Monday, September 16, 2013

ROUND TABLE: Jarys and Kyle talk The Newsroom

[ Editor: we settle in with our two conversationalists as they prepare to hash out.....a Newsroom Review]

Kyle: What do you want to talk about first?

Jarys: That's a good question. We should have some plan. Since this is for audience consumption, we may want to introduce our getting into the show. Why we approached it, what we heard, and then go into a review. Much of our content is seen by people who have already consumed the content, they just either want to see someone else's take or have something that they can show to friends to get them to consume it. So we may want to be free in giving out spoilers, but use a spoiler tag before each one....just a suggestion. [Editor's note SKIP TO THE END FOR SPOILER FREE SUMMARY]


Kyle: Ok. I watched it from the beginning. I've been a huge Aaron sorkin fan for a while and a new show from him really appealed to me

Jarys: I'm the same; I watched the West Wing as a kid and really loved it. That show and High School Ancient Civ got me into politics. I haven't really liked anything Sorkin did after that, but this seemed like a good bet and the "Why is America Great" trailer really drew me in.

Kyle: Yeah, that trailer really set the tone of the show. I think the first season had a lot of problems though.

Jarys: Especially the political/social tone of the show. The show is angry, righteously angry. But it is also compassionate. Yeah?

Kyle: Well, the first season was a whole lot of liberal porn. Which is ok, because I'm a liberal.  But they tried to hide the liberal agenda by having it said by a 'republican'. Also, of course they report every event correctly.  They have the benefit of hindsight.

Jarys: I was going to say the same thing. They had a lot of trouble establishing the main character as Conservative. He seems to be a Conservative that time forgot, which is wonderful, but little context is given for why his views developed that way. As a political partisan, I like to see my views dramatized, but I seriously doubt that the first season appealed to moderates and moderate Conservatives the way it did to moderate Liberals. I seem to remember that they made a few mistakes, but they seem noticeably free from whatever hypersensitive, low wisdom, strain pushes 24 hour news channels from jumping to conclusions and over analyzing content. Which is fine, but they wave their hand over why this is. "We are doing news the right way".  I wish they went into more detail of the philosophies that make this work. 

Kyle: It didn't hurt my enjoyment of the show as much as it probably should have. But it did leave me sour after the season is over. Sorkin's women also aren't written really well. They always have positions of power, but they are always a bit... I don't want to say dumb. They always have these weird character quirks that scream, in a stereotypical sense, "I'm a woman! I don't know things!"

Ed: and she did not.

Jarys: I can see that, not all, but most of the female characters on the show struggle with competency problems at a much higher rate than the men. Which is weird because the West Wing wasn't like that. Not to invalidate it, but I also notice that most of the men in the show have a "Women make me stupid" problem. Which, is not to say that the women are less competent than the men, but their struggles with taking on their responsibilities a shown differently than the men.

Kyle: Exactly. And I think its a sorkin trait that I was hoping he'd grow out of.

Jarys: Sometimes Sorkin dances a hazy line between using a trope and lampshading it

Jarys: Good stuff?

Kyle: Good stuff

Jarys: Alright, Many of the problems we are discussing were fixed in the end of the first season or in the second season.

Kyle: Its still liberal porn, but its softcore instead of hardcore :-P

Jarys: I'd agree with that. The political atmosphere  of the show grew more substance as characters became deeper. The reasons behind different aspects of the News show philosophy became self evident instead of front loaded. They started "punching the hippie" more.

Kyle: Well they lampooned the Occupy Wall Street movement for about 3 episodes. Its almost like they were making up for all the conservative bashing

Ed: How Ironic!
Jarys: I thought it might be something like that, but their bashing seemed sensible for a media organization, and many of the criticisms rang true to me. Something else I noticed is that Don and Sloan's characters are being emotionally fleshed out far more. A bit of my bias, Sloan had a rough start with me, because I do not care for Olivia Munn. Don was portrayed as a type of person I cannot stand, with hints of inner depth....I really appreciate that both of them are getting more focus. I am warming up to them quickly.

Kyle: I love Olivia Munn... but not for depth of acting ability,  I admit it. And I totally agree with you on don. I did not enjoy him but he is really growing on me. (SPOILER) I really respected him for breaking up with what's her name

Kyle: And they way he did he. He found a way to breakup with someone in a nice way

Jarys: Hahaha, "what's her name". So do I. That entire love-chevron became far more interesting in this season. Before I could not get into it, but the moral dimensions were very appropriate without anyone seeming like too bad a person.

Kyle: I'm terrible with names

Jarys: Maggie?

Kyle: Maggie! Thats it.

Ed: This is Maggie

Jarys: More thoughts on the romance?

Kyle: I really hope Sloan and Don get together

Jarys: ........oh my gawds you crazy shipper! What am I saying, me too. But not as much as I hope Mac and Will get together. Maggie and, that's way too boring to me. Ok SPOILERS: Operation Genoa, are you caught up to the seventh episode?

Kyle: Yeah,  what a great episode

Jarys: Indeed!

Kyle: "We lost the trust of the public" "then get it back!"

Kyle: What a great scene

Jarys: Agreed. But the "twist" at the end of the sixth? That made for good catharsis, but it was a shallow twist. I think everyone knew that Genoa was not real. The twist that the lawsuit comes from the Jerry Dantana and not the government was much better. Yeah, I had no idea that little bastard was actually gonna have the gall to sue when he clearly was at fault
Ed: What...a...JERK!

Kyle: That's not going to end well for him

Jarys: I'm hoping for a coldcock, like what Sloan did to her ex. That was also a sweet scene. Sweet like revenge.

Kyle: Yeah, I'm still expecting some backlash from that

Jarys: Wise of you. Ok END OF SPOILERS Let's wrap up

Kyle: Ok

Jarys: Final thoughts on the show, if you haven't seen the show and skipped to the end of this transcript, what can we say to help you make up your mind?

Kyle: Like all of Sorkin's shows, its got an amazing amount of heart and wit and intelligence and you'd be doing yourself a disservice not checking it out. This has been a really good season

Jarys: *nod* I find the show to be delightfully funny, meaningful, poignant in ripping up many of the unhealthy assumptions that make up modern news reporting. The characters are deep and interesting. Everything that's off about the show is improving. Sounds like this show gets two thumbs up. WHO WHAT HAVE EXPECTED THAT?
Neal is one of my favorite characters - Jarys

Kyle : No one! We agreed on everything. Bizarre

Jarys: Lol. Alright. Good chatting With you, Kyle. This might be The one subject we completely agree on. Save that I love your Angels script.

Kyle: lol, thanks. Yeah, well have to find something to argue about next time. Keep it interesting

Jarys: *nod* indeed

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