As promised, we’re going to quickly dip our toes into the somewhat toxic pool of The Newsroom analysis. Like with any review or analysis, anything we say is ultimately futile and inconsequential, because, in the end, it’s not going to change the way you feel about the show, and it’s certainly not going to alter Aaron Sorkin’s vision or persuade him to reconsider his writing style. But in the case of The Newsroom, anything we say, any argument we make, feels especially meaningless in the wake of all the criticism and (less so) praise it’s received. But, hell, let’s be a Greater Fool and try anyway.
Let’s just say out of the gate that we like the show, and while that might put us in the minority we stand by our verdict. But what’s interesting or pertinent to us is not so much that we like it – or if it’s “good,” assuming there’s some kind of objective rubric which can calculate a show’s quality (which there’s not) – it’s the question of whether or not the show is worth watching. And we think the answer is: absolutely. Doesn’t that fact that the show seems to be so reviled (or snickered at) in so many corners yet still watched obsessively indicate there’s something of worth there? Certainly, The Newsroom doesn’t garner the same level of propulsive minute-by-minute Twitter reaction on Sunday evenings as Breaking Bad (nor does it come close to the AMC show’s unanimous, breathless praise), but it’s definitely one of the most talked about shows, even if much of that talk comes with head shaking, finger wagging and head scratching. And if the show was bad, unrelentingly terrible, it wouldn’t have lasted, or at least the discussion would have quieted down. We can’t imagine that if Work Ithad not been canceled after one week the din about its repugnancy would have continued. We would have had our fun and then watched it fade away, nary giving it another thought. But with The Newsroom the debate continued for ten episodes, and seemed to increase as we approached the season finale. Clearly, people were entertained by the show. Which, we certainly concede, isn’t necessarily the same as enjoying the show.
Ask us what our three favorite movies are. Go ahead. Ask us.
Number one would probably be Wayne’s World. That’s just our movie. The one of which we know every word. The one we would just play over and over again the background, as if it was our Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The third movie we’d list would probably be Tombstoneor Rushmore, depending on what kind of mood we were in or the audience we were with or if there was someone we were trying to impress; Tombstone if we wanted to seem more original, more honest, more badass; Rushmore if we wanted to seem more intellectual, more sophisticated, more melancholy. But the second movie on our list would no doubt be Top Gun, the Tony Scott film that was played on repeat during our childhood and pretty much taught us what an action movie should be: adrenaline-fueled, testosterone-soaked, hyperactive, supercharged, bombastic, loud, and frenetic, a visceral thrill ride. It essentially defined 80s popcorn blockbusters. In fact, it kinda defines the 80s. And maybe that’s why it’s so significant to us, why we still hold on so dearly to Scott’s definitive film (with all apologies to Crimson Tide and True Romance, and no apologies to anything from Scott’s later collaborations with Denzel Washington).
Yesterday we gave our brief thoughts on the then impending return of the NBC Thursday night comedies, reflecting on the last season while looking forward to the next. And on the morning after, how do we feel? Impressed, pleased and disappointed, in that order. With the night going from Community to 30 Rock to The Office, we found that the first continues to improve, the second is showing encouraging signs of life, and the third is still struggling to return to its glory days. Taken has a whole, it was a good night, and two out of three ain’t bad. But really, we don’t want “ain’t bad.” We want great, we want three out of three. And, unfortunately, that just didn’t happen.