The Newsroom

There is a new television craze going on in our home. Season one of The Newsroom was released in Australia on DVD a couple of weeks ago – I finally caved and let Matt buy a copy instead of making him wait until his birthday in November. Haha.

Three episodes in and we are loving it. Aaron Sorkin’s screenwriting has been a long time favourite and the Newsroom continues the trend. On reflection though, I think the real reason we love it is just because it continues the trend. Ironically, for a show about a news program being done in a new and innovative way, The Newsroom has already fulfilled a huge number of Sorkinisms. In just three episodes. We’ve already had:

– The speech that makes me wish I was American
– The speech that makes me glad I’m not an American
– People holding to their morals and causing trouble in an established hierarchy
– Adorable nerds
– People walking through a maze of corridors while simultaneously solving problems
– An articulate moderate Republican as a prominent character
– A couple of fiesty “will-they-won’t-they” relationships between a female member of staff and her immediate superior
– A fiesty “will-they-won’t-they” relationship between a blonde female member of staff and her immediate superior
– The episode where an interrogation of a noble character by the-owner-of-the-network/the-board/the-judicial-system is interspersed with flashbacks of how we got to this situation

It’s all been done before:

I think that’s actually the reason I like The Newsroom so much. It’s like spending time with an old friend. It’s comfortable and I like the alternate universe it creates where governments and television producers and people with power try to use their power for good. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Given the actual content of The Newsroom (just to emphasise again it’s about a News program that breaks all the rules and tries to do things differently) I’m not sure if comfortable and familiar is actually what Sorkin is aiming for. Oh well. I’m having fun watching it, even though I know I’m having fun for all the wrong reasons.

One part of the series that is weirdly comfortable and familiar is this character:

 photo 0copy_zps414e23ed.jpgJim Harper is a newly employed senior producer in the newsroom, very smart, one of the adorable nerds and the one of the main characters contributing to the all-important love-story-arc. The trouble is that the lovely lady who has captured his attention (Maggie Jordan – the admin assistant just recently promoted to assistant producer) is already in a relationship. Her boyfriend is a little manipulative and the relationship is possibly bordering on abusive, so there is hope for Jim yet – if Maggie ever sees the light and drops the horrible man. The thing is that even though she is obviously very talented and wonderful, she is also pretty insecure and is clearly settling for someone who doesn’t deserve her awesomeness.

 photo 1_zps514ee19d.jpgWait. Haven’t I heard that story before?

 photo 0acopy_zpscb856799.jpgJim Halpert is a salesman in The Office, very smart, one of the adorable nerds and the one of the main characters contributing to the all-important love-story-arc. The trouble is that the lovely lady who has captured his attention (Pam Beasley – the receptionist) is already in a relationship. Her boyfriend is a little manipulative and the relationship is possibly bordering on abusive, so there is hope for Jim yet – if Pam ever sees the light and drops the horrible man. The thing is that even though she is obviously very talented and wonderful, she is also pretty insecure and is clearly settling for someone who doesn’t deserve her awesomeness. The good news is she dumps him in season 3, leaving the road open for Jim. Hooray!

 photo 1a_zpsaed4961b.jpgBut we can’t let the Americans take the credit for that story line. Sure Sorkin has lifted Jim’s name from the The Office, but really we know that the storyline came from England, where Tim Canterbury and Dawn Tinsley did the Awkward Office Relationship thing in beautiful Slough:

 photo 1b_zpsfc0cac18.jpgInterestingly, Lucy Davis, the actress who played Dawn in The Office (UK) turned up again a few years in Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. She played a talented and wonderful but insecure scriptwriter who, by the end of the season, has discovered her skills and confidence and landed the guy. Also she is blonde. Does anyone else feel like we are going in circles?

 photo 2b_zpsf824cc27.jpgTaking it back to the source of the uncontrollable spiral, Jim Harper differs from Jim Halpert in one crucial way – he was a war correspondent. So when he starts talking about how a sniper behaves or what life is like in a the war zone, all I can think about is this man:

 photo 3b_zps27ffdcdd.jpg“I was in the Territorial Army for three years and you can’t muck about there… it’s one of the rules.”
Gareth Keenan – The Office (UK)

It feels wrong to mock the experience of a fictional war correspondent but it’s not my fault! Aaron Sorkin made me drawn the connection!

Any other Newsroom fans out there? Let me know your non-spoiler-y thoughts! Remember I’m only up to episode 3…

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5 thoughts on “The Newsroom

  1. Alison Post author

    Oh yeah…

    Matthew also pointed out that the guy playing Jim Harper also appeared in one of the best loved moments of The West Wing: The moment where Josh, Donna and Toby are stuck in the middle of America and find out they have accidentally changed timezones.

    More Aaron Sorkin circles! And it is one of my Top 5 West Wing Map Moments!

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      I just started watching The Newsroom a couple of weeks ago – I have only watched 2 as I don’t own it. But I am enjoying it too. The West Wing has been viewed more than 10 times by me already! 🙂 Thanks for the blog, it was as enjoyable as a West Wing/Newsroom episode 😉 I totally did not pick up on Jim Harper being the teen boy in West Wing! Thanks for showing me.

      Mel Hanger

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    And just to complete the circle, Sorkin and John Krasinski are working on a TV production together!

    Matt

    Reply

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