Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Newsroom on HBO Sundays at 10pm

 I can't tell you how many times I've asked the TV or my computer screen "how is this news?" in the last decade. I can't be the only one because it seems that maybe Aaron Sorkin had that feeling one too many times and came up with The Newsroom.

It's based around a group of news professionals that decided that news shouldn't be about ratings, it should be about something bigger- informing, inspiring, being accountable. You know, the stuff that doesn't seem to count these days. I would even argue that there is strong a parallel that Aaron Sorkin is trying to make the same point about television.

The Newsroom, which I think was hastily critiqued in a harsh light by most, is a show that takes a look at a fictional American cable news show and how a decision is made on their part to not be a slave to ratings and do the job that news was created for: to factually inform the masses. Where a hard path of integrity versus ratings is examined.

The idea that we have to make the CHOICE to be better, to do better, want more for ourselves and for each other is one that rings out past their fictional world and into our reality.

Politics play a huge role in this show, which is apt seeing as the state of politics, especially in North America, is so focused on the scandalous that you can rarely find the facts and it is almost impossible to find the truth because of conglomerates that own everything- including politics and especially the news.

This show is akin to the Daily Show, the Colbert Report and Real Time in the way that it points out the complete ridiculousness that is the politics of today.

Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) answering the question: " Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?"

Sports Night questioned the integrity of sports casting. Those shows that did nothing but cater to the scandalous sides of athletes and the world of pro sports. The main anchor, whom also works alongside his best friend, starts looking at the news that he's reporting and the way it might impact his son. the idea of  "we're better than this, I'm better than this-we can also have integrity." It was a smart show, that I happen to believe was ahead of it's time.

The West Wing saw a fictional America elect a president with integrity. Even through the inter character relationships, it still came down to acting with integrity and doing the right thing, for the president himself, his staff and their America.

To say that Sorkin is becoming a parody of himself is to totally miss the point completely. Even though reviewers feel like they are getting hammered over the head with the same point, they still manage to be missing it and missing out on a great drama that we so need.

A lot of what I've read in reviews are critics who feel that it's preachy, wordy and though it could be a good story is going to fall short because the first two episodes took the time to set up the story and the characters. Well, I suppose in the world that we now live in where 30 seconds and 140 characters is all anyone seems to have time for- I shouldn't expect more, even from journalists. 

No wait, that's exactly what this show is about- how rushing to get the jump on something can ruin journalistic credibility and journalists should want for more.

To those that believe that they don't want to be told what's good for them, I say, grow up and I also believe that those are some of the same people that  scream about government "being in their business." When more people are interested in TMZ than finding out the truth behind decisions that are made for them by the elected that aren't even actually interested in the people but in pure dollar signs- we should be worried... And maybe someone should be telling us off for not caring or bothering to demand more.

Aaron Sorkin has never been the type to dumb down for the sake of ratings, all the success that he has had has come from just doing the thing he does best, writing smart and riveting pieces of thoughtful entertainment. Yet somehow he is faulted for it.

What exactly are we saying when we have all these anti- bullying campaigns but when someone smart puts their ideas out there they get shot down and given a metaphorical wedgie for being different? Or in this case, just for being Aaron Sorkin.

We're 4 episodes into the very first season with a cast who are still trying to get a feel for each other and the pace, give it a chance.
It's not about how Sorkin rules with an iron fist or whatever other sorted or real things he has been accused of, those aren't the things that matter. What matters is the level of quality that he puts into his work. 

Integrity. Period.

1 comment:

  1. anonymous followe :PAugust 20, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    You're so right about this, I find american news HILARIOUS albeit tragic!

    Are you back from sick leave? Have you. Enrolled in web design or another trade course? What about a day job?