TV

Sorkin Defends 'Newsroom' Writing

According to a TVGuide.com report, Aaron Sorkin spent much of his session on the Television Critics Association tour denying a report that "The Newsroom's" writing staff had been fired and defending the show in general.

If what Sorkin is saying is true, and that the staff hasn't been fired, my question is, "Why not?"

I'm going to come out and just say it, "The Newsroom" is the biggest disappointment for me for 2012.

Maybe it's my fault. Maybe I set the bar too high for Sorkin based on his previous track record for things like "Sports Night" and "The West Wing."

I know I didn't enjoy the first half-dozen "West Wings" in part because of the ridiculous Sam-and-the-prostitute storyline, but I eventually came back to the show and enjoyed it for the most part for its duration. Even when the show had storylines that were ridiculous (Zoe getting kidnapped, CJ becoming chief of staff), I managed to stick it out and watched to the end.

With "The Newsroom," I'm tuning it to pick it apart. It's like watching a train wreck.

I've already found most of the characters to be pretty ridiculous and unrealistic, but last week's episode, in which Sloan (Olivia Munn) badgers a guy on the air and then reports something that was told to her in confidence was the last straw. In any newsroom in this universe, she would have been fired on the spot, but in Sorkin's idealized newroom, not only does she keep her job, but everyone agrees on a lie so that she might keep her job.

Even in the context of the episode, it's a ridiculous notion, because everyone lies so that her source -- a Japanese spokesman for the nuclear power plant that's on meltdown -- already admitted to his bosses that he told her information that he wasn't supposed to. And yet, thanks to her lie, he now can keep his job. Say what now?

It was a last straw on top of all the previous straws -- how much of an idiot the Allison Pill character is, the fact that the Jeff Daniels character is supposed to be a Republican, yet spouts off liberal arguments on his show, the ridiculous scene two weeks ago where everyone in the office gives Daniels money one-by-one to pay for the treatment of a correspondent injured in Egypt, etc.

To me, the biggest sin is the central conceit of the show -- doing a nightly newscast that's supposed to be a "true" newscast in the face of Fox News, MSNBC, etc., and then DOING THE EXACT SAME STYLE OF SHOW. Ignoring the liberal vs. conservative bent for a moment, is there any difference between the show that's portrayed hosted by Daniels' character and the real life ones hosted by Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity?

Sorkin said he's has unpaid news consultants for this season but will make them paid consultants for the already renewed Season 2. My thoughts is, he might need some new ones.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: After last week's mega "Burn Notice" episode, I can't wait to see the fallout this week (USA, 9 p.m.) It's followed by a key "Suits" episode, in which Harvey must face the music over Donna's mistake.

FX has new episodes of "Anger Management," "Wilfred," "Louie" and "Brand X" from 9:30-11:30 p.m.

As always, coverage of the Olympics continues on NBC.

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