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Nitpicks and Criticisms: This Is What Blowing It Looks Like


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#31

maculae

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Posted Sep 21, 2012 @ 10:46 AM

Why do I feel like I'm watching a poorly written behind the scenes of Countdown with Keith Olbermann? Except a less interesting character than Olbermann (because that man knew how to bring in real drama to the workplace).

Watching for the characters isn't worth it because so many of them are poorly written (mainly the women). There are forced relationships and reactions/actions that make little sense coming from what we know of the background of certain characters. How Mac survived as a war correspondent and earned 2 Peabodies(y's)(?) I will never understand based on the character we are shown. And for some reason, no matter what any character is dealing with, all roads lead to Will. If you want to base your show around one person and have everything happening involve that person, make it realistic. If you want to have an ensemble show where all characters have some minor storyline, then you can't keep bringing it back to your "main" main character. It'd be like if every single storyline in Friday Night Lights somehow involved Coach Taylor. Whenever they did bring his character into another character's issues, it made sense. Jason-Layla-Tim triangle? Coach was brought in because Jason's always seen him as a 2nd father and needed some paternal advice. It made sense. It's not like everyone on the show except Daniel's is terrible at acting. From what I've seen in a lot of their previous projects, they can all hold their own if given the good writing.

Watching for the news isn't worth it either. And I think that's what hurts Sorkin the most. He should make his own news and separate Newsroom world and "our world" completely. The news cycle is unbelievably fast. I've seen the news he's trying to cover before. Reported better, more interestingly, less preachy, less arrogantly and when it was actually relevant. I can just go back and rewatch some episodes of TDS, TCR, Maddow, AC360 etc...if I wanted to relive those moments of history. And for the most part, the monologues/reporting on those shows were less nauseatingly pompous, probably as factual and much more entertaining to watch. Some of Sorkin's news monologues can't even be compared to what has come out of Maddow, Jon Stewart (and he's a comedian), Shep Smith or even Colbert (and he's playing a character).

A lot of these problems could be fixed if he just based it on real world events and added his own twist. Because as it is, Newsroom is a 20/20 hindsight reaction to the real news. Of course Will is going to be able to say what he says and be on the mark. Of course they will make the "right" decision in the end and know when to try to wait for more facts. Because it's all already happened. The outcome is known.

I'm not even going to get into how unrealistic the "OMG WTF is technology?" attitude in a newsroom is.

The show has a lot more potential than what I'm seeing from it and it's truly disappointing. Perhaps Sorkin should have been the one to take a step back from writing and see what his writers could do. The only positive I have is that it helped keep Olivia Munn off of TDS.

Edited by maculae, Sep 21, 2012 @ 10:48 AM.

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#32

Roger Wilco

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Posted Nov 12, 2012 @ 11:08 AM

I'm not sure if this is the right topic to post this, but there doesn't seem to be a "right topic" for it...

Anyway, during the first season there were a lot of people that were criticizing Will's character's "republican-ness" saying that he was too unbelievable for attacking Tea-Party views so vehemently, among other things.

While the show was clearly created with a liberal mentality, and there are inconsistencies with many of the characters, now that the 2012 election is over tons of Repubicans (media members, politicicians, and public) are vehemently ripping into the Tea-Party.

The split between the Republican Party and the Tea-Party has been coming for a long time and correctly telegraphed by Sorkin in the first season.

In a case of life-imitating art, you are going to see the Republican Party attempt to make over it's image into something closer to Will's character. I don't know if they will be able to successfully remove themselves from the religious right enough to do it, but you can already read many in the republican media suggesting that they do so.

Credit where credit is due, or at least, I think that argument can be put to rest.
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#33

madfortv

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Posted Dec 17, 2012 @ 9:16 AM

I enjoyed the episodes for the most part, with the exception of the office romances. There was something off about the romance stories. Maybe it is the writing for the characters? I can't quite figure it out. I was once around a couple that flirted in the office and it always made me feel like gagging. I prefer shows with a good mix of male and female characters. In this case, if the characters of Maggie and Mac were to be taken off the show, I would not mind.
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#34

InYourEyes

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Posted Jul 2, 2013 @ 9:04 AM

I just got done watching all 10 episodes on HBO. Is it just me or does it seem like they are trying too hard to have grand dramatic moments. It seems like every episode there is a music swelling, pull at your heartstrings, overly dramatic moment. It is a bit heavy handed to me. That being said, I still like the show as a whole.

 

Also the similarities between Jim and Jim Halpert from The Office are so glaringly obvious I can not get over it.


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#35

Laura Jane

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Posted Jul 3, 2013 @ 5:08 PM

I am also just watching the show for the first time and, yes, noticed the Jim/Jim similarities.  Unfortunately Maggie is no Pam.  Pam may have only been a receptionist but she is so much more competent, so much more together, so much more womanly than Maggie that it comes as no surprise that Jim falls hard for her.  Maggie is a trainwreck and about single-handedly ruins the show.  I can't stand her and I find it impossible to believe that not one but two men who work with her are in love with her.


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#36

CJRocks

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Posted Jul 7, 2013 @ 9:35 PM

I think that the most frustrating thing about Newsroom is that it has great moments, but the show is just not quite living up to its potential. I know that I was completely hooked after the first five minutes, and the episodes have been good enough to make me continue watching, but it doesn't live up to WW. That said, it's still better than most of the crap on the networks, so I am very excited about the new season starting up next week!


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#37

anonymiss

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Posted Jul 10, 2013 @ 10:05 AM

This show has embarrassingly bad writing and overacting. To my surprise, the one saving grace is Olivia Munn as Sloan Sabbath. Now I hear they've resorted to casting Meryl Streep's daughter because nepotism and stunt-casting is what every show aspires to.


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#38

furrylump

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Posted Jul 17, 2013 @ 10:47 PM

The discussion over Maggie's makeover really annoyed me, although it took me a while to figure out why, beyond her not looking nearly as radical as the show ("She looks like the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,") seemed to think. I mean, she's wearing non-ripped jeans, a plain white top, no tattoos or piercings, and except for the colour, her haircut is very similar to the one on my mother, a 58-year-old Catholic schoolteacher. The only things that are punkish, even a little bit, are the bright red dye job and the boots - otherwise, she just looks like she's wearing normal casual clothes.

 

Putting that aside, I eventually realised that what was really shitting me was the assumption that someone who favours a (supposedly) punkish or gothic look must do so as an expression of their deep emotional pain, instead of just thinking those clothes, hair, tattoos or piercings are cool. Sometimes I feel like this show is being written by a crotchety 80-year-old man who spends his free time basking in nostalgia for the good old days, or yelling at kids to get off his lawn, and take their fancy newfangled phones and interwebs and rebellious haircuts with them.

 

ETA: Man, I am just going to laugh so damn hard if it turns out that the true cause of Maggie's new look and associated trauma is something to do with the love triangle. Like Jim proposing to Lisa or something.


Edited by furrylump, Jul 19, 2013 @ 12:43 AM.

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#39

TwizzWhizz11

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Posted Jul 19, 2013 @ 11:42 AM

Since so many people were raving about 'The West Wing' compared to 'The Newsroom' last season, I took the year to watch TWW. I think it was a huge mistake because now I've become one of those people - and, truly, The Newsroom can't measure up to the amazingness that was Sorkin-era West Wing. 

 

I think what bugs me most in comparison of the two is:

 

-The Newsroom's larger emphasis on relationships. Sure, "shipping" and love triangles do a lot to build a following a fanbase, but for a show that wants to put itself a cut above (both in the show and for the show itself), I don't know why most overarching stories have to center around Will and Mac or Maggie and Jim, etc. The West Wing had couples and romantic moments, but the focus was the work at the White House. 

 

-As mentioned before, Sorkin's sudden inability to write strong, well-written female characters. Give me another CJ Cregg or Abby Bartlett or Joey Lucas or even Donna Moss. Though they weren't perfect and Sorkin usually still ended up making them look like the stupid ones or the mess-ups, they had much more strength than any of the female characters on The Newsroom. Mac showed shades of competency in the season premiere, so I can only hope that holds up. Sloan is pretty awesome, but she still is generally sexualized instead of being admired for her intellect. 

 

-I guess the "Genoa" storyline kind of touches on this, but the lack of failures on The Newsroom kind of bugs me. I know they're supposed to be the popular, well-done news show, but they seem to have so many wins and so many things fall into place for them. I would like them more if they won some and lost some. 


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#40

DoctorDogBoy

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Posted Jul 22, 2013 @ 11:35 AM

-I guess the "Genoa" storyline kind of touches on this, but the lack of failures on The Newsroom kind of bugs me. I know they're supposed to be the popular, well-done news show, but they seem to have so many wins and so many things fall into place for them. I would like them more if they won some and lost some. 

 

Well, it goes beyond that. Mac even lists a dozen important news stories in the first episode, including Fracking, and more or less blows them off. It's hard to let go of the first impression but I think their ability to do good news is meant to counterbalance why no one has fired them given everyone in the office is absolutely insane.


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#41

Princess Aldrea

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Posted Jul 22, 2013 @ 11:47 AM

 It's hard to let go of the first impression but I think their ability to do good news is meant to counterbalance why no one has fired them given everyone in the office is absolutely insane. 
I'm pretty sure at this point the lack of firing is because they have blackmail material on Leona's son and can send him to prison at any time. 
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#42

PRgal

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Posted Jul 28, 2013 @ 9:13 AM

Anachronism nitpick: What's the deal with the show not doing enough research on gadgets?  Erica (??) at the laundromat looked like she had an iPhone 5 in last week's episode.  Did she travel one year into the future or something? 


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#43

alexvillage

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Posted Aug 1, 2013 @ 3:04 PM

I came late to this party - the board - but I am noticing that most people do not like Mac. Am I the only one who likes her? I can agree with some criticism i have read, but i have learnt not to take Sorkin too seriously. I hate how he writes the women in his shows, so i pay attention to the acting. And I love Emily Mortimer's acting, even the over the top stuff. And I like the character too. I can see the subtle but - i think - important directions she gives Will and how she makes the decisions.

Picking up on Sorkin's issues with reality: i loved TWW when it aired, the first 4 seasons. Today, i can barely stand most of the characters. Everything I have seen from Sorking is not real at all - maybe the theme or idea, but not the events. Starting with The American President.
Just watching for fun, focusing on the acting, is enough for me. And he does know how to tell a story and how to create action with dialogues.
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#44

Waterloo

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Posted Aug 11, 2013 @ 10:20 PM

 am also just watching the show for the first time and, yes, noticed the Jim/Jim similarities.  Unfortunately Maggie is no Pam.  Pam may have only been a receptionist but she is so much more competent, so much more together, so much more womanly than Maggie that it comes as no surprise that Jim falls hard for her.  Maggie is a trainwreck and about single-handedly ruins the show.  I can't stand her and I find it impossible to believe that not one but two men who work with her are in love with her.
 

 Laura Jane I feel the same way.  I could maybe get it if she were really pretty or had a great personality but she has neither.  Shes a character if Iwere to have th personal tourture to have to work with I woud avoid at all costs. She's an insult to professional woman as is mackensie


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#45

Kitten Poker Cheater

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Posted Aug 12, 2013 @ 5:36 PM

snip


Edited by Kitten Poker Cheater, Mar 30, 2014 @ 6:29 PM.

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#46

Princess Aldrea

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Posted Aug 12, 2013 @ 6:04 PM

 (where is he, by the way?  And where is the bodyguard?) 
Well if the danger passed then they'd remove the bodyguard and Will has a history of just abandoning his sessions for long periods of time while still paying for them. 
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#47

alexvillage

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Posted Aug 13, 2013 @ 6:33 AM

 

My heart really did break when Will told her that his Dad had died.

 

That's my nitpick of the episode. I thought Will's relationship with his dad was very, very bad. And I thought he had abandoned the family. Now, I know such relationships are nuanced and not black and white, but I find it strange that Will had "DAD" on his phone. It seems pretty intimate to me. Maybe the name of his father would have made more sense to me.

I know it can be just a simplistic way to make the connection easier for the audience, but it is my nitpick. 


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#48

Waterloo

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Posted Aug 13, 2013 @ 8:25 PM

Maggie killed the episode for me again. totally unprofessional and weak weak person. If she was that lame I doubt caring parents would have encourafged a move to the big apple. ( in the real world)
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#49

alexvillage

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Posted Aug 25, 2013 @ 1:04 PM

I heard an interesting speech given by Kevin Spacey that I think addresses a few criticisms I read here, but I don't remember if it was on this thread or when. 

The criticisms were about how Sorkin is rushing through the news, because the show has only 9- 10 episodes, and how he is really not being able to tell a story, how he needs a full season, network style, to do a better job.

 

The speech touched on how networks choose the shows, how they demand a pilot for the shows, how expensive this gets and how few shows are actually aired and even fewer renewed. Cable does that too but there is one difference: they allow the shows to go on for a while before they gather a bigger audience. Spacey mentioned how the Sopranos, Breaking Bad and others could be considered "failures" if they were not allowed to run for 4 or even 5 seasons with a small, but faithful, audience.

 

So, while I get frustrated at some of the writing, I think I am a faithful audience and I think Sorkin is actually where he can do better. After TWW he really wasn't able to develop anything really strong, and the this is also touched on the speech - the whys and hows.

 

There was no mention of this show specifically, and I know this is not the only criticism, maybe not the strongest one. But while listening to the speech I remembered something I read here, so, there you have it.


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#50

vexer6

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Posted Oct 31, 2013 @ 4:15 PM

I do like Maggie but I don't like how inconsistently she's written, her screaming at the SATC bus was just embarassing, if I were Allison Pill I would have a very hard time doing that scene with a straight face.  I do find it rather disturbing to see posters talking about how they wish her character would get killed, I just don't find that sort of thing the least bit funny. 

Also the whole Africa storyline was done in a rather contrived manner, the way Daniel's death was shot was just very confusing, it didn't appear as though the raiders were anywhere near close enough to get a shot at him, and what was with Gary randomly tripping and falling? That was way too cliched, that's something I expect to see in slasher films, not in a drama TV series.  And how come Maggie just stopped and starred at Gary when he fell instead of ya know putting Daniel on the bus first and THEN checking on Gary?

As for the stuff about how the Newsroom runs being unrealistic, I have no clue what a real newsroom is like so that's not an issue for me.

I do hope Jim and Maggie finally get together so that we can finally put an end to the love triangle storyline, which I wasn't overly fond of in spite of liking the characters. It just seemed like something that would've fit more in a show like say "One Tree Hill"(which I do like BTW) then an HBO series.

I also like Mackenzie and am surprised at how much hatred she gets, i'll admit she was pretty unprofessional in the beginning but she got better as the show went on and I was happy when Will proposed to her.

I personally disagree that Sorkin's writing is sexist, granted I can see why people think that, but I think he just needed to get a good "feel" for how he want the characters to develop and it took awhile for that to happen. But i've ironically heard quite a few women defend Maggie's character saying that they could relate to her because they were a lot like her.

Also the complaints about Sorkin recycling material from his other work isn't really in issue for me since i'm not overly familiar with his work, i've only seen some of West Wing and what I saw didn't really impress me that much, I found the show overrated(though my mom is a die hard fan) and was surprised that it managed to last for seven seasons, so the "recycled" stuff is pretty much all new to me.


Edited by vexer6, Oct 31, 2013 @ 4:27 PM.

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