I’ve watched the first six episodes of HBO’s The Newsroom and I have come to a conclusion: The Newsroom is Glee. Stay with me. To simplify the overly-complicated dialogue of Aaron Sorkin, The Newsroom is about veteran news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and his quest to bring honor and respect back to the profession of journalism. It is full of heavy-handed inspirational moments and speeches, absurd character names that don’t exist in the real universe and the age-old television mandated “will they, won’t they” romantic subplot. Just. Like. Glee! Now I haven’t watched Glee in many moons because my unhealthy disdain for the show was consuming me in fiery blaze of hate, but the premise was humble enough. A group of high school misfits are working for something better through song in dance in a world that doesn’t want them. The problem (one of many) is that the show quickly became a karaoke machine for whatever song was topping the charts at the time, dictating the plot’s direction.
The Newsroom faces a similar problem. Instead of being a slave to the Billboard charts (and Journey) The Newsroom is shackled to a more powerful evil: history. Unlike other Aaron Sorkin dramas like The West Wing, The Newsroom isn’t based in its own fictional world but in our own – more specifically the past several years, starting with the BP oil spill of 2010. The Newsroom may have some flaws but I actually do want to follow the ACN team in their righteous quest of newsworthiness – and as corny as it is. The problem is that as much as they want to make the country a better place in 2010, we realize that that doesn’t exactly come to fruition in our 2012 world. I’m not naïve enough to believe that changing the world can happen so quickly, however I am curious as to how this will play out on screen. In six episodes it has jumped from April 20, 2010 to February 14, 2011. With four more episodes in in its first season and a green-lit second season what happens when the show catches up to real-time? I have theories (which you are undoubtedly thrilled to know.) Here they are:
Theory A) The Newsroom not only catches up with us in the present but surpasses us into a dark future where Mitt Romney is elected President and his evil robot masters reveal their very non-specific, un-relatable plans of domination for our unprepared planet. Will McAvoy and his crack news team are running an underground news organization dedicated to returning the power to the people. Despite the nature of impending doom, Will takes some time to finally come to terms with his childhood dog’s accidental death at the hands of ACN’s CEO, Jane Fonda; thus making him a more complete individual.
Theory B) In a bizarre case of reverse-meta storytelling, The Newsroom surpasses us into the future like it did in Theory A. BUT instead of having real-world events inform and inspire plots on the show, The Newsroom now dictates reality and takes control of our world. As a result we the viewers, now feel helplessly out of control of our own lives. Everyone goes into therapy and Psychiatry becomes the most successful profession and the economy is restored. (That makes sense, right?) Will McAvoy has succeeded.
Dear God, I’ve spent more time theorizing than actually commenting on the show. Woops. Thanks for reading!