The Newsroom

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The Newsroom Review: Man on a Mission

by at . Comments

Quick, does anyone out there have a drink to throw in Will McAvoy's face? I don't think he was splashed often enough on this episode of The Newsroom.

Easily the most presumptuous and misogynistic installment of this HBO series to date, "I'll Try To Fix You" found Jeff Daniels' anchor acting like a complete jackass. Was this really Aaron Sorkin's mission to civilize? Or to look down at the opposite sex from the loftiest pedestal possible?

Will McAvoy Pic

Let's quickly go over the ways women have been portrayed so far on The Newsroom, up to and including tonight:

They cannot send email properly... they cannot remain broken up from a man who treats them like garbage... they're obsessed with the Real Housewives... they carry guns and are labeled as "crazy" by their friends... they grow jealous of every woman who dates their ex... they only understand fashion and can't speak intelligently on world events.

Did I leave any description out? The first half of this hour just played on every negative female stereotype ever conjured, from the journalist who would sleep with Will just because he's famous to the strapped nut job who thinks she and Will are an item because they went on one date.

Moreover, it painted our hero in shining armor a $4,000 tux as the only person who could save them from themselves. See, they aren't bad people. They just have the wrong values and they don't understand what's important in life. If they would just quiet down and let Will show them... yeah, I'd have thrown every drink I could find in his face.

Then, in a tonal shift meant to be a teaching moment for viewers - always remember the bigger picture, folks - and jolt characters out of their dating stupor, Gabrielle Giffords was shot.

The same criticism applies here as applied on The Newsroom premiere when it came to BP and will continue to apply for as long as Sorkin relies on the benefit of hindsight to fictionally rewrite history. It's a lazy cop-out to make Will, Don and company into some kind of integrity-filled journalists simply because they didn't report that Giffords has been killed... when Sorkin is writing from the point of view of someone who knows Giffords wasn't killed.

Yes, the creator has admitted numerous times that this is his romanticized, ideal version of how a news broadcast should be run. But it just comes across as cheap, exploitive television when he already has the answers to all the ethical questions.

With Coldplay in the background and with tears in the eyes of every major player, we were meant to view the News Night staff as the only noble people in a dirty, ratings-obsessed game. They were so proud of their accomplishment that they smiled and practically pumped their fists, even though a Congresswoman had been shot in the head and five people actually had been killed at the scene.

But News Night did it right! That was the only takeaway the show wanted to leave us with. I just can't buy it. It's too contrived and too manipulative.

The episode ended with Giffords in critical condition and a mad man having taken the lives of five bystanders - yet Will was on a high, telling Charlie to pass along a message to Leona and celebrating like his favorite team just won the World Series.

Last week, Will compared his oversights as an anchor to the 9/11 Commission. Here, the show used the Arizona shooting as a prop to hammer home its theme of how a news show ought to educate the electorate. At some point, and we may have already reached it, the use of real-life tragedies to send a fictional-life message will stop being entertaining and start being nauseating.

I definitely need a drink just thinking about it. And not to throw in Will's mug this time.

Review

Editor Rating: 2.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (376 Votes)

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

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Just for the record.. Yes in real News.. getting it first and getting it right IS something of a High. I understand that the events are tragic and the human being in them feels for the victims. The Newsperson however, needs to get the story out - correctly and first. Much like cops and firemen who develop a sort of "gallows humor", Reporters detach themselves from the story's emotional aspects to REPORT THE STORY! So yes.. sometimes you feel a sense of pride that you got it out there, but it in NO WAY means that you aren't aware of the real cost of the stories you are covering.

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Christy: Sorry, but in which way are the women in this show portayed as normal human beings? The only woman I've met who's been acting as hysterical as the women on the show have had extremely, extremely bad issues. I think you should be careful when you call a hysterical stereotype like that "just normal women". It might be how you act, Christy, in which case you have my kindest regards, and I hope your life will improve. This show is horribly misogynist, just because the women you have in your life happen to fit that image, it does not, in any way whatsoever, mean that women in general are like that. I wouldn't mind just one character being like that, since we do indeed have some hysterical males on the show as well. But not a single one of the female characters are anyway near stable: They're all hysterical and fail constantly at basically everything. It's disgusting!

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This is one of the worst shows I seen for a long time, actually. The relationsship drama is badly written and way too much. All the women are portrayed as hysterical bimbos. The show is obviously written with a political intent. That is not a newsroom, it's just political columns. I mean, I'm a Swede and I vote for the Social Democratic party in Sweden, so of course I will appreciate a democratic view over a republican view. But this show just feels like a load of badly written hypocrite crap. I don't know why people in the comments feel that a reviewer who don't agree with them should stop writing about the show, to be honest. If they just want to read stuff where people agree and think that people with a different opinion should stop writing about it - Well, I'm not too suprised that people with hypocrite views like that, will love a hypocrite show like The Newsroom. It explains it all, really, if the people who love the show are people who think reviewers with a different opinion than their own should get removed from their assignment.

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Hey, Matt, have you noticed that your readers are consistently rating this show higher than you? consistently? That really should tell you something...

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Matt, I do respect the enitre staff of this website. But this review was so of, as everyone alredy said. The last scen was brilliant it felt as I had as much adrenaline as the characters.

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Just.... a terrible review. Not because I disagree with you which I could not do more as I LOVED the episode.... but clearly you hate this show. Please for the love of god, stop watching it and go about your business. Your rating of 2.8 vs. everyone elses rating of 4.6/5 says it all....

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As a woman who is a huge fan of this show, I have to say I don't understand where you are coming from when you complain about how the women are portrayed. I think you are focusing too much on woman/man and not on the fact that these are just human characters who do silly things like incorrectly send an email or like a male character spending the whole show trying to convince everyone that Bigfoot is real. The woman on this show are intelligent but not perfect, neither are the males. Every unflattering thing a woman does on Newsroom should not be a reason for picket signs complaining about Aaron Sorkin trying to underwrite the ladies and make the men big. Just relax and enjoy the show for what it is,and that's a smart, funny, entertaining show. If you don't like it, please let the reason be something other than a self made issue.

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You are stupid. The reason the email didn't go through was because she was living in the middle east for the past two years. The same woman you're talking about is a brilliant producer; she is someone who is supposed to put McAvoy on the right track.

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1- the entire department was having a problem sending emails, it was ONE woman that just had a very confidential email sent
2- Don is not that bad. men and women in relationships stay with imperfect treatment. you could easily say "Jim is portrayed as a pour guy who won't let go of a woman who loves someone else"
3- SOME women are obsessed with real housewives. Too many. I agree. I'm glad this shows put light on the ridiculous obsessions women and/or men have with reality tv. as you can see, the strong women don't care about it. in fact, of the protagonists, only the BIG MALE BOSS knew the characters on the show
4- ONE carries a gun. Other women were surprised. when you date, crazy things happen. it's a show.
5- Everyone get's jealous. Jeff Daniels was even MORE jealous than Emily Mortimer when meeting her boyfriend.
6- I haven't heard any of the women have a more vast knowledge, if any at all, about fashion, and have ONLY heard them talking about world events, with the exception of the 2 "housewives" scenarios. So yes. You left a few descriptions out.

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"They cannot send email properly... they cannot remain broken up from a man who treats them like garbage... they're obsessed with the Real Housewives... they carry guns and are labeled as "crazy" by their friends... they grow jealous of every woman who dates their ex... they only understand fashion and can't speak intelligently on world events."
1- the entire department was having a problem sending emails, it was ONE woman that just had a very confidential email sent
2- Don is not that bad. men and women in relationships stay with imperfect treatment. you could easily say "Jim is portrayed as a pour guy who won't let go of a woman who loves someone else"
3- SOME women are obsessed with real housewives. Too many. I agree. I'm glad this shows put light on the ridiculous obsessions women and/or men have with reality tv. as you can see, the strong women don't care about it. in fact, of the protagonists, only the BIG MALE BOSS knew the characters on the show
4- ONE carries a gun. Other women were surprised. when you date, crazy things happen. it's a show.
5- Everyone get's jealous. Jeff Daniels was even MORE jealous than Emily Mortimer when meeting her boyfriend.
6- I haven't heard any of the women have a more vast knowledge, if any at all, about fashion, and have ONLY heard them talking about world events, with the exception of the 2 "housewives" scenarios. So yes. You left a few descriptions out.

The Newsroom Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

Will: I'm on a mission to civilize.
Charlie: How's it going so far?

Charlie: Have you read the New York Post?
Will: No. My eyes are connected to my brain.