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Old 07-02-2012, 08:21 AM   #1
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The Newsroom S01E02

I think discussions of this show might have to be bifurcated into discussing the characters and the relationships on one hand, and the "News" and the "Politics" on the other.

I'm starting to have problems with both.

The news/politics scenes are written as if someone went to Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, and asked them to write an SNL style sketch of what they think the "lamestream" media is. It's extremely left wing and partisan, but yet totally unaware that it is, or at least is trying to deny that it is.

At least in the West Wing they admitted that this is a liberal Democratic president and were proud of it.

Here, their complete unawareness is entering self-parody, even if they pretend that Will McEvoy is a Republican.

The characters - well, they're just Sorkinisms too. Why is Macenzie so obsessed about having to tell everyone that Will is a nice guy? Who gives a crap?

I'll stick with it for a while though.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:35 AM   #2
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This one was bad. I don't know if it's because it was pointed out last week how sorkinisms work, or if there were more, but I found it almost distracting how fast everyone was talking.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:32 AM   #3
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I liked the first episode...not fantastic, but promising.

This one, not so much. It is trying to be an hour long Sports Night without the funny dialog mixed in, and without characters that are likeable or mesh together.

Let's see....Newsroom characters compared to Sports Night characters

Will McAvoy=Casey McCall
Mackenzie MacHale=Dana Whitaker
Maggie Jordan=Natalie Hurley
Charlie Skinner=Issac Jaffe
Jim Harper=Jeremy Goodwin

I do like Jeff Daniels as Will, but my main problems with the show are that I just don't like the Mackenzie character for him (and I usually like accents, but Emily Mortimor's is just hard to listen to and understand), don't really find any of the other characters memorable, Maggie is annoying (Natalie on SP was similiar character but Sabrina Lloyd was never that annoying playing her) and there is WAY too much quick one line Sorkin speak in every dialog.

I had so much hope for this as I miss Sports Night, and hoped this would be as good or even better....I am keeping the SP for now to see where it goes, but it is losing my interest quick.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:58 AM   #4
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I was listening to a podcast this morning where some people had seen ep 1 & 2. They seemed to agree that ep 2 was pretty bad. They also said that some TV critic types have seen more than just the first 2. That most of these critics seem to say the first episode was good, but the show gets bad fast.

I didn't expect to like this show, but did like the first episode. If I really hate episode 2, I'll probably drop it right there.
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Old 07-02-2012, 12:27 PM   #5
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This one was bad. I don't know if it's because it was pointed out last week how sorkinisms work, or if there were more, but I found it almost distracting how fast everyone was talking.
YES!! I was a very big fan of The West Wing, and while there certainly were many moments with the Sorkin fast dialog it was not the entire show. While for this episode I think about 80% of the dialog was the fast overlapping kind. I actually started to dislike it as it was TOO much. Still stuck with it but they need to back off somewhat on using the fast overlapping dialog too often!!

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Old 07-02-2012, 01:35 PM   #6
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I thought The Newsroom episode 2 was fine. Some good fun and character fleshing out.

Notes: Hey, Olivia Munn, the director didn't tell you slow down just because you talk too fast. He told you to slow down because you're not an actor and don't know there's more to it than spewing out the lines you memorized as quick as you can with no feeling or emphasis. I was tempted to turn on closed captioning just to see if there was anything important in those words. Real actors can deliver Sorkinese while still making it real. This is one of the cases where if they didn't happen to have the script in front of them telling them what she was saying they never would never have let those crappy takes stand.

Gary Cooper is that quiet sniper Tom Walker from Homeland! Guy must be an actor: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1663252/
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:03 PM   #7
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Gary Cooper is that quiet sniper Tom Walker from Homeland! Must be an actor: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1663252/
I had just watched Homeland within a week of seeing Newsroom. I picked that guy out immediately.
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:17 AM   #8
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I liked that the Palin clip was "907."
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:21 AM   #9
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I liked the first episode...not fantastic, but promising.

This one, not so much. It is trying to be an hour long Sports Night without the funny dialog mixed in, and without characters that are likeable or mesh together.

Let's see....Newsroom characters compared to Sports Night characters

Will McAvoy=Casey McCall
Mackenzie MacHale=Dana Whitaker
Maggie Jordan=Natalie Hurley
Charlie Skinner=Issac Jaffe
Jim Harper=Jeremy Goodwin

I do like Jeff Daniels as Will, but my main problems with the show are that I just don't like the Mackenzie character for him (and I usually like accents, but Emily Mortimor's is just hard to listen to and understand), don't really find any of the other characters memorable, Maggie is annoying (Natalie on SP was similiar character but Sabrina Lloyd was never that annoying playing her) and there is WAY too much quick one line Sorkin speak in every dialog.

I had so much hope for this as I miss Sports Night, and hoped this would be as good or even better....I am keeping the SP for now to see where it goes, but it is losing my interest quick.
I totally agree with the comparison with Sports Night. I saw this in Ep1 too and I even thought Ep1 was almost a rewrite of Ep1 of Sports Night.

I think I like it more than you, despite the Sorkanisms, which are still distracting. Maybe it's because I am watching this with my son who is unfamiliar with Sorkin. I explained it all to him but he's getting a kick out of the witty banter going back and forth and finds it highly amusing. Afterward I told him that if he likes this, he should borrow my SN DVDs.

I like the Maggie-Jim dynamic a lot better than the Will-MacKenzie one. But this is Sorkin through and through, and I couldn't help sit there and look for the speech patterns that are in every Sorkin.
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:29 PM   #10
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Notes: Hey, Olivia Munn, the director didn't tell you slow down just because you talk too fast. He told you to slow down because you're not an actor and don't know there's more to it than spewing out the lines you memorized as quick as you can with no feeling or emphasis. I was tempted to turn on closed captioning just to see if there was anything important in those words. Real actors can deliver Sorkinese while still making it real. This is one of the cases where if they didn't happen to have the script in front of them telling them what she was saying they never would never have let those crappy takes stand.

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Old 07-03-2012, 01:01 PM   #11
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I liked the second episode enough to keep watching.
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Old 07-03-2012, 05:58 PM   #12
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I liked the second episode enough to keep watching.
Yes, this. If there were other shows on to compete for my viewing time, it could fall by the wayside. But I am starving for some decent written shows, and this fits the bill.

Sounds like I should check out Sports Night on Netflix as well.
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Old 07-04-2012, 05:39 AM   #13
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What started out as thoughtful and provocative has quickly become preachy and a little shallow. Like David E Kelley shows, when the subject matter excessively cheerleads the creator's political beliefs, it loses its charm.

Storytelling is best when it focuses on relatable universal truths, not the narrowness of ideology.



Also, I can't stand Maggie. I like Gary Cooper.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:41 AM   #14
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I think it was fine. In my opinion this is one of those shows which, when an episode or two aren't "great", will still be better than 99% of what else is being broadcast. Newsroom is clearly intended for viewers who want to think a little - perhaps even be challenged - while watching - and that's fine with me. For an hour a week I don't mind not turning off my brain to watch intelligent television. For those who want to be spoon fed the punchline or prefer juvenile or toilet humor - or who prefer shows set in a hospital, courtroom or police station, there is plenty of programming available. Me, I think the West Wing was the best show I've ever seen and I miss it - and this is, for now, the next best thing.

I don't understand all the bashing. If people don't like a show that leans to the left it's easy enough not to watch it. But me, I put the politics aside and just enjoy the writing and acting which, again in my opinion, are both top notch.

Just my two cents
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Old 07-04-2012, 07:31 AM   #15
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I don't understand all the bashing. If people don't like a show that leans to the left it's easy enough not to watch it. But me, I put the politics aside and just enjoy the writing and acting which, again in my opinion, are both top notch.
A program that opens by disavowing polarization then turns around and presents a limited and specific view -- that's how you let audiences down. That's how Sorkin loses a little bit of moral high ground and gets a bit lazy.

If he can crank up the character stories and put greater emphasis on revealing the mechanics of news operations, he'll probably be less inclined to fall back on predictable left/right politics for material.


Pushing an ideology is easy. What isn't easy is challenging the status quo with new ideas and perspectives.
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:14 AM   #16
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I was listening to a podcast this morning where some people had seen ep 1 & 2. They seemed to agree that ep 2 was pretty bad. They also said that some TV critic types have seen more than just the first 2. That most of these critics seem to say the first episode was good, but the show gets bad fast.

I didn't expect to like this show, but did like the first episode. If I really hate episode 2, I'll probably drop it right there.
I liked it. A lot. ANd for those who say that is not a newsroom is like, speaking as one who has spent a lot of my professional career in Newsrooms, I can say yes, that's exactly what a newsroom is like.
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:22 AM   #17
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Mildly interesting trivia...the pretty blonde production assistant was an actual production assistant at MSNBC when Sorkin went there to do research. He hired her as a script consultant. I guess one thing led to another.
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:12 PM   #18
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I would bet, based on the first two episodes that those with a political bent toward the right are most likely going to hate this show, and those with a political bent toward the left are most likely going to like it. For those in the middle, they may be a bit more objective and not be influenced by the politics of the show.

Sorkin doesn't hide his politics, and as with any good writer, should write what he's familiar with. I'm sure if the show leaned to the right, we'd be hearing that he's being to disingenuous or that he's "trying" too hard to not show his politics.

And obviously there's going to be exceptions to this.
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:01 PM   #19
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Old 07-04-2012, 05:51 PM   #20
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A program that opens by disavowing polarization then turns around and presents a limited and specific view -- that's how you let audiences down. That's how Sorkin loses a little bit of moral high ground and gets a bit lazy.

If he can crank up the character stories and put greater emphasis on revealing the mechanics of news operations, he'll probably be less inclined to fall back on predictable left/right politics for material.


Pushing an ideology is easy. What isn't easy is challenging the status quo with new ideas and perspectives.
Sorkin is who he is and he writes what he writes. There are no surprises. Again, if his politics offend it's easy enough to not watch his shows. But those of us who do watch know what to expect. I understand your point of view, but don't understand that you are surprised by the content of the show.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:03 PM   #21
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Sorkin is who he is and he writes what he writes. There are no surprises. Again, if his politics offend it's easy enough to not watch his shows. But those of us who do watch know what to expect. I understand your point of view, but don't understand that you are surprised by the content of the show.
His politics don't offend me. However, his self-denial of the fact that he is extremely left wing hurts the show.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:43 PM   #22
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What denial?

And if he DOES deny it offline, how does that effect the show? Either you like it or you don't.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:49 PM   #23
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I don't have a problem with politics. I just wish they would either slow the dialog pacing a few beats or shorten length.. It's hard to keep the brain on alert. I feel like I am in a hockey game with constants shots at the goalie for an hour.
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Old 07-04-2012, 07:04 PM   #24
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What denial?

And if he DOES deny it offline, how does that effect the show? Either you like it or you don't.
They're pretending that the fake show is balanced and fair, when it is really Keith Olbermann.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:12 AM   #25
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We don't know if the "fake show" will be balanced and fair. The only "real" episode of the "fake show" we've seen so far is the oil rig explosion, and that wasn't political. For this episode the real story was how they blew it and couldn't get anyone who wasn't a nutter to come on and defend the law. They (the people creating the "fake show") definitely intended to have an intelligent discussion in defense of the law. So we don't know how the "fake show" will handle balance and fairness.

Also the "fake show" showed very little of the argument against the law: the only thing we saw was a comment on the economics.

However, having the Governor refuse to come on because of a mild implied insult of one of her press people was beyond stupid. Even if something that unlikely did happen all they'd have to do is point out that they'd have to say something about why she'd pulled out of the interview at the last minute, and it probably wouldn't be very flattering... that should do it.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:03 AM   #26
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They're pretending that the fake show is balanced and fair, when it is really Keith Olbermann.
First of all, how do you know WHAT they are "pretending"? Looks to me like you're just looking to bash it because you perceive it as too liberal. Now it may well be liberal - but again, that's Sorkin. It's not pretending to be anything other than what it is - entertainment. Like it and watch it or dislike it and don't watch it - but to say you know what is in the writers' minds is ridiculous. And to further say Sorkin denies something that he clearly does not deny is also ridiculous. Again, it's obvious you like neither his politics nor the show, so the resolution seems fairly obvious
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:37 AM   #27
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First of all, how do you know WHAT they are "pretending"? Looks to me like you're just looking to bash it because you perceive it as too liberal. Now it may well be liberal - but again, that's Sorkin. It's not pretending to be anything other than what it is - entertainment. Like it and watch it or dislike it and don't watch it - but to say you know what is in the writers' minds is ridiculous. And to further say Sorkin denies something that he clearly does not deny is also ridiculous. Again, it's obvious you like neither his politics nor the show, so the resolution seems fairly obvious
I wonder if there's a link somewhere where Sorkin denies the show's leanings. My thought is that he's not INTENTIONALLY preaching his views, but as with any good writer, he writes from what he knows and how he thinks. Just like we wouldn't expect, say, Bill O"Reilly or David Frum to write something with a liberal hero, neither should we expect Sorkin to write something with a conservative one.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:48 AM   #28
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I wonder if there's a link somewhere where Sorkin denies the show's leanings. My thought is that he's not INTENTIONALLY preaching his views, but as with any good writer, he writes from what he knows and how he thinks. Just like we wouldn't expect, say, Bill O"Reilly or David Frum to write something with a liberal hero, neither should we expect Sorkin to write something with a conservative one.
Precisely!
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:00 PM   #29
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I don't have a problem with politics. I just wish they would either slow the dialog pacing a few beats or shorten length.. It's hard to keep the brain on alert. I feel like I am in a hockey game with constants shots at the goalie for an hour.
YES! I do like the Sorkin overlapping and quick dialog, but not all the time. This episode it seemed like it was almost 100% of the time. If they would mix it in with "regular" dialog, then when the quick dialog kicked in it would actually make more of an impression. This way having so much of it diminishes its effect to the point of some people actually being annoyed by it. I came very close to being annoyed by it!!

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Old 07-05-2012, 05:54 PM   #30
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Yes, this. If there were other shows on to compete for my viewing time, it could fall by the wayside. But I am starving for some decent written shows, and this fits the bill.

Sounds like I should check out Sports Night on Netflix as well.
This!

Nicely put. Really, what else is there on TV right now? It's not that bad, even with this episode.
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