I think it’s safe to say I’m pretty much over The Newsroom. I mean, I knew it was never going to be a “good” show, strictly speaking. The storylines were completely unoriginal, the characters were broad, paper-thin stereotypes who spoke and acted like aliens pretending to be humans, and Will McAvoy (despite the earnest efforts of Jeff Daniels) couldn’t respond to even the most simple of questions without churning out a hammy tirade about how “great” America used to be.
So no, I knew it would never be “good.” But, honestly, I was willing to forgive all of that, for one, single reason- it was angry. Angry at the flimsy circus our 24-hour news world has become. Angry at the Tea Party. Angry at Congressional gridlock. Angry at all the utter junk that clogs up day to day life in this country. It burned through the very fiber of Will McAvoy’s being. And, since I share every bit of this anger, I was all on board. The show could be as crappy as it wanted, so long as it provided catharsis.
Sadly, that has not happened. Oh the rants are there, and they are great fun to watch (McAvoy’s deconstruction of the Tea Party as the “American Taliban” is my personal favorite). The problem is that they are almost completely buried. Buried in the bullshitty, who’s-sleeping-with-who drama that most of every episode has been devoted to. Instead of being the focus of the show, the anger has been mere sprinkles on a greasy, tasteless donut.
Take the bit about the Tea Party, part of the very last episode of the first season. All of the clips concerning the Tea Party, when combined, run for 6 strong minutes. In the actual episode, however, those 6 minutes are spread out through the entire 45-minute plus episode, so far apart that when another segment comes up, you’ve forgotten what he talked about in the last one.
And what fills in the gaps between these tiny gems of political rage? Relationship drama. Some drug references. And, astonishingly, a Sex In The City-themed subplot. I wish I was making that up, but I’m sober. And to top it all off, Sorkin pulls a Glee by refusing to close the cast-member couplings that are so obviously going to happen, just to leave enough filler-fuel for another season (or two, or three, or giiyaaaah...). The characters that are clearly going to get together all say to each other some variant of the following;
“Yeah, we are clearly head-over-heels for each other!”
“But we can’t be together now.”
“Hell if I know.”
I could go on listing my frustrations with this for some time, but the election isn’t over yet, so my blood pressure can’t take it. Suffice it to say, I am disappointed. It’s not even the fact that the filler in the show exists- all shows have filler of some kind (even Avatar). What’s grating is how staggeringly unoriginal it is. There is seriously nothing noteworthy about any of these characters outside of their astonishing self-righteousness. And that just isn’t about to make a show worth watching.
So, in a nutshell. I’m done. I’m sure the show will remain popular for awhile, and may Sorkin get all the money he can out of the show. I will no longer take part. I will content myself with watching the good bits on Youtube (pretty much all of which can be found filler-free, thank God). And while I have resigned myself to this, I still can’t help but feel that twinge of disappointment. Goddamnit Sorkin. You came so close.