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HBO's The Newsroom - 'We Just Decide To'

The Newsroom (2012) poster

Written by : published Saturday 30th June 2012

HBO's The Newsroom  - 'We Just Decide To' main image

It was an evening of harsh truths from those the people look up to. At least that is what The Newsroom on HBO has you believe. In the series which premiered last Sunday with the episode “We Just Decided To”, we are in the opening throws of the frustrations and machinations of Will McAvoy played by Jeff Daniels. McAvoy in recent years have become ‘soft’ and just indifferent to his news program ‘NewsNight’ which he anchors. During a panel with two other anchors for the television network news program, McAvoy sits, quietly annoyed and aggravated but plays up the role of the guy who everyone loves and cracks a joke. It isn’t until the panelist forces McAvoy’s hand on to a question of “What Makes America the greatest country in the world” that McAvoy snaps. After the panel he tells columnists and the media that his snapback was due to pills for a head cold. 

From there McAvoy’s world tumbles and three weeks later, his entire staff, lead by producer Don (Thomas Sadoski) jump ship on McAvoy, leaving only Maggie Jordan (Alison Pill) and Neal (Dev Patel) who stay due to loyalty. Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) who does care and supports Will and his show, hires old flame and love interest Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer). Naturally Machale makes McAvoy’s blood boil and there is chemistry in both their battles and googly-eyes they give each other.


Upon first glance, The Newsroom was fantastic and memorizing. Truly creator/director/writer Aaron Sorkin has never lost his penchant for writing dialogue and making the characters engaging. Being a fan of Sorkin though (minus The West Wing) one can easily tell that Sorkin is grabbing the best and brightest ideas from his run as a writer/creator ranging from Sports Night, The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. And upon watching The Newsroom, this does end up being true. The opening of McAvoy snapping at the college girl who asked the question about America is a take on the opening moments of Studio 60. The entire drama of running a television show of some form is taken from Sports Night. And then there is the overall politics and strong political voice that has made The West Wing and American President some of the best political dramadies out there laced and you have what is the melting pot of Sorkin’s past work.

Feeling this way though I wanted to see how The Newsroom feels after the fact, so I watched it again. And again. And again. Overall, I’ve watched the pilot “We Just Decided To” around four times, and each time it is just as engaging as it was before. Sorkin has a real ebb and flow for how his characters speak and act, and as someone who doesn’t necessarily love politics; I still ate up everything going on here. Yet at the end of the day, even for how much I enjoyed Studio 60, I enjoyed it because of what they were attempting to do, even when the show had a rough episode or three, I pushed through. While I find no flaws or problems with The Newsroom, to see it unfold in the next nine episodes or so will be the real test. While even Sorkin’s worst is better than television’s mediocre television, it doesn’t mean that it is great, and so to see if The Newsroom has wings will be what to look forward to the most.

About the author goodbadgeeky


Nick ‘Nitro’ Arganbright has an extreme love for a good story, whether it be in film, tv, video games, comic books, music or more and it shows in each article and podcast he produced. The titular podcast he produces is called The Good The Bad & The Geeky with co-hosts Jon Bettin and Nathan ‘DJ Meat’ Haley. The podcast has helped him make a few contacts within in the industry which he hopes to use to entertain and inform readers of his reviews on Examiner.com and The TV King, offering an average joe opinion that is often overlooked in major print and online publications. If you’d like to e-mail him, please do so at [email protected] or you can tweet him on twitter at @goodbadgeeky.

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