Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Newsroom - The Blackout Part I: Tragedy Porn

Following an unprecedented ratings drop involving the loss of half their audience in five days for refusing to cover the Casey Anthony trial News Night 2.0 has to step back from the moral high ground, much to MacKenzie's (Emily Mortimer) displeasure, and cover the stories the American audience wants to hear. They may also be in danger of losing their chance to host the Republican debate (and a format the political party will never agree to) which is what most of the staffers (John Gallagher Jr.Alison PillAdina PorterChris ChalkMargaret JudsonDev Patel) are gearing up for on the three-day Memorial Day weekend.

Dedicating time to news they don't believe is actually news means Sloan's (Olivia Munn) coverage of the debt ceiling vote (and it's ramifications) and other important stories including the record-setting Republican Senate obstruction of Obama appointees won't be getting air time. MacKenzie's increasingly small news block isn't helped when Representative Anthony Weiner tweets a picture of his groin to 40,000 of his followers on Twitter.

To help exploit the Casey Anthony story to maximize their ratings MacKenzie enlists the help of Don (Thomas Sadoski) who breaks down Nancy Grace's coverage for the news team. (It's as instructive and soul-crushing as it sounds.) Will also hires a journalist to do a story on News Night 2.0, who just happens to be the man (Paul Schneider) MacKenzie slept with six-years ago when she was with Will, and who quickly puts together Leona Lansing's (Jane Fonda) plans to discredit Will and fire him.

Charlie meets with his source "Late For Dinner" (Stephen Henderson), the Assistant Deputy Director of Technology and System Cryptology and Mathematics in NSA who talks with Charlie about NSA data mining software called "Global Clarity" and TMI's knowledge and complicity, under the command of Reese Lansing (Chris Messina), in using the same techniques to hack phones in much the same manner that killed News of the World.

As the stories build and MacKenzie's blood continues to boil, Will sneaks out for an unscheduled meeting with Dr. Habib (David Krumholtz) in a segment which should remind Sports Night fans of "Shane" from the show's second season, and a last second blackout which leaves the show even more in the dark than when the episode started. "Tragedy Porn" works well-enough, and Munn again shows up to steal a couple of the show's best scenes, but I would have preferred The Newsroom to air both parts 1 & 2 together as we're teased far more than usual for a a Sorkin show.

No comments: