The Newsroom Is Back

Yesterday Mr. Beale and I re-watched the entire first season of HBO’s The Newsroom in preparation for the season debut last night. And it took me a while but I finally figured out what annoys me about this show.

All the characters are the same. They all talk the same, they all have the same quirks, they’re all hipster nerds, and so they’re all almost 100% identical.

This is the problem with having just one writer. I find a little of Aaron Sorkin’s rapid-fire, glib dialogue goes a long way. I didn’t like it on the West Wing, but I don’t remember every single character being that way, either. But all of The Newsroom’s characters talk using that glib, hyper-intellectual, rapid-fire patter, and I find it really insufferable.

So, that’s my big beef with The Newsroom.

Also, I find it annoying that I’m having to relive all of the political battles from a year ago, only this time we have a real national cable news channel that people actually watch asking the hard questions. In real life we don’t have that thing that would be wonderful to have, so stop reminding me how “a real news network” would have handled the X, Y, Z affair. They don’t exist.

Also, I really don’t care if Maggie and Jim get together. Maybe that’s me being an old married person or something, but young people’s romantic lives is really not that interesting to me.

I think Sorkin needs to work with another writer to put some daylight between his characters. They can’t all have the same hyper-intellectual speech patterns. That’s just not normal.

Incidentally, Mr. Sorkin, I hear there’s a writer in Nashville, Tennessee available for hire. And did I mention how much I admired your work on The Farnsworth Invention?

11 Comments

Filed under HBO, pop culture

11 responses to “The Newsroom Is Back

  1. Mark Rogers

    Sorkin was on MSNBC this morning discussing Season 2. He was quick to emphasize that he had brought in a number of television news people to help give the show greater authenticity. One can only hope that this includes some new forms of dialogue.

    Part of understanding Sorkin is remembering that he writes what he wants to be true, not always what people would see as true.

    This pops up in conversations that are remarkably similar in multiple shows. For example he is very big on having characters refer to someone as ‘one of us’ or creating situations where people ‘run into danger.’ There are places in ‘West Wing’ and ‘Studio 60’ and other shows where it seems he didn’t even change the dialogue.

    • I really hated Studio 60, for the same reasons I don’t like The Newsroom. I don’t care about the characters because they don’t seem very real to me.

      I’m not sure what made West Wing different. I really loved the West Wing, I don’t remember that show being as plastic as this one.

      Sorkin is a wonderful playwright. A Few Good Men is still magnificent.

      • Mark Rogers

        The primary flaw with Studio 60, a show that I actually liked, was that Sorkin was trying to exorcise the demons of his relationship with Kristen Chenowith. good 20% of the show was built around the theme of ‘boy atheist and girl conservative Christian fall in and out of love because they cannot compromise.’ Sorkin seems to suggest his drug abuse was related to the failure of that relationship. After a few episodes, it just gets tiresome.

        ‘West Wing’ had the advantage of being before ‘Studio 60’ and not after It is fresher. Seven years of ‘West Wing’ and all that frenetic walking and talking ceased to be interesting. Even the far superior ‘Hill Street Blues’ was creaking for lack of innovation by Year 6.

        Also ‘West Wing’ was about important things and so it was more interesting to follow. We care more about government than tv shows. The stakes are higher so the situations of the characters matter more.

      • I never saw that Sarah Paulson character as Kristen Chenoweth, either. Chenoweth is wicked funny, smart and doesn’t wear her faith (if she even still is a Christian, I have no idea) like some kind of brand identity, which the Paulson character did. There wasn’t a scrap of humor in her, either — and she was supposed to be some kind of SNL-type star? I really detested that character. I remember thinking, hell, I’d do drugs too, if I had to date her.

        I really hate when pop culture does Christianity. They always get it wrong. Like that Christian character on L.A. Law. You just wanted her to STFU.

      • Mark Rogers

        I didn’t think much of Paulson’s character because Sorkin tried to give us a perfect {or close to perfect} Chenowith. As an actress, I do give her high marks. She does some drop dead great impersonations including ‘Nancy Grace, Juliet Lewis and particularly Holly Hunter.

        She also turned up in Season 2 of Deadwood as an entirely different sort of character and really knocked it out of the park. If you didn’t really know her work, you might not even recognize her.

      • Mark Rogers

        Did you ever watch ‘Sportsnight?’

        In many ways better than either West Wing or Studio 60 because it was a sit com in 30 minute format. Also much less pretentious.

      • No I never did but I’ve heard about it.

      • Mark Rogers

        It will be everything you love and hate about Sorkin. Change the nouns to ‘farm bill’ and ‘nuclear weapons’ from ‘batting average’ and ‘Super Bowl’ and you will feel right at home.

        The dialogue is funnier but it is a sit com. The cast is better than the ‘West Wing’ cast in my opinion. I love Felicity Huffman and Joshua Molina. Also the great Robert Guillaume plays the Sam Waterson role in ‘The Newsroom.’ There is a wonderful recurring role for Huffman’s husband, the great William H. Macy.

        Unless you hate sports, it is worth a rental.

      • ThresherK

        Yep. As a movie geek who’s watched every crummy backstager out there, I have to say that that character breaks the Number One Rule of “putting on a show” entertainment:

        If everyone backstage says something or something is incredible, it had better be incredible.

        Contrast to 30 Rock, where nobody had any delusions about the miracle of just getting the stuff written and the stars corralled.

        (I may be repeating myself in this space.)

  2. I think the reminding you “how “a real news network” would have handled the X, Y, Z affair” is the point.

    But yes, the show is very unrealistic in that every. single. person. on the show is SUPER smart. (Even the bad guys.) If only real life were like Sorkin’s shows. I’d be super smart, everyone around me would be super smart, and we’d have real news journalism.

    • Except the dumb girl who claimed to have sexted with Anthony Wiener in the last season. She was dumb. Everyone else is really smart and not just smart, but really well read and super educated. No one doesn’t know anything, hell they even know that Big Foot is real. I thought I was the only person who knew that.