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June 21, 2012

Pan Left: Aaron Sorkin's New Preachy Liberal Fantasia Is Just As Preachy A Liberal Fantasia As You'd Expect, Say... Liberal Reviewers

If you haven't seen the ads for this three bus collision, check it out. Because you haven't been annoyed enough today.

Washington Post:

[A] twist for Sorkin (but not for viewers), is that Will is a Republican who has taken it upon himself to challenge the party’s rightward fringe, providing a novel new way to present a Democratic fantasia. “I’m a registered Republican,” Will says in a prime example of elegant Sorkinese. “I only seem liberal because I believe hurricanes are caused by high barometric pressure and not by gay marriage.”


The word pile that once seemed so melodious in Sorkin’s other projects — especially that millennial anti-anxiety medication known as the “The West Wing” — now has the effect of tinnitus.


At one point in the first episode, MacKenzie delivers not one, not two but three grandiloquent monologues to Will, one right after the other. Sorkin’s writing lapses into self-parody, leaving savvier viewers to marvel at how quickly the show goes awry...

This makes “The Newsroom” an exponentially tedious undertaking for the viewer, when really all the show needs to be is slightly sardonic, occasionally frantic and mildly amusing.


This preachiness is itself a kind of guilty pleasure, but with not nearly as much pleasure as it once had.

The New Yorker:

In “The Newsroom,” clever people take turns admiring one another. They sing arias of facts. They aim to remake television news: “This is a new show, and there are new rules,” a maverick executive producer announces, several times, in several ways. Their outrage is so inflamed that it amounts to a form of moral eczema—only it makes the viewer itch.


Some of this banter is intelligent; just as often, however, it’s artificial intelligence, predicated on the notion that more words equals smarter.


Sorkin’s shows are the type that people who never watch TV are always claiming are better than anything else on TV. The shows’ air of defiant intellectual superiority is rarely backed up by what’s inside—all those Wagnerian rants, fingers poked in chests, palms slammed on desks, and so on. In fact, “The Newsroom” treats the audience as though we were extremely stupid.


The Newsroom” is the inverse of “Veep”: it’s so naïve it’s cynical. Sorkin’s fantasy is of a cabal of proud, disdainful brainiacs, a “media élite” who swallow accusations of arrogance and shoot them back as lava. But if the storytelling were more confident, it could take a breath and deliver drama, not just talking points. Instead, the deck stays stacked. Whenever McAvoy delivers a speech or slices up a right-winger, the ensemble beams at him, their eyes glowing as if they were cultists... Can you blame me for rooting for McAvoy’s enemies, all those flyover morons, venal bean-counters, sorority girls, and gun-toting bimbos? Like a political party, a TV show is nothing without a loyal opposition.

In an interview, Sorkin explains that he's interested in "storytelling" more than politics (mmm-hm) and will not be saddled with the "fairness" baggage of our right-wing media. (Uh-huh.)

For inspiration, he turns to three great men:

For the last year or so, but really since Obama got elected, I’ve found the most interesting op-ed political writing to be from Republicans who are looking at the extreme right and saying, "Those guys aren’t with us. I don’t know what happened here, but they’ve kind of co-opted our brand name. But these aren’t Republican values." Guys like David Frum, Mark McKinnon, Andrew Sullivan.

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posted by Ace at 02:51 PM

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