[Ed. Note: Carmen Petaccio does not like The Newsroom. In fact, he "sincerely believe[s] that it is the most mesmerically awful TV show on not-TV (HBO).” Naturally, we’ve asked him to recap the remainder of the second season.]

Since we’re about midway through second season of The Newsroom, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten current story lines so everyone can either catch up or refresh. Not only is this blog post guaranteed to save you considerable time/heartache/$$$-for-therapy, but afterwards we can experience the calamity of the rest of the season together, emerging stronger and more unified than ever, a la Band of Brothers. I look forward to it.

1. Will McAvoy = Aaron Sorkin = Absolute Epistemic Truth = America

The United States of America is (are?) complex. Even subject-verb agreement issues concerning it (them?) is (are?) complex. It would take nothing less than an artistic genius with a red, white, and blue heart and a gold, gold, and gold brain to synthesize the infinite complexities of this country. Thankfully, Aaron Sorkin is one such absolute artistic genius. Proof of Genius: Aaron Sorkin is the creator of Will McAvoy, the zing-slinging capital-T Truth factory at the center of The Newsroom. But McAvoy totally is isn’t simply a mouthpiece for Sorkin’s redundant and trite perceptive and incisive fake coverage of news from 18 months ago, he is America personified. Like America, he has an IQ of 1776. Like America, he is obnoxious and sort of misogynistic and backhandedly racist. And, like America, he is incapable of being wrong. Every character, event, and word on the show reinforces these facts over the course of every single second of every single episode. Look ye upon Sorkin’s works and despair.

2. Alison Pill Has David Bowie Hair

3. The Genoa Incident Is (Pearl Harbor x Monica Lewinsky x 911 Googolplexes)

The main framing device of season 2 of The Newsroom is “The Genoa Incident,” which is code for the one time Will McAvoy ate too much gelato while on vacation in Italy and got the worst bellyache ever. JK, it’s not that, but it’s essentially as narratively rich as that. “The Genoa Incident” refers to a purported fake-real war crime that the real-fake news team on The Newsroom reported as fake-real, but it turned out to be fake-fake. Now they’re being sued by, I think, Obama? It’s hard to tell. But the entire season revolves around flashing forward to them getting sued and flashing back to how they ended up getting sued. Plus every character treats “The Genoa Incident” with an urgency so dire you would think a nuclear bomb had been strapped to the chest of every person on the planet, even li’l babies. So you should, too.

4. Olivia Munn Is Chill

Either she’s glamouring me through the HBO GO, or Olivia Munn can actually act. In the infinite, scorched desert of this show, she is the lone glass of ice water. And BOY is she one tall drink of water (sorry)!

5. Aaron Sorkin Knows What Twitter Is And He’s Read Your Whole Twitter And Processed All Of Your Critiques Of The Newsroom And Fixed Everything

The first season of The Newsroom gave rise to a fair share of criticism. “The premise is moronic.” -Me “None of the female characters have agency.” -Me “There is no reason for this show to exist.” -Me All of these critiques were smart and utterly true and remain utterly true, but, gosh, is Aaron Sorkin doing his darnedest to pretend he’s fixing them. The new title sequence song, “Coffee, Clocks, and Paperwork,” sounds Skrillexian in comparison to its predecessor. Emily Mortimer tied her shoes and defused a bomb in single scene, so she has agency now. And no one can accuse Aaron Sorkin of not knowing the difference between a tumbl and a sub-tweet after he had a character read a transcript of someone live-tweeting a nerve gas attack in rural Pakistan. As in, someone was standing in rural Pakistan (famous for its 3G reception), in a cloud of nerve gas (famous for not killing people), tweeting. Repeat: No one can accuse Aaron Sorkin of not knowing the difference between a tumbl and a sub-tweet. No one.

6. The Newsroom Appears To Have The Ability To Bend Space Time

Example: Earlier today I watched The Newsroom S2E4, “Unintended Consequences.” When the episode was over, I stepped out of my room to discover that 1000 years had passed and all of my friends and family were dead and civilization had collapsed and we had entered a new Ice Age, so I spent the next fifty years of my life with the Singularity monsters from the end of A.I. and then I died. It was weird!

7. Mitt Romney Might Suck/Occupy Wall Street Might Be A Thing/Other Stuff Did Happen ~18 Months Ago

According to my math, 265135% of every Newsroom episode is dedicated to lovelorn producer Jim exposing the hypocrisies of the Romney campaign, and IT’S ABOUT TIME. The remaining 98201% of every Newsroom episode is dedicated to the entire cast of characters giving Dev Patel dramatically ironic wedgies because Occupy Wall Street will NEVER be a thing. What time remains is dedicated to reminding you that other stuff did happen ~18 months ago, like Rick Santorum. This is why you watch television. Not to be entertained. Not to be challenged intellectually. Not to escape the endless mundanity of the pointless toil of your empty life. You watch television to be reminded that Rick Santorum exists.

8. The Newsroom Love Pentagon Is Perfect And Devastating In Its Geometry

The five corners of The Newsroom Love Pentagon are: Jim, Alison Pill, Alison Pill’s roommate, Don, and Olivia Munn. From what I gather, Jim is dating Alison Pill’s roommate while he’s in love with Alison Pill who isn’t in love Don but is dating Don who is in love with but not dating Olivia Munn. All of these relationships offer on-screen chemistry on par with the on-screen chemistry that exists between a chair and a different chair.

9. Will McAvoy’s “Mission To Civilize”

Moving on.

10. Will My Roommate Grumpy Georgie Cancel The HBO In My Apartment?

Though I’ve listed this story line last to account for bias, nothing about The Newsroom captivates me more than the possibility that my roommate, Grumpy Georgie, could, at any moment, cancel the HBO in my apartment. For whatever reason, he doesn’t understand why we pay $20 a month so I can watch a fake news show that I hate. Now I have my reason, and next time Grumpy Georgie asks why we just don’t cancel the HBO, I will tell him, proudly, “It’s because I need to watch the fake news show that I hate, so I can recap it on a blog that I love.”

We are all Will McAvoy. Good night.

Comments (20)
  1. When Sorkin says he fixed everything that was wrong with the first season, he really means he’ll fix it in 18 months when The Newsroom is finally caught up to present day.

  2. Also don’t forget about Meryl Streep’s daughter, Not-Maggie

  3. More like THE SNOOZE ROOM. (nailed it)

  4. My favorite moment in this whole Newsroomiverse was when Alison Pill accidentally tweeted a picture of her boobs instead of a DM which is something Maggie would totally do and a lot like something MacKenzie did last season with the company email (minus the boobs). Alison Pill = method actress

    This season needs more MacKenzie and less Maggie.

  5. i prefer curious georgie.

  6. Hahahaha Skrillexian! It’s my new favorite insult/complement. “My my you look positively Skrillexian today!”

  7. Olivia Munn is very pretty and has no comic timing and a terrible flat delivery. It is why her role as the hot economic pundit is absolutely perfect for her. It’s not good acting, it’s good casting.

    This show is a short-term liberal revisionist fantasy in which people who work in news aren’t sad and burnt out and going through the motions but, instead, still have the moxie and gumption of a starry-eyed teenager fantasizing about being a reporter. Goddamn interns don’t have this kind of enthusiasm. *Any* extended time in any real newsroom strips away all levels of idealism or thoughts that actual information is being reported. No, instead, you learn that every story is watered down to appeal to corporate sponsors and metrics are much MUCH more important than #facts. And if you go against those above you, you will get fired… A thing that Sorkin covers and covers very well on this show. Charlie is a perfect example of what happens when you stay in for too long and are smart enough to hate everything about the low-level evil that is what you do.

    This being said, the Genoa Incident is based on a real-life fuck-up that CNN did in the late 90s.

    The Newsroom, while flawed and hyperbolic, actually does a very solid job at deconstructing the garbage nightmare that is national news coverage in a way that is totally accurate to someone who did this for many years. Last year’s episode on Nancy Grace and Casey Anthony was a thing of beauty.

    I find its revisionist fantasies cathartic, though I should note that I quit mostly because I was tired of packaging a crap war as “information” and writing “entertainment” content for a marketing department seemed more honest.

    • all these are good points, but The Daily Show and The Colbert Report do a better job of deconstructing the TV news industry as it is now. Better as in more entertaining and less condescending all while actually delivering the news.

      • Well yeah, but they have their flaws too. Except the John Oliver Show, which is arguably perfect. And they really are the ONLY news groups that are even touching the hypocrisy around fracking and various other environmental nightmares and how intrenched that awfulness is at the highest levels… but it’s all framed as comedy, which is as brilliant of a move as it is really really depressing.

  8. Allow me to elevator pitch you: 17 Again, only about recentish world events.

  9. If there’s one thing I love, it is vicariously hate watching a show through Videogum. Yay! Very excited for this.

  10. Thank you so much! I was worried I might have to actually start watching this show again in order to hate it!

  11. allison pill looks like a real pill did anyone say that yet?

  12. Yes – super happy to have something to hate watch again and this show deserves it… not totally deserves it in my opinion. Not like season 2 of the Walking Dead or all of True Blood…ever… including the commercials and mini-shows, and posters and references. I think what really pisses me off about a show is when it has potential and it has someone talented at the helm but they can’t seem to get their shit together. In this circumstance, I’m moving the fact that they do a good job of pulling back the curtain to show what “really” happens in a newsroom, to the side. I do like that. It’s mainly the characters and any plot whatsoever that revolves around just the characters. I never watched the West Wing or any other Sorkin show so maybe I should have been prepared for this? Jim – what are your characteristics that are interesting? You saw a girl across a room in the first episode and immediately fell in love with her. That’s realistic for sure for a grown man in a profession that crushes idealism. Allison Pill – I really feel she’s this fantastic actress put in this very strange role, of a female most definitely written by a man that doesn’t know how to write females or something. Like he’s trying to make her overly quirky? To say, “hey I’m breaking stereotypes!” I dunno. None of these characters seem authentic. They seem like mouthpieces for him… they all talk the same, etc. Very weird to me. And the love triangles are so generic and sort of adolescent in a way… I’m thinking, this is the great Sorkin I’m always hearing about? This is strange. But – I’m still watching it, hoping that something turns around I guess.

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