REVIEW: The Newsroom — Season 1 Episode 8 — “The Blackout, Part 1: Tragedy Porn”

Blaaaaaaaaaaaargh. Hello, internet. Forgive my sluggishness this morning. I iz tired.

*yawwwwwn*

 

 

—   Looks like they’re going to pick up on the “the network hates Will and wants to make up a reason to fire him even though he’s getting all the ratings.” Huzzah.

—   An intriguing episode title. Too bad I have no confidence that the show’s cynicism will tell me anything my own cynicism doesn’t already.

—    Will is doing a print interview with a reporter named Brian, so that his self-righteousness preaching can have yet another outlet. This will not upset the network. Nope. Not one bit.

—   It has become genuinely difficult for me to pay any attention to words coming out of Will’s mouth, because he is so unbearable smug and obnoxious about everything. In real life, I would just want to walk out of the room, but I can’t, because I have to watch the frigging show.

—   They’re talking about Will being a Republican, which is just so ludicrous because Sorkin gives him the most preposterously liberal positions on everything, and then labels him a “sane Republican” as if that will make it easier for people to swallow. Maybe if a Republican/Conservative was writing the show. But this way? Nope.

—   The network is chewing out Will, Charlie, and Mackenzie for not covering the Casey Anthony trial. I vaguely remember hearing about that. Not the kind of story I pay attention to, because yes, it is *ding ding ding* Tragedy Porn. Yay, I figured out the title! Two points for me.

—   Of course they need to report the Casey Anthony trial. It’s what most people want to hear about. If you don’t report it, viewers are going to change the channel, or worse, lose faith in the show’s credibility because it doesn’t seem to be paying attention to the biggest story in the country.

—   The reporter is snooping around the office, and he’s not very subtle about it.

—   They’re making fun of Michele Bachmann. Again, one of those people that no one cares about but the show feels a need to eviscerate anyway.

—   The reporter is the guy Mac cheated on Will with. Oh god the drama. I really could have done without that. I find it ironic that Sorkin is so against tragedy porn in the news but has no problem with it on his show.

—   Now they have to report the Anthony Weiner scandal. Yay, more tabloid worthy news!

—   Will says they have to report the Weiner story because in order to bash the Tea Party, they have to seem balanced. HAHAHAHAHA balance. If ANYONE is under the illusion that this show is balanced, they need to just go away.

—   Maggie is mocking Michele Bachmann for being a loony. This would be more compelling if she weren’t so whiny about it.

—   They’ve brought in Don to consult on how to report Casey Anthony. Or to give him something to do.

—   Charlie’s going to meet with his ~sekrit contact~ and it’s awkwardpants.

—   Secret contact tells Charlie about something called Global Clarity, an illegal eavesdropping system, which as far as I can tell, is not a real thing, because all internet search results for it are Newsroom related.

—   For a show that purports to hate fear-mongering, that was the most fear-mongering scene I’ve ever seen on TV. “They’re gonna listen in on all your communications and it will be the end of the world as we know it!!!!!”

—   Don explains the obvious, how the coverage of Casey Anthony is emotionally and not factually based.

—   They suspect that Secret Contact Dude may have just been setting Will up for a fall, so they assign Jim to investigate him to make sure. I wish I could say, “Now, Secret Investigator Jim, that’s a show I’d watch” but I really wouldn’t, because Jim is so bland and boring.

—   Mac is venting to Reporter-Ex-Brian that she’s living 30 feet from the life she could have had if she hadn’t been so stupid. Well, Mac, forgive me for not feeling so bad for you about that, because I cannot relate at all to someone who wants to end up with Will. I think you dodged a bullet, woman.

—   Neal wants to report about internet trolling, and Mac is all for it, despite this being the LEAST NEWSWORTHY STORY of the episode.

—   Will is going back to his shrink! Yay, we get to see more David Krumholtz! And he points out Will’s self-destructive behavior. Too bad Will is just going to continue being a jerk.

—   Some bimbo showed up to get her fifteen minutes of fame by ratting out Anthony Weiner with tweets he sent her, “because the world needs to know what kind of guy he is.” Lovely.

—   Charlie confronts Leona in a pointless scene that just repeats everything we already know about the network wanting to fire Will.

—   Sloan is still ranting about the debt ceiling, but the show has still never explained WHY she’s ranting and WHY it’s such a disaster and WHY it would cause a global economic meltdown. The way it’s portrayed, this is just drama for the sake of drama. More fear-mongering, etc. Ugh.

—   Mac is agonizing over having the bimbo interviewed for the show, and asks for a sign that she’s okay, and the lights go out. And there’s the explanation for the first part of the episode title.

 

END OF PART 1!

 

 

Final Thoughts:

This episode was really dull for me. It retread a lot of previously done territory about Will’s position with the network and the show’s idealism vs. the reality of the TV news business. I am so sick of hearing about it, and seeing them being forced to compromise their ideals is nothing new; they’ve been compromising since the very beginning when they screwed up that very first show with the interview that went terribly wrong and had to rely on Will basically spoonfeeding his opinions to the viewers even though the show had outright professed to NOT want to do that. So forgive me if I am unmoved by the situation in this episode. It’s just the same stuff all over again, on a bigger scale, and it’s not even good stuff.

And then there’s the show’s blatant hypocrisy and double standards about what is worth watching — evidently it’s okay for the SHOW to be melodramatic and focused on petty relationship struggles, because that’s “entertainment,” but the news is obviously different because the news shouldn’t be entertainment. What the show fails to grasp is that it’s undermining its own message by using the same emotionally manipulative techniques that it accuses the news of using. It’s saying higher standards are important, and then proceeds to scrape the bottom of the barrel with tawdry relationship drama, as if it doesn’t trust the viewers to keep watching unless it pulls all those lowbrow tricks out of its bag. Result is that I feel cheated and condescended to, and wish the show would just be more intelligent and more interesting without trying to play to the lowest common denominator.

 

Rating: 2.5/5

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One thought on “REVIEW: The Newsroom — Season 1 Episode 8 — “The Blackout, Part 1: Tragedy Porn””

  1. You bring up a good point about the hypocrisy found in the show, which is especially interesting since news shows can often be hypocritical within the same airing. Another great post, no complaints here.

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