'The Newsroom': Aaron Sorkin and the Never-Was and Never-Will-Be of It All

Today's cuppa; More hazelnut cappuccino

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Reams of reviews have come out about writer/producer Aaron Sorkin's new HBO drama "The Newsroom," premiering Sunday, June 24, which is set in the backstage of a nightly news hour on a CNN-ish cable-news network, with an allegedly Republican anchorman, Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) ... excuse me, it always takes me a minute to recover from the giggle fit that thought brings on.

Anyway, I'm not a reviewer, that's not my stock-in-trade, but those who do that regularly, for the most part, appear to hate the living bejebus out of this show. Notable exceptions are The Philly Post's Gail Shister, who didn't loathe it, and Linda Holmes of NPR, who, like me, loves Sorkin's smarty-pants talky-talk but has some issues with the storytelling, while overall not trashing the show.

For a compendium of the anti-"Newsroom" takes -- with one thumbs up from The Boston Globe -- click here.

Now, you have to remember that, like David Simon's last season of "The Wire," which focused on the sorry state of print journalism, "The Newsroom," which focuses on the state of broadcast journalism, hits close to home for your average reporter. When it's your own ox being gored, things are a little bit different.

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But, I must say, the vehemence of some of the denouncements -- which continued in Twitter conversations among the journos -- surprised me. 

As of this writing, I've seen an episode-and-a-half of "The Newsroom," and I enjoyed it. I don't agree with most of Sorkin's politics, many of his conclusions about the way things are (or should be) or certain of his cheap potshots (honestly, Aaron, Sarah Palin will never love you back, so it may be time to get over her and move on with your life).

That being said, I enjoyed it, because I love the way he writes. I watched every episode of "The West Wing," not because I agreed with 90 percent of President Jed Bartlet's policy positions, which I didn't, but because I could listen to those people talk all day long. OK, and I harbored a crush on Josh Lyman, played by Bradley Whitford, at left; and well, you know, there was Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn, at right, below.

Yes, I am a sucker for a clean-cut boy in tailored trousers, a dress shirt (especially with rolled-up sleeves) and a loose tie. So shoot me.
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In particular, the NPR reviewer addressed whether Sorkin is an idealist in "The Newsroom." Like her, I don't see him as such.

To me, he's an ideologue who pines for a reality that never existed quite in the way he thinks it did, and will never exist exactly as he dreams it -- as we live in a world of flawed human beings with a dizzying array of viewpoints, prejudices, backgrounds, beliefs and respective talents (which is a beautiful thing, BTW).

Sorkin seems to long for a world peopled in his own image, but only one Guy got that, and even He doesn't win every argument on every day.

By setting his show in 2010, Sorkin gets to rehash such news events as the BP oil spill, showing how they could have been covered if we were only sharper, smarter, cleverer, more compassionate, more politically correct and, gosh darn it, better looking than we are.

In other words, if we were more like  Aaron Sorkin -- presumably without the past cocaine addiction.

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I've liked Sorkin since I met him at an ABC press party back during "Sports Night" -- when, to be honest, I had no clue who he was, just thought he was the cute guy with the little glasses and floppy bangs. And, for all his flaws and foibles -- which, on balance, are probably no more numerous or heinous than mine or anyone else's -- I'd still be more than happy to say hello if our paths cross again.

And I'll work my way through the remaining two-and-a-half episodes of my "Newsroom" DVDs. I could wind up hating it, or being so irritated at Sorkin's polemics that I turn it off, but I suspect I'll just shrug, go, "Well, that's Aaron for ya," and keep enjoying the sparkling yakety-yak.

Should you watch it? At least for the moment, it's a free country, so I'll leave that decision entirely up to you.

UPDATE: And now, you can make that decision even if you don't have HBO, since the cabler has put the first episode up on YouTube. Click here.

And, I liked this morning-after article on the show from a writer who plans to look at each episode (Heaven help her!).