Now let me make something clear. I love Aaron Sorkin. I love A Few Good Men. I love The American President. I love Charlie Wilson’s War. I love The Social Network. I love Moneyball. I love Sports Night. I ABSOLUTELY love The West Wing. I even sorta loved Studio 60. But its in my nature to love them. I’m a writer. I love to see movies or tv shows where the emphasis is on the writing and not some ‘epic’ explosion sequence involving Shia LaBeouf.(I haven’t ragged on Transformers in a while) And Aaron Sorkin’s stuff is always all about the writing. Newsroom is no different. However, Newsroom’s greatest strength is also its main weakness.
A show about a borderline Republican tv news anchor seems like a walk in the park subject for Sorkin. And it is. A news show gives him the opportunity to talk about a multitude of things going on in the world and have it not feel forced as it sometimes was with West Wing and Studio 60. But its too easy. And because its too easy Sorkin seems to fall into his own trappings and reaffirm his critics as to his knack of overwriting a scene or an episode. Subtly abandoned for clear cut messages he is trying to force feed. He flexes his writing chops and his agenda to the point where predictability begins to leak in. In essence, Sorkin is the pretty girl at the party who KNOWS she’s pretty. People like me eat it up while others might not want the hassle of a cerebral workout while watching a ten o’clock show on HBO.
All that said, Newsroom is worthy of your attention. It has great actors. It has great ideas. It has Jane Fonda and Sam Waterston swearing. All good things. However, it is a hard pill to swallow for the Sorkin uninitiated. And even with a supposed middle of the road politically affiliated main character, it leans very liberal. Case in point, last weeks episode had a character LITERALLY punch a television with Rush Limbaugh babbling on it. This is something I’ve come close to doing on a number of occasions but it is still a little HEAVY-HANDED.
The media have bashed Newsroom for some of the reasons I’ve brought up. However, I think they really bash it because the show shines a light on some of the shady and unscrupulous things the media actually does to get a story or avoid telling one. And BOY it is about time someone did that. Watch it…then tell me I’m wrong.