The Newsroom

Writer's Note: If you have yet to sit and watch episode two of The Newsroom I would recommend not reading the review below as it will give away the story lines in this episode. I would also recommend seeking help as to why you are not watching this show on Sunday night's. Thank you.

I'm not sure that I can put into words how excited I am to have a television show that I am looking forward to again every week. Ever since The Office jumped the shark, and 24 went off the air I have yet to have a show that I am anticipating on a weekly basis. Thankfully, The Newsroom has filled that void.

The second episode of my latest obsession takes us a few weeks into the BP oil spill, and behind the scenes of News Night 2.0 first disaster episode.

While trying to move on from constant talk of the disaster in the Gulf, Will McAvoy and his team are beginning to move on to the controversial immigration law (HB 1070) that is being debated in Arizona. After being guaranteed an exclusive interview with the states governor, Jan Brewer, the staff seems ready to continue their hot streak and stay ahead of the curve.

During the pre-screening for the interview with Gov. Brewer, we are exposed to what is one of the biggest flaws in Aaron Sorkin's writing, the weak female characters. As Maggie (Alison Pill) begins the process with a member of Brewer's staff we quickly find out that she had a relationship with him while in college. And because she is a weak, young woman (at least that's the impression this episode gives you) she of course could not put her personal feelings aside and immediately had to take a dig at her former college fling which promptly ended any chance the primetime news show had at an exclusive opportunity to discuss one of the most controversial bills in Arizona's history with its Governor.

We are also clued in a bit more as to why Will and Mackenzie (Emily Mortimer) are no longer an item. It seems like there was some extra circular activities taking place, but not from the side you would think.

I obviously thought the pilot episode of this show was brilliant, and it almost seems like Sorkin spent years researching, and outlining the script for it, before only having a week to put together the script for episode two. Everything seemed rushed. As an unabashed Sorkin homer I can only say that hopefully it was setting up future character developments rather than just being lazy.

There has been quite a bit of chatter among internet reviews of this episode bashing Sorkin's handling of women in his scripts. While I certainly don't think that is the case, his lead male characters seem to be extremely superior to their colleagues, and Will McAvoy is no different. Rather than me saying this is the fault of the writer, I tend to give him credit for creating such great roles and finding the perfect actor to play the part (again, see: Homer, Unabashed).

Jeff Daniels has been head and shoulders above everyone else on the screen through the first two episodes. The way he carries the scenes with the "younger" staff has been marvelous, unfortunately we didn't see enough of him in this episode.

Other than Daniels dominance of the screen in his scenes, the other main point that stood out to me this week was the desperate need for Maggie to grow up and act like someone who is working at a major cable news show. Her insecurities are too predictable and her character is not nearly cute enough to be able to play the innocent pretty girl. It took 57 minutes, and apparently a strong martini for her to come out of her shell and that led to the first decent scene with her in the series. It's quite possible she may just need to be drunk the entire time she's on my television.

Two questions came to mind while watching this episode:
#1- Did Mackenzie really win awards for her coverage of the war in Afghanastan and Iraq, yet she doesn't know how to send an e-mail properly?
#2- Why did Jim Harper (John Gallagher Jr.) steal Jim Halpert's wardrobe and facial expressions?

With all of my negativity out of the way, I should point out that this mediocre episode is still better than anything else I've seen on television in a long time. Any time I watch an hour of Sorkin's work I feel like I'm an athlete getting pumped up before a big game, I know I can talk my way through any situation and am armed with a full repitore of biting sarcasm.

The most exciting part of this week may have been the preview of what is to come later on in the first season of The Newsroom. It was almost like they were answering all of the questions I had after this episode.

Hmmm... maybe they've done this before?

The Newsroom: News Night 2.0 (Season 1, Episode 2)
Sorkin's Walk and Talk Tally thru two show's: 1 1/2
Directed by: Alex Graves
Written by: Aaron Sorkin
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Would Gene Pick it?: Yes... but watch ep. 1 again after to make yourself feel better.

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