HBO’s “The Newsroom”

If you’re not watching it, you should be. If you don’t have HBO,  you can get the pilot here, and you can find episode 2 and episode 3 in chunks on

This series calls out the Tea Party. This series names the Kochs, and accuses them of shitting on our country. It features Jane Fonda playing a network executive who caves in to corporate pressure. It’s well written, and it’s pitch perfect. If only it were on CBS.


@Bloggie, Haven’t seen it (don’t have HBO) but the prevailing comment consistently made by my male and female tee-vee critic buddies (including one who actually is a professional TV critic), is that the majority of the female characters are shallow and poorly written. What do you think of that assessment?

I just watched the pilot, and can we focus here, people? Where would we be today if we actually had news shows with cojones? And they were on broadcast TV where anyone with an antenna could see them?

Can we back off the individual agendas and agree on the main message: that the pilot kicks ass on the message? THIS is why we can’t have nice things. Because lefties are tearing each other apart and not focusing on the REAL opposition.

I respect your opinion, SFL, but how about some support for the main message and not just picky criticism of your favorite aspect of character presentation?

This is EXACTLY why Demos/lefties can’t beat the Right-wing assholes. We’re too busy criticizing each other, and most of it seems to be who can be first to say something, rather than taking time to consider all aspects.

And I know it sounds like I’m criticizing your point, but I’m NOT.

I may agree with your point or not, but I’m asking you to FOCUS on the big picture. Sure, add your take, but only after commenting on the primary subject.

It’s harder to do it that way, and requires thought beyond instant reaction, but I think Stinquers are capable of it.

And I realize Stinque is based around smart-ass commentary, but still…

Unless, of course, you’re just in it for the glory and fame and don’t expect to be taken seriously.

The pilot sucks. The buzz suggests that subsequent episodes are much better. Me, I won’t know until Netflix has them.

Whether the pilot contains the right message — and I’m desperately trying not to drop the Western Union line — is irrelevant to whether the pilot succeeds as an example of American dramatic entertainment.

That’s the Big Picture. Sorkin has repeatedly emphasized that the series will work only if the audience takes an interest in the characters. On his own terms — which I agree with — he fails.

The Wire gets its message across. So does Treme. But they also get their characters and stories across, which are the media through which the message is transmitted. You put stick figures and straw men on the screen, and your message might as well be mute.

Asking me to disregard my own judgment because somebody plays for the right team, is asking me to live a lie. And I take that shit very seriously.

@SanFranLefty: The Maggie Jordan character is written as a ditz, but there’s more to her.
@nojo: to me, the whole thing is a bit overwritten, characters talking faster than anyone ever would. But I love it – especially Mackenzie MacHale. Wish I could send you eps 2 and 3.

@blogenfreude and nojo: Thanks for the additional info on the show. I’ll check out the first episode when I get a chance, and wait for the others to show up on the tubez or Netflix.

@RevZafod: Whoa, whoa, whoa, Walter, stop waving the gun around and chill the fuck out. I’m not trying to tear anything down. I’d like for this show to succeed, as I was a big fan of Sorkin’s previous political shows, both the messages and the characters, although they had a tendency to get a little too TALK FAST/TALK SMART/INTERRUPT/TALK FAST AND NOW I SHALL MAKE A PROFOUND STATEMENT at times.

As I said above, I have not seen the show yet. I am not going to be rah-rah-rah, nor tear it down, without seeing it. However, I was simply asking blogenfreude what his take was on some of the characters, based upon the buzz I’d heard from 8 different people who I rely upon to be my pop culture arbiters and often suggest which films/shows might be worth viewing. That’s all. I certainly didn’t intend to create the Democratic Party’s circular firing squad.

“And I realize Stinque is based around smart-ass commentary, but still…

Unless, of course, you’re just in it for the glory and fame and don’t expect to be taken seriously.”

Okay, now you’re just making me laugh. Yes, that’s why I comment/post on this here blog. Please don’t forget the vast riches that I expect to come pouring in as soon as we get more than 17 readers.

Additionally, this blog was built upon the glory that is the threadjack, and that’s what makes Stinque great. The fact that my question even related to the post at hand is more than what you can say for a good chunk of what goes around here.

@nojo: What happened to the top of the page, oh great hamster? The little photos and jumps disappeared.

@SanFranLefty: That is a much more eloquent response than I could have mustered. (Mine would have involved the words Wheaties and pissed, not necessarily in that order.)

Well I’m in it for the glory and fame.

Also, I was saying Boo-urns.

Anybody else watch Home Run Derby last night? I was afraid that Prince Fielder was going to kill someone in the stands.

@SanFranLefty: Format test.

I came up with the Feature Strip when we were running four or five posts a day — things slipped off the homepage so fast, it made sense to give them an extra day or two of visibility by highlighting them.

But we’re on a more leisurely posting schedule right now, and it might be days before something slips into the Page Two Void — meaning, by the time it hits the Feature Strip, it feels somewhat stale.

The Feature Strip is easy enough to revive, if my judgment proves wrong. It’s not a No-Goddamn-Photos-In-Comments Gut Call. I just wanted to try a day or two without it.

@RevZafod: The only thing that rains down Glory & Fame is Cute Critter Videos.

@RevZafod: …Alan Sorkin, is that you? Oh wait, no, if you were Sokin, you would’ve called SFL a dumb Internet girl
and told her to go read a newspaper once in a while, then begged her to be nice to you.

Better than the network drivel – however one of HBO’s weakest.

@nojo: I like the feature strip – bring it back. As a less frequent visitor, it gives me some visual highlights of what’s been going on.

Oh sure, I also get the StinqueFeed, but I check Twitter less frequently as well.

Because, when it isn’t all about Benedick, it’s all about me. Gracias

@nojo: Looks so naked up there without the pictures. Plus I like seeing how you exercise editorial control and summarize a post with a new snarky tag/headline. And then there are the slackers like Beggars Biscuit who may not be hanging around here as much…

@Beggars Biscuit: And I’m sure TommCatt would insist that when it isn’t all about Benedick, it’s about TommCatt, and then maybe El Beesko.

Speaking of TommCatt, is he going to have to change his handle in light of the Holmes-Cruise divorce?

@JNOV: How’s the frog?

Frog is fine. As is the rest of the iPhone app I’ve finally conquered, because I Am Geek God, albeit a Highly Preoccupied Geek God, given the sheer sustained concentration it takes to get the hang of programming iPhone apps.

The app’s not quite done, however, because I’m working on “VoiceOver” accessibility — the function that makes iPhone apps useful for blind folk. This is an interesting challenge, because this particular app is a simple game with a custom graphic interface (designed by Silent Creative Partner) — no standard iPhone elements. Plus, a layout that makes sense visually may be utterly cluttered when limited to Tap & Speak.

Imagine an app that’s completely black — you only know what it does when you tap the screen. Maybe it says something in response to your tap. Or maybe not. And you can only discover what it does by tapping around in the dark.

It’s really a different medium, and I find that profoundly fascinating as a designer. So there’s the creative challenge of thinking through a Lights Out interface, plus the technical challenge of making Apple’s accessibility-programming functions bend to my will.

Which is what keeps me up until one-fucking-fifteen a.m.

@SanFranLefty: Just heard – Newsroom signed for 2nd season – dunno if it’s 10 episodes like season 1.

@JNOV: I used to think that a parliamentary system was superior until Harperbot 3000 seized control of Canuckistan. They have four major political parties there, and over 60% of the voters chose someone else, but the Conservatards rose to power anyway, first by winning a plurality, then in the last election, a razor-thin majority. Now Canuckistanies get to enjoy the full Bush treatment that the vast majority didn’t vote for.

More recently, along came Britain, with its current obscene coalition of austerity-loving CONservatives and Liberal Demonrats that have fucked the British people six-ways from Sunday.

Ultimately, what matters is having a fair campaign finance system in which honest people can get elected, unlike ours which essentially guarantees corruption. Having a sane society helps, too.

@JNOV: The condemned dies from hanging in one of two ways, strangulation/O2 deprivation (“hang until dead”) or by snapping the neck with a drop of several feet. There are formulas available that calculate the height of the drop based on the person’s weight. Obviously, the people who did Saddam Hussein sucked at math.

I just got done listening to a segment I taped for Liquid Metal on Sirius XM where I played three of my favorite metal tunes and talked about them a little bit. Your boy Mustaine did not make the cut, I’m sorry to say. I played some Sabbath, Metallica covering Motorhead and a new one by Lamb of God. Their singer is currently rotting in some Czech Republic jail on a manslaughter charge for allegedly pushing a fan off the stage, which resulted in fatal head injuries to the guy.

My four cents:

For the first two eps you can literally see everyone trying to wrap their brains and their mouths around Sorkin’s writing. Also, everyone in it starts at a fever pitch and thus has nowhere to go. BUT! The third episode seems to have found the show’s groove; everyone’s speaking in their indoor voices and there’s much less hyperventilating. And because of that, I will definitely keep watching.

Mackenzie’s second in command has Cameron’s mouth from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

I like that they’re running with the 2-years-ago timeline. It’s good. It makes sense. And the 20/20 hindsight is DELICIOUS ICE CREAM.

Some of it has The Sports Night Problem: He writes as if the stakes are always high, but the stakes are never high. Obvious exception being West Wing, where the stakes were always high, and a show I’ve watched more times than is polite to say in public.

REALLY annoyed at the amount of shipping going down so early into it. I’m not a 19-year-old Doctor Who fan. I’d respect the characters a lot more – and the stakes would seem higher – if we didn’t have to watch the story come to a screeching halt all the time for a forlorn stare across a crowded newsroom/Ally McBeal-style after-work bar.

Re SanFran’s comment about women and the ensuing butthurtz, part of this is covered in the above: This woman came back from Fallujah and is acting like a ditzy romcom heroine? And are we really to believe that Allison Peel would last 5 minutes in a newsroom bullpen? While the other part was that horrendous – HORRENDOUS – interview Sorkin gave, and one other off-the-cuff comment, that were so ridiculously out of touch and misogynist that I could barely believe CJ Cregg sprang from that man’s brain.

But like I said, I’ll keep watching, mostly because I miss new Sorkin episodes of any kind.

Seemed like a lot of product placement throughout the 3rd episode that I did not notice in 1 and 2. I am going to keep a notepad handy for the 4th episode to see what I can tally.

@RomeGirl: Some of it has The Sports Night Problem

Also the Studio 60 Problem. But Studio 60 was hilarious in its awkwardness.

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