In the last two days I have read many articles on Aaron Sorkin's apology for The Newsroom and it's clear that the show has a number of critics. I kind of feel like I'm the only person who really appreciates the show. Am I missing something?
One of the arguments is that Sorkin fails to depict the atmosphere of a proper newsroom. But if you think about it, no TV series depicts the reality of what life is really like in a certain career.
Take for example Suits, Boston Legal or Ally McBeal. Personally, I find it hard to believe that a lawyer, who's clearly losing a case, will have an epiphany moment or find a last minute piece of evidence that will change everything. And what about the grand closing argument at the end that solidifies a win? If that's reality then I change my mind, I want to be a lawyer.
When I read Sorkin's apology and his justification for writing the series the way he did I was baffled. He said:
I set the show in the recent past because I didn't want to make up fake news. It was going to be weird if the world that these people were living in did not in any way resemble the world that you were living in, so I didn't want to make up fake news, and also, I wanted the option of having a terrific dynamic that you can get when the audience knows more than the characters do... So, I wasn't trying to and I'm not capable of teaching a professional journalist a lesson. That wasn't my intent, and it's never my intent to teach you a lesson or to try to persuade you of anything.
I didn't think he needed to apologize. He wrote a TV series from his creative perspective and either you love it or you don't. It's that simple. At the end of the day the characters in all our favorite shows are fictional.
The first time I watched The Newsroom I was hooked. In the first few minutes the show had me sitting on the edge of the couch watching the drama unfold as Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, launched in to a speech on why America is not the greatest country.
We sure used to be. We stood up for what was right! We fought for moral reasons, we passed and struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were, and we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and cultivated the world's greatest artists and the world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars, and we acted like men. We aspired to intelligence; we didn't belittle it; it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn't scare so easy. And we were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one -- America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.
When the series began I had just started my first full-time job as a journalist and I was so excited to watch a show that slightly depicted my life. At work I often felt like I was on the series: writing stories, meeting deadlines, breaking news, going to meetings, phones ringing, having discussions about the world and, my favorite of all, the office drama.
Sure, the show is not perfect and there are issues, but doesn't every series have its flaws? On the plus side I feel The Newsroom has created an opportunity for people to discuss and form an opinion on some of the events of the past.
Nowadays, in this digital era, there is not much time to stop and reflect. The news of today is quickly splashed on the front pages of newspapers and appears on various social media platforms. It's news today, gone tomorrow.
As much as I love watching The Newsroom I have a few critiques of my own. I don't like the way the female characters are often portrayed as weak, at times ditsy and obsessed with the notion of love. I would like to see a strong female character who is a hard-hitting journalist and is strong competition for Will.
My other issue is that the characters of color haven't progressed much. I feel they too should have a story filled with drama, love and a struggle as they pursuit their dreams. Sorkin, if you happen to be reading this, it's just a little suggestion for season three.