A quick review of tonight’s “The Newsroom” coming up just as soon as I Google “Alan Sepinwall hate”…
I feel like I should just write several thousand words about all the unfortunate aspects of the scene where Maggie and Sloan confront the entitled, oblivious “Sex and the City” fanfic author, but Aaron Sorkin’s ongoing issues with the internet are self-evident, so let’s talk about some other notable developments in “The Genoa Tip”:
* The clip of Will working on 9/11 evoked the real story of Aaron Brown, whose very first day as a CNN anchor happened on that terrible day. But while the monologue he delivered to the audience was well-written, I don’t think the moment ultimately worked. What’s intended as reassurance instead comes across as self-importance; even if people have been watching ACN all day, this is their first real exposure to Will McAvoy, so his presence or absence won’t mean that much to people dealing with the shock and horror and despair of what happened in Manhattan, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. To be fair, there were a lot of TV personalities that day who understandably kept inserting themselves into the story as a coping mechanism, but this moment wasn’t meant to play like that, but as the one where Will McAvoy became a star, and TV’s most trusted middle-of-the-road anchorman. And I don’t buy that it would have.
* I do think Sorkin’s doing some interesting things, though, with how the events of season 1 have made Will gunshy about putting himself out there on controversial issues like the Death Row appeal that Don focuses on. And the conclusion to that story, with Charlie ordering the on-screen Twitter feed turned off as Elliott reports news of the execution, was a vintage Sorkin-y moment of turning a gag from earlier in the episode on its head to underline the gravity of a moment.
* It’s also somewhat impressive that Sorkin is willing to let some characters point out how terrible others are. Sometimes, it’s in the form of a joke, when Mac wonders, “Do you ever think Will might just be a douchebag?” But other times it’s in a scene like the one where Lisa rips Maggie into itty-bitty little pieces. On the one hand, the attack is a pretty fair representation of the behavior of the show’s single most problematic character; on the other, laying the case out like that (with Lisa sounding even more like an ex-prosecutor than Will does when he gets Neal out of jail) makes Maggie seem even more irredeemable as a character. (And Sloan trying to push Maggie at Jim so she can date Don guilt-free is starting to turn me against one of the show’s least problematic characters.)
Lots to potentially talk about here: the introduction of Grace Gummer as Jim’s new Romney bus rival Hallie, the elaboration of the Operation Genoa story that the staff is going to screw up so badly on (even if, at this stage, it seems like the problems are being instigated by outsider Jerry, rather than someone we’re meant to care about), more on Occupy Wall Street, etc.
So have at it. What did everybody else think?