin's characters. Such a juxtaposition was prevalent throughout "5/1," and it wasn't always made in the most artful way possible. It's perhaps telling that the most meaningful moment of the entire episode came not from one of Sorkin's characters, but from President Obama himself, while delivering the speech that told the world one of the world's worst terrorists was now dead.

Before we got to that moment, however, we had to party. Hard. The episode opened with the News Night staff celebrating one year on the air under their new edict of Doing Journalism. Man, how a year flies by, right? Actually, it's only been seven episodes, but The Newsroom's first season hasn't been afraid to burn through pockets of time like they were freshly wrapped joints.

I assure you that pot reference is there for a reason. Specifically, because Will got really high. Exceptionally high. Ten Guy high. Neal and his girlfriend (the underutilized Natalie Morales) brought Will a little gift in the form of edible cookies featuring, well, you know. Will, being the tough guy that he is, quickly downed two of them along with some Vicodin. This concerned everyone, but Will assured them he would be fine. It was easy to see where the situation was headed.

On this subject, I'd like to briefly dart sideways and just talk about Jeff Daniels for a second. Will McAvoy is written as a notorious asshole, a middle-aged crank with no patience for anyone but himself. It takes a special kind of actor to make that kind of character likable, and Daniels has been making it work. I let out an audible groan (to no one but my generally disinterested cats) when I realized this episode was going to feature Will high out of his mind. Images danced through my head of lazy pot humor and abject silliness amid this watershed moment in American history. So it is a credit to Daniels that I mostly just laughed at his behavior. He deftly walked that fickle tightrope of funny--but not crazy--drug acting, mostly displaying an inability to remember things he'd said and a total lack of reflexes. It was perhaps a bit overly convenient that he was suddenly able to pull himself together for the big broadcast, but between his gleeful ditching of Terry Crews and amusing zone-outs, I think I can forgive that.

Less forgivable was the glut of recursive Jim/Maggie/Don relationship nonsense embedded throughout the episode. I get that Sorkin needed to fill some time, since most of "5/1" really just revolved around a bunch of people in an office waiting for the president to say something. And I get that we're not going to get any real resolution on this three-way-dance until the end of this season, at the earliest. I'm just tired of this storyline. All it's managed to do is make me like Maggie less and less as a character (Alison Pill continues to do good work, but man is she having to do back flips to stay remotely likable) and like Don more. I remain ambivalent on Jim, but I did like his mea culpa after idiotically telling Maggie's roommate that he loved her. Jim's a good dude, but so is Don. Maggie's a mess, and while her roommate is sort of a dim bulb, she's also one of the more genuinely funny characters on the show. I don't even know if I'm supposed to want Jim and Maggie to get together anymore. If they don't, then what was the point of any of this? If they do, I'm just going to feel bad for the two characters I like better than the two getting together. I genuinely have no idea how to feel about any of this anymore.

At least Don got to wait all that craziness out elsewhere, albeit trapped in an airplane that was stuck on a tarmac. For as much as I didn't like the Jim/Maggie stuff this week, I did like Don/Sloan/Elliot trying desperately to figure out a way to get off the plane while also trying to figure out what was going on at the White House and not alarming other passengers in the process. Yeah, things got a little awkward later in the show. Don probably didn't need to start taking pratfalls, nor did he really need dramatic music swelling behind him as he delivered the news about Bin Laden to the pilots of his United Airlines flight, but otherwise, these bits were by far the episode's funniest.

The trouble is, they were funny moments scattered among decidedly unfunny moments. Namely, the moments when our reporting team found themselves wrestling with the need to be first versus the need to be right. Charlie's wisdom of letting the president deliver the news when he was good and ready felt, again, a bit like armchair quarterbacking a year-old Super Bowl, but he also wasn't wrong. Thankfully, nobody was screaming about ratings and such this week, though we did have one Washington bureau reporter trying to go rogue and report on tweets supposedly confirming the Bin Laden news. Oh, those rascally Washington reporters, what antics will they get up to next?

It's only troubling to me in the context of a viewer still trying to get his head around the tone of The Newsroom, which has remained consistently inconsistent since the pilot. The last two episodes have been terrific television, but this week felt a bit like a nothing episode. That's perhaps kind of an insane thing to say when you're talking about an episode that centers on the news of Bin Laden's death, but think about what really happened this week: Will got high; the Jim, Don, and Maggie show continued to go more or less nowhere; and save for a blip of a subplot regarding Charlie finding a mysterious new source at the NSA, nothing really happened to News Night. Wacky stuff happened, the news was done, and that was that.

All told, "5/1" felt like an episode that crutched itself on the real world's news, rather than simply using it for inspiration. To keep the drug references going for a moment, the news is essentially Aaron Sorkin's drug of choice here--The Newsroom imbibes it weekly to help inspire a television plot, but at times, the drug takes over. That's okay, up to a point. Big news stories are going to happen, and sometimes plots will have to be written around them. Unfortunately, I've found that as Sorkin continues to bring the real world into his fictional one, he continues to push his characters to the sidelines in the process. Interestingly, the best episodes this season have been episodes where the characters drove the news story forward, and not the other way around. This episode went the other way around, and while it was certainly an amusement at times, it never quite found a way to deliver the significance of the Bin Laden news story through any of its own storytelling. Instead of inspiring something truly exciting or creative, it just left the cast on the couch for a week, doing the same old silly stuff.



NOTES


- Will and Jim having an acoustic guitar singalong gave me terrible flashbacks to parties my parents had growing up. Granted, my parents never took edibles, but now I kind of wish they had.

- I have a hard time believing Will owns a video game system at all, let alone one recent enough to play any version of Guitar Hero. The Beatles: Rock Band on the Wii, maybe. Seems like it'd be more his speed, musically. Though I imagine the clearance rights for those songs were probably prohibitive.

- "I can play the real guitar!" is the most tragic, withered response one can give to losing at Guitar Hero. I've seen it happen many times, and it never convinces anyone.

- I was reeeeaaaalllly worried that the whole thing with Terry Crews getting harassed by the cops was going to turn into lazy racial profiling commentary. Thankfully, it didn't, and I thought the moment where Terry got to go tell the cops about Bin Laden was kind of sweet.

- I was less fond of the random other tie-ins to 9/11 the episode tried to pull together. Neal's girlfriend having lost a family member in the towers, Don dramatically delivering the news to United Airlines pilots, and a random control room guy just happening to have a FDNY hat to put on were all a bit much for my taste.

- HBO's preview of the last few episodes of the season has me feeling a mixture of things. I'm not thrilled at the thought of the News of the World phone hacking scandal getting dragged into Will's own storyline, but I certainly won't complain about more Jane Fonda.

Comments (57)
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Man how good is Sam Waterson on this show?

"Put me right in his fuckin ear"

"Elliot don`t ever fuckin do that again."

"What in the name of Holy Fuck were you thinking." good stuff
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When he confessed to Mack that he was wasted. The look on his face and the sound of his voice gave me a Dumb and Dumber flashback, just for that brief second he was Harry again!
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Alison Pill is fine, but I'm REALLY getting tired of Maggie. She needs to shape up or... I was going to say ship out, but then I felt myself starting to throw up. I hate that phrase. I also hate Maggie. I totally agree -- Lisa and Don are becoming so much more likeable.



As for the rest of the episode, I have no problem with the use of real-life events. Considering how fast the show is moving though, I'm assuming they'll have to start making stories up soon. There's a lot of news, but they burned through a whole year in seven episodes. The Newsroom is emotionally manipulative and I tend to dislike that about the show -- I'm also getting tired of the background music to emphasize touching moments -- but honestly, they must be somewhat effective because I usually end up sniffling and watering my eyes. But maybe I'm just a sap.
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I'm sick to death of the high school love stories. The only moment worth anything in this episode was the one line the bodyguard had, because it did what Sorkin used to do well, made a punch line out of a very serious issue. The news team isn't remotely likable (unlike West Wing which had numerous great characters), I want to poke that round eyed girl's eyes out.

Bring back Jane! And Aaron, pull your head out please and get back to what you do best, writing killer lines.
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The fact they use real life events in the show is the most appealing part for me, tbh. It helps that I'm a very left leaning progressive and pretty much agree with Sorkin on all accounts.
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Nooo, that wouldn't do it. I'm left enough that I hate Obama because he's a closet Republican (only he didn't jerk to the right out of fear...of himself), and this show makes me wish Sorkin had retired on a good note. It's weird that I can watch shows like Awkward., where I have to google half the acronyms that come out of their mouths, but *this* show leaves me feeling stupid after giving them my hour.



And the real life events are almost the worst part of this show because Sorkin already proved he could do better. Obviously, I haven't quit yet, but...yeah.



And even 10 years ago, Will would be the most fake Republican on television. I'd take him over Obama any day, as long as he didn't bring Mac with him.
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That would do it.
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As a New Yorker this episode was weird for me. It felt awkward and exploitative.

Also, when the news hit about Osama's death, I didn't feel like celebrating. I knew that nothing had really changed. I wasn't relieved or happy, I just accepted it. How many people remembered that 5/1/2011 was the day Osama bin Laden was killed? I sure didn't. How many people remember the date 9/11/2001? Everyone.



None of the various parts of this episode worked particularly well, and they sure didn't work well together. It seemed Will got high only because Sorkin needed to write him out of the episode, and to be honest, Jeff Daniels did not do stoned well. He had ADD, not a high.



The Jim/Maggie/Don story could be interesting if we felt genuine tension, and it makes sense that these people who have nothing to do but impatiently sit on a huge story would start bouncing their emotions off each other. But it didn't work. I don't feel chemistry.



Same goes for Charlie's mysterious source, who didn't actually act as a source, but only succeeded in being really full of himself. This was obviously just a set up for future episodes.



And then that ending when they miraculously pull everything together and Will makes a wonderful speech about all the Americans who died (neglecting the 372 non-American victims) and how bright days are upon us, when that's obviously not true, then (5/1/2011) or now. Okay, fine. Yeah everyone's suddenly feeling very patriotic and proud. But Sorkin overdoes it, as per usual, and then throws in a good portion of Obama's speech, which was also unnecessary. You cut it off after Obama says "we killed Osama". Done. End credits.
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I was a huge fan of Jeff Daniels. I'm surprised he can't do being loaded. Now I'm sorry he's in this mess. May not be his fault, but he's a fine actor and his opening bit in the pilot was a great performance. Then it continued downhill from there. He's being very poorly used in this series and I wonder if it or he has a future. And why does every series have to have a British woman in it now? Did I miss the cultural revolution? After Jeff Daniels, I think they went to a cheaper casting person who doesn't know anyone who's good. Sorry, I guess my expectations were too high.
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I give you a thumbs up, perfect comment.

"It felt awkward and exploitative."

And

"Also, when the news hit about Osama's death, I didn't feel like celebrating."

I'm glad I'm not the only one that felt this way.



I also totally agree with feeling in general. Bin Ladin's death is not a "remember where you are when it happened" moment in history. I'd say it happened about 9 years too late for there to be any chance at any sort of catharsis.

For me, there's been 3 of those moments:

1) Challenger Explosion (yeah, I'm old)

2) O.J.'s Bronco Chase

3) 9/11

Feels like there is about one a decade and killing Bin Laden doesn't cut the mustard...
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I'm amazed so many people actually like this show. Another groaner this week.



- The entire Jim/Maggie plot continues to be unwatchable

- I really like Jeff Daniels, but that was the WORST portrayal of someone stoned I've ever seen. Didn't buy it for a second.

- The show continues to be emotionally manipulative...



I definitely don't like the choice to build the show around real news events, it'd be stronger if it didn't...as it is, the show just feels like...old news...
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I have to disagree about the news stuff. I love that they use real news stories because it not only inspires the emotions you felt when you first heard about the stories (yes that is a bit of audience manipulation but I'm fine with it) but I learn something most weeks about news stories I thought I knew a lot about. If they were running around telling "inspired by true events" Law and Order like stories, I wouldn't care nearly as much about the news side of this show which is a sizable chuck of the airtime.
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I live in Sweden and know exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard about the first plane. Same can't be said of Bin Ladens deadth though..

I guess you'd need to be either an north american or have some other personal connection to 9/11 for this episode to really work. Most of it was good; loved the Obama good/Osama bad joke and I found high-Will to be pretty darn fun. But there where two scenes that really didn't sit well with me. The baseballcap in the control room felt a bit forced but the worst was when Don puffed up his chest with the heroic music while telling the captain the news. It's nice to see that Don can put someone ahead of himself for a change but that scene just didn't work for me. I'd like to again point out that I have no personal relationship to any of this..



I've really enjoyed Newsroom so far and it's message. While it's "easy" to "bash" the US of A for a variety of faults, this show has so far stayed away from cheap shots and kept itself in the middle. Rather than pointing fingers and throwing dirt it's trying to inspire people to read up on a subject before jumping to conclusions. This is how I'd like to see the world work when my hair has turned grey (which'll be at a decently high age with my genes). This episode however dipped it's toes just slightly in patriotism.



Biggest concern about Newsroom for me though is the real world/fake world mixing. For example.. Is there a pair of Koch brothers controlling the Tea Party?

Gets kinda confusing when I don't know what's real and what's fake..



Must say I HATE the intro! It's well made and all but as with just about every HBO show it's about 10 minutes to long. The music reminds me of Jurassic Park though ^^ But I'd rather have a shorter intro and get more episode out of my time. Thor bless fast-forward! :D
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The Koch brothers are real, and yes they really are the driving force behind the tea party, which started as a grass roots movement, and (as usual with anything political) has been bastardized by the wealthy.



I love the intro.
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I disagree about the intro. A good intro sets the mood for the show. I'm really glad that True Blood and Dexter have awesome intros for example. A short intro can be nice when it's done well (Scrubs), but makes the show even worse when it's not (Falling Skies). There's no reason for a show that's longer than 30 minutes to have a short intro.



And yes, the Koch brothers are real. (I don't think The Newsroom has done any fake news yet). If you would like to stay somewhat updated about this sort of thing, the best way is to watch the comedy shows about the news:



Real Time with Bill Maher

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The Colbert Report
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It's difficult to recreate the atmosphere we all felt when the news came down about Bin Laden's death; especially for those who were directly affected by 9/11. I thought Don's comment about how they are missing the story of a generation was too dramatic, since I don't think Bin Laden's death will ever match what happened on September 11. I missed the first airing on Sunday due to a business trip, but I watched the show on my laptop through Dish Online. My coworkers at Dish love to talk about every new episode, and I can't wait to see what they think about this one. It's going to be difficult to wait until June 2013 for the second season!
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I think that when you have characters bit character's on a plane getting more laughs than the main characters that is a bit of a problem. Lester and Jason were shining stars of background characters this episode and I think somebody should sing their praises.



Second I'm not going to be wishy-washy on the whole Maggie/Jim thing anymore. Sure its going to happen, but after watching "5/1" I no longer want it to. Lisa acted in such a mature way regarding the relationship that I actully began to care more about her than Maggie. Maggie is acting like a high school girl with the micro managing of that relationship and I'm glad that Lisa, though she has been depicted as less than intelligent, was smart enough to wee what was going on and strong enough to actually do something about it. I was not surprised nor angry when Jim decided to give her a real shot, because based on her actions she not only deserved it, but any man would be lucky to have a girl like that.



The only problem I currently have is how they are going to figure out how to have Lonny Church stick around as a character. Terry Crews is slaying with his portrayal of the character and I want him to stay around as long as possible. All the greatest character's need a foil and Lonny is Will's 100 times over.
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Well said!



The one thing that we all seem to universally agree on is the Jim/Maggie non-romance. I started out as ambivalent about the whole thing, but Alex is right (for once!) when he wrote all its doing is making Maggie increasingly dislikable. It's also the worst part of a very good show. And I absolutely agree with your assessment of Lisa.



I'm FAR more invested in the Will/Mac relationship.
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When I first heard about this show I thought I'd pass on it, but ended up watching the first episode anyway because nothing else was on. I was immediately drawn in by Daniels' character and the interplay of featuring real events with what was happening in the newsroom and have watched every episode so far. I can live without some of the side stories but I still like the way that real and make-believe come together in the show. My main concern now is that they're jumping time way too soon. Using "hind sight" is one of the things that makes the show so good. What's the truth? Should we say this ...or that? As the past becomes the present on the show are they going to end up reporting wrong events, as Geraldo was shown doing in this episode? If a show is going to start in a specific time period, and build itself around it, then they should stay there. I don't see how the basic premise can survive "in the present" without them doing a lot of last minute re-writes and filming before next season's episodes air. And if they do, how will that hurried writing effect the quality of the show?
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I thought that was the best episode yet. This is an excellent show that just keeps getting better and better. I don't understand how Homeland got so much unanimous praise, while many "critics'" reactions have been mixed at best. Don't get me wrong, I loved Homeland, but to me, this is clearly the superior program.

Much like Touch and Prime Suspect, this is a show that leaves me moved every time an episode ends. Dare I say it? Okay, I'll say it... so far, I'm enjoying The Newsroom more than Breaking Bad. I'm just as surprised as you.
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You're liking Newsroom more than Homeland AND BREAKING BAD? I'm not sure why, but this comment makes me sad. :P
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I would say that Homeland is (much) better mainly because it has an exciting story. This show is good, but it just doesn't get exciting enough. It's not putting the characters in situations that are interesting enough. I feel like I'm watching Real Time with Bill Maher, not a drama series.



Breaking Bad is better in almost every way, so I don't see how one can find The Newsroom more enjoyable.
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Of course Homeland is more exciting - it's a thriller! That's like saying Nash Bridges is better than The West Wing because Nash Bridges is more exciting. It's not a fair barometer for the overall quality of a show.

The Newsroom isn't supposed to be exciting. It's clearly not for everyone, but Sunday nights at 10pm, I only get to choose one show to watch right away, while the other one waits until Monday night and the past couple of weeks, The Newsroom has been an easy choice.



The final line in your comment says it all - Breaking Bad may be the better show, but I'm finding The Newsroom to be far more enjoyable. Breaking Bad is gripping and dark, with deep characters and a very tense storyline, but these days, MANY excellent shows share those traits - Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Game of Thrones, Southland, Homeland, Spartacus, (all shows I love) and the list goes on. Breaking Bad just doesn't seem as special and different as it did during it's first few seasons, and that's not the show's fault - it's just the atmosphere that it has found itself in.



There is nothing on TV quite like The Newsroom right now, and it's weekly 1-hour break from all of that uber-seriousness is a welcome change. It's nice to have such an entertaining show that is able to rely on clever dialogue and intelligent conversation, rather than constant shocking twists and character betrayals.
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"..nothing on TV quite like The Newsroom right now"

May I suggest The Daily Show with John Stewart? It's based on actual news, its really funny and if the Nightly News with Will McAvoy was an actual TV show it would be the Daily Show.
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I'm not just talking about thrillers. Even a show like Entourage can be exciting at times, with simple issues like "Is Vince going to get the part in Aquaman?" The Newsroom doesn't have anything like that. The story about how Will's employer is actively trying to create a reason to fire him could have been pretty exciting, but for some reason it's not.



All the shows you mentioned are excellent in some way, but I don't think Southland fits your description. It doesn't have much of a story, and doesn't allow us to get to know the characters very well. When I missed two episodes and then watched the next one, nothing had changed except that someone was pregnant.



For me, recent Sundays have been Breaking Bad, Continuum, True Blood, Falling Skies and THEN The Newsroom. The Newsroom is certainly better than FS in every possible way, except that the characters are in a less interesting situation (they're just a bunch of people at WORK), but I still feel like watching FS first because of that little detail. I guess I need at least one of the characters to be in a difficult situation.
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Very polarizing comment, Aydin. I like it!



I think The Newsroom is a fantastically written show. The dialogue is fast, funny and charming. Aaron Sorkin is very good at what he does. I'm absolutely loving this season and have pretty much disagreed with all of Alex's reviews.

BUT



Let's not go crazy here. Breaking Bad is undeniably, irrefutably and incontrovertibly the better show. But that doesn't apply to just The Newsroom. It applies to every show currently on television (except one ... probably). It's almost flawless. I know you only said you're "enjoying The Newsroom more than Breaking bad", and if you're a big fan of Sorkin's work and love his sort of show then that's fair. But personally, I'm enjoying Breaking Bad more than ever in its fifth season. That is the mark of a truly great show.



The Homeland thing is debatable. I'd say Homeland is the better show, but I'd definitely be willing to argue the point.
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I think this is the first time I think you are wrong FF, sorry to say.



He didn't say newsroom was better than BB, he said he was enjoying it more.



I think for the person above you, what matters is the enjoyment he takes out of the shows. Whilst I love breaking bad, it's one of my top shows, you shouldn't come here and outright say which are the best shows because... this is all a matter of opinion man, and how people feel about the shows themselves. No matter how many adjectives you use for Breaking Bad there will still be people who dislike it and some who will never understand it. I also love Homeland, I thought it was outstanding on every level, but I still think this person can think Touch is a better program, even though I completely disagree with it.
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I'd just like to point out that FringeFanatic is very much aware that Aydin "enjoyes" Newsroom more as he quoted that part and acknowledges the difference in his comment.
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"He didn't say newsroom was better than BB, he said he was enjoying it more."



I know. That's why I included it in my response. I was simply disagreeing with him. Stating an opposing opinion if you will. Which, according to you, can't be wrong.

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Well... this is awkward. I was joking. Was the winky face too subtle?



And I still think it's not possible to have over the top statements when it comes to Breaking Bad.
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Well... this is awkward. I wasn't, and am not, apologizing for anything at all. I still think your wrong with your over the top statements.
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I accept your apology ;)
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Specially on intensity levels, it's really unrivaled. Don't get me wrong man, I enjoy your comments, I respect your taste in TV shows which is very akin to mine, and your presence is welcomed on this otherwise almost dead website. I'm just saying we shouldn't start commenting on which shows are 'incomparably best', because you don't have to go far to find someone else who completely disagrees with one's views. Plus it separates us from the common morons that love twilight, jersey shore, toddlers and tiaras, for there indeed, is where sin lies.
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It's my opinion you can never go overboard when it comes to Breaking Bad.
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It isn't. That's why humans are fascinating. Yet, "Let's not go crazy here. Breaking Bad is undeniably, irrefutably and incontrovertibly the better show." is where I think you go overboard.
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First off, TV.com: you rock!

Secondly, dude your reviews are of The Newsroom are kind of well...sucky! I love the show and I work professionally in the media! The characters are great, annoying sometimes, brilliant sometimes, occasionally silly and often downright normal. Just like real people. I like all the characters and think that their particular strengths and weaknesses are the show's MAIN STRONG POINT!

And yes Mr. Sorkin is idealistic - but I love his positive message and real hope for the world. The Newsroom is a show I can't wait to watch EVERY week and my only disappointment is when it is over so soon. Awesome stuff and let's hope that others are not influenced by Alex Navarro's nitpicking!

Peace
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What amazes me is how the reviewer missed the jab at Fox, with the large signs (OBAMA GOOD, OSAMA BAD), but maybe that's the source of his obvious bias against this show.

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Still trying way way way too hard. It's not clicking for the characters. The 9/11 tie-in was nauseating and washed-up TV. You know, when I think about it, at this point the title of this article pretty much describes Sorkin and the show, not the character's high. I'll still be watching it, but at this point it's either irritatingly pompous or irritatingly --- irritating in trying to cram relevance when it is not happening naturally. I completely agree with nico656's last sentence. Let's hope for some fulfilled potential.
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This wasn't one of The Newsroom's best episodes, and given the main story line, it left a little to be desired. Sorkin's trademark, that mix of drama, wit, humour and rapid-fire dialogue is lacking in 5/1, and to a large extent, the series as a whole. There's an imbalance. When the central news story looks too heavy, Sorkin seems to be over-compensating with the Maggie/Don/Jim/and the other chick love saga. This could've been, and should've been, one of the most powerful episodes to date, but Sorkin didn't let the story evolve. He instead crammed it with ridiculous sub-plots that neither helped tell the story nor develop the characters. I'm still a big fan of the show, but more because of the potential for what it could be.
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Another rather average review for a great show. We get it, you hate this show. Maybe you should review something else.
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Agreed on the last part.
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Yeah, the episode featured the official announcement of Bin Laden's demise. But this episode was about the 9/11 attacks. Sorry if you were " less fond of the random other tie-ins to 9/11... " I started bawling at the personal, one-on-one reveals to the United Airlines crew, to a former Army MP, to the NYPD officers, even to a Cantor Fitzgerald relative (less one-on-one but no less personal).



I agree that the love triangle storyline is more than old, but Will-gets-baked provided a good balance, comic relief, and was not completely unbelievable. I mean, he had enough sense to know that he didn't want to eff up this story; we see that with functioning alcoholics all the time, in tv and in real life!



I'm recommending this individual episode to all my friends and family.
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Last night was the first episode of "The Newsroom" that I've ever watched. So take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I didn't think the episode was exploitative at all. I actually thought it was really well-done. I live in Los Angeles but there aren't very many people who can't tell you exactly where they were when they heard about 9/11. It changed everything, especially among the people of NY. So, to handle the issue of Bin Laden's death, and capturing the emotions was authentic to the attitude of some of the people most affected. At least that's how I took it.
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First of all, i think it was a good episode. even though we knew what was going to hapen, the go/no go situation was pretty well executed imo.

The don-maggi-jim thing is at least watchable, a little annoying from time to time, but it doesn't want you to scream at the tv "just get it over with!" (not for now, at least).

The plane scenes where the best part, specially towards the end when the rumors started to spread, i think i've been in those kind of situations and it was great how the news crew was able to tell the pasengers what was really going on.

the only thing i would've liked to see was somone questioning the veracity of the facts, i personally don't believe bin laden was killed that night, i think he was long dead before that and it was just a publicity stunt, but that's just my opinion, not being american gives me the chance to question a little more the information given by the american media. And i just wanted someone to at least asked themselves "is this for real? what do we really know? we just have to trust this statement without any proof?" etc. But i guess most of the american people trusts that this was indeed the way it happened and for all i know it must be true, so it doesn't matter much if everyone was just happy for the news without second guessing it.

And it was a very powerful way to end the episode with Obama's speech
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This episode for me, cemented how outstanding this show is. Powerful, witty, funny, dramatic. I was laughing throughout the episode, with the insanely good dialogue and the large of sarcasm that is played flawlessly by the cast. The show manages to do this without losing its heartfelt feeling. Even though I'm not American, I could see and feel just how much it meant to them, to be able to tell another person that justice had been done, some peace and faith had been brought back. And I have to disagree with you on the whole use of real news. It makes it all the more powerful and authentic. Do they have the benefit of hindsight? Sure, they do. But the criticisms that the show draws are still very much real and applicable as far as I see it.



Jeff Daniels keeps bringing his acting to different kinds of awesome week in week out. The man plays Will like it was himself. He had pretty good moments as high Will, plus his speech was hilarious.



I thought the drama surrounding Jim, Maggie and Don was well done this time around. I thought it felt natural. It's not unbelievable to have people who kinda like each other but don't do anything about it. Jim and Maggie are those people here, even though the cracks are beginning to show.



All in all... I'm glad I see what the reviewer doesn't seem to in the dialogue, because yet again, I hung to every word that was said. That does not happen very often. This show is on a good path and I hope it lasts for many seasons!
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Not sure if this was one of the weaker episodes, or if I'm just starting to get tired of it already. The show needs something that's not directly related to the news that can generate some excitement. That "love" story isn't strong enough to excite us. And since time increases much faster on the show than in the real world, they should have either gotten together or given it up by now.



First Bigfoot, now extra terrestrials? That character shouldn't be that dumb.
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He`s not dumb just idealistic, he wants these things to be real.
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What I got from that episode is even when a major story hits, it catches the people doing it in the moment and that moment can be the worse, the silliest, and the most awkward.And they have to deal with that and the show must go on.

OK. and ?
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Oh and I want to say about The Rock's tweet was correct, he was the FIRST to let on something big was happening. F HHH :)
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So, is the show supposed to act like nothing else was going on in the world or in people's lives during the time leading up to the announcement? At no time did any of the characters allow their personal dramas to overtake the importance of what was happening once they actually knew what was happening. In fact, I'd say it did a pretty good job of making sure that several perspectives were included. And the President's speech continuing over the credits was amazing. It seems like you continue to gripe for griping's sake, and I don't think anyone appreciates your "I was in New York how dare you try to somehow lessen my experience" high horse.
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Thank you! Alex has the audacity to criticize this show for being exploitive because real news stories are used as material, then he turns around and high-handedly inserts his own personal "5/1" experience into his review. I suppose he failed to see the irony of that juxtaposition.

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I thought this episode was really powerful...I LIKE the fact they use the real news, it makes the whole show better.



I also like all the goofy stuff that happens as a juxtaposition (oooh big word!), it keeps everything fresh and fast-paced.



...only thing that is annoying is the the office-esque jim/maggie thing. Been done too often.
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I liked this episode though you're right, the Maggie/Jim thing is getting very old. I appreciated how they laid out this episode. As for the Guitar Hero at Will's, we have a saying in my house: Its in the script!. As for the pot, I thought it was great. He didn't act ridiculous as some users might portray on TV. When it was job time, he was on point. Thank you Jeff Daniels. I personally didn't remember the date, but when I saw it at the beginning I knew. So when they began at Will's with party in swing and Charlie on the phone, something BIG was about to go down.
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so I'm with you on the part about the girlfriend- I don't want to see Jim with Maggie anymore, she's all wrong (and very tiring)... so why keep that story line?

A year?!? and Jim did nothing about Maggie who did nothing about Jim and Don's worried? he should work more!
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Well, here we are again, another review I disagree with. I think this season has gotten better and better, including this episode. The only thing I really agree with is that I also groaned when Will was taking pot.
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You linked to the wrong Natalie Morales.
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