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