The Newsroom Pilot: A Review
I know Newsroom has received mixed reviews. If anything, people hate it or they love it. They can’t get past the first five minutes or the tirade, they can’t get through it, they can’t empathize.
But let me now make a case for one of the few shows on television that has made me feel completely raw with hope and passion for journalism and news. Let me make a case for a show that made me tear up, gave me goosebumps, and showed me passionate people who love their craft. Let me make a case for a show so brilliantly shot and cast, cinematicly poetic in a way most television is not, that you will forget the negative reviews.
The truth is, you have to watch this show with a clear mind and open perspective. There’s nothing worse than expecting failure (which is different, and worse, from expecting the best). The truth is, you have to make up your own mind - but either way, let me make a case for an eloquent show that knows no bounds. Fast paced and passionately honest, The Newsroom is a show that can only ring true once you engulf yourself in all 73 minutes.
HBO’s latest show, written by Aaron Sorkin, is anything but ordinary. The first ten minutes will show you that - a tirade about how America isn’t the best country in the world (a dangerous thing to challenge) is risque, even for a fictional show.
But the dialogue, while slightly preach-y, is beyond emotional and powerful. It rings true in a way most people will not want to accept - journalism has steered away from quality and the Newsroom’s apparent desire to fix that and create a popular and good news show elicits passion from all involved (and yes, even Will McAvoy, the anchor).
Sorkin has a tendency to push our emotional buttons, but this show’s dialogue is far from any emotional manipulation. The dialogue is organic and rough, oftentimes not sugar coated as anything it should not be. Sure, the initial tirade was rough, but how many people were already thinking that? And how many people now agree? The blogs on the web say that plenty agree.
The acting, of course, is one step above stellar. And you know what, yes, yes there is a “great while dominant male” that leads the show. But don’t forget to look at the powerful female that more often than not stands up for her spot in the newsroom and stands up to McAvoy. If anything, the show reflects the fact that females are still not professionally equivalent to males. We still earn less for the same jobs and have to fight harder not to be called “bitches” when we exert our control. Of course, this is an argument for later, but the reason why I don’t have a problem with this male dominance is because it reflects what is happening in the industry today! Journalism schools might be dominated with females, but males dominate the industry! And the reason I don’t have an issue with this is that the female executive producer, MacKenzie, is a strong, independent, fiery and oftentimes dominant female. At it’s very best, television should reflect the reality of a situation with grace and poise. There’s nothing wrong with Sorkin doing just that.
So drop the claims of sexism everywhere in the show. Yeah, there’s sexism in a Newsroom. Oh, and there’s also racism. Not every workplace is as idealistic as television leads us to believe. Guess what - sexism still exists in the workplace, and any show trying to reflect that with a just-as-prominent female should not be chastised for its decisions.
In many ways, Mackenzie, very much the optimist of the show, brings the hopeful dialogue that makes the show so eloquent. I would usually have issues with the fact that one show can be so optimistic, but it is mirrored by the skepticism of McAvoy in a way that the views are balanced on a fine scale. Additionally, optimists in journalism exist. You’re reading one right now. There are many people who strive for excellence and a new form of journalism in their workplace nowadays. Finally, MacKenzie’s character offers journalists everywhere someone to adore on the show. She is so fervently passionate and in love with the craft of journalism that there’s no way not to love her commitment.
And while people despise Jeff Daniels’ character, McAvoy, it is apparent that his story line and the transformation he could possibly undergo, no matter how slight, is something that viewers will stick around for.
But all of everything I’ve just discussed is second to how the show made me feel. When I finished watching, I was raw with hope. I was reminded why I am studying journalism. I felt empowered, I felt optimistic, I felt on fire with the passion that jumped from the screen. There’s no show as honest and as optimistic and as potent on television right now. Sorkin’s Newsroom is television at its best. And let me tell you, I have seen a lot of television.
# aaron sorkin # newsroom # the newsroom # jeff daniels # tv news # tv review # tv blog # TV Critic # tv recap # tv critique # emily mortimer # hbo # oncriticism
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