Quote of the Day: Aaron Sorkin Is Sorry for “The Newsroom”

“I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with The Newsroom and I apologize and I’d like to start over.”

Aaron Sorkin speaking to an audience at the Tribeca Film Festival last night

He asked the crowd on-hand to stand in for basically everybody, all of us out in TV land. According to Sorkin, his rationale for setting the the show in the recent past wasn’t to try to rewrite history and show the professionals in the news business how it should’ve been done, it was simply to give the show a reference point that would resonate with viewers. While it has to some extent — The Newsroom‘s ratings haven’t been terrible — the show has been savaged by critics as pompous and preachy. To that end, Sorkin’s “apology” for the show really winds up being more an apology for the fact that it’s been misunderstood and that he somehow hasn’t really connected with viewers this time around. You know how Sorkin writes dialog? Well, imagine one of his characters apologizing onscreen and you’ll get an idea what this whole thing sounds like.

Personally, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with The Newsroom from the very beginning. I admittedly watch it as a former TV news producer — there was really no way I could’ve missed it once it began airing, simply because it portrays the business I once dedicated my life to as noble rather than morally bankrupt — and from that perspective there are moments that really shine for me and just as many that ring laughably hollow. At it’s heart, I’ve always tried to figure out whether The Newsroom is a good show that just goes off-target quite a bit or a bad show that occasionally gets things right. The good scenes, episodes and performances are indeed quite good, but, man, the bad stuff — it’s terrible, nearly undigestible.

In the end little of what Sorkin says about the show now matters very much. While he’s going to get the opportunity to “start over” with the audience next season, he’ll reach the finish line soon after. The third season of The Newsroom will be its last.

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  • Dave Turson
  • james

    Aaron Sorkin is a shitty writer. That’s the bottom line. Whatever he was going to say, he said with the West Wing. I’m sick and tired of people holding him up as some sort of example to aspire to, or giving his disposable television shows and movies more acclaim than they deserve simply because he recycled his old dialog and threw it on air or on the silver screen again. Fans call that “Sorkinisms.” You know what that’s called when anyone else does it? It’s called lazy writing at best, and plagiarism at worst. “The Social Network” turned facebook into a macguffin because aaron sorkin doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to understand modern technology at all. “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” was a show about a comedy that wasn’t actually funny. And “The Newsroom” is a sexist piece of trash that fails to acknowledge a basic fact upon which the entire premise of the show rests: the reason why people don’t look to people like Walter Cronkite for the news is because news distribution has changed from television to the internet, WHICH SORKIN REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE.

  • CL Nicholson

    My wife loved Newsroom, me, it was OK. But I get why a former News guy gets annoyed by the show sometimes. Imagine being a systems engineer having to listen to almost every BS story that comes about the internet or technology in general.

  • haitham alrayes

    i loved it

  • http://cendax.wordpress.com/ Norbrook

    I think a lot of it has to do with the old “the more you know” issue. I know that while I used to enjoy CSI as a procedural, the lab scenes drove me up a wall. That’s because I used to work in research labs, and many of the procedures they were whipping out to solve the crime were things I did every day. Helpful hint: You don’t get a DNA profile run in a few minutes, and most of the other things take several days to weeks to process. I recognized it as a convenient fiction to move the story, the problem is these days is that people think that’s the “reality.”

  • Victor_the_Crab

    What Sorkin really needs to apologize for was that ginormous stinking shitpile of a season ender last year, after giving us the intriguing Genoa storyarc all season long – the one with equal parts Glenn Greenwald douchebaggary and Lara Logan Benghazi fuckup, all rolled into the smarmy asswipe named Jerry Dantana.

    You want to make the third and final season interesting, Aaron? Start right off the bat by using the news of Sandy Hook and see how badly Maggie reacts to it.

  • Jason E

    Chez, it’s like asking a cop what their favorite police show is, they will often roll their eyes and say they can’t watch any of them. Your simply too close to it, to not have prejudice.

  • bbiemeret

    I love The Newsroom. Sorkin really knows how to flesh out a character and make you care about them. This last season was great, with Maggie’s ordeal, as well as the somewhat obvious Dantana/Greenwald analogy. I know it may not have the gravity or following that The West Wing did, although I don’t see how it could be considered more “preachy” than that.

  • Grizzle

    I actually enjoyed The Newsroom, for the most part.

    Cue the trolls in 3….2….1….