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The Newsroom S02E05: "News Night With Will McAvoy"


Color me confused, y’all: what is The Newsroom saying by inflicting the events of the real world on its characters? In tonight’s "News Night With Will McAvoy," Sloan got way bummed out because some personal photos that her ex-boyfriend took wound up on the internet, jeopardizing her reputation. Coincidentally, Newsroom actresses Olivia Munn and Alison Pill have both had similar things happen to them in actual life. It’s hardly a coincidence this storyline meant to nod at Munn and Pill’s respective invasions of privacy, even as fictional character Mac made the point to Jesse—the closeted Rutgers student who was ready to come out on national TV—that intimate moments shouldn’t be used as entertainment. Though ultimately, the purpose of this art-imitates-life scenario was a small form of entertainment. What was the desired reaction for a viewer who might make a connection between the real world and the written one?  "Huh, how about that?" or "Oh boy, clever—there go my endorphins! I am pleased." Olivia Munn must have LOVED reliving this non-embarrassing part of her real life. Good boss, that Sorkin.


So yeah, Sloan spent the entire episode depressed over her AIG ex posting these photos to some site called "RevengePorn.com." Oh Newsroom, you do love your fake websites. Luckily, Don—seeking to undo the aftermath of a faulty quote of his—found himself cheering Sloan up in her darkened office. She sure did talk about animals a bunch. Zebras this, basset hounds that. But then he did that thing some people do when they’re not only offering a shoulder to cry on but also one on which to maybe-possibly snuggle up: He questioned her choice in men. Only a few episodes ago, Sloan was hinting at her interest in Don, only to be rebuffed, and now it seems like he’s shared a moment that could lead to something more. Will they? Won’t they? The Newsroom, where every relationship is a rom-com wrapped in a nattering snarknado. 

Anyway, Don got to make his call, and one thing that is good about having so many abrasive, smarty-pants characters is that when they do get all revved up and they yell at deserving parties, it’s pretty satisfying in, like, a professional athlete’s effortless, elegant movements while doing a sport kind of way. Basically Don was a dick to the editor who had picked up his faulty quote and that (along with the dude’s name, "Munch") made Sloan feel better. So delighted, in fact, that she kicked up her heels to the crotch-level of her ex, and punched every last tooth out of his weasel face and snapped a picture. How's that for invasion of privacy, you pig?! As a victory lap, Don continued his good-guy tear and prevented the fellow from furthering the conflict and basically guaranteed himself a ticket on Sloan’s Smoochahassee Express. All aboard! 


Will, as a male, is way too important to have problems that only derive from his body image or sexuality, so while no dick pics or nipplegrams were sent, he did receive a bummer of a phone call from his father’s cell phone. As the George Zimmerman 911 call slowly became available to media outlets, Will got word that his father had suffered a mild heart attack. Thing was, Will took his sweet-ass time even making an effort to leave a "tried calling ya, pops, hope you don't die and stuff" voicemail. Meanwhile, Neal informed Will that a woman was badmouthing him on Twitter and that immediately became way more important. 

What an unlikeable quality in a person: At his age and education level, he’d rather trade barbs with a stranger to feed an ego than dedicate one minute toward human decency. It’s not that hard to be the bigger person against a dying abusive drunk. What was that about a mission to civilize? Later Will admitted that when he did cave in and call, his sister picked up to tell him that their father had kicked the bucket, which led to him closing out the broadcast with a very unprofessional blank stare. "Well I guess it’s just us now," he said before signing off, and lord knows what daddy issues will trip him up for the next two episodes, when this thread will likely fall by the wayside in favor of OWS doing something. 

Elsewhere, while waiting for the Zimmerman call to download, Jim got on Maggie’s case about her wreaking of booze and she threw it back by trashing Hallie for being a one-trick pony just writing about sexism. What the hell was Maggie’s point here? That we shouldn’t care that Rush Limbaugh casually called Sandra Fluke a slut, and focus more on why being a slut is not bad? Yes, that’s one way to approach the problem of sexism, essentially saying that if those slandered by derogatory words were to take ownership or pride in the concept behind the slurs, people like Limbaugh wouldn’t have any ammunition—the words would not be insults. But is that doing away with the culture behind these sexist motivations, or just removing the language? Also, WHY IS MAGGIE STILL LIVING WITH LISA? This is so unbelievable, no one does this! Absolutely the worst source of conflict on this show. It would be more realistic if Maggie started living in the sewers. THAT ONE'S ON THE HOUSE, SORKIN.

Ah Charlie. Drunk-ass, bobble-headed, whiskey-tongued, connection-having Charlie. Frankly, Charlie had the most interesting scenes of the episode. Meeting with the press liaison for the Office of Naval Intelligence, Shep Pressman (Frank Wood, Flight of the Conchords Greg), the two bantered masterfully, talked shit on philosophy degrees, then got down to brass tacks about Genoa. Allegedly, the whole thing occurred because the captive son of a Marine was about to be sold off for beheading. Pressman argued that civilizations living in the ninth century alongside those in the twenty-first presented a "crazy problem." Reporting that our country had committed war crimes would ruin America’s global reputation and ultimately damage the world. True, but also acting immorally would sink us to the level of the crazies, and then would we be any better? (#rockthevote) 

Anyways, "News Night With Will McAvoy" had fair intentions in its aim to discuss internet-shaming, sexism, and audience relations, all against the backdrop of personal tragedy. But like most Newsroom episodes that miss their mark, multiple targets resulted in shots going wide.     

FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS:

– What will Sam do with his newfound information about Genoa?

– What did Will mean when he said, "Well I guess it’s just us now"?

– Is Twitter mysterious or exotic to you?

– What is the most enjoyable aspect of this show for you?

– How will Will handle his father dying? 

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/15/2013

Season 2 : Episode 9

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