Tonight's Newsroom began with a very long on air speech (surprise!) by the main character, Will McAvoy, to his audience about the kind of show they would be doing from this point forward. Essentially, he was saying that network TV news shouldn't aim to be a profitable venture, it should be there to inform because it uses the public airwaves.
Setting aside the fact that this show is supposed to be about CABLE news, which doesn't use the public airwaves, I was sort of confused as to what the show was trying to tell us.
I think that we are supposed to think that before the pilot, before McAvoy's big epiphany, he was doing a lot of fluffy stories, a lot of stuff about the "McRib", to quote the episode tonight. Cause supposedly, that gets ratings.
Well, I don't know if you've watched Fox News or MSNBC in the last, say, 10 FUCKING YEARS, but they don't do stories about the McRib. They do stories about the Tea Party. They talk about terrorist bombings. Wacky Republicans. Election results. That's it, all day, every day.
And guess what McAvoy's newscasts were about in this episode? The Tea Party. Terrorist bombings. Wacky Republicans. Election results.
And management is pissed! "What happened to human interest stories?!", screams Jane Fonda.
Human interest stories? What the hell are you talking about, Aaron Sorkin? I thought he hung out on Olberman's old show to research this stuff. That's not what cable news is. That's not what they are doing. They are doing exactly the same shit Will McAvoy was doing tonight.
This show is existing in a completely different universe than the one we currently populate. McAvoy didn't need to have that big epiphany he had in the pilot, he could've just watched 3 seconds of The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.
"He humiliated Congressional candidates on my air!", yells Jane Fonda. Guess she hasn't seen Hardball, where Chris Matthews attempts to do that every single night.
I can't possibly properly explain how crazy all of this was. It was like watching a show about the NBA, and the team owner yelling "How dare you let Lebron James play, we're trying to win here!"
Will McAvoy is telling us that the news has let us down, and to fix it, he decides to do the same news he is apologizing for.
Tonight, the show didn't jump the shark, it jumped the Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Goodnight and good luck.