Monday, September 16, 2013

Hatewatching "The Newsroom"

"Are you sure you aren't just a massive bag of douche?" - MacKenzie to Will during the finale of this season's "The Newsroom" on HBO
There are some shows on television that I watch because I love them. "Mad Men," "Game of Thrones," "The Big Bang Theory," "Orange is the New Black," and "House of Cards" to name a few. ("Breaking Bad" will probably be added to this list if I can ever get around to watching it on Netflix.)

There are some that I'm not crazy about but can tolerate because there might be at least one character that I am invested in - "Boardwalk Empire" and Richard, for example.

Then, occasionally, there are shows that I actively hate and yet I still watch them, because... I'm not sure why. Because they are there? Because it's the hour that I've designated for television watching and I'm a creature of habit? Because they are like train wrecks and I just can't turn away? I think that last one comes closest to the truth, at least as it pertains to the train wreck which is HBO's "The Newsroom."

Last night was the finale for this season. Thank goodness. So that's one hour of torture I won't have to endure on Sunday nights for a while. But I understand it is supposed to be back for a third season, (HBO pulled the plug on the excellent "Enlightened" after two seasons and this "bag of douche" gets a third??? Truly, life is not fair. Neither is television nor HBO.) and, yes, I'll probably be at my post on Sunday nights watching the slow-motion disaster once again.

It wasn't supposed to be like this. When I first heard about this show, I thought it was an interesting idea and one that might translate well into a weekly series. Moreover, it had actors that I knew and had enjoyed watching in other things. Then I saw the first few shows of the first season. And from then on "The Newsroom" was firmly relegated to my "hatewatch" category.

My objection to the show can be summed up quite succinctly: the women. The women of the newsroom, supposedly highly talented and highly intelligent individuals who are proficient at their craft, teeter around on their tippy, tippy toes all day long in four-inch heels, breasts thrusting forward and butts protruding backward due to the laws of physics. And, of course, their necklines are all plunging toward their waists. The physical image would be bad enough. The intellectual and emotional image is even worse.

These women, who have worked their way to the top of their profession, are complete clumsy ditzes. They constantly say the dumbest things in a breathless rush, while the Great White Men of the show stare at them as if they are aliens and they are trying their best to understand them. And understanding them is a problem because Aaron Sorkin seems to be in a contest with himself to see how many syllables he can cram into a minute in his women's speeches. They all talk like this. Their words tumble over each other as if the speaker is afraid she's going to be momentarily interrupted. And if you are the character named Sloane, you certainly will be. She's hardly ever allowed to finish a sentence.

Of course, the women of "The Newsroom" often burst into tears or get into delightful pickles from which they have to be rescued by the Great White Men. A woman watching this show can only assume that Aaron Sorkin hates women and wants to make them look as ridiculous as possible. He certainly has no understanding or appreciation of the hardworking professionals who are female and who manage to get up every morning and go to jobs where they have to excel above and beyond any standards for males in order to have their efforts noticed. They are tough and they definitely do not burst into tears at the drop of a hat.

Much has been written of Sorkin's inability to write realistic women. Some even accuse him of outright misogyny. You might as well accuse him of racism as well because all of his strong characters are Great White Men. Personally, I don't know what his problem is. Maybe he just isn't a very good writer. And yes, I know he's won a ton of awards. Hmm...I wonder who were the judges for all those awards?

Anyway, my judgment of "The Newsroom" is that it is a mess and it should have been allowed to die a merciful death after last night's show, but apparently Sorkin will be forced to write more of those ditzy dame scenes.

Speaking of scenes, the only ones worth watching this season were the ones between Jane Fonda and Sam Waterston. They were rather fun, but I think they would have been fun even if those two pros had just been reading the phone book.

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