By: Lady Sharon
In the meatiest episode yet, Sorkin artfully weaves a plot that proves that some lies have purpose, some news is lies, and some hype isn’t news. A varying series of lies affect the staff, put the News Night broadcast at a crossroads, and thwart Will’s “mission to civilize” his dates and his viewers.
Everyone stumbles, but by the closing credits they arise renewed and united. Hopefully this is the sign of more teamwork and less friction among the characters in the future.
Will’s “mission to civilize” loses momentum when he gets caught in the tabloid spotlight
Throughout this show, Will hits on a gossip columnist, dates a crazy friend of Sloan’s who carries a gun and smokes pot, and takes a Senator’s aide out for dinner, though they never get that far. And… he only got drinks thrown in his face 2 out of those 3 times. So, not a total failure.However, news of these tragic dates find their way onto Page Six, the gossip column of the New York Post, and garners the attention of Charlie, who calls Will to his office to discuss it.
Charlie: Let’s open to Page Six …Which for some reason is on page 10.
|SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: WILL ROT YOUR BRAIN. |
I applaud his theory and believe that what he’s trying to do with News Night is more morally justified. In fact, I was upset that the ditzy bimbo dates weren’t letting him finish his rants.
I wholeheartedly agree with the uselessness and banality of most reality TV shows. And that we, as a society are weakened with each minute watched.
Don gets Maggie to set up Jim with her roommate, LisaDon is lower than low; lower than amoebas on flies on rats. And he knows what he’s doing when he tries to set Jim up on a date. But what’s worse, he does it with Maggie’s roommate, Lisa, so that their courtship will be paraded around in front of her.
That’s some serious mucking about in girl friendships, dude. Way wrong.
But what’s worse is that Jim – who KNOWS he and Maggie should be together – doesn’t do the chivalrous thing and hold off. He jumps right in with both feet. What the…?
If Jim had only dated Lisa and not slept with her, that would be tolerable. But you can’t be in love with one girl, sleep with her roommate, and then expect for the one you love to ignore the fact that you caved for a quick bit of nookie. With her roommate. And then lied about it.
Maybe I’m old fashioned (or just plain old), but you can’t.
Jim does redeem himself a bit when he confronts Maggie later on about the whole scheme.
|Not a great hairdo and you’re wearing a Bill Cosby sweater, |
but I still heart you. Photos: source
Quick sidebar on Mac’s boyfriend, Wade
Mac’s boyfriend makes another appearance in this ep. He tries to get Will to latch onto a story about the government’s inability to fight the financial crisis because they are out-lawyered.
|Party on, Wade! Photo: source|
Mac's boyfriend's name is ‘Wade’ Campbell, and his first line in the show (in Episode 3) was “I’m not worthy.” If someone says “Party on, Wade,” I’m going to pee my pants.
Neal’s “Bigfoot is real” pitch falls on deaf earsFinally, I get to talk about Dev Patel and his character Neal! He’s adorkable. He’s another Newsroom mild-mannered pocket-protector-wearing cutie! And yes, he also does fill the “IT stereotype” they joke about in the pilot.
|His name is Neal. Will calls him Punjab. I call him adorkable.|
Punjab photo: source Neal photo: source
But he’s also the comic relief; the unobjectionable character that everyone likes. And I like him for that.
In the first several episodes, many characters end up having personal arguments right in front of him. Usually, he sits there bewildered for a while and his peanut gallery facial expressions are almost funnier than the important-to-the-plot arguments. This time, he fights back.
Neal: You know this glass isn’t sound-proof!?!?
So far, he’s had little input to the plot, but when he does, he makes it count. Neal consistently find the geekiest factoids, like the ones in this ep that statistically, Bigfoot must be real.
Any mention of Bigfoot in an Aaron Sorkin drama seems strange, but there’s a parallel. Read on…
To start 2011, News Night covers some stories they missed or didn’t pay enough attention to in 2010
Obama’s trip to India didn’t cost $200 million, it cost $5 million. Yet news outlets fixated on that false and unsubstantiated number, and ran with it. Again, Will calls them lies.
While a very small part of this episode, this information will be important for some points I make later on…
Leona tries to pull a fast one on WillWhen the third of Will’s disaster dates show up in the gossip mag TMI, Charlie brings in Mac and Don to consult. They want him to make a statement, which of course he won’t.
she can burn fat and burn your career
During this convo, Charlie realizes that the outlets running these tabloid news stories against Will are owned by ACN’s parent company. And that must mean that Leona is the one fueling all the tabloid stories on Will!!!!
In the last episode she says “[I could explain my firing Will] by creating what we call a context. His firing would be viewed an honorable step by a corporation willing to sacrifice ratings for integrity.”
Will won't follow the media rumor mill to make a call on a breaking storyThe date in this ep is January 8, 2011 – the date Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot.
NPR announced she was dead, other news outlets followed – citing NPR’s report. Mac “wasn’t satisfied” without other confirmation - and neither was Jim. They decided not to announce that supposed fact.
|Prez Douchebag is really |
Reese Lansing, the president
of ACN, and the son of
ACN owner Leona Lansing.
During this exchange, Don has his one shining good guy moment
Don: It’s a person. A doctor pronounces her dead, not the news.
Then all hell breaks loose: everyone apologizes, screams their intentions, and states their confusion, all at the same time.
During this quick fire exchange, the work ‘fuck’ was used 6 times in 23 seconds. So far in this series, I’ve been anti-F-bomb, always thinking “Aaron, use your words!” But this time, I have to go with the cliché: it was an artistic use of language to emphasize a dramatic point. It worked. And created a great television moment.
Comparisons: Civil-LiesWhat I find most poetic about this episode is how tightly it was written. Sorkin crafts every plot point as an important building block to his moral: There’s always two-sides to every story, and it’s hard to know which is real, which is fake; which is fact, which is myth; which is truth, which is lies.
- Is there a bigfoot or no bigfoot?
- Can quality television be found in The Real Housewives or only News Night?
- And is the news even really news, or is it hype? Or worse, is it outright lies?
- Are lies hurtful misdirections or simply an attempt to spare someone’s feelings (Jim for Maggie)?
- Is Will just an asshole or a clumsy womanizer too?
- Should it be Jim & Lisa or Jim & Maggie? (We know the answer to THAT one!)
- Is Don a jerk, or is he REALLY a jerk?
I’ll Try to Fix YouThere was a lot of discord among the staff in the first episodes. There was a lot of trying to make News Night a vehicle of education for the masses. But they never quite got there.
First, intramural squabbling. Then the Radar O’Reilly moment when work calls and everyone comes together as a team.
In this episode, everyone stages a bit of a nutty, and goes a little off the characters we’ve seen so far:
- Charlie lies by not telling Will he met with Leona and the exec’s on the 44th floor.
- Jim lies to Maggie about seeing Lisa again.
- Will trips all over himself trying to get dates and ‘edumacate’ them at the same time.
- Don actually says something humane.
And there’s where the symmetry of the news event comes in. Gabby Giffords was critically wounded in that shooting, and yet, because we have the benefit of knowing the future, we know she does get better. She overcomes incredible odds and does get ‘fixed.’
Act 2 Begins…In this 4th episode of The Newsroom, it’s clear we’ve moved into Act Two of the Sorkin 10-part play. Our characters are defined and have purpose. They were fighting against each other. And even after a series of lies seems that further support that track, it does not separate them. They struggle through and end up firmly united against a common foe: President Douchebag and Leona.
Hopefully this signals a change in the dynamic in the News Night bullpen. And hopefully next week, we get to see more harmony and teamwork from our new favorite TV family.