The Newsroom, Episode 4: Sexual Tension, Jealousy, Lies, and a Bit of News Stuff

Categories: Review, TV
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Before we get started, is anyone else bummed about the theme tune to The Newsroom? It's just a bit... cheesy drama. We feel like it should pack more of a punch, like the actual show does. Still. Minor quibble. Let's get to this week's recap.

Mac gleefully leaves her boyfriend, Assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district, Wade, in Will's office to suggest a story -- that attorneys like him trying to prosecute financial crime are being "out-lawyered" by big banks and that congress made things worse by de-funding the Department of Justice on financial crime. Will listens intently, makes an objection when Mac comes back into the room ("Don't call him honey," Will blurts out. "It makes me crazy ... I didn't say that. It just came out of my mouth. Just ... words."), then sends Wade away so he can have it out with Mac. Later, Mac accidentally refers to Will as her boyfriend. Yay!

The rest of the newsroom is partying (because having fun on New Year's Eve always involves going to the office, apparently). Neil -- who is rapidly becoming our favorite dude on this show -- tries to convince his colleagues that Bigfoot exists. They mock him until his hot new girlfriend shows up. Maggie and Jim work and flirt awkwardly, mid-party, until her (still) boyfriend Don arrives. Stupid Don. We hate him. Then we hate him a bit more because Don wants to set up Jim with Maggie's very attractive roommate, Lisa. Maggie objects for reasons that are obvious to everyone but Don -- including Lisa. Because he's an idiot. When Will emerges from his office eventually, he has Our Favorite Exchange of the Episode, Pt 1:

Will: "I have never enjoyed myself on December 31st."
Sloan: "No one ever has. I can tell you, for me, there was this one time in 10th grade where ..."
Will: "No, this is my thing that we're talking about."
Sloan: "Why don't you talk to someone?"
Will: "I don't need a therapist. I just don't like New Year's Eve."
Sloan: "No, I'm saying, why don't you just go up to someone at the party and talk to them."

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Will makes a strange attempt at chatting up Nina Howard, a gossip columnist for "TMI." She tries to kiss him at midnight, he blocks her lips with his hand and starts quizzing her on the fact that she writes "take-down" pieces about celebrities. She compares her job to his, due to Will's repeated previous attempts to discredit the tea party. He rightfully objects with the awesome line, "I'm not putting you down. I'm just saying that what you do is a really bad form of pollution that makes us dumber and meaner and it's destroying civilization ... I would have more respect for you if you were a heroin dealer." Nina throws a drink in his face. God, we love this show.
 
It's a new day and Will strides into Charlie's office and has Our Favorite Exchange of the Episode, Pt 2:

Charlie: "Have you read the New York Post?"
Will: "No. My eyes are connected to my brain."
Charlie: "I'm not sure about that." 
Charlie then reads from a story claiming that Will drunkenly groped Nina Howard at the party. (That bitch!)

The hot topic on Newsnight is right-wingers lying about Obama clamping down on gun control (he's doing no such thing). At home that night, Maggie's roommate, Lisa, is on her way to a date with Jim: "I have a boyfriend who I love and I should've fixed you up with Jim a long time ago," Maggie whines unconvincingly, before giving Lisa a pep talk. Jim later tells Maggie he won't be going out with Lisa again, much to Maggie's joy. Phew!

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Across town, Will has just brought home a woman who carries a gun in her purse, who Sloan later claims is "crazy." So, then he goes out with another woman who enjoys gossip rags. Will ultimately gets frustrated and calls her "mean," "insensitive," and "a bitch." She throws a drink in his face and the incident ends up in The New York Post as well. Crazy Gun Lady sees it and apparently decides she wants to shoot him (according to Sloan). Side note: Do all news anchors go on this many dates? Where do they find the time?

Don and Maggie are at home making each other miserable, when Don convinces Maggie to call Jim to talk about a breaking story. Really, of course he's just setting her up for hurt, since Don knows Jim is out with Lisa. Actually, turns out Jim is in bed with Lisa. Don is clearly a giant bitch. Maggie is clearly bummed. Dump this douche already!

Back to Newsnight and Obama's Indian travel expenses and the liars at Fox News. Also, this happens:

Mac: "Back in 15 seconds, Will. Try not to date anyone before you're on the air."
Will: "Copy, Mac. Try not to sleep with your ex-boyfriend while I am."

Boom!

Will has a sleepless night before being called into the office by Charlie, even though it's early on a Saturday morning. Turns out, Crazy Gun Lady has sold a vastly-exaggerated story to TMI magazine and it's front page news. Don, Charlie, Mac, and Will have a meeting about how to handle it, during which Charlie realizes that the CEO of the news channel's parent company, Leona Lansing is -- dun, dun, duuun! -- the person leaking details to the tabloids. She wants Will out!

In the course of the fall out, Mac realizes that Will has made bad decisions about his contract details, in the process of trying to piss her off. "Jesus Christ!" Mac explodes. "How much do you hate me? .... Have revenge sex with every woman in the tri-state area for all I care, but keep it out of the goddamn newspapers." Eep.

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The explosion is witnessed by the entire office because Neil is busy making his case for a Bigfoot story and Maggie drops remarkably public digs at Jim for lying about going out with Lisa the night before. Jim drags her outside and apologizes, but calls her on her bullshit. A short time later, news breaks that Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been shot. The newsroom goes into overdrive. The most depressing Coldplay song in the world plays over the action. It's all quite chilling. Then it all gets really thrilling and everyone shouts "fuck" a lot.

Seriously, folks. If you're not already watching this beast of a show, start immediately. And if you are already watching it, make everyone you know who isn't watching it, watch it.

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7 comments
Jason
Jason

> Before we get started, is anyone else bummed about the theme tune to The Newsroom? No.  Like just about everything Thomas Newman does, it's brilliant.

Lsalger1
Lsalger1

Love the program and love the theme music.  The music has some gravitas just like real news should.

Jenny
Jenny

  I agree with you completely. I was just discussing this with a few Dish coworkers, whom are also advocates of The Newsroom, and we agree that people are reaching too far from the actual idea of the show so they can find something to criticize. I can’t believe people are out there carefully studying the portrayal of women all while neglecting the other brilliant chaos of each episode!  Obviously, the show is left-wing bias, but the media issues go beyond any political standpoint to affect our society as a whole; that is the important message to take away from The Newsroom so far. I wasn’t as impressed with episode four as I have been with the preceding episodes, so hopefully the show doesn’t turn on me! I still plan to stay tuned, and I already have it set to record each week. Luckily, I have the Hopper DVR that comes with loads of recording space so, if The Newsroom does turn out to be the disappointment critics are hoping for, at least I didn’t waste precious memory on it. I’m definitely impressed so far to say the least!

anno
anno

At last this is a good show and even that west wing took a few episodes to warm up they have to introduce the characters you have to set up a chess board before you start playing.

Gus R.
Gus R.

Yes! Thank you! I've been reading other reviews by other "critics", and they just won't admit how great of a show this is! Ironic how this episode spent some time saying how people will "gleefully" lie to you, and that is exactly is what happens when others down play this masterpiece of a show. Great review :)

Mnpgviiron
Mnpgviiron

Finally, someone who gets how crazy amazing this show is. Unfortunately most others have simply ragged on it for its politics, or its characterization of women, or hindsight is 20/20 narrative. But am I the only one who recognizes a.Republicans and fox news did these things irrefutably b.The men are 100% just as flawed as the women on the show which is in my opinion just realistic, and c. Duh, the show is starting in the past, and 20/20 hindsight helps illustrate the narrative, mostly because the atmosphere that surrounds these stories, ie. other network coverage is accurately depicted. And you left off the best part of that 2nd exchange: Mac: He got the better of that exchange didn't he? (paraphrasing)

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