REVIEW: The Newsroom — Season 1 Episode 6 — “Bullies”

So this review might wind up shorter than the average, since I’m supposed to be cleaning for Passover but instead I’m watching a TV show I don’t even like, because it’s homework. Oh well. Hopefully my mom won’t yell at me too much.


—   Will just forgot his own name on the air. I’m only laughing because it’s about time His Pompousness got taken down a peg.

—   Will is in therapy. Good for him. All the characters in this show need to be in therapy, but at least it’s a start.

—   He’s been paying for appointments every Wednesday for four years even though he never shows up. Well, that’s just lovely for all of us poor folk to hear.

—   Turns out his therapist died a couple years ago, and his son took over, and Will didn’t have a clue. Awkwardddd.

—   Yay for therapist calling Will on his crap. About time someone did.

—   Wait, there was a death threat? When did that happen? And what took so long? (I only partially mean “What took so long for someone to want to kill Will” — I also mean, why did they wait until 8 minutes into the episode to reveal it? Suspense? It doesn’t feel like a big reveal; it just feels like I missed an episode or something.)

—   Now flashback to explain, because everyone knows a non-linear storyline is always better than a linear one. ALWAYS.

—   Will wants commenters on the website to de-anon. Dude, have you HEARD of the internet? It doesn’t WORK like that.

—   Oh, great, more old news. This time about the community center that was being built in lower Manhattan, more commonly referred to as the “Ground Zero Mosque” even though it wasn’t actually a mosque and wasn’t actually at Ground Zero. Look, I get that this was a big deal way back when. But nobody cares about it now. The most recent article I found (December 9th 2012) says that the place is struggling with funding and may be converted to condominiums.

—   Okay, that was kind of satisfying, smacking down that lady’s arguments about “creeping Islam” and calling her out on her hypocrisy by pointing out all the garbage people have done in the name of Christianity.

—   And there’s the death threat. They know his address. That’s always creepy.

—   Other storyline: coverage of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Sloan speaks Japanese. Of course she does — since we know nothing about her, they can keep giving her a bajillion superpowers and we’ll just swallow it.

—   More displays of Maggie’s professional incompetence. Since it’s been a couple of episodes since we’ve had some of those.

—   Don forgot to get someone to replace his anchor on his show, and now is recruiting Sloan at the last minute. Equal opportunity incompetence! Huzzah!

—   Sloan gets her chance to be deeply unprofessional, asking Will’s new bodyguard if she can touch his pecs.

—   Will just called her an accomplice to drug dealing, because she doesn’t throttle her guests until they give her answers on the air. Is it her job to get people to incriminate themselves and possibly lose their jobs?

—   At least he recognizes in hindsight that that was a stupid thing to say.

—   Oh, no. Sloan’s interrogating the Japanese spokesperson herself, ignoring the translator, and now she’s revealing what he told her off the record, how the radiation levels are higher than they’re admitting.

—   Charlie’s right — Sloan’s gonna have a heck of a time ever getting anyone to talk to her off the record again.

—   Poor Sloan; she looks like me when I’m trying not to cry. But yo, basic rules of journalism . . . off the record = OFF THE RECORD.

—   Don lifts her chin up, instead of saying “chin up.” Are they gonna become a thing, now? Finally break up Don and Maggie for good? Please god yes. I don’t actually care about either couple, but something new would be better.

—   Will has daddy issues and a tragic backstory! Why am I not surprised? That’s just such a cheap way to gain sympathy. Sorry, Sorkin; it’s blatantly manipulative.

—   The therapist IS David Krumholtz! Pretty pretty Jew boy. Love the curls. (That’s been bugging me the whole episode; I’ve never seen him in a serious role so I wasn’t sure it was him.) Wonder if he’s also supposed to be cleaning for Passover right now 😛

—   Don sees Jim and Maggie laughing. Jealous Don Alert!

—   And Mackenzie just discovered that Will almost took a job in LA, which she thinks means he was going to ditch her, so she’s yelling at him. I bet he was going to propose, and I bet he’s still got the ring to prove it.

—   Yup, there it is. Naturally he keeps it in the office instead of at home, because that would make SENSE.

—   Oh, he was lying about the ring. He just got it to screw with Mac. Figures.

—   The spokesperson who talked to Sloan off the record just lost his job. Could have seen that coming.

—   Sloan rejects Mac’s offer to help. Which is smart, because I don’t think we’ve ever actually seen Mac solve a single problem.

—   This interview with Sutton Wall is the most compelling scene in the entire series so far, because for once, the people who disagree with Will aren’t being portrayed as evil or stupid — Wall (a fictional black, gay, former deputy chief of staff to the widely renowned homophobic senator Rick Santorum, inspired by the real-life Robert Traynham) gets to stand up for himself and make a nuanced, passionate argument that is contrary to Will’s. This is a lot more like West Wing Sorkin than Newsroom Sorkin.

—   Will acknowledges that he bullied Wall. And this is obviously what’s causing him to lose sleep.

—   Don asks Sloan of all people if Maggie’s interested in Jim?? Sloan and Maggie barely interact! Also, that’s a continuity fail, because I’m pretty sure most of Don’s actions in the series so far have been motivated by the fact that he already figured out that Maggie’s interested in Jim.

—   They can fix the whole Sloan mess if she goes on the air and lies about what happened. Moral of the story: It’s never okay to lie to the public, except when it is.

—   Ha, the insomnia was actually caused by the bacon sandwiches Will eats before bed. Therapist tricked him into opening up. Not sure that’s legal, but this is TV therapy.



Final Thoughts:

The gimmicky flashback nature of the episode was weird at first, but I got used to it, though I think maybe it should have started with Will in the therapist’s office or waiting room, so that it would be obvious we were entering in the middle of the story and that when the death threat was revealed, it wouldn’t seem so jarring and make me feel like I should rewind and see if I’d missed something.

The jokes in this show by and large still fail to make me laugh. But I enjoyed David Krumholtz as the therapist, and I’m glad to see that IMDB shows that he’ll be in more episodes.

Overall, this episode was very focused on Will and is essentially a character study about what he likes, dislikes, and what gets under his skin and why. I suppose it’s not bad as far as character studies go, but I’m sure I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more if I actually liked Will to start with and so this wouldn’t feel like a last-ditch attempt to get me to like him. (He’s tortured! He’s conflicted! Love him!) I can’t think of a single character on the show that I like enough to hear all about their psychological demons. None of them interest me enough.


Rating: 3/5


One thought on “REVIEW: The Newsroom — Season 1 Episode 6 — “Bullies””

  1. You’re posts are always brutally honest, free-form, have lots of your own personal character in them and always funny to read as well. There’s not really any errors to speak of, and the links you inserted subtlety work really well. Very nice job!

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