Frustration is the overwhelming feeling coming out of watching the entire first season of The Newsroom. Frustration because it has so much potential to be great and yet it overburdens itself, it is an example of writer Aaron Sorkin biting off far too much. What worked was all the stuff about the newsroom, the crafting of a news show, the behind the scenes politics of corporations and the up front politics of our recent history. For an outside viewer, it was of great interest to me seeing the differences between media in the US and the UK.
The downsides of the show are its often embarrassing sexist view on women (Sorkin should really know better), its ridiculously tawdry, hackneyed office romance, and its overt politicising where characters have the tendency to stand in a circle of people and deliver a long speech about morals.
In the final episode of the season we see all the loose strands of the previous episodes: the spectre of phone hacking, the gossip journalists, the power of the upstairs bosses and the numerous romances, all being nicely tied up.
This episode is once again told in a flashback format (a favoured Sorkin structure that he has used at least four times this season and one which is becoming rather tired).
We start out with Will talking about a voter named Dorothy Cooper on News Night, before it cuts to eight days earlier with Will in the hospital with a perforated stomach ulcer caused by an accidental overdose. When he is revived and conscious, he tells Mac that when he’s fully recovered he may not return to News Night.
Meanwhile, Mac is called by Nina Howard to arrange a meeting where she reveals that she knows Will was high during the Osama bin Laden broadcast but she needs one more source to write up her story for validation, as she can’t talk about her first source. This of course leads to Charlie’s NSA informant, who turns out to have been right about the hacking being committed by Reese Lansing. However, due to the background vet done on the informant, Charlie cannot trust him as a witness and can’t have him as a credible source on the show.
Meanwhile, we have Jim and Maggie who may finally realised that they are meant to be together. They finally acknowledge their love for one another when Maggie shouts at a Sex and the City bus tour (Sorkin’s a feminist you know?) that happens to have Jim on it. It’s a scene that rivals the terribleness of the scene in the dress shop from last week and is one of Sorkin’s worst pieces of writing.
Anyway, after that’s over, the pair consummate their love with a kiss and one can only hope that this is going to be the end of this incredibly banal romance.
But no, they just can’t do it, they just can’t be together, meaning that throughout the next season we’ll probably see that being rehashed again. Joy.
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