The Newsroom Review: Clear Out the Clown Car

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Matt Richenthal had to take the night off and has graciously allowed me to cover one of my favorite shows of the summer... although the following review of The Newsroom may make you question that description...

I love The Newsroom when it deals with the behind the scenes issues of, well, a newsroom  Last week's dissection of Nancy Grace was riveting. I couldn't look away. It's when the show focuses on the relationships that it loses me.

Mac vs. Her Ex

"The Blackout Part II: Mock Debate" had its strong points. The mock debate was great fun and a wonderful dream, although completely idealistic. But why didn't they propose having this type of debate when both sides come together in the Presidential debates? I know within the time frame of this story, mocking the Republican candidates made sense, but why not point out that if one side submitted to this kind of scrutiny the other side would be forced to do the same?

I never heard that argument and the lack of it made it easy to question if The Newsroom was targeting the entire political debate system or just the Republican portion of it. But overall it was a pleasant dream. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see a real Presidential debate instead of the fluff we end up with every four years?

I longed to see the blackout continue almost as much as MacKenzie. How much fun would it have been to see the broadcast done from the street? That could have been a great episode. I wish we had gotten to see it.

Not all of the relationship moments were bad. Will and his therapists are always a highlight. Those moments are the only time Will is completely honest with himself.

The theme of the Don/Maggie/Jim/Lisa quadrangle seemed to be that everyone worries that they're someone's second choice. This story bores me more often than not. Supposedly they've all been dancing around one another for a year. The very thought of it leaves me fatigued.

Maggie's too scared to leave Don, who has been seeing other women when he and Maggie have broken up. But hasn't it been months since the last time that happened? If so, why was Gena sending Don flowers? Will was right. Don's lying to someone.

I agreed with Don that Jim showed up to talk to Maggie and got hijacked once again by Lisa. Haven't we ridden this merry-go-round before? 

My biggest issue with this story line was that when Don finally decided to tell Maggie the truth it was a conversation that we never got to hear... and I didn't care. They should have made me care.

The Casey Anthony trial coverage has gotten old, but then again I felt that way in real life as well. Maggie and Jim in the dress store trying to convince Lisa to do an interview was nonsense. They were going for laughs but I didn't find it funny.

Intentional humor is one of this show's greatest weaknesses. Like Will stumbling into the newsroom trying to put his pants on. Really? As with Jim slamming his head into a door weeks ago, the attempt at humor came across as forced and unbelievable. I don't tune into The Newsroom for slapstick. I wish they'd stop inserting it where it doesn't belong.

Lisa took her 15 minutes of fame in a direction neither I nor the other characters saw coming but that made it all the more interesting. Now, realistically, she's suffering the consequences and it appears they will become even more dangerous for both her and Will.

For all of my complaints about The Newsroom, I generally like the characters and the concept.  Even when Aaron Sorkin gets on his soapbox, I still find it interesting. I look forward to it every Sunday but after last week's episode I know how great it can be. That's why it frustrates me so when it doesn't live up to its full potential.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (237 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.


All politics aside, season finale bullshit; No way Sloan Sullivan wanted Don Keefer. Talk about an epic contrast on what bothered me and what seems to stir the Sorkinin epipool.
Words from a show watcher.


This is a show for liberals to indulge themselves in their talking points. It is supposed to be about a news program that is impartial but it is clearly everything but that. Try at least to go 70/30 to get some credibility from the audience.


Those of you who question the dramatic value of the Don/Maggie/etc. love quadrangle might consider that Sorkin is using it highlight the fallout from the Mac/Will/SchneiderGuy triangle of years past. The latter shows what happens if the deceptions of the former are not worked out at the time. Self deception and deceiving those you claim to love or care for. Okay? Got that? Now sit up straight, stop complaining and pay attention.


I think Sorkin shows that is possible to have an intelligent tv show that deals with serious issues seriously, has some quirky characters and the occasional madcap bit of slapstick. It's not exactly a dramedy, maybe a quiperama? Ever since Woody Allen showed it was possible to combine comedy and serious drama it's all that those of us who reside mentally, if not corperealy, on the Upper West Side (or is that Upper West Wing?) want from tv really. Sorkin is the master, and this is amongst his best work.


I have loved the series from the get-go. The only thing I found disappointing in this episode was the mock debate. As soon as Will started going to town with it, it became predictable - only because the series is built around genuine news stories and history. And when did any of us see debates that were as honest as that one? It didn't happen in history therefore it couldn't happen on the show. Major bummer. Felt like the guy who got stood up on a date,


I mostly watch because I'm a big fan of John Gallagher Jr. So I actually enjoy the Jim and Maggie scenes a lot. Don and Lisa should run away together and not come back. They are the boring ones.


Not their finest hour. Definitely too much unrequited love. "Nothing to see here. Move along."


I, too, am becoming bored with Maggie/Don/Jim/Lisa.
This isn't about being someone's second choice as they are portraying it. It's mostly Maggie who won't see that Don doesn't love her and won't move on. It would indeed be WONDERFUL if we could have a political debate like the mock debate. Too bad that will never happen. So next week we finally see the confrontation with Leona and Will and she fires him. Wondering how this will play out. I have liked this show from the beginning and continue to be impressed.


I like the whole structure of the series, and while I agree with the irritation behind the love quadrangle I like the way that Will's isolation and depression over that isolation have been built up. The realization of his betrayal by the one woman he seems to respect AND love, combined with his self medicating, intense lifestyle? He is fraying around the edges. Which we will see in the next episode as it seems he attempts suicide. We see two forms of this same constant self doubt and the toll of it expressed through Mack's focused outbursts (and Will reaching out to her through dumping the rundown) and Will's own slow descent. Mack was driven to a Howard Beale level of divine rage this episode... And Will has no one to turn to as he attempts to hold to his own ideas of keeping up appearances as a child of abuse and symbolic paterfamilias of the news room.


Why would there have been a democratic debate when Obama is running for reelection?

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The Newsroom Season 1 Episode 9 Quotes

God, please show me a sign that I'm not doing a big thing badly.


MacKenzie: When should I start to worry.
Maggie: I'd have started already.