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The Newsroom


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#61 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 06:09 PM

Well it's great to have two complex characters in love. Just don't render their dialog and motivations so complex and self-defeating as to be literally incomprehensible!

 

The one moment I felt something for Will and Mac was when Will realized that it was Mac at the back of the room with the magic signs in that first ep. The two of them have never needed anything more than that to seal their love. The next 50,000 words between them left me nothing but cold. They've gradually deflated the power of that initial soaring moment into apathy.

 

What could have saved it would be simple. Have the Republican bee-yatch who Will had given permission to beat him up say snarkily on live TV, "And you're the very guy who said America isn't a great country anymore!" Then he replies, slowly, as we see Mac's signs in flashback at the back of the room...

 

"It isn't. But...it could be. Will you please excuse me?"

 

He then runs offscreen on live TV to take Mac into his arms and whip the ring out. Now THAT'S entertainment. That's a Frank Capra moment, not an Aaron Sorkin moment.

 

Instead, the "epiphany" that rekindled his ardor was about some confused pretzel logic Mensa moment so involved as to need a philosophy professor to parse it all out. Limp.


Edited by Maruuk, 17 September 2013 - 06:40 PM.


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#62 OFFLINE   mrro82

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 06:32 PM


The insistence on getting fired was patently ridiculous, nobody in the media demands to be fired from jobs paying millions. Another bizarre absurdity.

It's called journalistic integrity.
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#63 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 06:51 PM

Which a) Doesn't exist anymore and b ) If it did, wouldn't be expressed in this mass suicide of an entire newsroom. In fact, even the show corrected itself! In the end, everybody realizes quitting is an incredibly stupid thing to do! As it was incredibly stupid of the writers to suggest they would even consider it in the first place!


Edited by Maruuk, 17 September 2013 - 06:53 PM.


#64 OFFLINE   mrro82

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 07:29 PM

Which a) Doesn't exist anymore and b ) If it did, wouldn't be expressed in this mass suicide of an entire newsroom. In fact, even the show corrected itself! In the end, everybody realizes quitting is an incredibly stupid thing to do! As it was incredibly stupid of the writers to suggest they would even consider it in the first place!

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#65 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 07:44 PM

The two trivial pursuits were mind-numbingly absurd and time-wasters (the unsigned book and the Wiki Cambridge credit). Nobody acts like that, talks like that, or would be obsessed about those things in the middle of critical work. Crazy writing. It's almost like Sorkin's a drug addict. Oh that's right, he even admits it.

 

The insistence on getting fired was patently ridiculous, nobody in the media demands to be fired from jobs paying millions. Another bizarre absurdity.

 

The endless Sabbith cut-offs. Not funny, completely fake-looking, and a real insult to her rapidly developing character and as an actress as well.

 

...what was the point about Jim acting like a lovesick fool over skanky Lisa upstairs? Does he have to be in love with 3 women at the same time?

 

And why don't they write associate producer/booker Tamara Hart (Wynn Everett) more into the show??

 

She's totally gorgeous but just used as a background prop. Like the guys in the newsroom wouldn't be all over her!

 

 

Impossible to make any sense out of the whole Will/Mac insanely intellectual wank job.

 

I am finding it hard to find fault with that assessment. I am not as much in agreement with your stronger comments. A little tough on Sorkin; a great many of artistic types, including some of the most successful and enduring writers and painters and musicians from the last four centuries (not to mention a lot more of the unsuccessful forgotten ones) have had issues much more horrifying than Sorkin snorting a line or two every once in a while. Weed has recently become a Hollywood accoutrement among many successful actors and producers, and coke basically drove everything in the 80's. But true, even if he is the best writer out there (many disagree) not everything put on the page is a gem.

 

Just what about Lisa earns her the perjorative "Skanky". Please explain this for us. She seems pretty normal to me, and she has a right to be a little pissed at Maggie. I am puzzled that you seem to hate certain women so much for no apparent reason (it seems to be a pattern). Somebody must have hurt you really bad. At least we are starting to see a type that you seem to be OK with. Actually, all of those news chicks are pretty cute (and I would include Maggie if her eyes weren't disturbingly way too close together), but stand any one of them next to Sloan and they look like trolls by comparison. Sloan just seems to get more stunning every day. No one has those cheekbones.

 

But I honestly did not get what they were going for with Will treating Sloan so shabbily on air; that did not add up. Actually, a lot did not add up. But, bottom line, even the "worst season-ender ever" out of a universe of two, is still better than 98% of the rest of the drivel on the air.

 

You want to know what is really lame? The new format for this forum. I'm not sure it could be more of a downgrade than it has been, from the previous format. Must have got it cheap.


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#66 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 07:55 PM

Which a) Doesn't exist anymore and b ) If it did, wouldn't be expressed in this mass suicide of an entire newsroom. In fact, even the show corrected itself! In the end, everybody realizes quitting is an incredibly stupid thing to do! As it was incredibly stupid of the writers to suggest they would even consider it in the first place!


Don't forget the entire premise of the show (and most of Sorkin's writing) ...
Sorkin's world doesn't exist. But it should.

Sorkin writes from the perspective of the way it should be done. In a perfect world when someone screws up that much they take responsibility for their part of the failure ... not find some scapegoat. You're right that in the real world the real world staff of a newsroom would look for the scapegoat to save their own skin. Wouldn't it be nice if principle ruled over self-preservation?

In the end the staff decided that the greater good was staying on the job and sacrificing their personal pride (all of the nasty stories that will come out in the suit) for the ability to make a difference. With all their faults they can still make a difference.

At least in Sorkin's world ... which we have been fortunate enough to be invited in to for a respite from our world.
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#67 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 12:31 AM

Well the show spends a lot of effort to present a REAL newsroom with realistic people in it making real decisions as they do in the real newsroom world. This silly fantasy stuff out of the blue undermines that. The show could deal with a bit more grit and hard reality, not artificial situations designed to make heavy-handed moralistic poses.

 

But I get the Sorkin sell--right back to West Wing. Create a "realistic" world, then create a bunch of utterly fantastical events met with impossible nobility and courage and genius to create god-like characters with just the right amount of flaws. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It gets silly a lot, as in "gimme a break" silly. But I do respect the emotion in that theme song that says "America may not be great...but it can be." They need way more of that in the show. Actual journalism as the show teases us with really is part of what can bring America back from the brink.

 

Now, these shows are fiction and the characters are designed to manipulate me in various ways. I, and you, are marks for HBO. They need to bamboozle us into liking the show one way or another. Sometimes with wit, sometimes with humor, sometimes with sex, whatever works, we need to be seduced, it's the oldest profession in the world. The characters aren't real people, the women for the most part are designed to be sexy and attractive. They are objects made of pixels shot at our eyeballs to effect a particular set of Pavlovian responses. They are no more deserving of consideration as actual living human beings than an ashtray or a toaster. The actresses would say they "create a character". Exactly. The characters are cardboard cutouts of people. Animated purpose-built mannequins. I can't offend a fake character. There's nothing offensive about insulting a mannequin. Or the character of Lisa who describes herself as "overweight, 30, stupid, a loser." in comparison to the younger, skinnier, cuter and vastly more successful women she finds herself in competition with. Lisa's not even real! I can say whatever I want about any of these fake characters. Actors are people. Characters are objects. They are supposed to be kicked around or worshiped as objects, that's the entire fun of it.

 

I do hope they come back to deal with actual huge, current, journalistically fraught issues like Snowden and the NSA etc. Be interesting to see what Will would do with all that. Not so much Sam Waterston. He just seems drunk or on drugs all the time, waving his hands around and screaming. Not sure what his point is as a character. Even the other characters just stare at him like, "What's the point of this guy?".


Edited by Maruuk, 18 September 2013 - 12:33 AM.


#68 OFFLINE   Bronxiniowa

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:24 AM

If he would have blurred the footage and changed the voice before showing it to the team it would not have been "raw footage". The team would have wanted to see the pre-blurred version (which they did see). They saw more than the final edited for air drop in clips.

All the questions that they should have asked before airing the story came up in this week's episode. It was a big "uh oh" moment for everyone involved. Everyone in the institution who each made a little mistake that added up to airing the story.

Big question no one asked was: "Does s/he have an ax to grind"? First rule when you employ a source you absolutely do not know. Of course, if the ACN news team had pursued this, they would have found plenty of axes in the woodshop, and the story arc would have melted away. But this sort of thing happens on every procedural. Real cops, lawyers, doctors, etc. don't do things like their TV counterparts.



#69 OFFLINE   Bronxiniowa

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:31 AM

Well the show spends a lot of effort to present a REAL newsroom with realistic people in it making real decisions as they do in the real newsroom world. This silly fantasy stuff out of the blue undermines that. The show could deal with a bit more grit and hard reality, not artificial situations designed to make heavy-handed moralistic poses.

 

But I get the Sorkin sell--right back to West Wing. Create a "realistic" world, then create a bunch of utterly fantastical events met with impossible nobility and courage and genius to create god-like characters with just the right amount of flaws. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It gets silly a lot, as in "gimme a break" silly. But I do respect the emotion in that theme song that says "America may not be great...but it can be." They need way more of that in the show. Actual journalism as the show teases us with really is part of what can bring America back from the brink.

 

Now, these shows are fiction and the characters are designed to manipulate me in various ways. I, and you, are marks for HBO. They need to bamboozle us into liking the show one way or another. Sometimes with wit, sometimes with humor, sometimes with sex, whatever works, we need to be seduced, it's the oldest profession in the world. The characters aren't real people, the women for the most part are designed to be sexy and attractive. They are objects made of pixels shot at our eyeballs to effect a particular set of Pavlovian responses. They are no more deserving of consideration as actual living human beings than an ashtray or a toaster. The actresses would say they "create a character". Exactly. The characters are cardboard cutouts of people. Animated purpose-built mannequins. I can't offend a fake character. There's nothing offensive about insulting a mannequin. Or the character of Lisa who describes herself as "overweight, 30, stupid, a loser." in comparison to the younger, skinnier, cuter and vastly more successful women she finds herself in competition with. Lisa's not even real! I can say whatever I want about any of these fake characters. Actors are people. Characters are objects. They are supposed to be kicked around or worshiped as objects, that's the entire fun of it.

 

I do hope they come back to deal with actual huge, current, journalistically fraught issues like Snowden and the NSA etc. Be interesting to see what Will would do with all that. Not so much Sam Waterston. He just seems drunk or on drugs all the time, waving his hands around and screaming. Not sure what his point is as a character. Even the other characters just stare at him like, "What's the point of this guy?".

Oh, I'm not sure that every character is a caricature. I have known producers like Maggie Jordan, Don Keefer and Jim Harper, and on-air personalities like Sloan. And Charlie Skinner reminds me of Ben Bradlee, the real-life former executive editor of the Washington Post who was in charge during the paper's Watergate scandal beats.



#70 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 07:39 PM

Oh yeah, didn't mean the characters were cartoons or exaggerated. Well, Charlie has gotta be weirder than Ben Bradlee (who could have been my father-in-law except for fate). Just that they're all fictional and it's just as valid to call a male character "that fat shmuck guy" as a female a "skank". There's nobody to offend.

 

I just didn't like where they took Will & Mac. I like how those 2 deal with electronic journalism in general, just not human relationships. Sorkin turned them into Sorkinbots. Nobody deals with love that way unless they're in an institution. But really the young love plot twists are ok. Hallie is growing on me. I like that Maggie has gone crazy. Sloane's always great. Lisa is kinda boring. Jim's really in love with Lisa??



#71 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 05:54 PM

Don't forget the entire premise of the show (and most of Sorkin's writing) ...
Sorkin's world doesn't exist. But it should.

Sorkin writes from the perspective of the way it should be done. In a perfect world when someone screws up that much they take responsibility for their part of the failure ... not find some scapegoat. You're right that in the real world the real world staff of a newsroom would look for the scapegoat to save their own skin. Wouldn't it be nice if principle ruled over self-preservation?

In the end the staff decided that the greater good was staying on the job and sacrificing their personal pride (all of the nasty stories that will come out in the suit) for the ability to make a difference. With all their faults they can still make a difference.

At least in Sorkin's world ... which we have been fortunate enough to be invited in to for a respite from our world.

 

Ah, idealism! It's sad we have to enter Sorkin's world to find it in journalism or politics.


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#72 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 08:46 PM

Or even in any media. Sorkin is a rare holdout for Old Skool Americana, a kind of Frank Capra-meets-Norman Rockwell-meets-liberal hipster sensibilities. It's charmingly retro and deserves a spot on TV in this intensely cynical age.



#73 OFFLINE   RunnerFL

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 07:39 AM

It's coming back for one last season.

 

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#74 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 01:53 PM

... in the real world the real world staff of a newsroom would look for the scapegoat to save their own skin. Wouldn't it be nice if principle ruled over self-preservation?
...

 

I can tell you from first-hand that Finger Pointing 101 and Blame Placing 202 are the basic courses most journalists I have met excelled in, and they practice that every day, or at least whenever the waters get choppy.

 

But I think another season is a no-brainer, and my guess would be that talking Sorkin into more than one might be difficult.


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#75 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 06:19 PM

Trilogies work.
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#76 OFFLINE   toobs

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 03:07 PM

It seems like that they show just started and now its going to end.  



#77 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 06:32 PM

Exactly. It's just starting to establish itself and the way it uses real news as the core plot driver, and now they're wrapping it up before it really had a chance to take off. Probably because it has a huge cast and it's too expensive. A lot of shows get shut down for that.



#78 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 07:20 PM

I think you just described Game of Thrones. Of course, that show is a cultural phenomenon. It's biggest threat is George R.R. Martin.



#79 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 07:52 PM

...It's just starting to establish itself and the way it uses real news as the core plot driver, and now they're wrapping it up before it really had a chance to take off. Probably because it has a huge cast and it's too expensive. A lot of shows get shut down for that.

 

I can't imagine its expensive. It's shot indoors on a single set, basically (a few easy remote locations), and it's HBO, who is notoriously cheap. No one in the cast other than Jeff Daniels is really a named star, most are B and C level or well below. And really, no one's looking for Jeff Daniels, other than now because he won an Emmy quite unexpectedly, for this show.

 

Boardwalk Empire? Now that is expensive; the pilot alone cost 13 million; you could fund a number of seasons of The Newsroom for that. Also on cheap old HBO, with a much larger cast and tons of different sets.

 

Aaron Sorkin can basically write his own ticket; he is probably the most sought-after writer working, and for good reason. Vince Gilligan would be shoved into the drink from people trying to get past him to Aaron Sorkin. And mercurial artistic types like Sorkin are easily bored. He bailed on The West Wing, ferchrissake, one of the best writing opportunities imaginable. He is probably more interested, at least after 3 seasons of The Newsroom, for new frontiers the quality and scope of The Social Network, which was amazing, and is probably pretty deep into the Steve Jobs biopic at the moment. Bottom line, I still think it is Sorkin driving the quick exit here.

 

My advice to Sorkin? Lay out a couple of seasons; blow your wad elsewhere, and then see if HBO wants to pick it up again.


Edited by TomCat, 15 January 2014 - 07:53 PM.

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#80 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 09:46 PM

Anything Sorkin touches is expensive since he takes the lion's share of the cash.

 

Basically Sorkin is great at complex poltical and media reality dynamics, he knows how to sell a fictional world as compelling reality--but not so great at character depth or  romantic situations. The characters in The Newsroom all seem like marionettes being spastically manipulated by a guy with familial tremors. They're not that compelling and have little arc, we're already seeing a lot of repeat neurotic syndromes between the characters. Boring. Mack and Will Jumped the Shark in season one. At this point the only one a I care a whit about is Sloane. She needs a spinoff all her own. I'd watch her read the Dow Jones ticker.

 

Sorkin is good, but he's overrated. The Social Network and Charlie Wilson's War had all their dramatic and relationship problems solved in the books: Ben Mezrich's 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires and George Crile III's 2003 book Charlie Wilson's War. Not to mention historical reality which did a lot of the creative development itself.

 

The Newsroom is easily the preachiest, most political soap box-like of all his work. The only reason he got away with it was that HBO agreed to hands-off on content. And the West Wing was no Lefty diatribe slouch, either.

 

The Newsroom works better conceptually than it does in reality. But at least it's smart and does give insight into the fragile morality of modern infotainment, formerly "news".


Edited by Maruuk, 17 January 2014 - 01:11 AM.





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