“A true man hates no one. A truer man hates The Newsroom.”
Hate incites action. For all its detriments, few emotions (“love” may be the sole analogue) prime their subject for creation (and destruction) as hate does. Its function is both utilitarian and artistic. It was hate that drove the ships to Troy; hate that inspired Mark Zuckerberg to write the first lines of Facebook code. If channeled rightly, hate isn’t just an “intense” emotional state, but a “higher” one (in the romantic sense of the word). And in many cases, the world could use more hate: for corruption, for prejudice, for inaction, for lack of hate. Dante hated the Florentine bureaucracy, and The Inferno was the result. Joe Strummer hated the English ruling class, The Clash was born. I hate The Newsroom, so I write these turgid blog posts. None of the aforementioned would exist without hate. These words would not exist without hate, and I hate it.
The Newsroom Season 2 Episode 3: Willie Pete
Cue “Coffee, Clocks, and Paperwork.” Will Mac is back on the attack, illuminating the hypocrisies of the 2011 Republican Primary Race. No one is safe. Not Rick Santorum. Not Michelle Bachman. And especially not my fervent desire to forget that these people ever existed. Even the Republican audience at the debate receives a classic McAvoyian soliloquy-skewering. “They were in Orlando,” McAvoy soliloquy-skewers, “soon they’ll be in hell.” Drop the mic. The Atomic Bomb : Hiroshima :: Aaron Sorkin : Orlando. “I am become Newsroom, destroyer of Carmens.”-Will McAvoy. Mission to civilize commence.
Time Elapsed: ~5 minutes. Hate Index: 6 out of Hate.
If you thought Aaron Sorkin was a genius at dredging up old news stories that you didn’t care about in the first place, wait until you behold how he dredges up story lines from the first season of The Newsroom that you didn’t care about in the first place. This week, we’re treated not only to the blackout voicemail that Will left for Mackenzie (eight months ago (a voicemail from eight months ago (welcome to eighth grade))) but also the return of gossip reporter Hope Davis, who is threatening to report that Will was stoned on the air when Osama Bin AND MAKE IT STOP.
Will and Bowtie discuss old Newsroom story lines for twenty minutes then get head from ghosts.
“Just act like you’re getting head from a ghost.”-A Professional Television Director
Jim is on the Romney campaign bus, obliterating the status quo, in case you forgot you were watching The Newsroom, where the scene-to-status-quo-obliterated ratio is 1:1000. The Republican caricatures of Aaron Sorkin’s Romney campaign won’t give Jim the skinny on Romney. (“I need to know more about Romney!” -America, 2013) So Jim is FED UP. So Jim is not going to TAKE IT ANYMORE. Jim is on a quest for the truth, and I am on a quest to beat Candy Crush level 45 while Jim is on his quest for truth. (This is show is boring!)
Mackenzie and New Jim walk and talk The Genoa Tip for an hour. Will and Mackenzie walk and talk The Voicemail for another hour. An alien five millions galaxies away feels the sexual tension between Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer deep in his jagon. I learn that Will McAvoy walked into the Ground Zero mosque. No one wins.
Time Elapsed: ~20 minutes. Hate Index: 748 out of Hate.
Mackenzie and New Jim have secured a brunch date with the mumbliest lieutenant in the United States military. Their mission: chat Genoa. This quickly devolves into a three-hour exposition cumshot, and I question if Lieutenant Mumbles got sarin gas in his brain. Then, of course, there’s more shushing via Mackenzie and New Jim. Mackenzie tells the black waitress whom she knows by name (…) not to sit anyone by them. The waitress complies, intuiting the cataclysmic importance of The Genoa Incidient, of course, and the restaurant is evacuated, along with the rest of Manhattan, and Emily Mortimer executes the slowest removal of any Moleskine from any purse in the storied history of Moleskine From Purse Removals.
There is a scene in which Will McAvoy charms Hope Davis into not writing that he was stoned on Osama Bin Laden Day, and I know for certain that Aaron Sorkin has either never successfully flirted with a woman or Aaron Sorkin has never successfully flirted with a woman. See: Will McAvoy cues a piano player a la Austin Powers cuing Burt Bacharach. See: Will McAvoy learned that Hope Davis doesn’t like orange juice pulp from her Facebook, in case you were still considering criticizing Aaron Sorkin for not understanding social media. See: #fuck #yeah #newsroom #tumblr #dotcom
Hope Davis listened to The Voicemail 100 times because JOURNALISM and PRIORITIES and NO. I am moving on.
Time Elapsed: ~30 minutes. Hate Index: Very out of Hate.
Will McAvoy says this line of dialogue: “Welcome to the high ground and McAvoy’s Team of Champions.” Alison Pill’s acting as if she is experiencing side effects from malaria vaccinations makes me wish that she (human being, not character) really had malaria. Will McAvoy enters the pitch room, inspiring everyone to leave the pitch room, and the only thing worse than The Newsroom‘s lack of self awareness is its over-awareness of when its being self-aware, which becomes a type of proxy lack of self-awareness that I can’t begin to fathom. Except yes I can I just fathomed it and it is horrible.
Then something miraculous happens.
Then something happens on The Newsroom and I nearly don’t hate it.
What happens is Olivia Munn walks into Don’s office, and, for a fleeting second, this show works. The dialogue is smart and pointed. The actors have actual chemistry. It’s just two characters talking about drone strikes in a room and I somewhat want to be in that room, too, for once. Then Olivia Munn mentions how she might have leaked a story to a book agent about Will McAvoy and the 9/11 anniversary broadcast and I’m like, RIGHT BACK TO HATE.
(And another real talk: For a political pariah who operates completely independent of public and corporate opinion, Will McAvoy sure does expel a lot of energy preserving his personal reputation. Right? Isn’t this the patriot who called the Tea Party the American Taliban, causing the stock market to crash and satellites to fall from the sky and the extinction of the human race? Isn’t this the PATRIOT who verbally nuked Orlando? Isn’t this just lazy and inconsistent characterization? Why can’t I hold all these feels?)
Slumdog Millionaire is convinced that Occupy Wall Street is important. Everyone else on the show doesn’t care. They give him noogies and wedgies and swirlies whenever he mentions Occupy Wall Street. Until he zings Emily Mortimer for shopping at INTERMIX and becomes Burndog Millionaire. Now Occupy Wall Street can officially become fake newsworthy on The Newsroom, and they all lived happily ever after. The end.
Time Elapsed: ~40 minutes. Hate Index: 9724ht out of Hate.
Don sits in a low chair and I giggle. Some other things happen while I add the new Oppenheimer biography to my Goodreads To Read List. These other things somehow lead to Will McAvoy opening a safe in his office, which leads to McAvoy and Bowtie confronting Chris Messina about wire-tapping their Androids, except Chris Messina doesn’t give a shit, and apparently neither do McAvoy and Bowtie, and actually neither do I. So ten minutes of that.
For everyone who is still questioning if Aaron Sorkin knows how social media works, New Jim has the whole News Night team scouring Pakistani Twitter feeds for news about The Genoa Incident, as if someone would live-tweet a nerve gas attack. …except that, in the world of The Newsroom, people live-tweet nerve gas attacks. TO VERIFY: in the “reality” of this show the people of rural Pakistan (famous for its 3G reception) live-tweeted their being sprayed with lethal nerve gas. All of this is real (not real). All of this is happening (not happening). And I was able to write a few of these tweets down before my frontal lobe exploded through my skull.
@NerveGasVictim69: GAS MASKS
@NerveGasVictim69: WILLIE PETE EVERYWHERE
Mackenzie says, “He’s describing Genoa.” I write, “I’m describing my death” on my blog. Cut to black.
Time Elapsed: Eternity. Hate Index: Hate out of Hate.
We are all Will McAvoy. Good night.