There are about a dozen, if that, TV critics that I really admire and will go out of my way to read whatever it is that they have written especially when they are writing about a show that I adore. Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom being one of them. So I paid attention this week when the reviews for the 2nd season started to roll in and I admit I was pretty discouraged at what I read. Most of the reviews that I read were not all that positive, in fact hardly any of them were.
Now I want it on record that I agreed with their criticisms of the first season; Will McAvoy is a pompous ass, MacKenzie McHale did spend most of the first season acting like a nervous Nellie with a school girl crush, and despite the fact that I am a card-carrying Liberal I sometimes felt that if I had to listen to one more holier than thou viewpoint my ears would start to bleed and I agreed with them. So yeah, after reading that I could expect more of the same I was pretty nervous. There is nothing worse than seeing a show you love topple under the weight of its own ego and I think we all know just how big of an ego Sorkin has.
But can you blame him? Even his worst effort is better than most people’s best. The man is, I’m sorry, but he’s a freaking word genius.
“Words. Words when spoken out loud for the sake of performance are music. They have rhythm and pitch and timbre and volume. These are the properties of music and music has the ability to find us and move us and lift us up in ways that literal meaning can’t.” — President Josiah Bartlett, The West Wing.
When Sorkin get’s it right and the right actor is bringing those words to life it is a work of art and The Newsroom gets more right than it does wrong. Yes, I saw hints of the same pompous attitude in Will and there was a moment where I thought it was possible we were going to have to deal with 10 episodes of MacKenzie making rookie mistakes, but she didn’t and just like that the moment had passed. Will there be more moments like the one where she made an off-hand comment about the Washington DC division not being important? Probably, but I don’t care. She’s not perfect. Will isn’t perfect. He is an arrogant jackass who thinks it is up to him to tell people how they should be looking at the world and again, I don’t care.
The last episode of Season 1 set up the possibility of many pairings and I’m on board for all them. I love how Maggie walks in heels like I walk in heels as though you know she’d be much more comfortable in a pair of Converse. I love that she is an awkward mess because she has spent most of her adulthood up to that point trying to be the person she thinks she should be instead of the person she actually wants to be. I love that for all of Sloan’s brainy, tall leggy-ness she really is one step away from being the female version of Sheldon. I love that Jim is trying so hard to be okay with Maggie’s decision that the only left for him to do before he cracks under the emotional pressure is to leave. I love that Don finally decided that being a good guy sometimes means you don’t stay. I love that Neal is still on the fringe desperately trying to bring stories he feels are important to the forefront. What can I say, I’m an idealist and I’m a romantic and I’m in.
Stray Observations for “First Thing We Do, Lets Kill All the Lawyers”
I adore Sloan’s relationship with Charlie.
“No, I make nerds look good” Yes you do ma’am.
In a few short scenes Hamish Linklater looked as though he could have been with this crew since the beginning and I couldn’t help wonder if he auditioned for a role for the first season and came this close to making it.
Last season in every scene, except maybe his last, Chris Messina played Reese Lansing with a privileged air about him and for one moment in the beginning of this episode a flash of vulnerability washed across his face. It made me want to get to know Reese more.
I’m already hooked on finding out what happened with “Genoa” and it’s going to be fun watching Marcia Gay Harden’s Rebecca Halliday try to wipe the smug look off Will’s face.
*Next week we will return to our regular way of recapping the newest episode*