The Newsroom

Aaron Sorkin Mansplained the Sony Hack for You

Last Friday, The Daily Beast discovered yet another bombshell deep in the gigabytes of documents unearthed in the hacking of Sony Pictures by the so-called “Guardians of Peace.” The topic was the “points” (back-end compensation, bonus money if a film clears a profit) distributed among the marquee talent for last year’s Oscar nominee American Hustle, a breakdown that went thus: Director David O. Russell and stars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner each received nine percent, while stars Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence each received seven percent. Hmmmm. What makes those seven-percenters different from the nine-percenters? … Read More

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‘The Newsroom’ Series Finale Recap: “What Kind of Day Has It Been”

Last week’s “Oh Shenandoah” will likely be remembered as the real finale of The Newsroom, a perfect summary of the show’s issues with mansplanation and the 21st century before it goes off the air. There’s almost no point to “What Kind of Day Has It Been,” because at this point, there’s nothing this finale could do to change the reputation “Oh Shenandoah” sealed for the TV ages. At the very least, it’s a more likable sendoff to a show that’s not especially likable, centering on one of The Newsroom‘s most inoffensive characters: Charlie Skinner. … Read More

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Aaron Sorkin’s Response to Criticisms of That ‘Newsroom’ Episode Perfectly Illustrates What’s Wrong With That ‘Newsroom’ Episode

Two days after The Newsroom aired its penultimate episode, the outrage over Aaron Sorkin’s apparent stance on campus sexual assault has expanded far beyond its initial audience of Sorkin diehards and dedicated hate-watchers. Responses came pouring in, not just from the Internet shrew-hordes the creator vocally disdains but from outlets the old media champion supposedly reveres. The New Yorker‘s Emily Nussbaum deemed the episode “crazy-making”The Atlantic’s David Sims called the plot line “horrifying”; there was even dissent from within Sorkin’s own writers’ room. Presumably, if anything could break Sorkin’s notorious faith in his characters’, and thus his, essential rightness, this was it. … Read More

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‘The Newsroom’ Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: “Oh Shenandoah”

The media commentary on The Newsroom has always been an odd mix of troglodytic and eerily prescient. On the one hand, the show is, by its very design, a year and a half too late to have anything real to say on current event—an approach that always seemed to fit well with a preachy worldview that’s far more than a year and a half behind the times. And then, very occasionally, the show manages to seem almost clairvoyant. Like when “Oh Shenandoah” airs this week. … Read More

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‘The Newsroom’ Season 3, Episode 4 Recap: “Contempt”

Welcome to “Contempt,” or: “The One Where Will and Mac Get Married–for Journalism!,” also known as “The One Where Jim and Hallie Break Up—for Journalism!” and “The One Where Maggie and Professor Ethicist Break Up—for Journalism!.” It’s an episode that’s the culmination of various Sorkin tropes, so much so that it’s less exasperating than a perfect example of the creator’s tics, to be passed down to Screenwriting 101 students throughout the ages. Except for that rooftop scene. … Read More

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‘The Newsroom’ Season 3, Episode 3 Recap: “Main Justice”

We open on last week’s cliffhanger, with Gary “HR Nightmare” Cooper singing Cole Porter and walking in on the FBI. He swears—gotta relish your time on HBO while it’s still there!—and Mac yells about her wedding, but Charlie’s the one who actually gets his act together and does something. While he “calls” ACN’s West Coast office to “set up” a live broadcast of the raid, Don and Jim scramble to set up a functional newsroom, the thing it is their job as producers to do. Maggie shouts empowered stuff at her ex-boyfriends, like “Shut up!” and “Your fly is unzipped!” and “FUCK!,” and the FBI calls off the raid instead of calling Charlie’s bluff. … Read More

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‘The Newsroom’ Season 3 Episode 2 Recap: “Run”

No wonder Aaron Sorkin is quitting TV! The first five minutes of “Run” gives us the most perfect distillation of the Sorkin sensibility we’re ever likely to get, straight from the man of himself. “I’m a douche on the side of the angels!” Chris Messina hollers across the table at an unimpressed Kat Dennings. Game over, mic dropped. Well-meaning self-righteousness, explained by a middle-aged man to a young woman: we’ve reached Peak Sorkin, and the guy’s understandably chosen to quit (for screenwriting) while he’s ahead. … Read More

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‘The Newsroom’ Season 3 Premiere Recap: “Boston”

Well, it happened: in a plot line about half a sentence removed from an Onion storyThe Newsroom decided to take on the Boston Marathon. Character-wise, we begin the final season almost exactly where we left off, except Meryl Streep’s daughter is now working for ACN as a blogger, complete with a roped-off little blogger pen proclaiming she’s a part of “ACN DIGITAL,” not the actual News Night team. Anyway, Aaron Sorkin has claimed that one of his biggest regrets from the show was giving journalists the impression he’s telling them how to do their jobs. That may be true, but “Boston” sure doesn’t show it. … Read More

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Does ‘The Newsroom’ Reveal a Grand Unified Sorkinverse™?

For the most part, The Newsroom‘s final season is dying-broadcast-news-business as usual. Will McAvoy continues to be an insufferable blowhard. Olivia Munn continues to be way, way better than the show. And the Internet continues to be the Big, Bad Bogeyman that’s taking journalism to hell in a hand basket. (At one point, Meryl Streep’s daughter says the word “retweets” in a way that is supposed to convey profound shame. It does not work, but not for lack of trying.) But there is one new, potentially earth-shaking development here — one with very important consequences for our understanding of Sorkinland. … Read More

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10 TV Events to Look Out for in November

After September and October’s slew of premieres, November is a bit of a weird month for TV. Late fall is a grab bag of cable shows, reality TV, Lifetime specials, and stand-up comedy, with a few scattered network dramas in between. Still, with Grumpy Cat, Gordon Ramsay, and Aaron Sorkin on the agenda, November’s hardly lacking in water cooler conversation material. Here are the top ten events to line up on your DVR this month. … Read More

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