I'm almost guaranteed to like a few things, and Aaron Sorkin's shows are one of them. It took me a little while, but I finally got to The Newsroom. And it was 85% great.
But I had to dock the show five points right off the bat for having the most uninspiring opening music in the history of television. The visuals were fine, but the music was so boring and unexciting that it actually pissed me off. I had to fast-forward through the credits.
After that, things were great! The fast-paced witty banter was omnipresent, the portrayal of the prime time TV news show newsroom was fun to watch (if not unrealistic, but more about that later), and the characters were good, even though many people think Aaron Sorkin can't write for women. And it's true, the women, especially the highly strung character played by Emily Mortimer was so close to freak-out at all times, that as a woman, I was kind of embarrassed for her. But if that was true, would Sorkin have been able to create the awesome CJ Cregg from The West Wing?
But I digress. Even watching it a year after it aired on TV, I found myself listening to the politicians in the current campaign and thinking, "Didn't anchor Will McAvoy (played by Jeff Bridges) ask, 'Why are these people lying to me?' Yeah, why are they lying to me? Oh, wait, that was a fictional TV show. But still!" So clearly Sorkin is infiltrating the minds of middle-of-the-road voters everywhere.
As for the unrealistic nature of the show, alas, a friend burst the bubble. She's a senior news producer for one of the biggest American networks, and she had to say the following:
- Yes - its COMPLETELY fictional, and very unfortunately, lost most of us after episode two.
- We all wish we had such supportive bosses who did not worry about the bottom line and ratings.
- No office romance or romantic drama is so public and invasive in any newsroom - HR would be all over it !!!!
- And no EP has ever made out with a PA on a spiral staircase in the middle of a newsroom ... Not even after 9-11.
- Most of all, the show has the luxury of never being on a deadline - even if they think they are. In the real world, today, news is non-stop... And you can consume it non-stop thanks to new technology and social media. No one waits for the 6pm news. And no one has any time to have these long-winded, stream of conscience, verbose, dramatic lectures.
- I love Sorkin, but no one today watches an HBO show to get lectured."
And she's right. That's where we docked the show another 10 points - for getting a little carried away with the lectures and the questions of morality and the holier-than-thou stance taken by Mackenzie MacHale (Mortimer) and Will McAvoy. It peaked around episode eight, but we still watched it to the end. And we'll watch Season Two next year. Because really, 85% isn't bad.