Season one of The Newsroom ended last night and I was left satisfied with Aaron Sorkin’s HBO show. Many critics have slammed the show, while many viewers praised it to the heavens. Both sides have their points, but funnily enough those points are being taken to extremes in a way that’s reminiscent of the political climate the show is supposed to be a commentary on. Anyway, here are some random thoughts on The Newsroom. If you’ve watched the show, I’d love to hear your take too.
I Love Sorkin’s Writing: Yes, I know his characters speak in an unrealistic way, but I’m just a fan of condensed dialogue with wit and heart. I love that style and Sorkin is arguably the most commercially successful writer that employs it. It’s the same reason I love Kevin Smith’s writing. To me, they’re two sides of the same coin. One side is unapologetically liberal, while the other is stoned and lewd, but they’re both witty and have heart. You know, I wish I had a coin like that.
Lisa Munn Was Good: While it’s still unbelievable that she’s an economics godess with dual-wielding PhDs, I came to enjoy Olivia Munn’s character. Her awkward charm grew on me. She was fun. Don’t get me wrong — I will still exploit her for traffic and am not a fan of her as a person, but I completely admit that I came to enjoy her performance as Sloan Sabbith.
Sorkin’s Women Are Silly But the Men Are Sillier: I actually argued this a bit with a friend last night. He, and many others, feels that Sorkin writes female characters that are flawed and idiotic. I feel that most of the characters on the show are flawed and idiotic. The women are just honest about it, while the men cover it up with bullsh*t. For all of Will’s bravado and gruffness, he’s a romantic softie that’s overly sensitive. Don comes off as a dick, but he’s also insecure and sensitive. If anything, I preferred that the women were being real. Heart on sleeve baby!!! (You have to picture me saying that the way Chris Jericho says, “Come on baby!!!”)
Retroscopic News is Easy: Many fans of the show point to it as a sterling example of everything that’s wrong with news reporting in America today. There’s a point to that, for sure, but The Newsroom makes reporting the news “right” seem much easier than it actually is. While the fictitious News Night has its share of struggles, there are times when they look like the most brilliant newsmen and newswomen that ever existed. It’s easy to like like a genius on a fictional show that uses last year’s news as plot devices. Anyone can look good through the retroscope. Doing it in real-time is a whole other matter. Some people forget this this is fiction. It’s like when all the kids in the neighborhood saw Gleaming the Cube and became experts on skateboarding. Really, it’s exactly like that.
The Show is Extremely Left Wing: I’m honestly shocked by Newsroom fans that think the show is anything but ultra-liberal. They point to Will’s character being a republican that’s dissatisfied with the tea party and trying to restore balance to
The Force the GOP. Uh-huh. I have zero problems with a fictional show being ultra-liberal or ultra-conservative, but let’s not pretend The Newsroom is something it’s not. Sorkin is on the extreme left, but his writing has charmed (fooled?) some people into thinking this show is only slightly left because the protagonist is a conservative. That’s just nonsense. It’s like believing Fox News or MSNBC reports the “proper” version of the news. That kind of stuff can be dangerous, especially in an election year.
Season Two Will Kick Ass: Now that the actors have had a season to get into their characters, I’m sure they’ll be even better in season two. More importantly, the show will have the benefit of an election to cover. It’s similar to how The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Saturday Night Live are at their best running up to an election. I can’t wait to see how Sorkin’s team covers the 2012 election through the retroscope. It’ll be fun, witty, and full of heart.
Also, I hope Jim and Maggie stop being weenies and finally get together. Yes, I love to the soap-opera aspects of The Newsroom too.