The Newsroom Episode 8: The Blackout Part 1: Tragedy Porn

If you have to subtitle your ‘Part Ones,’ you may have a hubris problem.

Ha ha ha . . . she said Hubris!

‘Print journalists play it fast and loose with exclamation points.’ It’s a good line. The unnecessary ‘it’ there is an interesting choice. Did they not think the viewer would get it without an additional beat? Am I reading way too much into this? Lorelai would never have said ‘play it fast and loose.’ I digress.

Something this show either doesn’t try to do or does very, very poorly (I’m honestly not quite sure which) is foreshadow. Who didn’t know within the first scene who Brian really was, and what his relationship with Mackenzie/Will was? Of course this is going to lead to conflict, and then to Will and Mackenzie discovering more about themselves still being in love, but is it necessary, or helpful, or will it move any of the three characters forward in a meaningful way?

For three episodes in a row, Mackenzie has deflected a yelling man by correcting his grammatical missteps. Now that‘s what we call character development. (See also: Charlie’s constant references to bourbon.) On the other hand, Mac finally gets to be the foaming face of reason, calling news what it is, “entertainment, and just, just this side of a snuff film,” and differentiating between puff pieces and poison.

Here’s also the first time the show’s format of telling recent history worked for me. My memory – encouraged, no doubt, by the way I recieve and process news – tends to segment things. Michelle Bachman, the debt ceiling vote, Anthony Weiner, Casey Anthony, I remember all these things, but I don’t remember how they all fell together in the timeline, and it’s amusing/horrifying to see them tumbling around in the same episode.

It’s also enough to carry a show, without a plotline where Morgan-Freeman-slash-Donald-Sutherland tells Sydney Charlie about a Rimbaldi NSA eavesdropping machine. More on that later.

The brainstorm session wherein Don breaks down Nancy Grace’s Casey Anthony breakdown is superbly, brutally done. I’d love to hear the breakdown of what in Nancy’s psyche made her this vindictive legal leech (and there’s a lot there), but we can’t be distracted when we’re doing to her what she’s doing to Casey Anthony. ‘But,’ some would say, ‘News Night is fiction, and Nancy Grace is reality’ indeed, but The Newsroom is very much blurring that line.

What line!?

Speaking of blurring that line: creating a fictional news organization, to report the real news, then making that (fictional) news organization create the same scandal as (real) News of the World, because apparently we only care about American news, though we constantly quote the (real) News of the World scandal without naming Rupert Murdoch, to bolster the stakes of the (fake) TMI scandal which is mostly being used to vindicate Will. The storyline is a bloody, unnecessary, overdramatic fictional mess injected into a show supposedly about real life albeit in a fictional way.

With more than enough actual news and brunette bimbos to fill the hour – in News Night‘s case, 42.5 minutes, in The Newsroom‘s case, 57 – we don’t need fictional melodrama, we don’t need another love triangle, and we don’t need to be lectured. Well, maybe we do need to be lectured, but a good show would do just that; show, not tell. Remember the scene during the mock debate where Maggie made a point about Bachman hijacking the Christian faith? After making said good and obvious point, she insisted on rephrasing her lines about Christianity being hijacked so many times that even the camera had nothing to do but go all the way around the circe three times for more reaction shots. This whole show is like that.  The Blackout: Part 1 told too much, and went quite far out of its way to do so. It and we would be better off at 42.5 minutes.

For The Record:

  • Morgan-Freeman-slash-Donald-Sutherland’s kid would have the coolest voice ever.
  • I’d date/sleep with Brian over Will.
  • Sloan has a cute, albeit small-to-average-sized, ass.
  • I’m going to start a For The Record section on all my The Newsroom reviews.
Comments
3 Responses to “The Newsroom Episode 8: The Blackout Part 1: Tragedy Porn”
  1. Nicholas says:

    Insert comment about “DEAR GOD WHY WON’T HE HIRE ANYONE WHO HAS USED THE INTERNET BEFORE!?” here.

    There is no website where you have to “prove that you trolled some other site so hard they shut down” and it’s obviously just a blatant cut to have some crap about 4chan in order to be “edgy”, while having no idea what 4chan is/does beyond “INTERNET HATE MACHINE”.

    • Melanie says:

      You know, not only did that strike me as dumb, but I thought “maybe there’s a thing here I haven’t heard of. I bet Nicholas could explain it.” Then I got sidetracked.

      Good luck authenticating you’re the one of the 72 claiming to have shut down rottentomatoes, especially once the comments section is, you know, shut down (though not all sites hide the troll comments). Most trolls are anonymous . . . which was the exact point of this very show just 2 episodes ago. Again with the continuity!

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  1. […] you’ve forgotten what went on before, here’s my The Blackout Part I: Tragedy Porn review. Otherwise, just remember Mackenzie is having to run stories on Casey Anthony and Anthony Weiner, […]



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