[Cue "Coffee, Clocks, and Paperwork."] The “First ‘Red Team (?)’ Meeting” is under way. The topic: Genoa. Some unfortunate intern at HBO has prepared an exhaustive real Power Point for this exhausting fake news story, and now it’s time for Dev Patel to click through it, one slide at a time. Someone obviously read the “Include Power Point Whenever Possible” chapter of Robert McKee’s Story. Apparently The Newsroom is no longer content with simply boring you the first time around with its secondhand news. No — it has begun doubling back on its own boring, and rehashing its stupefying story lines into oblivion. What a marvel it is to witness! By the time this scene was over I was pulling shards of exposition out of my face, and the only solace I could find was this chill jpeg of a helicopter:

Jim and Not-Maggie are Skype-ing. “Let’s go on a double date with Dev Patel,” says Not-Maggie. “You’ve never met that character before,” Jim says, “but whatever, I’m so effin horny.” (Jim is v. horny this episode.) Over on the other side of the studio, Will McAvoy is reviewing the results from his self-inflicted focus group of his last show. For whatever unimaginable, inconceivable, unthinkable, mind-melting reason, viewers don’t seem to like him. He is as self-aware of this fact as he is baffled by it. “Every fourth wall is a door.” –Aaron Sorkin Thankfully, Olivia Munn walks into McAvoy’s office and starts talking about the egregiously underrated Taylor Kitsch film John Carter, making everything better.


Time Elapsed: ~10 minutes. Hate Index: 13 out of Hate.

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Charlie Bowtie and Emily Mortimer are driving to interview Lieutenant Milton From Office Space about the Genoa Incident. The problem is that Emily Mortimer is driving. The other problem is that Emily Mortimer is a woman who is driving. The other other problem is that Emily Mortimer is a woman who is driving on an Aaron Sorkin show. So, she’s lost, and flustered, and just as Bowtie and Morts realize that the only things standing between them and the truth are some robo-cans chock-full of misogyny, Emily Mortimer crashes into some robo-cans chock-full of misogyny. Watching the two characters clean up the spilled garbage was an incredible, almost paradoxical moment of garbage cleaning up garbage.

Will McAvoy proves that Rick Santorum is dumb for ten minutes. Moving on.

Time Elapsed: ~20 minutes. Hate Index: 501 out of Hate.

Jim and Dev Patel are at the snazzy Romney fete, waiting for Not-Maggie and Who Cares. Dev Patel says, “What’s taking them so long?” and, in response, Jim nearly takes a bite out of Dev Patel’s jugular. He’s that horny. (Jim is v. horny this episode.) The girls show up, but not without (twist!) the Romney campaign trail aid who tossed Jim off of the bus for shattering the “Most Status Quos Shattered” World Record three episodes ago. They go on a five-person date to Sushi Samba and discuss Sex & the City, like Sex & the City.

Meanwhile, Alison Pill is getting loaded at a hotel bar. A super handsome model sends her a drink, but she’s too drunk to process his handsome, and she eventually ends up peace-ing with the man-frump bartender. But not before Jim and Not-Maggie stumble into the hotel bar, because Alison Pill is drinking at the bar where they’re staying, and Aaron Sorkin isn’t even trying anymore. “Watre yous guyis doin herrre,” Alison Pill slurs. “Jim’s here to fix my computer,” says Not-Maggie, Queen of the Euphemism. “I’m v. horny this episode,” Jim says, as they leave Alison Pill with her sadness and her gimlet.

Finally, Jim has gotten Not-Maggie back to his twelve-year-old’s concept of seduction hotel room. He’s set out the candles. He’s turned turned down the lights, he’s turned up the Drake, and he’s offered her “a Toblerone from the mini-bar (Jim is v. horny this episode),” making him a fit King for the Queen of the Euphemism. But Not-Maggie gets a call telling her that she has to be on a plane to Wherever in an hour. Jim remains v. horny.

Time Elapsed: ~35 minutes. Hate Index: V. Horny out of Hate.

In an attempt to repair his public image, WIll McAvoy has brought his Mission to Civilize to morning TV. Here we learn that Will was both the starting quarterback AND the star pitcher for his high school, as if anyone would ever think otherwise. To prove his athletic prowess, the hosts have Will try to throw a football through a hoop, and for every successful attempt they’re going to make a donation to cancer research. What they don’t know is, the only donation they’ll be making is to The Will McAvoy Foundation for Grump Research. Instead of throwing the football through the hoop, McAvoy pegs it at a light fixture. As if anyone would ever think otherwise.

Side bar: What was with the weird sports fixation this week? There was McKenzie’s destruction derby and Lieutenant Milton From Office Space‘s March Madness obsession and Will playing catch with himself while lounging and The McAvoy Cancer Football challenge. Sports were to this week’s Newsroom what Twitter was to last week’s Newsroom as being insufferable is to every week’s Newsroom. It’s like the show is an awkward, unpredictable fetishist who revises his fetishes on a weekly basis. If any aspect of the show motivates me to watch, it is this aspect. (Side bar to side bar: No it isn’t.)

Time Elapsed: ~45 minutes. Hate Index: Sporty out of Hate.

Olivia Munn monologues Will about being likable while I fixate on the weird newspaper towel rack apparatus in the back of the scene. Forget the Genoa Incident, what’s the story THERE?!?

New Jim travels to Maryland to interview Lieutenant Milton From Office Space about the Genoa Incident. He somehow navigates around the robo-cans and finds that Lieutenant Milton From Office Space has bailed on the interview. Luckily though, he sent another interviewee in his stead, and that interviewee is our own Mr. Cool Disguise.

Mr. Cool Disguise doesn’t provide New Jim with the info that he wants, so New Jim remixes the interview in Garageband until it’s a dubstep drop of filthy lies. Everyone at “The Second ‘Red Team (?)’ Meeting” buys his jerry-rigged (YES!) video and everyone at “The Second ‘Red Team (?)’ Meeting” marches blindly into the jaws of hell without questioning anything. Will this be the end of Will McAvoy as we have known and loved and treasured him? Probably not!!!

Time Elapsed: Eternity. Hate Index: Hate out of Hate.

We are all Will McAvoy. Good night.

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Comments (35)
  1. Sorry to go off topic here, but can we also maybe talk about the True Blood finale? This season was actually pretty decent, but last night’s episode was a crazy, awful mess!

    • I agree that this season was OK. I think the new showrunner is doing a much better job by killing off storylines that no one cares about and it looks like next season is going to focus on the characters of the town fighting the same enemy (I guess the Hep V vampires that are kind of like zombies? – Vombies?). I am confused about the Hep V though. When Eric’s sis got it she just kind of got weak and then eventually turned into a pile of goo but now the Hep V is making them really hungry and zombie like? Did I miss something? And, speaking of Eric….really? The entire time they were out in the sun I was thinking “If I were one of them I would enjoy the sun but make sure I was really close to a basement just in case this whole blood thing wears off…..” not “I should sunbathe nude on top of a mountain!”

      • Yup. Exactly this. And he’s smart enough to bury himself in the snow, right? He’s okay right? Just say he’s okay. If not, that was one hell of a way to go out. Right on, Skaarsgaaaarrrrrd.

        Also: it’s about time Sookie tapped some of that Alcide, at least since he stopped being this season’s Tara (until Tara got annoying again — maybe it’s her mom?). I think he redeemed himself at the funeral last week with that jacket and insane hotness.

        Last night needed more fairy births and Layfayette making margaritas. And Coco from Fame doing weird dances at the fairy strip club in a different dimension. I still can’t get over how insane last year’s last two episodes were.

        Also, what the hell *was* Warlow? Good? Bad? Good? Bad? Hunky? Bad? Good? What???

        • Mr. Wallflower was all “what’s up with Alcide’s hair? Is that a wig?” at the beginning of the show to which I was like “who’s looking at his hair?” and then when he showed up later with short hair we were like “guess that answers that question.” But seriously, his character was horrible this season! Looks like he’s on a much better path for next season. Also, the “bright eyes” comment by Bill was pretty funny and I had to immediately start singing “turn around bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart!”

          I think Warlow was good, then bad, then new guy we get to see naked, then new guy getting it on with Sookie, then bad. My question is what about Jason’s new girlfriend? Good? Bad? Annoying?

          • I totally thought that was a wig too, which is funny since last week’s hair looked normal??? They probably reshot it after the haircut… But it reminded me of the Tarzan wig from Magic Mike.

            The Bill joke was very funny… or funny for Bill. I agree with Warlow. io9 had a good joke early on in this season that if you learn a character’s name, odds are they will be naked in the next episode. Jessica’s piece was the example, I think.

            On the fence with Jason’s lady friend — she reminds me of Lizzy Caplan without being interesting. If this were the last season, I would assume it was a callback but it seems that it is not??? But if it is not, that means gratuetous Alcide in Erik form for next season???

          • i also was like WHAT IS THIS HAIR. but the first 30 min were entertaining and then the last 30 was like who cares

    • Hey, I was going to go off-topic! You can’t steal my thunder, you thunder-stealer!

    • Permission granted. Praise Billith.

  2. Really great use of Chekhov’s First Round NCAA Basketball Game by Sorkin in this ep. If you show the tournament in the first act, New Jim definitely has to shoot it at his video editing by the end of the episode.

    • Wasn’t the video editing with the game in the background kind of choppy or was that the point of him doing some AVID fancy key business and them taking the time to shoot it? Can you even smooth over a game, though? Isn’t there usually a time stamp?

      • I believe he used the same technology that allowed Keanu to trick Dennis Hopper into thinking they were still on the bus?

      • Speaking as a professional editor, that was some instant horseshit. I’m sure they had people in that room who would have known to look for that kind of blatant tampering. If I were there I would have said “Let me examine your “raw footage” more closely. I’ll look for timestamps and incriminating edits.” I guarantee MacKenzie and Mr. Bowtie would have let me take a closer look. Soooooo, yeah that part was pretty stupid.

        That being said, I still really like this show. But not as much as I like reading Carmen’s recaps of this show!

  3. I’m so so SO glad that’s your first image. I think people on the 2nd floor heard me sigh when she crashed into that fucking can (I work on the 5th).
    Also mr. truck and I have been watching Friday Night Lights and I was complaining that I don’t get the fascination with Tim Riggins etc and I made an offhand comment about John Carter which turned into a long conversation about how mr. truck didn’t know it was the same person and basically how forgettable he is as an actor.

  4. Can someone who watches this show (or any TV, really) please tell me why there are SO MANY shows about people who do the news? I can think of at least three off of the top of my head! EVEN MORE if we’re counting newspapers in there, which I think we are! Is there something particularly enthralling about that workplace that I’m missing?

    • I think it’s a “write what you know” thing which is also why we have so many movies about struggling writers just trying to bang a hot young white lady and be recognized for the geniuses they are.

    • It’s easy to film in a newsroom? Since it’s already blocked and has lighting ready for breaking reported shots? (Though this is a set.)

      They used to shoot a lot of movies in the middle of the night when I worked in one. I may be in the background of some disaster movie and I honestly can’t remember which one because there were so many being filmed when I was working there that I stopped keeping track… except the for the time Gerard Butler hit on me and I had no idea who he was.

      But yeah, write what you know, I guess? Has Sorkin ever actually worked in a newsroom because everyone is so burnt out… maybe that’s why he was on crack for a decade?

      • Haha, I KNEW that angry feminist I saw in the background of “This Ain’t Fox & Friends” looked familiar!

        Actually, I totally forgot that Sorkin makes this show, but now that you mention it, he also did Studio 60 and Sports Night. The West Wing is the only show he’s done that WASN’T about people making a TV show!

    • I’m sure that cost factors heavily into getting news shows green lit, too. All the broadcasting equipment the networks already own can easily be re-purposed and re-branded. The shows are almost entirely interiors. Same financial impetus behind Tosh.0, basically.

      • Are you saying that you think Daniel Tosh’s true worth is on the inside?

      • Grimm exclusively uses the NBC affiliate and its actual reporters in Portland when normal stuff happens like a the volcano god comes down from Mt. Hood and burns my fictional neighbor alive for taking a rock. Pretty sure if the volcano god showed up 4 blocks away under that scenario, more stations than KGW would be on the scene… but it’s a cute little easter egg for locals — like how all the evil people live in the Pearl.

        Same principle.

        Also: when I was working in my newsrooms, so many of the reporters would audition to be a reporter for the movie filming at our station. I saw them do the screen tests and it was actually kind of fascinating. And now I get kind of excited when I see a friend with a teeny bit part in random terrible or not terrible movie.

  5. Jerry-rigged! Killer!

  6. They definitely had those weird newspaper racks in my high school library. But my high school also had a mini-prairie in front of it and a swamp behind it so it wasn’t any paragon of normality.

    • My newsrooms had these (and college and hs libraries), but no one ever used them (except in libraries). Eventually it always defaulted to a big desk with scattered messy papers.

  7. I only got to watch this show once in a hotel room a few weeks back (I am a poor grownup with no HBO) but I am greatly loving these recaps. I am going to start referring to things as eternity out of hate on the hate index.

  8. I like that the episode started very busy and just got down to the brass taxes, because you know the next episode has to be the one where the shit hits the fan right?

    I’m also getting this feeling that I’d like to see how the morning ACN crew is like outside of their show, because you know that guy is SUCH AN ASSHOLE, fucking around with will like that.

  9. I was rooting for this show, but every week I keep getting disappointed. It’s like an amnesiac after eating corn flakes for the first time.

    • Or every time saturnian drinks Heineken. Heineken is the beer equivalent of Adam Sandler somehow convincing you he is as good of an actor as Meryl Streep, and somehow also doing this many, many times.

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