Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Aaron Sorkin: The Newsroom

Aaron Sorkin is back and I for one am glad he is. I greatly enjoyed The West Wing through 7 dramatic seasons. I saw the same promise in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip but others did not and that show folded after just 22 episodes. Of course, in the meantime I've had movies, The Social Network and Moneyball but it is really the television series where I love his writing. Will this new endeavour pass muster?

HBO offered the first episode for free on multiple platforms and I took advantage of seeing it over the Internet from the HBO Canada web site. Okay my laptop isn't a big honking home entertainment centre but with headphones the show was pretty good. If you haven't yet seen this first episode, check your listings or just go to either HBO in the States or Canada and watch it right now. You can't beat the price. (It's free!)

It is amusing how I even discovered Sorkin was back in the game. On the June 28, 2012 episode of The Colbert Report, Aaron Sorkin was the guest (or is it the victim?) obviously making the rounds of talk shows to plug the new series. It was great to hear the news about The Newsroom.

At one moment, Stephen mentions that Sorkin is often criticized for characters "who speak in these huge ponderous monologues". While Sorkin says that he is just criticized, Stephen goes on to say that this criticism points out that people don't talk like that in real life. Looking around the Net, I find various critics calling Sorkin sanctimonious, smug or intellectually self-serving or even suggesting Sorkin writes to "set the people straight". Really, now? Heck that is precisely why I like him. Okay, so this isn't necessarily how your average person in the street talks but his characters are not your average person in the street, they are larger than life. The West Wing? Jed Bartlet? How much larger than life can you get than the president of the United States? Jeff Daniels playing Will McAvoy, the anchor and managing editor of the fictitious show News Night supposedly beamed into homes across America each night is unto itself larger than life. Ha! How much influence do I weld in the world with my little rinky-dink blog? Any of today's news anchors are speaking to millions of people! Yes, millions! (Aside: I am reminded about this amusing take on blogging: "Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much, to so few." -Despair Ha ha ha.)

The Colbert Report - June 28, 2012
Stephen interviews Aaron Sorkin. *chuckles* Stephen is quite funny when he goes off on a tangent about Aaron's writing saying Sorkin is pontificating.

Canada: http://watch.thecomedynetwork.ca/the-colbert-report/full-episodes#clip709011

U.S.: http://www.colbertnation.com/full-episodes/thu-june-28-2012-aaron-sorkin

Published on Apr 1, 2012 by HBO
The Newsroom Season 1: Trailer #1

Final Word
Will I continue to watch the series? I'm guessing HBO is going to charge for the other episodes and depending on how much I could be persuaded to shell out a couple of bucks. However I'm finding these days that since I don't own a television set, I am watching far less TV. Yes, all the major networks have free offerings over the Net and the quality isn't bad but it's not the same as having a TV set parked in front of a couch. That situation just calls out for you to vegetate.

I like Aaron Sorkin. I like his writing style and even if his larger than life characters seemingly pontificate, I somehow think larger than life characters should do and say larger than life things. It goes with the territory. I hope this series turns out to be as successful as The West Wing. HBO certainly has great hopes. The network reportedly renewed the series for a second season after just airing two episodes.

I think America needs something like this to spark debate, valid, legitimate debate. In the 1st episode, the main character states that America has not been so polarized since the Civil War. Where is this going to lead? Is America, as the main character says, not the greatest country in the world? (see full speech below) And if not, can it regain its former glory?


Wikipedia: The Newsroom (U.S. TV series)
The Newsroom is an American drama television series created by Aaron Sorkin that premiered on HBO on June 24, 2012. The series chronicles the behind-the-scenes events at the fictional Atlantis Cable News (ACN) channel. It features an ensemble cast including Jeff Daniels as anchor Will McAvoy, who, together with his staff set out to put on a news show "in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles and their own personal entanglements."

IMDb: The Newsroom

official web site: The Newsroom
From the mind of Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing and screenwriter of The Social Network and Moneyball, comes The Newsroom, a behind-the-scenes look at the people who make a nightly cable-news program. Focusing on a network anchor (played by Jeff Daniels), his new executive producer (Emily Mortimer), the newsroom staff (John Gallagher, Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Olivia Munn, Dev Patel) and their boss (Sam Waterston), the series tracks their quixotic mission to do the news well in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles-not to mention their own personal entanglements.

Wikipedia: Aaron Sorkin
Aaron Sorkin (born June 9, 1961) is an Academy and Emmy award winning American screenwriter, producer, and playwright, whose works include A Few Good Men, The American President, The West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Charlie Wilson's War, The Social Network, and Moneyball.

Google video search: hbo the newsroom

Published on Oct 21, 2012 by YummyChaSiuPork
YouTube: America is not the greatest country anymore - "The Newsroom"

It's not the greatest country in the world, professor, that's my answer.

[pause] You're saying—


Let's talk about—

Fine. [to the liberal panelist] Sharon, the NEA is a loser. Yeah, it accounts for a penny out of our paychecks, but he [gesturing to the conservative panelist] gets to hit you with it anytime he wants. It doesn't cost money, it costs votes. It costs airtime and column inches. You know why people don't like liberals? Because they lose. If liberals are so fuckin' smart, how come they lose so GODDAM ALWAYS!

And [to the conservative panelist] with a straight face, you're going to tell students that America's so starspangled awesome that we're the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom, Japan has freedom, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium has freedom. Two hundred seven sovereign states in the world, like 180 of them have freedom.

And you—sorority girl—yeah—just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there are some things you should know, and one of them is that there is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're seventh in literacy, twenty-seventh in math, twenty-second in science, forty-ninth in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force, and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies. None of this is the fault of a 20-year-old college student, but you, nonetheless, are without a doubt, a member of the WORST-period-GENERATION-period-EVER-period, so when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don't know what the fuck you're talking about?! Yosemite?!!!

We sure used to be. We stood up for what was right! We fought for moral reasons, we passed and struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were, and we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and cultivated the world's greatest artists and the world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars, and we acted like men. We aspired to intelligence; we didn't belittle it; it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn't scare so easy. And we were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one—America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.


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