"She opens her mouth,
What comes out is a mystery,
She's achin' to be..."
Those lyrics are from an occasionally brilliant and often inebriated band called The Replacements in their song "Achin' To Be." Those lyrics and the song came melodically flowing into my head as I watched the third episode of Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom. More specifically, as I watched Allison Pill's bumbling character Margaret Jordan. Jordan is an incredibly annoying character in that Aaron Sorkin kinda way, and I mean that in a good way. It's usually a buildup to a character flip or a monumental event. Which, of course, is the case here because it was dangled out there in the first episode of the season.
But, let's put The Replacements aside for a moment (and my temporary distraction during the episode as I remembered that I once ran into the lead singer, Paul Westerberg, in Hollywood. Tragically, I became bogged down in trying to remember where I met him before finally turning my attention back to the show). Here's the reason why Aaron Sorkin owes me an atta-boy.
You see, for two weeks leading up to episode three, I have been the sole carrier of The Newsroom flag in my house. What was an enjoyable viewing of season one with my wife has turned into a solo viewing of season two in the dark via DVR. Yep, just a dude in the dark watching the damn show by himself. My wife abandoned the show mid-way thru season two's first episode. To her credit, she did stay until the end. The opening scene with Will McAvoy in rapid-fire Sorkin banter with Marcia Gay Harden's lawyer character irritated the shit out my wife -- too fast and too hard to follow. I have to agree. I had to watch the opening 10-minutes of the episode again until I got the gist and the nuance.
At first I thought it was just a bad audio mix. However, I have cinema surround sound -- seven speakers and a sub-woofer. That certainly wasn't the case. It was just Sorkin putting the dialogue and the delivery into his special turbo gear.
My wife did remain curious, asking me about episode two. I told her something was missing. It was flat. It wasn't engaging. Now, you should understand that this is a show about which I'm incredibly enthusiastic. My wife knows this all too well. Hearing the disappointment in my voice, she did her best Gordon Ramsey, saying to me, "Damn. Shame."
In the meantime, my wife's deletion of The Newsroom on her DVR had opened up a spot for her to view the show, Suits on USA. Linguistically, the two shows couldn't be different. However, they are also different in another, more important way. Suits is entertaining. The first two season two episodes of The Newsroom were not. They were other words that end in "ing"; frustrating, maddening and slightly disappointing.
I think Sorkin forgets this: what takes him a decent amount of time to write, finesse and the actors to wonderfully bring to life is not the same luxury afforded the viewers. We get one shot to watch, understand and let everything that is in those scenes sink in as intended. Sure, we have the DVR to rewind and watch again what we didn't understand, but no one likes watching an episode like that. I want continuous viewing. Uninterrupted damn it!! By anyone, anything and especially The Replacements.
And speaking of replacements and my wife replacing The Newsroom with Suits, I was able to convince my wife to watch episode three. Please do not ask what I had to do. But, you husbands out there reading this are nodding slightly in a knowing, marital way. Aaron, this is where your atta-boy comes in. It was a yeoman effort. You're welcome.
What's great is episode three was much better. My wife watched it and is now, depending on Sunday's episode four, ready to put the show back on her DVR rotation, right next to Suits.
Follow Tony Potts on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TonyPotts1