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.

Amen Review

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+.

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