The Newsroom

Writer's Note: There are critics all over the internet that are falling all over themselves talking about what this show isn't. Do yourself a favor, just watch it and enjoy it for what it is. Oh, and this review will spoil episode four if you haven't seen it yet.

I have made no secret of my love for Aaron Sorkin's work. Whether it has been my ramblings on Twitter about The West Wing, or my review of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip that I wrote here, I'm not shy about promoting Sorkin as the greatest writer of my lifetime. With all of that experience you would think I would have been prepared for what I saw on this week's episode of The Newsroom, but as you're about to find out, I was not.

The fourth episode of the series opens as the staff of News Night is enjoying a party at the office for New Year's Eve. We quickly learn that despite the not so subtle hints from the first three episodes, Maggie may in fact have some feelings for Jim, (paging Carell, Mr. Steve Carell). Also from the not so shocking department, Will isn't the best at mingling with others at parties. We find him in his office avoiding small talk with those he works with, and perhaps more importantly, avoiding Mack and her new boyfriend.

Despite his best efforts Will is quickly sucked into a conversation in his office with his EP's new beau. As he begins to pitch a story idea to Will, Will quickly begins searching for ways to get out. As he does he is encouraged by Sloan to approach a female guest and just begin talking to her. Even with his awkwardness and terrible approach it is fairly evident that the women he has encountered is right up his ally, a sure thing.

Through the first 40 minutes of this episode we are shown Will's repeated attempts to help try and fix the women he encounters. This results in a tremendous waste of good alcohol as cocktails are thrown in his face. During my time watching The West Wing, I always felt that Aaron Sorkin wasn't the type to be able to write love affairs, or family dramas. It's not his forte so why was he trying to go away from what he does best? I had this same feeling for the first two-thirds of this episode before realizing that if he didn't show a side of these characters outside of work that it would feel like they are just news robots, and this show isn't going to last.

Sadly, this made me start to care about the relationship triangle with Jim, Maggie and Don. I began to root for Will and Mack to get back together. But perhaps most importantly, I began to root for Will to take the motivation from these events, make his work even better, and shove it in the face of those on the 44th floor, hello Jane Fonda.

The final 20 minutes of this episode were as good as anything I have seen on TV in a long time. I am continually amazed by Sorkin's ability to string me a long for 40 minutes and wonder "what the hell is actually happening here", and then absolutely blow me away for the last 20 minutes. I have to admit that I was nervous this show was going to go in an every other week pattern for decent episodes until a Saturday morning meeting about Bigfoot changed everything.

I talked last week about Charlie's constant drunken state. It appears that Saturday morning is his sober time which allows him to see the obvious, that his boss owns the company and she can do whatever the hell she pleases. Something clicked with him during a side meeting on that Saturday morning where he realized that unfortunately he and Will have people to report do, and they must figure out a way to "out-smart" them and continue to do their jobs at a level that no one has ever seen.

Another important part of this Saturday morning meeting is we learned that Don is no longer the most unlikeable character on the show. That torch has proudly been passed to Leonna's (Jane Fonda) son, Reese. One of my favorite parts of the 3rd episode of this seres was Charlie telling him to "get the f*** out" of the conference room, and his mom basically shrugging her shoulders and agreeing.

This show is only going to go as far as the lead character is willing to bring it. What Jeff Daniels brought in episode four was the total package. We saw his awkwardness when he was sitting alone in his office during the party. We saw his quick wit that fit perfectly with the dialogue provided for him when he offered to "fight the good fight" and educate women all throughout the Tri-State area. And we were also fortunate enough to see him on top of the news world during the breaking news segment towards the end of the show. He showed that he has true belief not only in himself, but in his staff, and that they will continue to do what they do best despite pressures from their bosses, and from themselves.

We are only four episodes in and we are starting to see the development of Will as a boss. He knows that in order to get the most out of his staff he needs to in tuned with things that are important to them regardless of how crazy he may think it is. Despite the interviews that Sorkin has given saying this show is not autobiographical, or his soapbox for political views, I think this is one area that does reflect on him. I have to imagine that at some point throughout his career he, and other Type A personalities, have come to the realization that despite the urge to do everything themselves, they need to rely on those around them to do their jobs. It makes me feel incredibly lucky that I am old enough to be able to grasp even a small portion of this, and hopefully apply it situations I may be in, in the future.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm quite fond of the last 20 minutes of this episode. Although I think the most important lesson is that you should always have a spare change of clothes at work, just in case of breaking news.

The Newsroom: I'll Try to Fix You (Season 1, Episode 4)
Sorkin's Walk and Talk Tally thru four episodes: 1 1/2 (UPSET ALERT!!)
Directed by: Alan Poul
Written by: Aaron Sorkin
My Rating: 4.25 out of 5
Would Gene Pick it?: Yes, and then he might need to smoke a cigarette after

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