The Newsroom Review: A Player's Coach

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You got me, Aaron Sorkin and The Newsroom.

Just when I'm ready to once again go off on another episode for destroying any and all backbone on MacKenzie McHale - this week we learned she can only subtract on her fingers, doesn't understand basic economics concepts and gets easily played by a political candidate boyfriend - the show goes ahead and proves that I'm a male.

Because, gosh darn it, I couldn't help but tear up at that recreation of the classic Rudy scene.

Dev Patel on The Newsroom

Will McAvoy may be more than five foot nothing, and he may weigh more than 100 and nothing, but he came through big time on "Amen."

Too often on this series we've only been told (typically by MacKenzie, in between sobs and mis-sent emails) about how great of a guy Will actually is, but here we got to finally see it. The speech he gave to that tabloid piece of pond scum resonated not just because Sorkin placed Will on a pedestal and had him thumb his nose at a lesser reporter.

But because we actually bore witness to the examples he cited in that rant. We were taken inside the struggles of a news team and the sacrifices true journalists often make in a desperate attempt to get to the truth (hello, Lara Logan).

The football analogy works perfectly here: if past episodes focused a bit too much on Will and his mission, this installment allowed various members to run, pass block, kick field goals, haul in fly patterns... you get the idea. It was a team effort all around and The Newsroom was the better for it.

Were there still major flaws? Oh, heck yes. It's rather hard to believe - with all the flirting and looks exchanged - that Jim and Maggie would be at a point where she's talking about Four Seasons hotel rooms with another guy and buying him lingerie to give to her roommate.

It's beyond ridiculous and pathetic that that roommate would consider Valentine's Day her favorite holiday when we've been told each February 14 ends in disaster for her.

It's one thing to base a show around a grandiose, idealized version of the news, often lecturing viewers on how things could be; it's another to feature one character literally teaching another character (read: the audience) about the Glass-Steagall Act and how its repeal destroyed six decades of economic growth.

And, God, please tell me no real news room plasters its walls with hearts and decorations around Valentine's Day.

The Newsroom is an easy show to pick apart. There's a whole lot wrong with it, from its depiction of women to its obsession over a single topic to its contrived attempts at humor (running into glass doors? Really?). But when the dialogue snaps, and Will is saying everything you want to hear from an anchor, and Neal tells one story that makes him so much more than just "Punjab" in the eyes of his boss...

... well, it's enough to make you want to carry Sorkin off a football field in your shoulders.


Editor Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (230 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


The very first comment (page over) is intriguing and I wish he or she would have completed the thought. I have loved this show from the beginning, and this episode only entrenched me further. You can't help caring about these people - always the mark of some great writing ,directing and acting. Mackenzie has always said that Will is a good guy, even if he gets distracted and sometimes forgets people's names. Nice to see the evidence in this episode, both with the teardown of the gossip reporter and the rescue of the journalist.


I am an Egyptian and a fan of the show and I just want to say WOOOOOOOW, our revolution got recognized on my fav show. That made me happy despite the fact that they cut it for the school thing...


Sorkin is doing everything he can to paint conservatives in a negative way and whatever it takes to re elect the President


LOL. This show stinks. Last night was so bad, I was crying. . . but at the ridiculous schlock at the end. ROTFLOL. If this was truly designed to tell the truth, the would stop attacking the right and show how the liberals in this country use the media and spin things as well. I still can't stop laughing.


It's easy to pick apart a show......... I'm really liking this show. The video of Will's speech on the first episode has went viral........ Yes, the two female leads(Mack and Maggie) need work. Still waiting on the fireworks between Leona and Will...........


I agree with the reviewer. This was a better show. I also agree that using past events to create idealized scenarios is unavoidable but may reveal the laziness on the part of the writing staff if we keep seeing them in every episode. At some point, I hope, The Newsroom will present a gripping presidential race with nominees from both parties that are bold, say what they believe in and run on substantive platforms.


Be mindful of the dates they display. They are jumping ahead months! This episode is supposed to be more than 6 months after they all start working together. It is February 2011 and the first episode was mid-2010. Time has passed, relationships have matured, the staff is meshing well. Its not unrealistic at this point Don has softened (he went from its too early to meet your parents to saying I love you in the middle of the newsroom) or that the chemistry between Jim and Maggie is still there but back-burnered because she made her choice. Even Mack and Will are coming closer and as this displays, the staff went from hating him to applauding him. We're jumping time here unlike other shows where it is day by day.


(continued!) I think we are just seeing a nicer side to him.. doesn't change the fact he's a jerk. I find the critics reactions annoying because he is not giving from for these characters.. not suspending the disbelief or something and giving it credit for being real.


I didn't like the corny stuff; I liked sorkins previous episodes better... It all seemed a bit much. But the stuff this reviewer finds outlandish about the story I think is realistic. I think people really could be that weird about valentines day being their most important holiday in theory but it never working out. I think we're watching maggie get very wild in her relationship with Jim, seeing a side to her she otherwise restrains, the bully or dominating side, and it's great to see Jim become this masochist with tendencies of using morality as a shield to use to hide from his own fears only for her and her becomne this dominating uninhibited girl with him. I find that stuff realistic- people act differently in front of other people, like the... bigfoot guy (whats nis name) relating to Amen. All the characters did seem to be in a deeper prettier light this week... BUt that's how the show is going, it's not that Don has had a complete turnaround. I think we are just seeing a nicer side to him.. doesn't change the fact he's a jerk. I find the critics reactions annoying because he is not giving from for these characters.. not suspending the disbelief or something and giving it credit for being real.


Tonights episode was odd even though I liked it. So now Maggie is being rude to her boss in the office and discussing valentines strategy openly, buying lingerie and gifts - I dont think so. Suddenly Don is nice and cares about people? Jim has lost his marbles and is now acting more like a horny guy - ie., he says yes when she calls even though he is not really that interested? And Mac cannot do math and needs a tutorial on economics - kinda of takes away from her powerful persona.

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