After two disappointing seasons, filled with nearly as many broken phones as comically incompetent characters, Aaron Sorkin has finally admitted that The Newsroom isn’t what he hoped it would be. Speaking at a Tribeca Film Festival event yesterday, Sorkin smugly apologized for his HBO series and hey, remember that time Maggie went to Africa and cut off her hair? The hell was that?
“I’m going to let you all stand in for everyone in the world, if you don’t mind. I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with The Newsroom and I apologize and I’d like to start over,” Sorkin told the audience after interviewer (and former President Obama speech writer) Jon Favreau asked about what he’s learned about the media doing the series. “I think that there’s been a terrible misunderstanding. I did not set the show in the recent past in order to show the pros how it should have been done. That was and remains the furthest thing from my mind. I set the show in the recent past because I didn’t want to make up fake news. It was going to be weird if the world that these people were living in did not in any way resemble the world that you were living in… Also, I wanted the option of having a terrific dynamic that you can get when the audience knows more than the characters do… So, I wasn’t trying to and I’m not capable of teaching a professional journalist a lesson. That wasn’t my intent and it’s never my intent to teach you a lesson or try to persuade you or anything.” (Via)
It’s not the Captain Hindsight framing that bothers me, or at least not the ONLY thing that bothers me. I’m much more offended by how utterly uninteresting the characters are. The Newsroom can chug along fine when it’s a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work at a 24-hour news channel, but when the pace slows down, and Sorkin returns to Will and MacKenzie’s stuffy relationship, it becomes inept.
Plots like this don’t help, either.
As the Tribeca event was happening on the same day as the 2014 Boston Marathon, Sorkin told the audience that an episode of The Newsroom was filming in California about the bombing at last year’s marathon. The creator also said it was the first time he was ever not on the set of something he’s written. “I haven’t become an expert in anything. I’m not sophisticated when it comes to politics, when it comes to journalism. I’m not as smart as the characters are or, as you can see, as articulate,” he said, stumbling over his words. “I want to make it clear: I don’t know nothin’,” he eventually added. (Via)
That folksy, aw shucks attitude is cute, until you remember The Newsroom is doing an episode on the marathon bombing. Hasn’t Boston suffered enough?