WARNING: Significant spoilers follow
I continue to want to love The Newsroom, but The Newsroom continues to make itself very hard to love. It continues to disintegrate the level of intelligence and credibility of many of its characters while at the same time doing an amazing job with the stuff that has almost nothing to do with those characters.
We begin this week with Will (Jeff Daniels) having problems sleeping. Turns out there’s several causes, including a death threat he received, him having contributed to a problem Sloan (Olivia Munn) had while on the air, him yelling at an interviewee and possibly him eating too much bacon right before bed.
I liked every moment with Will’s character. He really does continue to be one of the only main characters on the show who is really well-written, interesting and credible. Everything he says and does seems like something a reasonable, realistic person would do. Well, except a bit where we found out that he bought a ring to pretend he was going to propose to someone years before. That was annoying, but it was forgivable when compared with what happened with the rest of the characters.
Maggie (Allison Pill), McKenzie (Emily Mortimer) and Sloan all had moments of extreme idiocy this week. Maggie, we learn, didn’t know that there was a difference between the country of Georgia and the US state of Georgia, so when the Russians invaded the one, she apparently thought they’d invaded the other. I’m willing to bet most Americans didn’t know such a country existed, either, but they don’t work in the news business. She also apparently thought “LOL” means “love you lots”. Ho-ho.
McKenzie continues to be obsessed with her former relationship with Will and how she screwed it up by cheating on him. When she finds out the network is doing opposition research on him to find any new scandals before they bite them on the backside, she wants to use the information against him as, you know, a woman. ‘Cause women are like that. He-he.
Sloan gets assigned to work on Elliott’s program because he’s out doing something else. Don tells her she’s “expanding” in what is clearly a reference to her work, but she gets defensive and says she’s only put on four pounds. Ha-ha.
Her character does come off the least damaged from all this, and along with Will, she gets the best scenes. Munn does a very good job of portraying the character as someone who is still uncertain in her business and perhaps overcompensating a bit. I liked that we saw her screw up and do so in a serious fashion, and I liked the resolution to that story.
Now, to be fair, while I’m dumping on the way the women on the show are being treated, I must point out that both Jim (John Gallgher, Jr) and Don (Thomas Sadoski), had their moments, too, but they’re two of several men on the cast. When all three females on the cast act like fools, you have a real problem.
The show continues to be strong when it focuses on the news program and the process of putting it on the air. It also remains strong when it shows some of the behind the scenes fights that can come up between the parent company and the news business.
But it continues to really falter hard any time it strays away from that, and the writers continue to prove they don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to writing strong female characters. It’s possible they need to have one set of writers who focus on the relationships in the stories and another that focus on the “show within a show” aspects. That might make things stronger.
I know this is like the third or fourth review in a row where I’ve harped on the problems with the relationship aspects of the stories. I don’t like that fact any more than you guys do, but until the writing improves, I have to keep bringing it up.