By Deanna Campbell
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – for me, the opening scene of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom makes for extremely captivating television.
That being said, every time I tune in to an episode, the same things always come to mind.
- Jeff Daniels is remarkable. True to form, Sorkin has hired the perfect man for the job. And yet, every time Will McAvoy fires through a piece of intellectual dialogue (every scene then), I get disturbing flashbacks of his ‘bathroom’ scene in 1994’s Dumb and Dumber.
- Poor poor Dev Patel. I love Dev Patel, I mean, how can you not? Which is why I always feel a little cheated that he got slotted into the stereotypical IT guru slot.
- I definitely need to get up to speed with what’s going on in the world. If real-life newsrooms are anything like ACN, I often wonder if I’d be able to hold my own in a conversation with anyone in the room.
- Jim Harper, I love you.
As premiere eps go, ‘We Just Decided To’ manages to provide just the right amount of insight into the show’s key cast. We first meet protagonist Will McAvoy onstage, as a subdued member of a university panel tasked with debating some political topic or other. It takes a seemingly harmless question from a naive student in the audience to shatter Will’s calm demeanour and give us the aforementioned monologue. Fast forward to a few months later, after the chaos that Will’s actions have caused has somewhat died down, to the New York studios of fictional news channel ACN. Watching Will in this environment, I slowly get the feeling that in his current state, his sanity may just be hanging by a thread.
Not helping that state is the surprise arrival of his one-time girlfriend MacKenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer), who steps in to fill the role of Will’s executive producer. Making up the rest of the cast are slimy executive producer Don Keefer (Thomas Sadoski), adorable assistant Maggie Jordan (Alison Pill, who, funnily enough, is currently in the news for an ‘accidental’ topless twitter pic), network head Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston), ACN blog master Neal Sampat (Dev Patel) and MacKenzie’s right hand man, Jim Harper (John Gallagher Jr).
With the cannonball of emotions that clearly exist between Will and MacKenzie and the beginnings of the obligatory love triangle between Don, Maggie and Jim, one gets the sense that many serious intellectual critics may soon resent The Newsroom for attempting to include relationship ‘mumbo-jumbo’ in a show centred on politics and news. I for one couldn’t care less – bring on the love triangle.
I’ve also seen words like ‘smug’ and ‘ego’ thrown around when it comes to many evaluations of the dialogue heavy, jargon filled exchanges on the show and, while I admit that I sometimes have to sit back and spend a few minutes trying to figure out what was just said, I also have to commend Sorkin for creating television that, refreshingly, exercises my mind. From what little I’ve seen, The Newsroom is definitely shaping up to be a gem amongst a host of mind-numbing, dreary television that currently fills up the airwaves.