‘The Newsroom’ 3×3 Recap: It’s All About Ethics in Regular Journalism

Aaron Sorkin is trolling us and we refuse to take the bai OH MY GOD ITS THE DUNDER MIFFLIN CROSSOVER EPISODE WE WERE PROMISED!

Maggie, conspicuously minus shitty hat. (HBO)

Maggie, conspicuously minus shitty hat. (HBO)

Ahhh. I wish I could protest recapping The Newsroom in some way, because you get the feeling that Aaron Sorkin writes this show with the specific intention of fucking with people like me, people whose JOBS rely on them being able to competently and quickly describe the plot of an hour long program before discussing it’s broader themes and/or celebrity cameos. I know you are messing with me, Sorkin. There is no way even my crazy brain can keep up with that batshit going on at ACN.

I wonder if, just this once, I can I get away with just posting my tweets about the episodes from last night? Huh? Can I, boss?

Oh wait, I’m the boss. Hold please.

The Newsroom has a real problem figuring out what to care about on The Newsroom. Not to brag, but I watch a lot of television, and pick up on details like Maggie wearing the world’s shadiest “disguise hat” when the FBI arrive (and for one scene after), but then she takes it off so I guess…Maggie just wore a baseball hat indoors for a bit?

Look, if this seems nitpicky, you have no idea the kind of Macguffins they threw out this episode. Like the FBI arrives to steal everyone’s hard drives and then Sam announces the company is going to be sold to some tech guy and Will lets everyone know that he’s got Neal’s source for the government leak but ALSO? ALSO YOU GUYS? In the middle of this the show stops for five minutes so Sam and Will and the British lady can do some pretty impressive verbal jousting about…another thing that Will said on-air once. I think they called it Tom Sawyering. I was going to transcribe this entire exchange because it’s just so…much talking. So many words. So many big words making fun of other people for using big words. But literally all those words broke my HBOGO.COM account so just imagine three (four?) large white mice on a little mouse treadmill and you are looking at them run. They’re doing such a good job, and running so fast, but it makes you sad. In the end, where are the mice going? Where are any of us going with all this nonsense.

One place they are probably not going is  the White House Correspondents’ Dinner! And it’d be really convenient if they could, because they’ll be in DC already for their “off the record FBI meeting” (is that really a thing? Follow-up question I refuse to Google: does the EPA really not have a department head right now?) But then later they’re just at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and its never mentioned again that Will did an on-air rant about the dinner; to the point where even Charlie is like, hoping no one remembers who played what improv game on their Firesign Theater version of the nightly news.

So I guess I’m just wondering how invested I’m supposed to be at this point. In general, but also more specifically: how much am I supposed to care about any particular storyline if equal time is given to the trivial (anything involving wedding planning or love interests, but especially Don caring about HR FINDING OUT HE’S IN A WEIRD, CRAB CLAW AND WAFFLES PLACE WITH SLOANE RIGHT NOW. LOL, AS IF. THAT IS THE LEAST OF HIS PROBLEMS THERE IS LITERALLY AN  APOCALYPSE ABOUT TO DOOM MANKIND) and the important (OH YEAH SORRY: SO THE ASSISTANT GUY FROM THE EPA WENT ON AIR TO DELIVER THE NEWS THAT THE WORLD IS ENDING AND THERE IS LITERALLY NOTHING WE CAN DO TO SAVE IT.)

(THANK GOD NO ONE IS WATCHING ACN SINCE THEIR “ETHICS IN JOURNALISM” MOTTO GOT THEM RANKED FOURTH PLACE IN THE RATINGS AFTER BOSTON, AND ALSO GENOA SHOT THEIR CREDIBILITY. ALSO THE PERSON DELIVERING THE NEWS IS TOBY FROM THE OFFICE, SO BASICALLY ALL I HEAR IS A SAD TROMBONE NOISE.)

(NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT CHARLIE APPARENTLY TELLS INCOMING PRODUCERS THAT THEY NEVER HAVE TO CARE ABOUT PAGEVIEWS OR RATINGS BECAUSE THEY ARE DOING THE LORD MCAVOY’S WORK? BECAUSE JIM IS LIKE, LEGIT SHOCKED–SCANDALIZED EVEN!!–AT THE CONCEPT OF TRAFFIC BONUSES. LIKE THAT IS A THING HE’S NEVER EVEN HEARD OF UNTIL HIS SOCIAL MEDIA WHORE OF A GIRLFRIEND SULLIED HIS MIND WITH HER IMPURE ANALYTICS. SOMEONE GET THE FAINTING SALTS TO AWAKEN THE SWOONED JIM, THE KING JOFFREY OF SHITTY BOYFRIENDS ON THIS SHOW. BESIDES DON. AND WILL. AND I GUESS GARY COOPER, WHO WAS SECRETLY BONING ONE OF THE APs BUT SINCE THEY STOPPED SHE’S NOT GIVEN THE INCREDIBLY JUICY JUSTIN BIEBER BEAT?)

(SERIOUSLY…WHO IS EVEN CARRYING ACN IN THEIR NETWORK BUNDLE ANYMORE? ARE THOSE CAMERAS EVEN ON? IS SLOANE PSYCHIC? SOMETIMES, WHEN THIS SHOW GIVES WILL A RANT ABOUT “THE RESPONSIBILITY THE NEWS HAS TO THE PEOPLE,” BLAH BLAH, ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT IS THAT IRL, ACN’S DEMO WOULD BE ENTIRELY COMPOSED OF TABLOID-READING OLD PEOPLE AND AMISH PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER SEEN A COMPUTER BEFORE BUT CATCH THE SHOW ON A SMALL TV NEXT TO WHERE THEY SELL THEIR BUTTER IN LANCASTER ON THE WEEKENDS. GUYS ON JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF METH. YOU KNOW THE SWEET SPOT, RIGHT BEFORE IT CURDLES INTO AN ANEURYSM? THAT’S WHO ACN HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO.)

(AND FOR SOME REASON I WANT TO SAY LIBERTARIANS?)

(LBH: I’D WATCH THE SHIT OUT OF ACN?)

See what I did there, with the yelling to draw your eye to what was essentially one long parenthetical aside? Well, now what you know what it feels like to watch The Newsroom. It’s jarring as fuck, especially after something that looks like it’s panning out into another nothing-burger–like Will is never going to get subpoenaed so just “calm down bitches” (which is the subtext of everything Will says this week, usually addressed to his future wife and executive producer who he treats like she’s a 19th century hysteric)–until shit, they sent an intern! To subpoena Will! For Neal’s sources! (Seriously, is THAT important, that the process server was a buffoon? Is the FBI trolling Will? Is Will trolling the FBI? Is this show trolling me, personally, while I troll it back?)

And then Mac meets Neal’s inside source and….wha wha wha??? Why, that’s not a hacker! That’s a lady!

I know what you’re thinking. “But girls can’t computers!” Believe me, I was as shocked as Jim was when he discovered a 2008 memo from Nick Denton about blah blah you get the joke here. Anyway. We’ve GOT to move on because there is something important coming up. You haven’t even SEEN who they brought in to buy ACN from Fiona! You are literally. Going. To. Die. (From. Global. Warming. Eventually.)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69bKDFbZZnQ]

I will be sad to see Chris Messina and his adorable butt leave this show but I think this is a much, much better fit for ACN. I mean, Ryan can introduce them to ideas like convergence and viral marketing and guerilla marketing but also? One word pitch. Here goes.)

(“Kinja.”)

‘The Newsroom’ 3×3 Recap: It’s All About Ethics in Regular Journalism