This week’s episode of The Newsroom used a pair of emotionally heavy real-world events as the backdrop — Trayvon Martin’s murder and Tyler Clementi’s suicide. Unfortunately, the impact of those stories was overshadowed by Olivia Munn’s horrendous acting. While she can be entertaining in comedic roles, this week her character dealt with a situation that…well, let’s just jump into it.
Morose Sloan: ACN’s “money skirt” just broke up with her boyfriend, which led him to post naked photos of their drunken holiday excursion at the Mandarin Oriental. As a respected financial analyst, Sloan Sabbith was devastated and humiliated by the world seeing her assets. Unfortunately, the character is being played by a woman that many people know for dressing up as Slave Leia and stuffing five sausages in her mouth (photo below).
Watching Munn trying to express shame was unintentionally funny. I laughed out loud during several of her “emotional” scenes. Although I loathe Munn as a human being, I totally admit that she can be good in comedic settings and does well with Sorkin’s zippy dialogue. Portraying vulnerability? That’s totally out of her wheelhouse. She was distractingly terrible, which was a shame because she tarnished what could have been a great episode.
All that said, as crappy as Morose Sloan was, her payoff scene was pretty excellent.
SDF Don: This was another excellent week for Don. His awesomeness almost made up for Munn’s limited acting skills. He combined episode one’s Sensitive Don and episode three’s Jar Jar Don with the usual Dick Don to form a character that’s so awesome that I had no choice but to dub him Super Dimension Fortress Don.
Dorky anime reference aside, Don completely owned this episode. He was charming as he consoled Sloan. He was hilarious as he awkwardly dropped to the floor and duck-walked in order to get out of the News Night shot. It was highly entertaining watching him frantically deal with the “Righteous Daughters of Jihadi Excellence” situation, which culminated in a fantastic telephone blowup. I’m also sure that the ladies swooned when he served as Sloan’s backup during her payoff scene. Objectively, Don is the best character in the show. Subjectively, I have to go with…
Slumdog Savior: I’m convinced that News Night would fall apart without Neal Sampat. He is the glue that holds everything together. Just look at all he did in this episode — kept Will up to date on a Twitter blowup, compensated for Jim’s inability to unblock phone numbers, spotted a huge error in one of Maggie’s edits, transcribed a five-minute police call, and alerted Mac to a potentially disastrous situation brewing in the makeup room. Not only is he the most technically proficient member of the editorial team, he’s also the one with the most heart. Slumdog Millionaire does it all!
(And yes, I’m totally biased for Slumdog Millionaire because his value to the team is criminally underrated and he has brown skin. It’s just like my G4tv days. Ha!)
Maggie on the Rocks: We’re not yet at the point where Maggie completely breaks down, cuts off her hair, and transforms into Maggie with the Dragon Tattoo. We’re getting there though. Still haunted by the little African child trapped in her and an extremely uncomfortable living situation, Maggie is developing a drinking problem (of the alcoholic variety, not the Airplane! variety). Despite a major blunder in tonight’s show, her performance at work has been fine, but she’s been noticeably moody and testy…and a little bit smelly.
Doofus Jim is trying to be supportive, both as her boss and someone that cares for her. Yeah…that’s not going to end well. The good news is that as Maggie continues to break down, her character becomes more interesting. I’m looking forward to next week’s episode, when (according to my U-Verse guide) Meryl Streep’s daughter visits Jim in New York and they’re interrupted by an unexpected visitor. Hopefully it’s Drunk Maggie showing up at Jim’s place at 4:10AM (bars close at 4:00AM in NYC) while Meryl Streep’s daughter is marking her territory. Cat fight!!!
More Salami: The pursuit of the truth behind Operation Genoa gets a boost from Charlie Skinner’s friend from the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). On paper, he’s the PR guy, but Charlie knows better. Dude is a ghost (which, as a nerd, I’m guessing was a play on Oni). He’s also hilarious. The line about the Navy having the foresight to send Maverick and Goose to Miramar was brilliant! Anyway, the ONI ghost leaves Charlie with a suspicious helicopter manifest that suggests that Operation Genoa was real and chemical weapons were involved.
During the rapid-fire (and tremendously entertaining) exchange between Charlie and Shep the ONI Ghost, it was revealed that the former’s daughter is studying at Amherst and majoring in philosophy. The two wondered, “What do you do with a philosophy degree?” Duh! The answer is that you become a financially unsuccessful blogger that cherishes the intangible payoff of reaching out to gamers, vapers, and nerds in a meaningful way. *sigh*
Will Keeps it Together: Oh yeah, this episode occurred during an entire News Night broadcast. It didn’t have any time-hopping and everything happened at the ACN offices, save for a brief excursion by Don and Sloan. So while all of the above was happening, Will was on air and stuck behind his desk. In addition to reporting the news, he was overreacting to a Twitter situation and dealing with a family emergency. While most of this episode was about the other guys, Will literally and figuratively closed the show in a way that said, “Hey, don’t forget this is about me.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know you guys want to see that photo of Olivia and the sausages. Here you go.