Has “The Newsroom” made you angry? Were its sexist overtones (e.g. “Women don’t know how to use cell phones!”) a little much? Were you offended at the overlaying sense of pretentiousness that seemed to define each episode? Were you shocked … Continue reading →
I think Aaron Sorkin apologizing for The Newsroom was a weak, bullshit move, so I wrote about it.
We at TVquila are not shy about the terribleness that pervades The Newsroom, but we don’t think the apology was a bad move.
The first thing is that ‘it’s not confidence-inducing.’ In fact, it strikes us as the opposite. A showrunner who will admit mistakes rather than insist “YOU THE AUDIENCE ARE DUMB AND WRONG” inspires confidence and a sense of camaraderie, because apologizing projects humility and a willingness to learn, even if the person has neither such thing. Since the show is still going, it’s not a “well, too bad I blew it for five years,” but a “hey I’m going to course-correct … now watch me do it.”
Which leads to the second thing. This may be pure tactics, the basest of marketing strategies, but as such it’s brilliant in its simplicity. Famous dude gets a platform and tells people who haven’t seen the show that there’s a good reason to watch (watch the upcoming season, sure, but to do that they’ll binge on the first two seasons; it’s a short show, people can watch the first two seasons to see his ‘mistakes’ and the controversial handling of near-recent events), but more importantly, drags all the rest of us back in for a final season. It goes viral. The end.
How often have we and critics everywhere sworn off this show? How many more pieces can be written about the rampant sexism, oversimplistic (often racially- or gender-coded) shorthand, total lack of understanding of social media and technology, and dragging out obvious plot points like a basketball game clock and sports metaphors we all get the first time? Not many. But now there’s another reason to watch: to see whether (or how much) anything changes. And so, we’ll all be back, and that fact is, if anything, more solid than it was a week ago.
(As for the part about not knocking your writers room, that only works if you have a writers room, instead of insisting you write every last scene yourself and only have ‘research assistants.’ If you take on all the credit, then you’re taking all the blame, too.)