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HBO's The Newsroom - Page 4

post #46 of 49

I still think that all characters are too witty, rapid-fire, pompous jerks LOL... but this season definitely feels a bit different than the first. I want MORE SLOAAAANNN!!!!

 

;)

post #47 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by gelocks View Post

I still think that all characters are too witty, rapid-fire, pompous jerks LOL... but this season definitely feels a bit different than the first. I want MORE SLOAAAANNN!!!!

 

;)

The main criticism the show gets is that none of the dialog is realistic. It's very fast-paced and doesn't represent the kind of conversation that would actually occur in the given situations. Still, I enjoy the wit.

 

I agree with your sentiment on Sloan. She's my favorite character.

post #48 of 49

It's no West Wing, and I think that's part of why it falls short. To be clear, I'm not saying Aaron Sorkin should spend the rest of his career trying to write another West Wing... that was a once in a career kind of show, and retreading it would never measure up. However, that's exactly the problem, in some ways.
 

Sorkin is my favorite TV writer, and my mother and I have popped popcorn and watched everything he's ever done, all the way back to Sports Night (and, of course, A Few Good Men, Charlie Wilson's War, The Social Network etc). We're doing the same for The Newsroom, and we're enjoying it... but the places where The Newsroom doesn't work, it doesn't work because Sorkin is recycling.

 

The gag with Don and the chair? It was done in Sports Night. And in The West Wing. And in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The fourth time just isn't funny anymore. Same for the power cut.... seen it in the West Wing. I can say right now with certainty that we're going to see someone accidentally shattering an office window by leaning on it, the ceiling falling in on someone, someone throwing some kind of object at a glass surface and shattering it, and someone intentionally gluing something to something else and accidentally wreaking havoc.... four more of his favorite sight gags. (We may have seen some of those in The Newsroom already, I honestly can't remember... and that's exactly the problem!)

 

Now, granted, it's entirely possible most of the people watching haven't seen some of his other series, but it's a fair bet that most people have at least seen a little of WW, which includes all of the above. And the thing is, he could *afford* to re-do them all (and do them better!) in The West Wing, because Sports Night was not a widely watched show.... so most people hadn't seen them before, and those of us who had could appreciate the refinement of the joke. But he refined them to their hilt in The West Wing... it's not possible to do those gags any better than they were done there, so dipping back into the same well just feels lazy, and it makes the characters feel like archetypes rather than characters.

 

Some other "stealing from himself" aspects:

 

Will goes to therapy = Josh goes to therapy.

Will gets stoned = Bartlet on painkillers.

Jim and Maggie = Josh and Donna.

Everybody is in legal trouble over Genoa = Everyone is in legal trouble over MS disclosure.

Maggie goes to Africa = Donna goes to Gaza.

 

WW fans might object to the latter, because technically Sorkin was gone from WW by the time the latter was written... but I think that's exactly why he borrowed the plotline. Keep in mind, Sorkin wasn't exactly planning to leave WW when he did... I think he'd mentioned the idea to the other writers as a potential future plotline, and they used it... and now he wanted to take a crack at his own version. That's fine, but the similarities are awfully striking.

 

That's not to say I dislike The Newsroom... I'm on tenterhooks for it every week. But then, I'd watch anything Sorkin wrote, so I'm hardly unbiased. And it's a fact that if you watch all of his other TV stuff, and then make a drinking game out of "reused something we've seen before," you'd be smashed before the show was half over.

 

I also don't think the flashback/flashforward stuff he does in The Newsroom works as well as it did in WW... I'm not sure why that is, but it doesn't. I think he'd be much better served by creating a similar, parallel world with similar, parallel events, as he did for WW (everyone knew that the fictional country of Qumar was a stand-in for "fill in the Middle Eastern Country Americans Are Supposed To Be Scared Of This Week," and it worked fine as a way to commentate on real world events, without ruffling any real life country's feathers in the process).

 

I love the Newsroom for what it is... more Sorkin-written, fast paced bantering on my TV. That alone makes it mandatory viewing for me. But I think he needs to decide whether he wants to write about "serious problems and serious people to solve them," or whether he wants to write about the machinations of the TV world. Any time he tries to do both (Sports Night, Studio 60, The Newsroom), his characters end up sounding unrealistically preachy, as though the world will stop turning if they don't do their jobs... when the world doesn't in fact turn on a sports show, or an SNL knockoff, or on the life of one TV news anchor. It *does* turn on politics - that's why WW worked, and it's why A Few Good Men worked, too.

 

And it might still work for The Newsroom, if he can dial back the "this is life-and-death!" just a notch (because it *is* life and death to Will and Mac, and they *should* care, and they *should* put their necks out... but it's not life-and-death to the viewers). I have faith that Sorkin can find that balance, because I've seen little flashes of genius, and sometimes entire episodes of genius. I just hope he finds it sooner rather than later, because I'd like The Newsroom to be on for a long time to come.

post #49 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seanchai View Post

It's no West Wing, and I think that's part of why it falls short. To be clear, I'm not saying Aaron Sorkin should spend the rest of his career trying to write another West Wing... that was a once in a career kind of show, and retreading it would never measure up. However, that's exactly the problem, in some ways.
 

Sorkin is my favorite TV writer, and my mother and I have popped popcorn and watched everything he's ever done, all the way back to Sports Night (and, of course, A Few Good Men, Charlie Wilson's War, The Social Network etc). We're doing the same for The Newsroom, and we're enjoying it... but the places where The Newsroom doesn't work, it doesn't work because Sorkin is recycling.

 

The gag with Don and the chair? It was done in Sports Night. And in The West Wing. And in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The fourth time just isn't funny anymore. Same for the power cut.... seen it in the West Wing. I can say right now with certainty that we're going to see someone accidentally shattering an office window by leaning on it, the ceiling falling in on someone, someone throwing some kind of object at a glass surface and shattering it, and someone intentionally gluing something to something else and accidentally wreaking havoc.... four more of his favorite sight gags. (We may have seen some of those in The Newsroom already, I honestly can't remember... and that's exactly the problem!)

 

Now, granted, it's entirely possible most of the people watching haven't seen some of his other series, but it's a fair bet that most people have at least seen a little of WW, which includes all of the above. And the thing is, he could *afford* to re-do them all (and do them better!) in The West Wing, because Sports Night was not a widely watched show.... so most people hadn't seen them before, and those of us who had could appreciate the refinement of the joke. But he refined them to their hilt in The West Wing... it's not possible to do those gags any better than they were done there, so dipping back into the same well just feels lazy, and it makes the characters feel like archetypes rather than characters.

 

Some other "stealing from himself" aspects:

 

Will goes to therapy = Josh goes to therapy.

Will gets stoned = Bartlet on painkillers.

Jim and Maggie = Josh and Donna.

Everybody is in legal trouble over Genoa = Everyone is in legal trouble over MS disclosure.

Maggie goes to Africa = Donna goes to Gaza.

 

WW fans might object to the latter, because technically Sorkin was gone from WW by the time the latter was written... but I think that's exactly why he borrowed the plotline. Keep in mind, Sorkin wasn't exactly planning to leave WW when he did... I think he'd mentioned the idea to the other writers as a potential future plotline, and they used it... and now he wanted to take a crack at his own version. That's fine, but the similarities are awfully striking.

 

That's not to say I dislike The Newsroom... I'm on tenterhooks for it every week. But then, I'd watch anything Sorkin wrote, so I'm hardly unbiased. And it's a fact that if you watch all of his other TV stuff, and then make a drinking game out of "reused something we've seen before," you'd be smashed before the show was half over.

 

I also don't think the flashback/flashforward stuff he does in The Newsroom works as well as it did in WW... I'm not sure why that is, but it doesn't. I think he'd be much better served by creating a similar, parallel world with similar, parallel events, as he did for WW (everyone knew that the fictional country of Qumar was a stand-in for "fill in the Middle Eastern Country Americans Are Supposed To Be Scared Of This Week," and it worked fine as a way to commentate on real world events, without ruffling any real life country's feathers in the process).

 

I love the Newsroom for what it is... more Sorkin-written, fast paced bantering on my TV. That alone makes it mandatory viewing for me. But I think he needs to decide whether he wants to write about "serious problems and serious people to solve them," or whether he wants to write about the machinations of the TV world. Any time he tries to do both (Sports Night, Studio 60, The Newsroom), his characters end up sounding unrealistically preachy, as though the world will stop turning if they don't do their jobs... when the world doesn't in fact turn on a sports show, or an SNL knockoff, or on the life of one TV news anchor. It *does* turn on politics - that's why WW worked, and it's why A Few Good Men worked, too.

 

And it might still work for The Newsroom, if he can dial back the "this is life-and-death!" just a notch (because it *is* life and death to Will and Mac, and they *should* care, and they *should* put their necks out... but it's not life-and-death to the viewers). I have faith that Sorkin can find that balance, because I've seen little flashes of genius, and sometimes entire episodes of genius. I just hope he finds it sooner rather than later, because I'd like The Newsroom to be on for a long time to come.

Wow, I thought that I was an Aaron Sorkin fan, but you are on a different level. You're obviously correct on each point. I would never have made those connections. I appreciate your post and will now be looking for examples of the "self-plagerism" that you have alerted us to. I just recently finished a review of the first season of "The Newsroom" and caught up to the latest episode of the second season in about two weeks. Despite the peculiarities of Sorkin's style, like you, I will continue to look forward to the next episode of "The Newsroom," as well as to his future projects.

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