The FFG on TV: The Newsroom – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

As The Aaron Sorkin Drama Comes To A Close It’s Time To Take A Look At What Has Made The Freshman Drama Fun, Frustrating and Downright Maddening

Some people hate it, some people love it, The Newsroom has become Exhibit A for Sorkin at his best and at his worst. Truthfully, from week to week I am not sure if I am watching because I think it is really good or if I am “hate watching” it (a Louis CK term that I love, ironically). With the finale airing this Sunday it seems like a good time to take a look that all that was right and all that was wrong with probably the most Sorkin-y of all dramas.
The Good
There hasn’t been a single episode where there wasn’t something that I really enjoyed. Here are some random “goods”… Jeff Daniels has been making Sorkin’s dialogue sing … “What does God sound like? How is that not the first question?” … Sam Waterston in anti Law & Order mode … David Krumholtz can still play smart better than almost anyone … Dev Patel believes in Bigfoot … Thomas Sadoski is one of the most likable assholes on TV today … Olivia Munn isn’t unwatchable.

The Bad
We get it, you hate the Tea Party … Simply saying your lead character is a Republican does not make you seem unbiased … I doubt Ted Turner is scared of the Koch brothers and I can’t figure out why his ex-wife would be … extremely opinionated news is successful all over cable TV, why is News Night so different.
note: as anyone who knows me will attest I politically line up with most of what Sorkin is slinging on The Newsroom so it is not the POV that I have a problem with. What doesn’t work is the slavish way Sorkin keeps telling us that they are not being biased, that they are not being one sided. It is the same thing that drives me nuts about Fox News or Glenn Beck. Own it! You are being politically biased, you are not presenting both sides of the issues equally. It is OK, you aren’t fooling anyone anyway.
The Ugly
Sorkin has issues with women (at least as a writer). EVERY woman is ditzy and narcissistic and insecure about their relationships with men. You might be able to get away with Allison Pill’s Maggie going back to her boyfriend who treats her like a child if Emily Mortimer’s McKenzie wasn’t so needy toward her ex, Will. Even the woman who is in the position of most power, Jane Fonda, is spineless and weak when faced with outside pressures. The lowest point was probably this past week when Olivia Munn’s character, who is supposed to be extremely educated and self confident, freaks out when someone suggests her butt might be big. Sorkin hasn’t written a really good female character since CJ on The West Wing, here’s hoping he can turn that trend around in season 2 of The Newsroom.

The Newsroom isn’t the best show on TV, but maybe it could be (watch the clip below and then you’ll get that).