“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.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.