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The Newsroom 1.7: 5/1

An anonymous source contacts Charlie and provides advance details on an imminent story of national importance. When news breaks that the President will be making a televised speech that night, the 2.0 staff cuts short its one-year (and one-week) anniversary party, and rushes back to the newsroom amidst a flurry of speculation as to what exactly happened. -- HBO

I'm out of town and off the grid right now. Didn't watch yet and won't have another chance to watch and weigh in until Thursday. Carry on and I'll talk to you then! M

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elinorigbe
Aug. 6th, 2012 11:21 pm (UTC)
I love Aaron Sorkin, I really do, and I'll forgive him almost any transgressions. I don;t mind when he reprises great lines, I actually love hearing them again, but when he seems to be reprising whole sections of episodes from the past, I begin to despair that he'll ever work his way back to the greatness he exhibited in TWW.

I have to re-watch last night's show, but I got the feeling, first time through, that the situations had been lifted up from S-60, and set down in this year's show, fitting the characters in however they would go, just changing the names

And the dialog is starting to fray a bit. I don't ever remember such ragged edges in TWW. Whether it's the actors not "getting" it, or the writer not having a strong grasp on what they should sound like, I keep feeling this ...roughness... in the conversations that was never there between Josh and Sam and CJ and Donna.

I won't quit on it, but I am beginning to despair.

tomfoolery815
Aug. 7th, 2012 03:50 pm (UTC)
Elinor, I've just come to terms that he's into recycling: His TV shows takes place behind the scenes at X and have character archetypes A through E. I'm entertained nonetheless.

I enjoyed the episode.

-- I enjoyed Mackenzie making all the right moves and kicking the asses that needed to be kicked.

-- I really liked the performance of Natalie Morales, who plays Kaylee, Neal's girlfriend. She also was Tom Haverford's girlfriend in Parks and Recreation for a few episodes.

-- Late For Dinner is going to play the role Clark Gregg played in Sports Night, it would appear. I liked Charlie's refusal to let him call himself Deep Throat. :)

-- I knew Jeff Daniels was going to be all Jed in his Notre Dame sweatshirt in the Oval Office, and it was still fun. Probably because, in both instances, the actors made it fun.

-- Nice, and thoroughly Sorkin-esque, touch to have Don and Lonny break the news first to the flight crew and the NYPD cops.

-- Gatzy, I agree that it was cool that they played President Obama's speech over the end credits.

(I was working that night. I wasn't on Page 1A, so I had to tell the guy who was "Uh, Roger, the White House is going to hold a press conference in 15 minutes and they won't say why. I think something big is going on." Charlie is right; I will remember that night for the rest of my career.)
marymary
Aug. 9th, 2012 03:55 am (UTC)
Almost forgot: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Whew, just under the wire. :) Hope you had a great day!
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marymary
Aug. 9th, 2012 03:24 am (UTC)
I agree with all that, Tom, especially these:

-- Nice, and thoroughly Sorkin-esque, touch to have Don and Lonny break the news first to the flight crew and the NYPD cops.

-- Gatzy, I agree that it was cool that they played President Obama's speech over the end credits.


These are the other things I liked:

- Everything on the plane, with one giant exception (more later).

- Mac cutting the feed from DC! I thought she was just going to whine at Jane and then lose, but she won! Nice. (And that's Sally Richardson-Whitfield from Eureka as Jane. Very happy to see her. :)

- Lisa was one step ahead of Jim and Pam Maggie. I liked that they didn't make her stupid.

- Will's whole conversation with Mac while he's trying to tie his tie. That was really funny and well-delivered, especially by JD.

- We finally got the JGJ/JD singing we were promised!

- The sign for Will: "OBAMA = BAD... OSAMA = GOOD."
anatolealice
Aug. 11th, 2012 12:44 pm (UTC)
Hee, you called her Pam. I haven't read all the threads yet since the first ep but she was Pam to me from the first moment. It's almost like having televised fic...
marymary
Aug. 9th, 2012 03:39 am (UTC)
Things I didn't like:

- The dialogue from the Lisa/Jim breakup scene was some kind of stereotypical guy fantasy. "I'm going to break up with myself for you and you don't even get to speak; now watch me walk away, perfectly fine." I knew Lisa would get some kind of reward for that.

- Just my same old complaint: we're talking about how Jim and Maggie do or don't like each other every. damn. week. I am CRAVING subtlety at this point.

- Wait, Neal is not going to tell his exec producer that the anchor is high on two different drugs? On this night, of all nights?

- I did like... Kelly? realizing she wasn't happy now that Bin Laden was dead. But honestly, I thought she was going to be the one person who was disturbed by all the cheering over a dead person. I figured that was the "skunk at the garden party" we needed to see.

- "Excuse me, I've got a text message saying the president's speaking tonight in a few minutes. Do you know anything about this?" WHY YES, guy in the row directly behind Don, he DOES know something. Rememeber 20 minutes ago when they started freaking out about breaking news from white house? And demanding to get off the plane? And remember when Don literally turned in your direction as he told Elliot that the president doesn't announce bad news from the East Room, he usually does it from the Oval? And the part when they said, across the aisle, that "EKIA" stands for "enemy killed in action?" REMEMBER THAT? Oh my freaking god, that might be the stupidest thing I've seen on The Newsroom yet.
anatolealice
Aug. 11th, 2012 12:47 pm (UTC)
That was dumb but the line about people in row 23 knowing all about him, Pam and Jim made me laugh so hard I think the neighbours heard. So you never know your luck :-)
marymary
Aug. 9th, 2012 03:48 am (UTC)
Favorite lines:

Don: "I think later on tonight you'll be saying to yourself, 'I wish I had helped that passenger.'"
Flight Attendant: "I think later on tonight you'll be saying to yourself, 'These handcuffs hurt my wrists.'"

Lonny: "Nothing I can do about being big and black at the same time." (I feel like I've heard that before. Is that a recycle?)

Mac: "Listen, you don't think there's any chance it's a UFO, do you?"
Don: "Keep it together."

Will: "We got Obama!"
Mac: "Ah!"
Will: "Bin Laden. I got that out of my system."

Maggie: "James Tiberius Harper..."
Jim: "Not my middle name."
(I might never get tired of that. I think it's my favorite Maggie line.)

Don: "What is this compulsion you have to look on the bright side? I can never count on you to be Jewish."
Elliot: "We shoudl probably be concerned about violent retribution."
Don: "That does help, man, thanks."

Don: "...Flight Attendant Crazy Lady..."
marymary
Aug. 9th, 2012 03:51 am (UTC)
OH AND, I liked how the breaking news busted up a party at the boss' house and they all had to start planning while they were still at the party and then get to the newsroom fast, to go on the air. Straight out of Broadcast News. :)

tomfoolery815
Aug. 9th, 2012 05:54 pm (UTC)
Mary, I also loved the flight attendant's handcuffs line, and the "Tiberius" bit is fun.

- We finally got the JGJ/JD singing we were promised!
Sorkin said they had to do the same thing with those guys -- JGJ won a Tony for "Spring Awakening" and was in "American Idiot" -- that his successors at TWW said they had to do with Kristin C.: Point out that someone who sings as well as the actors can would be unlikely to have the job his/her character has. Sorkin said he told them more than once to make it not quite so good.

The dialogue from the Lisa/Jim breakup scene was some kind of stereotypical guy fantasy. "I'm going to break up with myself for you and you don't even get to speak; now watch me walk away, perfectly fine."
Fair point.

Just my same old complaint: we're talking about how Jim and Maggie do or don't like each other every. damn. week. I am CRAVING subtlety at this point.
Yeah, he could take his finger off that particular button. The will they/won't they with Josh and Donna would've been less fun if it were in every episode.

Lisa was one step ahead of Jim and Pam Maggie.
Hee!

She did seem like she was going to be stupid with terrible taste in friends/lovers -- it was one of the guys she brought over that stole some/all of Maggie's anti-anxiety medication.

You know, even Rainn Wilson tweeted, earlier in the summer, that they were playing out Jim-Pam-Roy on The Newsroom. What I like is that each successive week has moved further from Don being Roy. Don's not merely the unworthy impediment.

Edited at 2012-08-09 06:02 pm (UTC)
marymary
Aug. 9th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
Totally agree with you -- Don is not Roy. Though The Office did add dimension to Roy over time, Don is not Roy. I really enjoy Don. And I love TS' POV on him, from that interview you posted. :)

Ha, that is interesting Sorkin trivia. Though I sort of disagree with him -- I think there are lots of people who aren't in the business who sing really well. Most great singers don't make a living as singers, IMO.

The will they/won't they with Josh and Donna would've been less fun if it were in every episode.

Yes, AND it was a completely different thing. It was an undercurrent -- it was a look here and a tone of voice there. It was some offhand question Josh would ask someone else about Donna and then the story would move on. It was banter -- not ABOUT them -- about other things. It was about the work, and we'd infer their intentions and feelings. I miss that.

Can you imagine, in the first season, any character saying to Josh, "I think you like Donna." And then saying it the next week? And the week after that? And then Donna saying to her best friend, "I do not like Josh! Josh, please tell her I don't have feelings for you."

You may argue that these are different characters -- and if you do, I'd say that's a fair point. I guess then I have to conclude I just don't like spending time with them as much. :)
tomfoolery815
Aug. 10th, 2012 01:27 am (UTC)
No, I agree. This is text as opposed to subtext. I think I would rather have it be subtext for a while.
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elinorigbe
Aug. 11th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC)
And then Donna saying to her best friend, "I do not like Josh! Josh, please tell her I don't have feelings for you."

By the time we got to Amy asking Donna if she was "in love with Josh", we were almost as shocked as Donna was by the question. I think is was the first direct voicing of the elephant in the room; every other suggestion had been couched in indirection.

There is nothing of that here, it seems almost as though they don't have time to be subtle.

Perhaps it's Sorkin's response to fans' complaints that he kept J & D apart for too long.
anatolealice
Aug. 11th, 2012 12:55 pm (UTC)
No, I think when Sorkin discovered the Internet was fun he discovered the cotton candy instant gratification followed by disturbed, ill feeling that is the fan fic reading experience.

Edited at 2012-08-11 12:55 pm (UTC)
anatolealice
Aug. 11th, 2012 01:08 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I was in so many sub threads, made it so messy. I just watched eps 3 through 7 at once.

When they announced that he'd been shot by special forces and everyone cheered I totally get why but I still felt really uncomfortable, i feel like no one should cheer at someone's death. So I thought Neal's girlfriends reaction was interesting and well played because her real reason was even more poignant.

Love the body guard guy and really appreciate that they recycled that storyline but not the character.

The scenes on the plane were funny and made me enjoy Don even more. He's been growing on me. Though ranting about not being able to get up is boring and pointless, the flight attendant was super annoying but she was just doing her job, it's not her fault breaking those rules is basically punishable by death. We all know that by now! ( Though i do enjoy the smart alacky tone they use on Australian airlines announcing some of the FAAs more annoying rules).

Loved cutting off the DC gal. Ha!! That was very Dana-ish. Felt really bad for Isaac's guilt over the gulf war.
marymary
Aug. 11th, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
i feel like no one should cheer at someone's death.

I agree, that's why (above) I said I'd expected Neal's girlfriend to be that person who was disturbed by it. At the time of Bin Laden's death, there were a significant number of people in the public space expressing just that discomfort.

I didn't hear that many people saying, "I thought I'd feel better, but I don't." Though I like that he used her to make that point. You see that a lot in interviews with family members of murder victims, after the murderer is executed. It's a valid addition to the episode, IMO.

And, as you said, I do understand the cheering. I am anti-killing, anti-war, anti-death penalty, but I remember feeling happy when he was killed. I'm just a regular American, living miles away, but I remember identifying strongly with those poor people jumping out of the tower and the families watching, at home. I can't imagine how a New Yorker feels. If that were a real NYC newsroom, I'd guess each of them was probably only 2 degrees of separation from someone who died that day. And living there, they must have felt like it could easily have been them -- it was very personal. So I say they get to cheer.

Love the body guard guy and really appreciate that they recycled that storyline but not the character.

Yes, and I especially liked him this week. I hope he's around until the end of the season.

Loved cutting off the DC gal. Ha!! That was very Dana-ish.

It was! I hadn't thought of that.

Edited at 2012-08-11 04:01 pm (UTC)
anatolealice
Aug. 12th, 2012 12:19 am (UTC)
didn't hear that many people saying, "I thought I'd feel better, but I don't." Though I like that he used her to make that point. You see that a lot in interviews with family members of murder victims, after the murderer is executed. It's a valid addition to the episode, IMO.

Yes, I liked the point you made and I'm sorry I couldn't copy and paste your reply above - I can never manage that on the iPad. Likening it to the family of a murder victim I think is exactly right, at least for that character.

I can't imagine how a New Yorker feels.

I guess because I can, though on a smaller scale (does less people dying make it better?) Aside from Bali (I didn't know anyone personally, but I watched a friend sob over someone she lost), London was intensely personal to me. So many of my friends were caught up in it, the bus was blocks away from my office. It wasn't so much a shock as the living of specfic nightmare I'd been having since Madrid. I just wanted the horror to stop, to constantly half expect it to happen again any moment. That requires a massive shift in the behaviours and attitudes of a huge number of people, not the execution of individuals.
tomfoolery815
Aug. 11th, 2012 05:48 pm (UTC)
i feel like no one should cheer at someone's death. So I thought Neal's girlfriends reaction was interesting and well played because her real reason was even more poignant.
Ana and Mary, I liked that Sorkin included that reaction.

I got the sense that as a native of the Tri-State Area of NYC, Sorkin put a bit more personal feeling into this one. 9/11 itself prompted him to interrupt the TWW storyline to do "Isaac and Ishmael," so I would think that bin Laden's death was a particular kind of closure for those who grew up in that metropolitan area. Kaylee, IMO, represents the real-life New Yorkers who lost somebody on that day, and who have that same hollow feeling that Mary describes of a murder-victim survivor after the murderer is executed.

I am also anti-war, anti-killing and anti-death penalty 99 percent of the time. But bin Laden needed to be killed. That was the only way he was going to stop sending people to kill the innocent. I'm reminded of Fitz in the great scene with Leo in "We Killed Yamamoto:" goes to procure quote "We measure the success of a mission by two things: Was it successful and how few civilians did we hurt. They measure success by how many. Pregnant women are delivering bombs. You're talking to me about international laws? The laws of nature don't even apply here." (That's John Amos' best moment in TWW for me, even though the "beat that with a stick" scene is a stand-up-and-cheer moment.)

Bringing it back on topic: I think everyone agrees that the world is a better place with bin Laden out of commission. But I respect people who were bothered by people cheering his death ... if that's what those people were doing. I'm sure there were those who were, but also there were those who were cheering out of relief that he couldn't kill anymore. I also like that Kaylee was there to express a feeling of "It doesn't make me feel better." I'm against the death penalty because it doesn't bring the murder victim back to life.

tl;dr :)
anatolealice
Aug. 11th, 2012 11:58 pm (UTC)
I liked that Sorkin was able to come full circle with that storyline. My fear though with scenes of cheering is just perpetates the anger and separation between us and them. My biggest fear the morning I found out about the twin towers etc was of retaliation and what that could bring. And for Americans possibly it doesn't feel like there was much retaliation but the subsequent Bali bombings were extremely personal to us, Madrid and then London...it feels like it's never going to end. He can't send anyone to kill anymore, but make a martyr of him and plenty of other people will.
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elinorigbe
Aug. 12th, 2012 01:10 am (UTC)
He can't send anyone to kill anymore, but make a martyr of him and plenty of other people will.

And killing him doesn't kill the hatred and hopelessness and rage that fuels the suicide plots. If anything, it enlarges it.

I, too, fear never ending recriminations.

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