“The Newsroom” Notes

In fairness, I will start this by admitting that I am not a huge Aaron Sorkin fan.  I have enjoyed some of his work before and I find his name telling, I simply don’t necessarily find it compelling.  “The Newsroom” is not, in fact, the kind of show I would watch on my own, I have seen the first 4 episodes at the behest of someone else.  Nevertheless, I’ve noticed some things…Spoilers involved.


1. Okay, the reason I am not rabid about the episode with Will going around “on a mission to civilize” all the women he’s dating is because I believe this is an instance where the show is deliberately showing Will’s folly, instead of believing as some do that the viewer is supposed to be on Will’s side in the affair.  The language used to describe it is deliberately pompous and reminiscent of imperialism, Will always does get the worst of the exchanges with no one offering real sympathy for what actually happened (as opposed to the resultant press), and let’s face it: SHELDON of “The Big Bang Theory” figured out that he was the problem when getting bad results of others faster than Will did in this episode.  And Sheldon merely got repeatedly told to “Go away!” instead of being physically accosted with liquids.  As I said, this backs up my interpretation that we are supposed to be laughing at Will instead of feeling for him here, but….if Sheldon Cooper catches on faster than your character in a social situation, than your character has sensitivity issues the size of Jupiter.


2. I have a lot of feelings about the portrayal of women on this show.  I’ve tried very hard to look at what’s actually shown all the time instead of just the few instances where feminine stereotypes clearly come into play, and…it’s still really muddled.  My main problem here is that so many of the big problems I have about the portrayal of the women could be fixed so easily, with so little time.  On the one hand, this enables me to just imagine it like that in my head without really changing much about the show.  On the other hand, if that’s all it would take, why couldn’t the show do that for me???  For instance:

-I actually understand why Maggie keeps going back to Don.  She seems to be working very hard to live up to her own standards of herself and, while misguided, it makes sense to me that part of achieving her idealized self is to be able to work on her own so well that she can make it work with a guy like Don instead of allowing a more supportive boyfriend to take care of her.  This seems like a real and understandable mistake for the character as opposed to the flat bad impression of women in relationships some are taking it as.  However, in order for that interpretation to work, the show should, you know, show that a bit.  Every time Maggie is shown actually acknowledging that she likes Jim, that she could use Jim’s help at something, etc., takes away from the simple idea that Maggie as a character has reasons.  The fact that the only champion of Maggie having reasons is the pining Jim just makes it seem that Jim is more sensitive to Maggie’s situation than she is herself and that he has the right to bestow confidence and wellness into her relationships and feelings.  None of these impressions is inherent in the characters themselves as written, but they are there in the way the story is being shown.  I get it-they want to build up feelings between Maggie and Jim, which is why they’re doing it this way.  But, guys…I’m not going to care about Maggie and Jim if you keep promoting the romance over the female lead in that story.  Characters first, then we can care about their emotions.  The fact that a romantic story is automatically favored over the girl’s personality also is very telling.

-I didn’t have a big problem with Mac accidentally messing up the email.  It was a brand new system, she’s still new to the office’s systems in general, she was typing in haste in an odd physical position, and it’s a very believable mistake.  What I want to know is, why, if everyone except Neil appeared to be confused by the tech instructions about the new email rules, is Mac the only one ever shown to have trouble?  All they had to do was show anyone else, Jim for example, accidentally missending a missive and they could have really helped their character.  I do have a problem with Mac snarking around about Will’s dates.  I do wonder why random people are allowed to just walk into the newsroom, I find it hard to believe, but given that they do-why does she snark?  It’s not just unprofessional, it’s petty given how their relationship ended and that there was never a hint of revival between the two actual characters.  Also, apparently she still gave enough stinkeye about it to make Maggie speak to Will on the matter on Election Night, even though Mac was 3 months into a new relationship.  What the hell is that?

I could go on, but life is too short.


3. Some of the characters are just a bit wonky to me.

-The most consistent thing about Mac’s character is that she is obsessed with honesty, with what’s real.  This is the woman who cheated on her boyfriend and gives herself a partial pass simply because she hadn’t realized she loved him yet?  That does not add up to me.  Either something more actually happened with that, they weren’t officially dating, Mac changed a lot in foreign parts (which doesn’t seem to be the case according to everyone’s reactions), or Mac was dealing with other weird issues too that we haven’t been told yet.  As it is, it simply does not compute.  I don’t believe this backstory for this woman.  That’s a little bit important, guys.

-What’s up with Reese?  I know he’s the resident jag of the place, but he clearly has a deep-rooted hatred for Mac.  What’s all that about?  I need to know more.

-None of these people are willing to listen to Neil talk about Bigfoot at a party, but when he calls them in on a Saturday to jabber at them about it, there’s no uprising, the people actually just sit and listen???  I do not believe this.  There would be grumbling, there would be jokes, some people would leave.  Sure, some would stay to mingle with their friends since they came all the way in, but the way it’s presented….no.


4. I found it very off-putting that the big speech that initiated Mac’s character, was reprised by Charlie, and is still occasionally referred to, a) showed her misquoting Man of La Mancha instead of Don Quixote and b) showed Charlie obviously not understanding who Dulcinea is.


5. My favorite time so far on this series was when it became clear that Jane Fonda was manipulating everything.  It seems that even without realizing it, the show’s emotionally pushed me over to the villain’s side.  That does not bode well.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. puscheimsbusch.de
    May 18, 2013 @ 17:18:20

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article!
    It’s the little changes which will make the most important changes. Many thanks for sharing!


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