Newsrooms and Broomsticks

While everyone else I know is on the edge of their seat for Breaking Bad, I’m patiently waiting. Tweets about a dying man’s journey as a crime cooker, come ever so closer to an end this September. Even though I can say that I’ve finally watched the first season at least, my attention belongs to a different show… for one more week.

The Newsroom has been one of those shows that is remarkably niche. There really doesn’t seem to be anyone outside of this apartment, whom I know, that watch this show. Normally that’s something that makes me feel kind of awesome somehow. While everyone and their grandma is wondering #AmIUnderArrest, I get to watch the news that I’ve already seen a year ago. Complete with a bonus behind the scenes work around, and interesting/unnecessary drama.

This season has been especially exceptional. With the drive of the entire season being the Genoa incident, inspired by real life ‘Operation Tailwind‘, a guffaw that both CNN and Time Magazine were responsible for. It’s the behind the scenes nature of the show that breathes a new kind of life on stories you remember hearing or reading about.

It’s the intelligent banter with the large words I can’t help but eat up. Half in disbelief that this is a show on American television. And yet, when I wake up the next morning hoping for some reason, that there are people out there like me that would enjoy something like this. But what would be the point of a blog like this if I’m not saying, “Of course there wasn’t!”

So here’s my question to you, and the majority out there should be able to answer. Why do you not like the Newsroom? As it turns out, a lot of people in the industry really enjoy the show. They can watch it and recall their own stories about why a show like this is a wonderfully accurate dramatization. But those that work in the news are the minority in explaining how accurate the show is. Therefore the average television watcher/internet savy tech person can tell you how inaccurate this Broadcast News interpretation is.

But let’s at least get one thing straight here. The internet hates Aaron Sorkin. ‘News Bloggers’ all over the intersphere subtly question their own Journalistic legitimacy, lambasting a television show that isn’t accurately portraying their jobs. But you can see the love hate in the relationship. I’m sure Sorkin feels mutual, because the internet was mocked in a lot of fun ways this season. The news team poking fun at Occupy Wall street, bloggers, twitter culture and the like, while being ever-so sarcastic to anyone else outside of the ACN building.

It’s an inadvertent chess game between the show and it’s audience.

But let’s get real here. That can’t honestly be the reason why. Aaron can tell you himself that the show is a fantasy. They may be the only news channel out there that reports the news accurately, but it’s a work of fiction. Every episode is an open love letter to Network, but you should be able to make the distinction that the show isn’t trying to behave ‘holier than thou’. The statue of limitations for rubbing your nose in how to do it right, ran up with the source material that is chose to use. When a fictional television show is grounding itself in reality, what do you expect of it.

No, the problem is because Aaron Sorkin is probably a sexist prick.

Let’s get two things out of the way here. First, I’m a guy. I just want to let you know, incase my point of view towards the opposite sex is going to be completely mute. I should let it be known that I’d like to say that I’m a feminist, but I’m not really sure what definition that would be under. Secondly, I’m not really looking for it.

I don’t look for it, because why would I want to? Sexism is a topic that is exclusive to females. Regardless of the possibility that men experience it as well, women experience it in the majority. But not since the West Wing has Aaron Sorkin written a strong female character. Internet critics abound would probably like to make a living in calling Aaron Sorkin a sexist prick. Funny Pants talky blog (and personal favourite site to cruise) Videogum is a litmus test for such practice in this Hate out of Hate index.

Charlie Bowtie and Emily Mortimer are driving to interview Lieutenant Milton From Office Space about the Genoa Incident. The problem is that Emily Mortimer is driving. The other problem is that Emily Mortimer is a woman who is driving. The other other problem is that Emily Mortimer is a woman who is driving on an Aaron Sorkin show. So, she’s lost, and flustered, and just as Bowtie and Morts realize that the only things standing between them and the truth are some robo-cans chock-full of misogyny, Emily Mortimer crashes into some robo-cans chock-full of misogyny.

I’m still not sure if that was supposed to be a joke.

But let’s not use that word Sexism anymore. It’s a word in a pack of three, that the internet uses far too much and makes it lose it’s meaning. (If you’re curious, the other two words are racist and homophobic.) I mean sure, Aaron Sorkin writes a bunch of ’12 angry men’ dude bros living in constant fear of being emasculated. and his women care about their shoes and poking pectorials and find themselves in a constant string of relationship drama.

But, have you ever noticed that a lot of humanistic side conversation is to prevent the show from seeming entirely pretentious?

The relationship stuff, while grating, is out of obligation for a serialized show. It’s something that is bound to happen between characters in situations where they work close to each other every day. Plus, it’s the least of your worries and just becomes another dynamic for you and the characters that you’ve become invested in. By design, you should have cared at least a bit about anything they do by now.

Halfway through that paragraph I realize, that any compelling argument I try to make, could be thrown out the window because of the insane treatment to Margret Jordan this season. Poor girl couldn’t catch a break and the twitter-verse still called her ugly as all hell, just because she cut her hair over a traumatizing experience.

Sloan Sabbith and MacKenzie McHale on the other hand are toying with the idea of how a strong female character could be portrayed. Sloan is emotionless and intelligent (I could make a joke about how that is exactly like most internet feminists out there, but that’s probably as far as I need to take that). Her position of power involves making a living telling people how to make money, and while she’s golly-gosh-darn sexy there’s very little interest in wanting to flaunt that around. Her largest flaw is in being socially inept, suprisingly a flaw that I find the most relatable. (Thumbs up to Olivia Munn for pulling this character off. She’s so far removed from her time at G4 that I’ve really been enjoying her role.)

MacKenzie is in charge of the whole operation to turn News Night into a two point oh. A daffodil with a headstrong focus, that kind of behaves like my mom sometimes. I don’t know what anyone would want to expect out of her. She’s average compared to a majority of the cast, but she has the one quality that nobody else has: She’s quirky. A character who is so comfortable with being who she is, and can demonstrate that with a Groucho Marx impression.

There’s a lot more to the women on that show than those characters, and this season has defined these women exceptionally, with the inclusion of more. As well with each new episode, the women have proven to be just as delightfully garish as the men of the show.

Soon, when the new season comes along, the internet will absolutely love it! All the characters have become equal parts sarcastic and cruel. Nobody will care about anyone’s relationship, and each episode will read like the off topic section of your favourite yiffing message board.

With Maggie, again, being the only acception.

At the end of the day, you need to come up with a better definition for what you’re trying to hate about it. If anything, characters are built off of stereotypical flaws that everyone is bound to have, both male and female. You don’t do yourself any favours if you create flaws that don’t exist in an effort to hate a man, who the world is a aware, can’t write crazy good lady parts. If you stop looking for things to hate about it, you’re bound to find something you enjoy.

If not, there’s always breaking bad. 

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5 thoughts on “Newsrooms and Broomsticks

  1. Yes, a lot of people do hate the show, and its politics, and the perceived way that Sorkin deals with the major female characters.

    This week -Ep 08 – it seemed that Maggie Jordan was the only straightforward character. She went along smoothly before getting stick on Don and the showers with Webb, which was pointless and unnecessary.

    While Charlie wanted desperately to fall upon his sword – Mackenzie needed Will to fire her – to scapegoat her as it was. Okay that was fine – but then Sorkin had to bring in the business of Mack and her Cambridge ties and how desperate she was to correct the Wikipedia innacuracies.

    On the whole, I thought Mack hadnade serious positive strides this year away from being Will-prone, and technologcally bumbling. But her tiuning out of Neal merely to wait for him to be ready to hear her next command, didn;t go down well.

    But the biggest disappoint was what Sorkin did to Sloan in this episode. Noithing wong with Olivia Munn’s take on the character, so my gripe is
    not with her, but with Sorkin. Sloan was childish this week, and again she was socially inept or said a different way – still so wildly unsure of herself.

    I generally have loved the show while simultaneously hated what Sorkin had done with Mack, Sloan, and Maggie.

    Maybe these are just more manifestations of Sorkins feelings about women in general. Maybe there’s something else. Maybe it is just a confused perception that fact plus fiction equals entertainment which is Sorkin’s Mantra.

    And this is what I have against the show. Did you noticed the expression on Marcia Gay Harden’s face after Don called her character one of a godless, soulless race of extortionists. Halladay seemed almost pleased to have heard that.

    Just asking…

    • Halliday seems almost as if she’s self aware of the constantly written stereotypes that all lawyers are soul sucking jerks. So so she carries that under her shoulder and doesn’t seem to give a flip over any of it as if to say “Yes, and what’s your point?” Hell, how she’s introduced, she’s practically sitting on throne of of men, as she antagonizes answers out of the ACN crew. Antagonizing because it’s her job. But regardless, she does what’s best for the company, and she will match wits just as well.

      Sloan I feel is the most accurate study for how well Sorkin can write a female character. In terms of art, when it come to drawing a gender, some artist are never really good at drawing both. Even after years of experience a person can draw countless beautiful portraits of a female, while still never being able to draw a man they way they’d really want to. That’s a shame because C.J. Cregg from The West Wing was great, but he ceased to care about improving his lady characters when Studio 60 came around. Every episode seemed to be about lingering problems between him and an ex-girlfriend.

      But I think he’s trying. These women will eventually get better, the problem is that he loves the way he writes his dialogue. So he hasn’t quite figured out how that can apply to women. Sloan is a gateway to figuring it out, because I think it’s obvious he loves that character the most.

      He’ll never been able to be up to par with what the internet thinks about him, and there’s a lot of scenarios in season 2 that are pretty much in response to that.

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