The Newsroom: Happy New Year!

The Newsroom S01E04: "I'll Try to Fix You"

I don't know if I'm going to be able to accurately articulate the reasons why I enjoyed "I'll Try to Fix You" so much. I don't know, because I'm not sure I've sorted them out myself. The only thing I know is that this week's Newsroom episode is going to be a divisive one. It's either going to reinforce a great deal of what you liked, or perhaps didn't know you liked about the show, or it's going to put you off it entirely, without much wiggle room in between. We've still got six more episodes to go in Season 1, and already we're reaching a kind of critical mass. Praise be to Aaron Sorkin, at least he doesn't aim to waste your time.

"I'll Try to Fix You" was the character-focused episode I'd been waiting for, and in roughly equal measure, I loathed and loved the result. It solidified several different character arcs, completely bungled at least two of them, and managed to exploit a fairly horrible news story to once again herald the show's own sense of self-righteousness. At times I was appalled, and yet strangely captivated.

Things kicked off on New Year's Eve, 2010, at the News Night New Year's party, and even Will was there, making some fumbling attempt at connecting with his staff, and even finding time to have a reasonable conversation with MacKenzie's new boyfriend. Elsewhere Neal was hamming it up with drunken proclamations regarding the validity of Bigfoot, and Maggie was trying to get Jim to stop working during the company Christmas party, which led to the inevitable wayward glances and lip-biting routine. Enter Don, who pretty clearly knows exactly what's developing between Maggie and Jim, and who made a move to try to separate the two. Namely, by aggressively working to set Jim up with Maggie's crazy roommate, whose most noteworthy trait is her Rod Stewart ringtone.

And that wasn't the only awkward hook-up of the night. Will got his own when Sloan suggested Will pursue a mysterious, lonely looking blonde woman prowling the party. That woman turned out to be a gossip columnist (who is played by Hope Davis) for TMI, which yes, is a tabloid that sounds sort of like TMZ except different. They hit it off, only to suddenly find the party derailed seconds before midnight because, of all things, Will thought it was kind of shitty that it was her job to write "takedown" articles of lame reality TV stars. Will's sudden empowerment as a real Journalist seems to have turned him into something of a judgmental ass, and he called her work shameful. And she threw a drink in his face... a fact, among other, less true statements about Will's evening, that landed them in the tabloids the next day.

Will was embarrassed, but he wasn't about to let the incident ruin his dating life. Over the course of the episode, he went on more dates with lovely, utterly scold-able women. When he found himself taking a friend of Sloan's (Katherine Hahn) back to his apartment, he discovered she's a gun owner when he found a pistol in her purse. This, of course, caused Will to lecture her on the subject of the dangers of firearms while deftly unloading her gun in one swift motion, and, hilariously, pointing the unloaded pistol in her face. Her response: "Is it weird that this kind of turns me on?" See if you can guess if any of this ended up in the tabloids.

Later still, Will found himself out with another woman at a restaurant, where he began to explain his now-infamous exploits on previous dates, including the reality TV debacle. This, of course, led to the woman rambling aimlessly about everything she knows about The Real Housewives of New Jersey. If you guessed the scene was going to end with another drink in Will's face, you were correct.

I'm focusing on Will's story arc so much because this was the first time we really spent a good bit of time with him since the series' opening salvo. I still don't feel like I have a great idea of what it is that makes Will tick, but as the episode went along and put him through his ridiculous paces, I found myself enjoying the time spent with him. Jeff Daniels is a terrific actor, and while the situations Will keeps finding himself in are patently ridiculous, Daniels is good enough to sell the wacky, over-the-top goofiness that he keeps finding himself surrounded by. He's equal parts straight man and crusading lunatic, a tough balance to nail that Daniels makes look pretty easy.

It's weird, because I feel like I should have super-hated all of what I just described, as well as the episode's continued "will they/won't they" antics with Maggie and Jim (who ended up sleeping with Maggie's roommate and lying about it). And yet I didn't, and the only reason I can think of as to why is that "I'll Try to Fix You" finally found a consistent tone. It just so happens that that tone is batshit insane.

I've spent many a week thus far lamenting The Newsroom's tonal issues, namely its inability to decide if it's going to be a show about Serious Journalism, a zany sitcom, or some unholy hodgepodge of the two. For the first 50 or so minutes of this week's episode, The Newsroom finally kept a consistent tone. It happened to not be the tone I was hoping for, necessarily, but you know what? If Sorkin just wants to make a loud spectacle out of his fictional cable news series, then so be it. I went into The Newsroom thinking I was going to maybe get some heady, clever commentary on the state of TV journalism, but instead we're getting a show that has no real interest in heady commentary, so much as it wants to shout at you at the top of its lungs about everything wrong with the world of journalism. I said last week that Sorkin doesn't often deal in subtlety or subtext, and this week's show was as bright and shiny an example of that as you're ever likely to find.

Which is fine. If Sorkin wants to Kool-Aid Man his way through the collective cable news wall and scream to the world (through the mouth of Jeff Daniels, mind you) that everything we know is wrong in the most plainspoken, utterly obvious way possible, then I can get on board with that. After all, I am a Sorkin fan. As much as I'd hoped for a show that would appeal to a broader audience than the Sorkin faithful, something that wouldn't just be Sorkin telling me what I already know in rapid-fire fashion, I realize now that The Newsroom probably won't ever be that—at least not this season.

By the time the last ten minutes of the episode rolled around, we hadn't done much real "news" stuff, outside of Will picking apart the Tea Party's argument that Obama wants to take away people's guns. So, in order to fill that gap, we suddenly found everyone in the office on a Saturday—the exact Saturday that just so happened to be the day that congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot. Suddenly, all the relationship drama and hand-wringing over Will's tabloid exploits gave way to a long, frenzied montage of the team trying to confirm Giffords' status while various outlets reported on erroneous sources claiming she was dead, all to the oppressive tune of Coldplay. Yes, the way this week's episode proved the News Night's team's superiority over all mainstream journalism was to point the finger at real cable outlets for reporting incorrect info about a woman's life... while simultaneously exploiting her tragic circumstances for the show's own sense of superiority.

If this is how it's going to be week after week, then I'm glad Sorkin has decided to just go the angry old man route and turn the show into his weekly complaint list. If he's going to make everyone a wacky caricature, then he might as well go for the gusto and just keep that zaniness up front. As awkward (and frankly, kind of horrible) as the Giffords stuff was, up to and including Will's fire-breathing at the very end, I genuinely believe "I'll Try to Fix You" was the best example yet of what The Newsroom is, and probably will be from here on out. Whether that's a positive thing or a negative one, at least we know where we stand.


Random Thoughts:

– Last week's threatening by Jane Fonda didn't even come up this week until the very end of the episode, when we learned that TMI is owned by the same parent corporation as ACN, and that Will's sudden appearance in the tabloids might be part of a larger agenda to unseat him. So, yes, the network is going to be portrayed as a bunch of cartoonish villains who don't "get" what Will and Charlie and MacKenzie are doing, and who just want the status quo.

– I really, truly have no idea if I'm supposed to hate Don or not. I really don't. He obviously knows there's something developing between his girlfriend and Jim, but frankly his reactions seem totally normal for a man who knows something like that. His bit at the end leads me to believe he'll somehow end up back on News Night before the season is over. The question, of course, is whether or not Maggie will still be with him by then.

– What the hell is happening to Dev Patel? Neal seemed like an interesting character once, but as soon as he launched into his Bigfoot routine this week, I just wanted him out of the picture entirely. That the Bigfoot thing became a recurring gag of the episode was torturous.

– While we're on the subject, I cannot believe that Sorkin used "the Bigfoot presentation" as his excuse for why the whole staff happened to be in the office on Saturday. Like, Neal's going to, what, send out a mass email saying he wants to meet on Saturday, and everyone isn't just going to tell him to go to hell? He's not anyone's boss. Why would you even show up for that?

– Last Neal thing: Can we stop having Will placate him at the end of every episode? First it was the immigrant worker story, now it's Will pretending to be interested in Bigfoot. Is Neal an 8-year-old child? Are we to believe that Will is just trying to help his self esteem? What in the holy blue hell, is the point of this character?

– I was genuinely digging Olivia Munn this week. She had some good lines, and some good back-and-forth with Daniels. If you'd asked me at the beginning of the season whether I thought Munn would be playing one of my favored characters on the show, I'd have called you a liar and then kicked you in the shins, just for emphasis.

– Between the Radiohead montage of a couple of weeks back and this week's Coldplay segment, I'm starting to think that Sorkin hasn't updated his iPod in a while.


What'd you think of the episode?

Comments (49)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
I really respect Sorkin and West Wing is in my Top 5 TV shows of all time, but I know that a show is in trouble with me when I read an article like this and then think: "Oh, Newsroom was on last night, huh?" This show is, unfortunately, full of "bumps and grinds" and it tries WAY too hard. Ditto for the actors. Where WW or Sports Night simply flowed through the scripts, everything here is hard and edgy and raw, but not in a believable way, but in a way that you feel someone is trying to cram something down your throat and it's not passing through. Again, I'm generally in awe of Sorkin's work, but this, much like Studio 60 (which had better casting, btw), seems to be a miss rather than a hit.
Reply
Flag
Loved that you called him up on his playlist. That really stuck out like a sore thumb for me... This is what happens when you insist on writing everything yourself... No one there to tell you your pop culture references are out of date. Good call on the Neal/Bigfoot thing too. One more thing that really stood out for me was Will's conversation with MacKenzie's boyfriend - the government unable to match its legal funding to that of private corporations and claim justice for the little person - had already been addressed in The West Wing.
Reply
Flag
I don't get the hate behind this show. I think it's rather good and interesting considering I don't follow American politics and live in Australia. It had HBO on it, I was already there
Reply
Flag
ADORE
Reply
Flag
I LOVE The Newsroom! Completely obsessed. I love that it's unexpectedly quirky and humorous. And yes, it does feel like it's created solely as a soap box for Sorkin but who cares?! Its fabulously idealistic and un-realisitc in its portrayal of TV journalism. Those endlessly long halls tailor-made for rapid-fire debate and long-winded monologues have morphed from the White House to the ACN building - its so good to have Sorkin back on our screens again.
Reply
Flag
I dunno if I'm in the minority or not, I'm too lazy to read the comments, but I'm loving this show. Sure, I was also expecting a Serious Drama ABOUT the State of Our Media in Today's Age, but a funny, charming personal relationships drama with the whole newsroom plot as a backdrop is incredibly enjoyable.
Reply
Flag
I definitely agree with Dev Patel's character Neal and his somewhat lack of appreciation that only Will, apparently can save him every end of the episode. "I'll try to fix you" was ok though. I'd love to say it's great but Will's unfortunate events in dating which happened twice in a row seemed a bit cliche to me. As soon as he started conversing with his second date I knew he was gonna bash her again, hence the spilling of wine in his face had been totally predictable. And really? What is it with Sorkin and his timely set-up with Maggie and Jim always being interrupted by Don's presence? I mean everytime Maggie and Jim begins to have a "moment", voila... Don is always on his way to interfere and by that I meant -- to kiss Maggie in such a sordid manner. I think that incident happened for three times already since the pilot. I mean is that the only piece of the office norm Sorkin can put his finger into? Anyhow, Allison Pill's performance was top notch nonetheless. Her whole awkwardness demeanor throughout the episode just totally resonates what her character is. Which is yeah, super awkward or maybe it's just the whole Xanax thing. Lol But in the end I just wish that Will and Mckenzie can just figure out what the hell they want from each other. They totally push each other's buttons with the whole "I'm dating but obviously I still feel something for you." Can we just move-on with the whole passive aggressive attitude?
More+
Reply
Flag
TWOP had a good take on Sunday's episode, referring to it as a "nightmare"...that seems about right...

http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/newsroom/newsroom-hbo-aaron-sorkin-how-to-make-it-even-worse.php
Reply
Flag
i actually had a standing ovation after watching this ep,it very emotional at the end,and the song was bang on! good job.especially the BIG FOOT IS REAL PART!
Reply
Flag
Oh my, does this show tries too damn hard!

And you're right, Alex - at this point, this is what "The Newsroom" is, so better accept it for its weirdly zany, cringe-worthy glorious or just change channel. I'll keep watching... but does Sorkin really need to try this hard?
Reply
Flag
I seem to have a tough time trying to gauge my likeness for the episode or show as a whole.



On the one hand, if I was to write down a lot of the plot points or developments that went on during the episode, I think I would hate it. Considering how much most of these characters talk, they really do a poor job of actually talking with each other. The will-they-wont-they or "it's complicated" relationshippy stuff isn't my cup of tea, and the show seems to put quite a lot of focus on that every week.



On the other hand, I somehow enjoyed most of the episode. I guess that's really the most important priority when it comes to how I feel about a show... but still, my brain is telling me I shouldn't be liking most if it. Dev Patel's character is a perfect example... I kept thinking that his whole bigfoot thing was really lame... yet I found it entertaining enough. Also, I'm really liking Olivia Munn in her role... I think the casting choice was spot on as she seems to fit that character really well.
Reply
Flag
Some fans come to our favorite show site, like TV.com, to read reviews then discuss the episode - even if a particular episode wasn't one of our favorites. But it sucks to read the same author repeatedly trashing a show we enjoy.
Reply
Flag
Nothing like a dissenting opinion to rile up the devout Sorkintologists. I'm sorry Alex, but you really need to spend this week in auditing and remove the bad engrams that make you hate Sorkin's works so much. :)
Reply
Flag
"It's weird, because I feel like I should have super-hated all of what I just described, as well as the episode's continued "will they/won't they" antics with Maggie and Jim (who ended up sleeping with Maggie's roommate and lying about it)."



Are you, and I'm being serious here, are you insane? You have been complaining every week on how relationships are not evolving, this week you get plenty of relationshippy material, and you COMPLAIN about it?! I have asked you this before, and I'm genuinely curious to know, do you watch this show with a pen and paper and write down every god damn thing you think is wrong with it? Is this what reviewing consists of nowadays? How are you a fan of something you cannot seem to take any enjoyment out of? Sure, you say you enjoyed some of it, but your reviews never reflect any such enjoyment.



Props to FringeFanatic he has already said some of the stuff you need to listen to. And Tim, if you're reading this, please, start reviewing this show yourself. It deserves better than this.



Thoughts on this episode:



- Jeff Daniels is indeed amazing. Some of the scenes and writing were a bit goofy but he got threw them as if all those things were his exact thoughts. And I'll tell you what, that frustration that Will is going through with women is exactly like some of us feel, going as far as not wanting a woman to speak because as soon as she does she becomes flat and uninteresting. The show, and Will himself, come out as self-righteous and arrogant but damn it if they're not right. There is no way you cannot sound like you're not arrogant when you know that all that housewife/soapy/stardom material is absolute bullshit, and that's not even mentioning the idea that News TV channels can't even be bothered to confirm that a person is dead before broadcasting it.



- I do think the humour needs some revision, the entire big foot thing was pretty weak. Dev Patel's character looked like a genuine idiot this episode for no reason whatsoever. Drunken mentioning? Sure that was acceptable. Downright belief which includes presentations to his work buddies? Revolting.



Fingers crossed we get another reviewer soon...
More+
Reply
Flag
I'm relieved we finally got a character-centric story. The predictable triangle of Don/Jim/Maggie got a nice twist thanks to the increasingly more fun Don. The whole dating part of Will was lunatic and very sit-comy. That's not the show I signed up for but it indeed appears to be the one we're going to get. Same goes for Neal who was last week's MacKenzie in the sense that serious characters get a bogus storyline that demolishes their credibility as serious journalists. However, the show delivers some intriguiging settings in the form of pressure from above (which is very realistic, considering CEO's and boards are there for the money, the whole moral thing is not what made them the top of the business) and Jane Fonda's character's son who marches in and demands power where he clearly has none. I really like Charlie, he's Will's compass but not as passive as, say, Batman's butler. I too thought Munn was exceeding her expectations but in my eyes, she had the wit and back-and-forth with Will that should be reserved for MacKenzie. It's obvious Mac and Will have issues but between the shouting and the emotional breakdowns there's no room for the chemistry that was beautifully set up in the pilot.



A great episode, largely thanks to the powerful "Fix You", but I'm not completely on board with the show's direction into comedy. It weakens the initial strong characters that have potential to combine drama and serious albeit lecturing journalism into one of the best shows on air.
More+
Reply
Flag
There is really too many similarities between Jim and Jim from the office.



1: The name

2: The intro cinematic, he does the same phone on the elbow thing as Office Jim did in the first few seasons intro

3: The being hung up on a girl in the "office" thats already taken, and when he's trying to date someone else, the first girl gets jealous.

4: His looks / hair

5: His whole nerdy kinda charisma, yet being cool etc.



Seriously can't be a coincidence :D
Reply
Flag
Also, I think the reason Olivia Munn is doing so well is that sometimes Sorkin's dialogue is best delivered relatively straight, and a lot of actors make the mistake of putting too much "acting" into it (see Jim and Maggie--the performances tend to be too overwrought, which obscures the dialogue). What some may see as a limitation on Munn's part is exactly what makes her a good choice for a Sorkin show--she can get out of the way of her lines.
Reply
Flag
Regarding the factor of exploiting real tragedy to further the storyline, that's the fine line this show has to skate, inserting a fictional news network into a real historical timeline. If the entire world of Newsroom were fictitious, would there be any controversy over the inclusion of an attempted assassination of a Congresswoman? I think the best way to view the series is to kind of compartmentalize fiction and fact, so that it's understood that it's dealing with real events, but the focus should be on the characters, not the news show itself.
Reply
Flag
I too liked this episode. Jeff Daniels is great as Will McAvoy, as is Olivia Munn.

Somehow I feel that this show has two distinct audiences. Americans and the rest. I think Americans have a vastly different view on this show. Because all of the news are pretty recent and probably fairly fresh in everybodies minds. I, and i am guessing many others, who aren't American and therefore have far less reference to the news presented just see the show differently. I am not sure if I made any sense.

In my mind I tend to compare it for some reason to Boss. Which i love. On Boss happens less but somehow i am hooked more. I am no particular Aaron Sorkin fan and subtlety apparently isn't something he strives for, but the actors make it work. I came to like them.
Reply
Flag
As someone who checks this site multiple times daily and generally enjoys the editorial content, I have to say that I am as frustrated with these reviews as several of the other commentators. However, I will say that I appreciate the difficult position in which you find yourself. I think those of us who are liberal serious Sorkin fans watch this show and just grin stupidly every time the show speechifies. It's difficult for us not to be moved by Jeff Daniels smacking down the tea party for not employing basic reasoning skills or, especially in light of the recent healthcare decision debacle, remaining dedicated to reporting what's true instead of mere rumor. And you may be one of us, I don't know. But either way, you believe you're facing the same challenge you believe the show should confront--namely, trying to write something that actually seems remotely balanced. But as Will has pointed out in the show, balance is overrated when compared to truth. What I get out of your reviews is that whatever you're writing, it's not really how you feel. And to me, that's a far worse problem than any that would be caused by your being honest.
Reply
Flag
And now a more legitimate review:



I liked the episode. I like the show. I don't love the show, but I like it. I'm never bored, there aren't any characters I dislike for being written poorly, and the concept continues to be appealing. It is heavy-handed, but that hasn't bothered me yet. Time is moving very quickly on the show, but it is obviously forced to remain a certain amount of time in the past, because it needs to cover news stories that actually happened.



Olivia Munn's character is obviously interested in Will and I look forward to getting to know her character more. She looks very put together, so it's nice to see the contrast with how insecure she actually is about social situations. Which makes her a nice match for Will.



The Jim and Maggie thing is still fairly realistic and well acted. And it should also be coming to some sort of a head now. Maggie figures out that: yes, Jim likes her; and yes, she likes him; and also yes, Don knows both of these things. And then we have more romantic tension, but slightly heightened.



I didn't really understand the Bigfoot thing. The first time, it worked. The next five times, not as much. Neal's a smart guy-he should be able to see a hopeless cause.



I want to get to know the other staffers more. They keep popping up, but I know none of their names (except for Tess, whose character trait seems to be a fear of Will and a desire to do human interest stories) or anything about them. Are Jim and Maggie (and sometimes Neal) the only employees capable of coming up with decent stories? I hope one of them pitches a really good story and Will runs with it and gets to know that person better. An ensemble cast isn't interesting if they're all just faces.



My last thought is that I want Will and Mack to really just have it out. No more interruptions, no more postponing of arguments so they can fight again in the next episode. Will they probably end up together? Yeah. Do I want them to? Not really. Will is an ass, but he deserves to move on.



Oh, and no more Coldplay. Please, Aaron Sorkin. I don't think you realize how unsuited Coldplay is now for background music.
More+
Reply
Flag
Second episode in a row I've caught awkward Broadway humor. I'm assuming Sorkin is a Broadway fan (although his references are certainly not to anything in the last 50 years), and he assumes a significant portion of his audience are Broadway fans and will get the references. Which is fine. But it didn't work. It's not done frequently enough to come across as "Oh, and this character is a big Broadway fan." Two episodes, two completely different pairs of characters randomly discussing Broadway musicals for 10 seconds.



Yes, this is a tiny tiny tiny detail to gripe about, but I figure no one else is going to bring it up, so at least I'm original...
Reply
Flag
I loved how that crazy woman explained the parallels of the gossip rags and Will's journalism style, truly, if its not of interest to you its easier to disregard either form.



I think what Will is doing with Neal is amazing..maybe he sees himself a little in Neal, you cant deny the big brother routine.



I think Will and Neal relationship is a background story we need to see blossom so we could understand a future story.



That being said,..Would Maggie please let go of Jim..the poor guy is not a back-up plan!!
Reply
Flag
I liked this episode. I thought the bigfoot thing was a good allegory for tabloid journalism and reality tv. Because that is what it used to be. Tabloids used to show lame non pictures of Bigfoot and Elvis. And now it is filled with useless reality tv stars. And peoples subsequent obsession with them. As Neil was obsessed with Bigfoot. And it shows that even the smartest among us obsess over silly things. At least that is what I thought and I liked it.



Now as for Will. I can relate because I tend to at some parties and with some of the girls I have dated been compelled to lecture them on the stupidity of reality TV and on many other topics. But I tend to only get eye rolls instead of drinks thrown in my face. So I thought that was funny and kind of went along with the whole smart people interested in stupid things.



I do wish they had not wasted Katherine Hahn in such a way. I would have loved to have her in a more prominent role other than crazy lady, again. She really is a good actress and deserves better roles.



As for the Giffords tragedy, I kind of had to respect that. So many new orgs try to jump on the story and sometimes get it wrong. That isn't reporting the news, that is speculation and gossip which kind of lends to the whole tabloid journalism talk. Are they news reporters or are they gossip columnists. Because until a Doctor says someone is dead their not dead and all you are reporting is gossip.
More+
Reply
Flag
Staff
I thought this was the worst of the four episodes, but dammit I'm still excited to see Ep 5. I watched them all in a row from HBO's screeners, so maybe my take is different from someone who watches it week to week, but because of that I couldn't get over the bad parts and they overshadowed the good parts. Bigfoot.



The show is still trying to find its rhythm. It's like a show that's been disassembled and put back together incorrectly. All the parts are there, they're just not where they're supposed to be.
Reply
Flag
Totally agree, this was the weakest so far...the running Bigfoot "gag" didn't work at all, and when they have the *OMG WE'RE AWESOME MOMENT* at the end by not reporting the Giffords was dead and Will says basically the equivalent to "remind me to tell you how awesome we are after this" I feel like I was suppose to be cheering them on, only I wasn't.



The problem I have with this show is I'm suppose to be cheering on this ragtag bunch of reporters for making the hard choices when in actuality I find myself depressed that there's no room for straight up news in real life. If it bleeds it leads...



On a more personal level I also just haven't really attached myself to any of the characters...I don't feel they've earned Maggie/Jim relationship...I get Jim being single and attracted to Maggie, but it doesn't work for me the other way around. Not to mention it's a re-Re-REhashed Sorkin theme to begin with. Funny thing is he's done it much better in the past (not to mention other non-Sorkin shows that have done it better like The Office). Here it feels extremely rushed, and it'd be a LOT stronger if Don was more sympathetic and their relationship actually worked. I feel like he's not trying.



I hope they can turn it around.
More +
Reply
Flag
The problem for me is that they keep mixing up the parts every week. They throw everything at a wall, carefully scrape off whatever stuck, toss it back in the bucket, and then throw it all at the wall again.
Reply
Flag
You just described the essence of Sorkin. He's been scraping the same s*** off the wall and throwing it back for years now.
Reply
Flag
Your interpretation on how the network is being portrayed is way too simplistic. I think they do get what Will, Charlie and Mackenzie are doing, but that's not how they want it done. It's not cartoonish to have TV execs worried about ratings and political interests, in my opinion it's part of the dynamics and very realistic.
Reply
Flag
I thought this episode was fantastic. The lack of rushed journalism, that has been the line through the previous episodes, until the final ten minutes actually gave it a better pace in my opinion. All of Will's escapades, though unrealistic, were consistent and indicative of his change in persona. I also liked the relative silence of the network's interference until the end, because after all, if they wanted to take someone down, they wouldn't send out a memo. I agree about Don, I think he's reacting in a perfectly acceptable manner, and his character is becoming less and less deplorable than how he was originally depicted. I also find the general view to journalism in the show very good. Though News Night could be viewed as a best-case scenario and it can seem like they're superior, I think the main point of that is trying to show how journalism can be done (and often is done) well. The contrast they regularly make with real news-show blunders points out how things can (and have been) done badly, and so News Night is practically a celebration of real journalists who do it well and don't pander to things like ratings. In the end, News Night is going to seem superior because they're always showing them being the ones to get the right story first. But that is down to News Night being the only news show featured on The Newsroom.
More+
Reply
Flag
Let me say this about this show: This show is not about the news. This show is, as the previous Aaron Sorkin shows truly have been at their heart, not about a News show (or a Sports / Comedy show). This is a love story between the two main characters. MacKenzie and Will. If you look at it that way, it makes sense. I'll admit that I still want to see MacKenzie standing up a bit more for herself, but this episode was at least a step (though not as large of one as I would have liked) in the correct direction for that. In addition to this main love story you'll have minor ones, like Jim and Maggie, whose storyline I just find to be insufferably cute and about which I will likely never complain. You'll also have character foils and friends to help and hinder as Sloan and Neal are likely to remain. Because of this approach, I do NOT find it to be insensitive to News Stations around the globe who honestly do their best, because this show isn't about them. It's about love, and the journey we take to find it, recognize it, and go after it.



Given all of that above, this episode just makes sense to me. We're going to be spending time talking about their dating lives, and Will's especially, and we're going to do that because it's central to the main story of love. We'll also spend more time than that, and indeed most of the time at work, the news station, because that's where both of our main characters work. As such, we have a second love story going on here: Aaron Sorkin's love affair with America and all it was, is and can be in the future. Do we critique what we dislike because we think everyone should quit or because we want to see them all do it better? What happens when everyone working deserves gold stars? Does that mean that, relative to each other, there isn't room for improvement? My knowledge of journalism in the USA is essentially nil (I can name the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune off the top of my head and I somewhat regularly read articles from both, but that gives me zero in the amount of a journalism background), so I have no clue whether this is 100% on the money, 100% complete fabrication and an insult to news stations or somewhere in the VAST middle of those bookends.



I want to mention the Bigfoot presentation, too. Call me an idiot, I've done some math on species existence in my life (I have a BS in Mathematics, so at least trust that I know how to correctly calculate statistics if you question my sources/results), but I'll say this: The argument has merits, and very significant ones, so I would not find it hard to believe that Neal believes in the existence of Bigfoot, even given that he has in some ways been set up as the brainiac of the office. For myself, I do not believe in the existence of Bigfoot, I'll come clean now. But the amount that we assume about nature around is astounding to me given just how much there is out there for us to learn. I think the Bigfoot argument is valid, not because I believe in Bigfoot, but because I believe in the existence of yet still undocumented creatures of some size. Math virtually guarantees their existence. I do not believe in Bigfoot, but I believe in nature to surprise me. My 8th grade science teacher, Mr. Bannon, used to tell us that "Truth is stranger than fiction" and I learned that well and good, and he was and is correct. Just look around about the vast number of creatures that exist, and their defining traits. The world is a strange place, and it just might hold yet another strange creature that we haven't seen yet. Bringing this section to a close, obviously the bit was used in this episode as a bit of comic relief, and as for getting everyone to show up on a Saturday, I don't know about you, but each office has someone who is, scientifically speaking, the smartest, acknowledged or unacknowledged by everyone else in the office. When that person in my office asks me to come in, I listen, because I know that that person has a logical reason behind the request. The worst outcome of this is that I bank a little favour with a smart person, and that is never something to be dismissed. Especially not in TV characters.



Rounding up this post, saying that the owners of the parent company of ACN "don't get what Will and Charlie and MacKenzie are doing" is something I disagree with. I would rather put it on the same lines of what Sorkin did in "Studio 60", they just DON'T CARE. It's one of those things where if you worked as a janitor at a grocery store and discovered that there were ants that would regularly attack the wall outside the store manager's office and got into a heated debate with the newest cashier boy about the cause for their presence the store manager would just cut you off with an "I don't care. Just get rid of them." I think Jane Fonda's character clearly gets what they are trying to do, and that presentation the entirety of last episode I think proves it. I think she just wants them to stop upsetting what they're doing. The store manager doesn't want you to not realize that it's because that's where the cashiers routinely shove their garbage so that they can quickly get back to work. The store manager just wants it gone so that when the health inspector comes they get a clean report. What you the janitor and the cashier do to each other is your own stupid business. Just keep it off their plate.



Okay, so that didn't round up this post. 2nd attempt: I think you're not supposed to hate Don. In fact, I think that Sorkin will go a long way toward making sure that you do not hate Don. You're just supposed to want Maggie with Jim because that's that love story. I am okay with that, and personally if I were Maggie, I think she has every right to be upset with him about the phone call to her roommate. Regardless of the fact that he is undoubtedly patently correct about her semi-crush on Jim, that's still really mean thing to do. Honest communication is the way to go, but that's just me in my own little reality. LOVING Olivia Munn's Sloan. Apparently other viewers dislike her from other things? I don't know, this is pretty much it for me, and if anything, I'm wishing we had more of her. Again with the songs... I'm proud of the fact that I've heard the names "Radiohead" and "Coldplay" before. I could not have named them as the bands behind the songs featured in this episode if you had paid me. So, again, I am fine with their use, and hey, classics are classics for a reason. (Can I call those songs classics? Someone help me out with that one.)



All this is to say that I liked the episode, am digging this show, and the dialogue remains excellent as always.
More+
Reply
Flag
I couldn't have said it better myself if I tried.
Reply
Flag
"If this is how it's going to be week after week, then I'm glad Sorkin has decided to just go the angry old man route and turn the show into his weekly complaint list."



Funny, that's exactly how I perceive your reviews to be (minus the old man part).



Every week there is a pervasive negativity in these reviews. Even the parts of this episode you apparently liked you felt you should have "super-hated". Your "random thoughts" literally are just a laundry list of complaints. Some of the only genuinely positive things you've had to write about this show is Alison Pill's performance and Olivia Munn not sucking as much as you thought she would.



You have repeatedly called yourself a Sorkin fan, but have seemingly found little to like about this very Sorkin-esque show. That is similar to Will repeatedly saying he is a registered Republican yet lambasting the GOP at every opportunity. It's like your trying to say "Hey, I like Sorkin a lot, so it's okay for me to criticize this show ad nauseam."



I never want to be one of those guys who call for you to be replaced. You are a critic. It's your job to be critical. Not every review can be a weekly love-in about the greatness of the show. I, for one, appreciate this is your opinion and any review would be extremely uninteresting if only positive things were written.



BUT



There does seem to be a certain amount of prejudice in your writing. I don't know if you're a Republican or Aaron Sorkin recently sent you a nasty email making fun of your mother, but you are not giving this show a fair shake.



I began watching this show for how Sorkin would portray the decay of news in America. The Newsroom has now become appointment watching for me and I've thoroughly enjoyed what we've seen so far.



I'll admit the Bigfoot bit was kind of stupid.
More+
Reply
Flag
completely agree with everything you said. Ive read all his reviews on the show and he just seems to have a very negative attitude toward it. I personally think it's great. Reminds me a lot of the terrible Spartacus reviews. This is a very complex show and deserves a better writer.
Reply
Flag
I completely agree. Though, I'm willing to give the reviewer a break since, from the looks of things, this is the first full show that TV.com has given him the opportunity to review (if you don't count a couple episodes of Castle and his proclamation that Rupaul has the best reality show on TV). That and I'm super pleased that Tim whateverhisnameis has nothing to do with reviewing this show.
Reply
Flag
The one thing that keeps bouncing around in my mind is whether or not Sloan has been turned by the 44th Floor. She did a lot of subtle manipulation of Will this week that could mean she is part of the plan to create "context" for him being fired. One complaint about this week was when Charlie (Sam Waterson) realized that AWM owns TMI and thus is part of the plan that they cut to the scene from last week where Leona (Jane Fonda) said she would create context. I'm okay with reminder shots if what we are being reminded of happened a season ago, but a week that seems ridiculous. It feels like they are dumbing down the show so more people will get it, which in my opinion isn't very Sorkin like.
Reply
Flag
That is a very interesting and astute observation about Sloan. I'll be keeping my eye on her (well, more than I normally would ... Olivia's hot, okay?!).
Reply
Flag
I'm not going to disagree about Olivia being hot... and if they keep giving her actual character like they did tonight I'll be keeping my eye on her too (you know not just because she might be a snake in the grass)
Reply
Flag
Why do I care what your hopes and dreams were? Either write an intelligent critical review or take a casual reviewer mode. But TV.com please stop subjecting me to one idiots' simplistic knee-jerk opinion of a show.
Reply
Flag
More negativity than a page full of YouTube comments, PLEASE TV.com, get someone else to review The Newsroom! "managed to exploit a fairly horrible news story" - breaking news for you, its a show about DOING NATIONAL NEWS. And not reporting on pointless human interest stories, so what else would they report on except actual events? If you didn't note the humanity of the people involved, broken up about this incident, then you're seeing only what you want to see so you can bash the show. Complaining about the music in montages, complaining about the way major screwups in cable news history are portrayed, then giving backhanded compliments - it feels like you want to be Will dressing down the TMI reporter... but really, this feels like the rest of your overblown overly-critical reviews of the Newsroom. In short - it feels less like a review and more like a takedown story.
Reply
Flag
It was no more in depth or insightful than copying out a page full of Youtube comments either.
Reply
Flag
I actually enjoyed what he wrote, I've no idea why you're so angry. Honestly, Alex Navarro is one of the better reviewers on this site imo so stop moaning. I haven't seen the episode yet but it's his opinion and he expressed it just fine like last week.
Reply
Flag
CrredP is also expressing his/her opinion. You can't defend someone for expressing their opinion and criticize another for doing the exact same thing.
Reply
Flag
I dunno about that. If the second opinion is that the first opinion is invalid, then by the first opiniators own rules, they open themselves up to the invalidity of their own opinion.
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook