The Social Network was so good it seemed that history might forget Aaron Sorkin's nightmarishly bad post-West Wing series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. But with his new The Newsroom, Sorkin proves that cutesy, gabby, stultifyingly self-congratulatory dreck is his true legacy. From one of the many delightfully savage Newsroom reviews, published at Huffington Post:
"The Newsroom" isn't about to stoop to dumb stunts like telling stories or exploring the nuances of human nature. No, these people exist to Tell Us What's What, especially Will, yet another middle-aged Sorkin hero who bears the heavy burden of being smarter than everyone else. Can he help it that he's fated to save the stupid people of America from themselves? It's not easy, you know! I think we're meant to think that Will is a flawed, yet brave man, but I found him to be a smug, self-absorbed windbag.
Perhaps I'm the only one immune to the charm of his lectures (he actually says, more than once, "I'm on a mission to civilize!"). There's a scene in the third episode in which Will makes yet another What I Believe speech, and the camera swoons through dozens of upturned faces in the newsrooms of Will's cable network. These people don't look like fellow employees, they appear to be acolytes in the Cult of Will, dazed at the good fortune that allows them to be in the presence of greatness. Maybe that moment would have made sense if Sorkin had given us believable examples of the man's personal charm or magnetism. No such luck.
Of course the show is drowning in Sorkin's faux-sparkly patter-speak, suggesting a world where every single person is a crappy playwright. The sound of Sorkin speak makes my skin crawl—it's like nails on a chalkboard combined with the smell of burning hair. I've only been able to watch about 20 minutes of The Newsroom—in two ten-minute chunks—before I became nauseated. I'll watch another ten-minute chunk tonight. By next Monday, I'll be done. Stay tuned.