Jump to content
Forums forums
PRIMETIMER

Tara Ariano

S03.E06: What Kind Of Day Has It Been

Recommended Posts

 Also hasn't Aaron used Don Quixote before? Maybe in West Wing

 

Yes it's his go to theme. Started on Sports Night, used on the West Wing, hinted at on Studio 60 and then clubbed over our heads on the Newsroom.

 

Along with every show of his has used the same title "What kind of Day has it been".

 

 

Have we heard Will do the, "...News Night on ACN, so stick around," sign-off before commercial before?

No we haven't but it very much felt like a throwback to Casey and Dan on Sports Night, who often used that line.

 

All of that out of the way, I'm not sure how I feel on this episode yet, I have to say the folks here getting bent out of shape about Charile's grandson digging on some Tom T. Hall need to relax. There are a lot of teenagers that are smarter than you think. Especially if they have family members that have exposed them to various kinds of musics. Also given he was a musician (upright bass at that) he proably had a pretty deep appreciation of different types of music.

  • Love 4

Share this post


Link to post

If anyone was manipulated, it was Will. Charlie set everything up to force him to confront who he'd become and either be a better guy or crash and burn. That can be called either paternalistic or an intervention, but Mackenzie was in on it, not duped by it.

  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post

I really loved this season and was sad to see the show end. I wish this season was last season, then may be it would have lasted longer. This episode with the first time meetings flashbacks tied into the funeral felt very West Wing to me. 

 

Surprised Neal didn't go to the funeral or that his return wasn't emphasized more by the rest of them. They didn't even have a final scene with him and the others really. 

Share this post


Link to post

I thought Mac taking that call at a funeral was unrealistic and contrived. You turn the phone off. If you must leave it buzzing, because, ACN, you see it isn't the white house and you do. not. answer. Besides wheich, I'm sure she and Will were sitting up front somewhere so sneaking out to take a call was going to look horrible. Who does that?

And yeah, it's revealed she basically exists because she drives Will to impress her. She was hired for Will. Like a cat toy to keep the cat limber and on its paws. Who cares how she got the job? Well... women do care. It's kind of like, had Will not been her ex, Charlie wouldn't have considered her.

And Maggie, yes, sure, you go for the job regardless, but the notion that women NEED men to pull strings for them is annoying and actually untrue.

Agree that all the minority roles are teeny tiny characters.

That said, i enjoyed the piosde anyway, so long as I don't think too hard about it.

 

ETa: yes, Will was manipulated. And MacKenzie was in on it. Doesn't change the fact that in Sorkinland, women are basically used to inspire/challenge men.

Edited by lucindabelle
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, she was...and she was fully aware if it. So were we; that was established in the first scene in the pilot when she held up her notebook. Aren't Jim, Don, Will, and Charlie also used to inspire and challenge? It seems to me that it's more accurate to say that in Sorkinland, characters are used to challenge and inspire other characters and the audience. It might not work, but it's not a trait unique to the women.

Edited by madam magpie
  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post

I agree with Holla above that this show should have stuck to what it was good at (reconstructing the tense and confusing atmosphere of a big news operation when things were happening and decisions taken), and left the soap opera among the rich and beautiful aspects completely out

Especially when you had Jane Fonda, Sam Waterson, and Chris Messina. And you replaced them with Kat Denning, a corpse, and Ryan Started the Fire.

  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post

I was simply responding to your earlier post, where you said the tie symbolized to Sloan that "Charlie loved you and was proud of you." That's approval -- the exact type of approval we seek from our parents. Granted, that was an interpretation of the scene, but I think it's a correct one. And that is Sloan needing Charlie's approval (i.e., love and pride) to feel validated/exonerated from guilt.

So did Don have daddy issues of which I am unaware? Because his widow said that exact line to Don when he told her he thought he contributed to Charlie's death. Or was it only bothersome when it was said to Sloan? I'm not sure I understand how it's different.

  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post

Nope, I disagree. In Sorkinland, some characters exist in their own right. Male, white characters. That they may ALSO challenge others is a byproduct. Whereas, the female characters' major plot points is to do something for the men.

 

Jim, Don et al all had plot lines that had a point beyond what it does to the woman they work with. Trying to recall, did MacKenzie ever have even one plotline that wasn't about Will?

 

Reminds me of how Anna's rape on Downton Abbey became all about the saga of her poor husband. ugh.

 

Also, just have to chime in and say I love me some Tara recaps. The best.

  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post
Trying to recall, did MacKenzie ever have even one plotline that wasn't about Will?

Well, off the top of my head, there was Genoa, which she and Charlie blew with the help of Jerry Dantana and that Will was barely involved in until the end. There was trying to get Jim and Maggie together. There was talking to Don about Sloan. There was her friendship with Sloan. There was hiring Jenna and mentoring Maggie. There was running her control room and doing things like showing the supposedly-buried Syrian guy as BS. But yes, Mackenzie was a secondary character here, though a very important one. Her role on the show was to affect the actions and story of the main character, who is Will. Charlie, especially, and Jim, Don, Maggie, Jenna, Reese, Leona, Neal, and Sloan all did that too. If we want Mackenzie's story...or Neal's or Jenna's or Charlie's...we need a show told with one of them as the protagonist. I don't consider a story anti-woman just because it focuses on a man.

 

So did Don have daddy issues of which I am unaware? Because his widow said that exact line to Don when he told her he thought he contributed to Charlie's death. Or was it only bothersome when it was said to Sloan? I'm not sure I understand how it's different.

 

I think the difference is that women aren't supposed to be multi-dimensional, flawed, feeling human beings. They have to be WOMEN (or is it WOMYN?) at all times, whereas those darned men just get to be judged as people.

Share this post


Link to post

The finale wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but that doesn't make it good, either. 

 

I realized that while Sorkin still has some interesting things to say, not everything he has to say is interesting, and that sums up the problems I had with the show. 

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post
So did Don have daddy issues of which I am unaware? Because his widow said that exact line to Don when he told her he thought he contributed to Charlie's death. Or was it only bothersome when it was said to Sloan? I'm not sure I understand how it's different.

 

Don actually was given the tie from the widow -- it was a gesture directly from her to him. Had Sloan been given the tie from the widow, it would read completely differently, to me. But we don't know what Charlie's widow thought about Sloan -- if she cared or knew about her at all. Maybe she hated Sloan, who knows? All we know is Charlie's widow gave the tie to Don because (though I don't remember this, the show swears it happened) Charlie loved Don. Sloan's name never came up.

 

Don then basically lied that Charlie's widow wanted Sloan to have it. If Don had said "Nancy gave this to me, but I think you'd appreciate it more than I would," then at least Sloan would know the gesture was from Don not Charlie (or Charlie-by-proxy). But again, Don substituted his own judgment and Sloan didn't get that choice. (at that moment. I'd hope Don told her eventually, but we weren't allowed to see that)

 

Again, I didn't like what that did to Sloan -- first, that she was manipulated and second, that she needed to be manipulated to be OK again. I suppose that's my issue with the scene more than that Sloan needed daddy's love to forgive herself. If she'd gotten the tie directly from the widow, it wouldn't seem so "nice boy does something to make pretty girl happy again." The moment would've been about Sloan, not Don (as it should've been, since she was the one who was most upset).

Edited by Eolivet

Share this post


Link to post

I was rolling my eyes almost constantly during this episode because of the rampant sexism it contained. Let's see...Mac is so clueless that she doesn't even realize that Leona is pushing Pruitt to give her Charlie's job. And then Pruitt doesn't offer it to her directly but instead discusses it with her husband/daddy who then announces it as a done deal without talking to Mac first. Then Will announces her pregnancy also without consulting her. And a brilliant and accomplished economist and a supposedly talented news producer get together at a funeral to talk about...boys.

This!

Things that I was musing about:

How could Pruitt not directly offer the job to Mac if only to see how badly she negotiated a high salary?

If you'd taken a poll of the people at the funeral, burial, and wake, how many would have actually wanted to hear Will "say something"?

Did Charlie's brother roll his eyes when Will "let him" give the eulogy?

Who manages the website of a network news program (most likely to get hacked) and doesn't change the master password?  Who doesn't change it every week?

Could Neil be considered a magical Negro?

Did Sloane and Don draw the short straw and have to ride in the limo with Will?

If Mac and Will are married, and she is now his boss, shouldn't there be some discussion of ethics with the head of the network?

Can't people just play and sing music without forcing someone to be a Woo Girl?

Was the musical interlude just an excuse to get John Gallagher Jr. a chance to sing?

How much work has Joanna Gleason had done?

Does Aaron Sorkin realize that he is not a journalist?

How many takes did they do of Jeff Daniels getting slapped?

Did Will realize he could have just thrown the pack of cigarettes away without taking them each out of the package?

 

It's so mentally stimulating this show....

  • Love 4

Share this post


Link to post

I had forgotten about some of those plot-lines. But I think you misunderstand. It's not that a plot about a man is anti-woman. It's possible to write strong characters of any gender being either male or female. Tolstoy managed to write stories about men in which women didn't exist to do something to/for the man. Sorkin is just not that good. Forget "Anna Karenina," there are strong male and female characters in "War and Peace."  And most of the time Sorkin's attempts are so bad they are laughable.I don't think he's very good at imagining women as real people. And that's not because Will is the central character.

 

ETA: yes, Neil is a magical negro. Nailed it! Joanna Gleason looks good for 64. Sam Waterston looks ragged for 74. But the age gap is a realistic enough one. My parents were 11 years apart. More to the point, Jane Fonda-- sigh. Her face and jawline look young, her hands and neck, old. a bad combination. And I miss the round eyes of her youth. She's 76. I totally get why she'd want not to have jowls. You'd think there'd be a better plastic surgeon in Hollywood. Angela Lansbury looks great and she's 89.

Edited by lucindabelle

Share this post


Link to post

I had forgotten about some of those plot-lines. But I think you misunderstand. It's not that a plot about a man is anti-woman. It's possible to write strong characters of any gender being either male or female. Tolstoy managed to write stories about men in which women didn't exist to do something to/for the man. Sorkin is just not that good. Forget "Anna Karenina," there are strong male and female characters in "War and Peace." And most of the time Sorkin's attempts are so bad they are laughable.I don't think he's very good at imagining women as real people. And that's not because Will is the central character.

I don't actually misunderstand. I just think you're reading way too much into this show. The Newsroom is the story Aaron Sorkin wanted to write. It's flawed in some ways, brilliant in others, and average in still more. But I see no agenda as related to women. Just because it doesn't match what you (or others, there are lots of people who agree with you) want to see women do in a story doesn't make that so. I do think Sorkin is great at imagining women as real people, I also think he's great at imagining both men and women as idealized people, so obviously neither your nor my opinion is a universal truth. But I think we do feminism and women a huge disservice when we look for its/their degredation everywhere. Mackenzie is just a secondary character in a story about a man. So what? So what if Tolstoy (whose writing I think is terrible, so that's probably the worst analogy for me, but OK) did it differently? So what if Shonda Rimes or Hemingway or Charles Dickens or Barbara Kingsolver or a zillion other writers do it differently? Sorkin should be judged, I think, on his story and what he's trying to say. If someone thinks he's failed to say what he wants to say, that's one thing. But to assign him, his story, and his characters a whole other agenda and then judge them all based on that makes no sense to me. I don't dislike Tolstoy because I think he hates women or is a sexist because of his time (though seriously, Tolstoy is your comparison of writing strong women, when Anna Karenina, who lies down in front of a train because she can't have the man she wants, is his most famous female character??). I think Tolstoy is a wordy, self-indulgent writer whose stories are overblown. It's legitimate to critique Aaron Sorkin for something like that as well, and plenty of people do. But branding him anti-woman looks to me like the audience imposing its own agenda.

Edited by madam magpie
  • Love 8

Share this post


Link to post

Mac -- The woman who got her job because Charlie wanted to manipulate Will into being a better journalist by hiring the woman he's attracted to, and who got the promotion because the network owner was trying to prove he's not a misogynist.

This galled me more than I can say. Mac is shown to be incredibly smart and skilled at what she does throughout the series ("one of the best in the whole world at her job" is how Will described her to Ghost Dad in the last episode), and we learn, via flashback no less, that Charlie hired her not for these reasons, but because Will will work harder to impress her.

And in case that was too subtle, she then gets a promotion for reasons that again have nothing to do with merit, but about her gender. And to drive it all home, she's not even respected enough to be asked if she wants the new job. I guess her husband gets to make that call. He must know best.

  • Love 4

Share this post


Link to post

madam magpie, whether or not Anna Karenina died for love is NOT my point. The point is that she is a fully-realized character in her own right, as is Kitty, etc. It's not what happens to them, so much as the author being able to imagine them as whole people. I don't think Sorkin does that. And I do judge him by what he is trying to do. I just don't think he succeeds at it. Frankly, I don't even think he's aware of how bad he is at imagining people who are different from him.

 

To say that he writes from his own pov so it's ok if he fudges on women is no excuse. Substitute "homosexuals" or "black people" or any other group he's not part of and one quickly sees how that assertion falls apart. I demand of any artist spinning a tale that all the characters in it seem full and rounded. I don't think Sorkin succeeds at this. it's also why they all speak the way he does. He's not alone in this flaw, but that doesn't make it OK, nor is he funny enough or skilled enough for me not to mind (as are Stoppard and Pinter, most of the time.)

 

And since when did I say anything about "agenda?" I don't see "anti-woman" etc. I just see bad writing. That's where you  misunderstnd. I don't think being sexist is having an agenda so much as having a limited pov. Please don't ascribe opinions to me that I am not arguing. I am saying I think Sorkin does not succeed, and one of the reasons he doesn't succeed is that he writes cardboard characters. Fwiw, I think Shonda Rhimes is just as bad. My point is not whether you personally like Tolstoy. The point is that being male didn't stop him from imagining female characters. Flaubert did the same. I could come up with a dozen others. It has nothing to do with the fate of the character, or with style (I'm guessing you've read poor, old translations), but with how fully-imagined the characters are in their own right.

 

I think Sorkin has quite demonstrably tried to get inside Maggie's head. But failed to be convincing. I think his imagination is limited. And given his high-flown ambitions, he doesn't get a pass because it's "just a TV show." He has something to say about Civilization and The Media, and he fails, in my opinion, because he stacks the deck with his characters in an obvious way.

 

ETA: Exactly, LotusFlower. And we the viewers aren't supposed to even notice that ridiculous bias in the writing because she gets what she wants in the end (as Maggie does) so why should we worry our pretty little heads about it? Yuck. THIS is what I mean by women not existing as fully-fleshed out characters. Sorkin would never write the fate of a male protagonist that way. And I don't see this as being part of an "agenda." Just bad writing.

Edited by lucindabelle
  • Love 6

Share this post


Link to post

I moved to that feminism thread, but this made me chuckle:

It has nothing to do with the fate of the character, or with style (I'm guessing you've read poor, old translations)

Because it's inconceivable that someone would just dislike Tolstoy? I could say the same thing to the people dislike Aaron Sorkin: They just don't get it. I'll take Sorkin and Mackenzie over Tolstoy and Anna any day of the week, and my translations are pretty modern. Edited by madam magpie
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

I get Aaron Sorkin. I just disagree with you. That I disagree with you doesn't mean I don't get him, though.

 

I didn't say that about translation to be snarky. But it's a dicey thing reading in translation. My best friend is a translation theorest. Through her I've learned about the field, and I read Czech (though not Russian) and can tell you straight off that any translation of Hasek more than 30 years old sucks and misses the tone entirely. But again, it's not whether you like Tolstoy or not. Or Flaubert. Or any writer of the many who can imagine fully-fledged female characters. So your chiming in to laugh at me doesn't actually engage my point, which is that many male writers are capable of imagining whole female characters and heroines that don't exist to activate the men in any particular way.

 

I guessed at your translation from the way you dismissed him which suggests style choices that aren't actually true in the original Russian. But it really doesn't matter.

 

Hell, even Shaw was better at imagining female characters than Sorkin.  Joan is quite the thinker. I'd say Shaw imagines himself into his female characters quite well, overall. Sorkin does not.

 

Nope, in contrast, Sorkin's women are entirely there to bolster the guys. macKenzie's pregnancy is all about Will, in the end, We don't know what being a mother means to her. We do know what being a father means to Will, though. Enough said.

  • Love 3

Share this post


Link to post

 

But I see no agenda as related to women

I don't see agenda either and I don't think that's the point some of us are making. What I see is Sorkin's inability to step away from his privilege. 

  • Love 5

Share this post


Link to post

lucindabelle: I would love to know how Mackenzie feels about being a mother. I'd love to know what's going on in her head, if she'd scared or worried or overwhelmed or whatever. I'd like to know how she'll balance this high-pressure job and motherhood, what ideas might she come up with, what matters most to her, what will she struggle with. But that's because those are the things I can relate to the easiest and because I like Mackenzie (and Emily Mortimer) the best. But that's MY agenda, not Aaron Sorkin's. This is Will's story. Mackenzie's story isn't the one Sorkin wants to tell. That's my entire point. Maybe it's because he couldn't believably pull off a female protagonist of that depth, maybe he's not as interested in it as I am, or maybe he just wants to tell Will's story. I have no idea why he tells the stories he does, but it's not really up to me to direct that.

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

Well, something we can agree on! at least, up to a point. It's not as if the whole episode is in Will's pov-- the flashbacks have got to be in the pov of whoever is still alive, or, just omniscient. It wouldn't take much to have a couple of lines letting us in on what's going on with her. We know more about how she felt in the bowling alley (where she did crack me up) than we do now. We know how Will feels about it, not just because of the flashback with Charlie (in which case I'd say we're in the pov of spirit Charlie), but also because of how he acts at the party. All we know if MacKenzie is that she's prepared to mock Will until he calms down. You'd think a stray line about promotion at the same time as pregnant would be warranted because she will have to take a leave at some point.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, something we can agree on! at least, up to a point. It's not as if the whole episode is in Will's pov-- the flashbacks have got to be in the pov of whoever is still alive, or, just omniscient. It wouldn't take much to have a couple of lines letting us in on what's going on with her. We know more about how she felt in the bowling alley (where she did crack me up) than we do now. We know how Will feels about it, not just because of the flashback with Charlie (in which case I'd say we're in the pov of spirit Charlie), but also because of how he acts at the party. All we know if MacKenzie is that she's prepared to mock Will until he calms down. You'd think a stray line about promotion at the same time as pregnant would be warranted because she will have to take a leave at some point.

If I could have my way, we'd get a prequel with Emily Mortimer and John Gallagher Jr. embedded in the Middle East. If I'm picking, that's the story I want to see. I loved their flashback (I liked all the flashbacks, actually, and totally buy Mac drunk at 11am in a bowling alley), and their relationship is one of the show's most interesting to me. I want to know everything about Mackenzie and what she thinks, and my impression that her time out there with Jim fundamentally changed her into the person we saw on this show. So yes, I agree, even a brief line from Mac about the pregnancy would have been lovely. But I'm just not willing to call Aaron Sorkin's writing bad because he didn't give me the story I'd prefer. The POV is omniscient, yes, but all the flashbacks were still primarily to tell us Will's story. It was never about anyone else.

That aside, I don't think this episode was handled well. The storytelling was rushed and choppy, the backstory we got seemed to conflict with what I thought I knew, and too much happened with little explanation. Plus, I thought it was an incredibly sad ending, though given how Don Quixote ends (if I'm remembering it right), I should have seen that coming. But that's not about women or even Sorkin being a bad writer. I just think he tried to do too much story in too short a season and couldn't make it work. It happens.

Edited by madam magpie
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

So, you're saying though Will wasn't there, the scene was ABOUT Will.

That's exactly what I'm saying. I find that a flaw.

Yes, because the show is about Will. And since the primary purpose of Mac and Charlie's characters is to move the protagonist's story forward, their flashbacks were specific to that. It doesn't bother me at all because Will's evolution is what this story is about.

Share this post


Link to post

It's indeed Will's story, but his character doesn't exist in a vacuum, and the show really does veer closer to "ensemble" than "character study."

I don't need every single character to be fully rounded with a rich background and motivations on full display (support characters are support characters), nor am I looking for wish-fulfillment in storylines. I'd just like to see more dimensions in Sorkin's main female characters. I don't mind flawed, weak female characters -- that's not what most people mean when they say they want "strong female characters". What I want are well-rounded characters I can engage with, characters that I don't have to be constantly reminded by the writer, "here's the woman's story! It's all about her relationship and her wedding and all the men explaining what's in her best interest!" If Mac is such a suburb and capable producer, let her go up the ladder on merit, don't just TELL us how great she is. If Maggie and Hallie are such up-and-comers, show them excelling (or even failing; that's fine too), don't just use them to prop up Jim's character. Hallie's entire storyline this season was to hammer home Sorkin's hate of social media journalism AND push Jim into Maggie's path. And when Maggie fumbles with the guy she's dated, like, twice, he dresses her down and explains to her the real problem is she's still hung up on Jim. And instead of saying, fuck you, ethics man,  you've known me, like 2 days, who are you to start getting all judgey about where this relationship is going, she just looks sad. Ugh.

OK, maybe I am looking for some wish-fulfillment. I'd much rather the stories have revolved around the business of doing the news over these loathsome and cringeworthy relationship storylines.

What do I want out of any entertainment? Interesting characters with interesting motivations that engage me. What doesn't interest me are professional, intelligent women pouting over their boyfriends, or being lectured to by the men in their lives, or being elevated exclusively because they're women, at least if that's 75% of what makes up their characters. And with Sorkin, this kind of characterization is systematic -- it's poor writing, not just a writer whose choices I disagree with.

As I said, I like Sorkin's dialog and have enjoyed many things he's done, so I wasn't watching this show just to pick on it. But I'm not blind to his flaws; I watched The Newsroom in spite of his flaws, because he's occasionally brilliant. But sometimes he pisses me off. And hoo-boy, between the rape storyline last week and what they did to Mac this week, I'm kind of on the rage train.

  • Love 4

Share this post


Link to post
Could Neil be considered a magical Negro?

 

Neil is ridiculous.  Are we really supposed to believe that one person handled the entire website?  That the same guy who pitched Bigfoot stories is off giving lectures to people about the horrors of listicles, and the importance of real news?  Or more to the point, that a major network is taking their website down for a week to fix it?  I mean, just imagine CNN announcing that you wouldn't be able to access their site for a week.  It would be absurd.   

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

Well, the ACN website had drastically changed in his absence, we are meant to believe it was virtually unrecognisable. So a week to fix it is a statement of intent.

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

Regarding not doing a home pregnancy test, maybe she did but was waiting for the blood test results/HCG levels before she really believed it. I couldn't quite believe that my pregnancy was real until I had those HCG numbers back from the doctor. I think she must have done a home test, or she wouldn't have scheduled the blood draw with her doc.

 

Assuming Mac is the same age as Emily Mortimer she'd be a little young for menopause but not impossibly so. If I was in my 40s and missed a period, I'd go see my doctor rather than get my hopes up for a pregnancy or upset about menopause. When it could go either way like that I'd much rather see my doctor than stand in line at a drug store. The only thing I don't get is why she had to call her doctor at the start of the funeral instead of any other time of the day.

Share this post


Link to post
If I was in my 40s and missed a period, I'd go see my doctor rather than get my hopes up for a pregnancy or upset about menopause. When it could go either way like that I'd much rather see my doctor than stand in line at a drug store.

 

Good lord, it's one freaking missed period.  Until a pregnancy test has been taken, going to the see a doctor would be a waste of her/his time and of health care dollars.  (and I'm well past 40...)

Share this post


Link to post

See I never saw The Newsroom as The Story of Will. Wasn't billed that way and I don't judge it that way. A newsroom is more than one person. Heck any story is more than one person. Even if it were about his evolution, which I reject, it's no excuse for making all the female characters such foils.

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

See I never saw The Newsroom as The Story of Will. Wasn't billed that way and I don't judge it that way. A newsroom is more than one person. Heck any story is more than one person. Even if it were about his evolution, which I reject, it's no excuse for making all the female characters such foils.

I wouldn't call any of the women except Leona foils. Mackenzie sort of was in the first episode, but by the second, she and Will were allies. Even Leona became an ally eventually. The main women are just central secondary players. They have their own personalities and plot lines, but their main purpose is to move the plot and the protagonist forward. I don't know what The Newsroom was billed as and it certainly has an ensemble cast, but it opened and closed on Will. He's clearly the protagonist, so it doesn't seem at all unusual or remiss for the other characters to serve his journey. It's also not just the women who do it. Charlie, Don, Jim, Neal, and Elliot all did it too. We know virtually nothing about Charlie that doesn't involve Will. Being a secondary character isn't a bad or lowly job. Atticus Finch, Edward Rochester, and Estella are all secondary characters. They're incredibly important and central, but they serve their protagonists and plots. We don't know much about them outside of that purpose. Mac, Sloan, Maggie, and Leona are also all dynamic and round, and they have their own back stories. Those are just the rules of fiction and the story Sorkin chose to tell.

Assuming Mac is the same age as Emily Mortimer she'd be a little young for menopause but not impossibly so. If I was in my 40s and missed a period, I'd go see my doctor rather than get my hopes up for a pregnancy or upset about menopause. When it could go either way like that I'd much rather see my doctor than stand in line at a drug store. The only thing I don't get is why she had to call her doctor at the start of the funeral instead of any other time of the day.

Maybe she was just impatient? I think that if I were waiting for confirmation of an unplanned pregnancy and I could get the doctor on the phone, I'd step out of a funeral to make the call. Edited by madam magpie

Share this post


Link to post

 

You'd think the good feminists here would be all over that, but I guess it lacks the dramatic punch of being enraged by other things.

 

That must be it.

 

For me, arguing about Sorkin and his version of things last week made me realize that I shouldn't spend my time going forward talking about things through Sorkin goggles, because nothing good comes from that.

 

Take care all and be well.

Edited by pennben
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

 

Assuming Mac is the same age as Emily Mortimer she'd be a little young for menopause but not impossibly so. If I was in my 40s and missed a period, I'd go see my doctor rather than get my hopes up for a pregnancy or upset about menopause. When it could go either way like that I'd much rather see my doctor than stand in line at a drug store. The only thing I don't get is why she had to call her doctor at the start of the funeral instead of any other time of the day.

That's not how menopause happens, even if each woman is different. There are other things and I would also assume that she sees a doctor regularly and talks about things like menopause. 

Missing one period is nothing and she seemed to have suspected pregnancy since she said something to Will about a certain date when they had sex, and that was the date of conception.

So, I can buy her wanting confirmation, but I don't buy her not doing a home test and telling Will about it even before the doctor's confirmation.

Share this post


Link to post

Not sure how old Mac is supposed to be, but I was 43 when I got (unexpectedly) pregnant w/my youngest child, went to the doctor for symptoms I was quite sure were either related to perimenopause or a disease that would lead to my untimely death, and was shocked-shocked-shocked when I turned out to be pregnant.  I was somewhat farther along than Mac, but I could quite relate to her complete shock and dumbfoundedness.

 

Sorkin has always been very good on economics and not-so-good on identity politics.  This is not un-typical of my generation.  Sloan and Don's little 1940s movie dialogue snippets about the subprime mortgage crisis were as succinct a summary of that crisis as any I've ever heard or read.  That crisis is still the engine that drives the ever increasing disparity between the one percenters and the 99 percenters, but nobody except Elizabeth Warren (God bless her) seems to care about it anymore, so it was  refreshing to me to see it referenced.  I forgive Sorkin a lot because he's still one of the few of the few manufacturers of mass entertainment who does things like that.

  • Love 4

Share this post


Link to post

Things I got out of this episode:

 

- Jane Fonda is welcome on my tv screen any damned time.

- taking a personal call during a funeral is apparently totally fine (who knew?)

- Maggie and Jim are still awful.

 

I loved Neal showing up and shutting down the shit-show that the website had become.  I loved Maggie going for the DC job and thought the agonizing between her and Jim (and Sloan) was amusing.

 

I appreciated that those three supporting actresses finally had their character's names specifically identified and that that one character got to hit Will (it was funny.)

 

I'm trying to figure out why/how Neal had the authority to overrule Pruitt, who (presumably) ok'd the website and its direction. I also call a world of bullshit on Bree who caved to Neal while telling everyone else to fuck off with their righteousness. I did appreciate Neal explaining that he worked hard on the website but as soon as he started lecturing Bree on how the website is now an embarrassment, I was annoyed that Bree backed down. Was it just because Neal was a computer/tech guy? And thus his opinion is deemed as having merit? Because being told that he's a piece of shit is not new to him, but Neal says it and suddenly Bree listens.

 

And I still can't decide how I felt about the scene with Will and the three lesser known ladies at the funeral. One comment about his health and they go off into peals of joy because they've figured out that Mac is pregnant, while the other newsroom dude stands there clueless. Will's reaction to it all amused me but I have to admit that I'm kind of disappointed by how it played out. Because OF COURSE the ladies would put two and two together and be as excited as if the child were their own. And then they tell other people despite having no right to do so. Of course.

 

I don't believe Pruit's turn around. A couple of days before he wanted to fire Mackenzie. Now he suddenly has integrity and promotes her? I did like that she recognized he did it mainly for PR, but does she actually want that job?I

 

It was the opposite of integrity; he did it to get the critics off his back, though I'd love it if he got backlash for it because his critics could see right through that. I was bothered at the "why/how" of her promotion too; at least she knows why she got it and can maybe try to make things better from within. That said, she's  accepted a job which will involve daily (hourly?) battles with this fucking awful douchebag. Is that the best job/career choice for her mental health? The stress of his job killed Charlie and he was only dealing with Leona, not Pruitt (who wouldn't know journalism if it bit him on his smarmy ass). I also don't buy for a minute that Pruitt would listen to Leona but whatever.

 

 letting Mac take over for Charlie.  So, of course, Jim gets her job (since Don refused for whatever damn reason).  It's all good! 

 

I know nothing about newsroom HR, so can anyone confirm whether people can just offer and hire staff without advertising the position or consulting with anyone else?

 

One of my favorite moments from the ep was when Leona said "Who's stopping you?" to Will. It tells me that he had her tacit approval for the big change in direction News Night took at the beginning of the series.

 

Yeah, that was marvelous.

 

The best part of The Newsroom ending is I never have to read Tara's reviews again.

 

Who was so mean as to force you to keep reading something you didn't want to read, season after season? ;)

 

Not nearly enough Don and Sloan for the series finale. Boo. I never cared at all about Maggie and Jim, why did they have to get so much screentime?

 

I'm guessing Jim/Maggie were given so much attention because they've had little to no interaction for a long time and if Sorkin wanted to sell the audience on them, he needed to put some time into them. Sadly, it totally misfired for me. That relationship is doomed. Jim is fucking terrible. Got out of a relationship just before Mac hired him, he latched on to Maggie. Got rejected by Maggie, latched on to Hallie. That relationship died, and it's back to Maggie. Ugh. Is it any wonder that my favourite relationship of his was between him and his guitar? That was the most tolerable I've found Jim in a long time. :) Don't even get me started on him sweeping in and telling Maggie that she can cancel her job interview because she can get a different job right here with him. Blergh. Feel free to mention the new opening, but don't assume, dude. Maggie sticking to her guns was such a fucking relief, I can't even adequately describe it.

 

I've seen here that Pruitt told Will about his decision re: Mac without actually offering it to Mac first (and then Will announced it). Is this honestly what happened? I confess that I assumed Pruitt offered it to Mac while he, Mac and Leona were hanging out at the funeral and Mac accepted. Pruitt then found Will to tell him and Will announced it. I may have to try and re-watch to confirm my understanding. I thought Mac's reaction was more due to the timing and WILL being the one to announce it, rather than her being blindsided by the announcement itself. Had she no inkling of it, I think she'd have looked more shocked/surprised. Regardless, I think it would have been hilarious if, after Will made his big announcement, Mac piped up and said "actually, I'm not taking the job. I don't want it, but thanks!" :)

 

Good to know that Mac's career success depended not on her being a smart, capable journalist, but instead on the fact the boorish anchor had a crush on her , and being promoted was a pandering publicity stunt. But as Will says, who cares how she got the job! She's adorable!

 

I can't quite tell what Sorkin was going for when he had past-Mac say "because it's every girl's dream to make a man better at his job". Irony?

 

I thought Mac taking that call at a funeral was unrealistic and contrived. You turn the phone off. If you must leave it buzzing, because, ACN, you see it isn't the white house and you do. not. answer. Besides wheich, I'm sure she and Will were sitting up front somewhere so sneaking out to take a call was going to look horrible. Who does that?

 

Yeah, I was stewing 10 seconds into the episode. I cannot believe that she took that call in the middle of Charlie's funeral and then proceeded to tell Will, MID-HYMN. Like, way to hijack Charlie's funeral so that you can make it all about your uterus. Jesus. I was so angry. So. Angry.

 

So everything's all tied up neatly in a bow and everyone's happily paired off and we're back where we started, with ACN sort of maybe doing real news again?

 

Don made me tear up at his reaction to Charlie's widow absolving him of guilt. Same with Sloan when Don did the same for her. Guess I should be glad that Sorkin mostly ignored them since it seems that the less attention a character gets, the better I like them. :)  I did appreciate seeing their first reactions to meeting each other. He was clearly a fan but not afraid to go toe-to-toe with her which I think impressed her. I liked that she decided to be brave and ask him out to coffee or lunch (before realizing that he was taken). BUT, this doesn't gel with an older conversation they'd had...he had asked her why she was still single and she said "because you never asked me out". At the time, I was all "oh!" but now, in light of this flashback, that line doesn't make sense. Why would he have asked her out when she knew he was with someone else? IMO, her reply should have been "because you were already taken" or something along those lines...

Edited by NoWillToResist
  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post

This galled me more than I can say. Mac is shown to be incredibly smart and skilled at what she does throughout the series ("one of the best in the whole world at her job" is how Will described her to Ghost Dad in the last episode), and we learn, via flashback no less, that Charlie hired her not for these reasons, but because Will will work harder to impress her.

And in case that was too subtle, she then gets a promotion for reasons that again have nothing to do with merit, but about her gender. And to drive it all home, she's not even respected enough to be asked if she wants the new job. I guess her husband gets to make that call. He must know best.

 

Work harder to impress her.....because she's all those things and Will knows it and respects her for it.

If there's one thing this show taught me it's how to love a show without anyone else making you feel guilty for it because of their own agenda.

 

I wasn't wowed by the episode but it was a good wrap up.  I'm sad to see the show go.  I hope Thomas Sadoski gets something else really good, because he really impressed me this episode.  I can't count the number of times Don stole a scene or made an episode for me.  It all started to turn for me in the episode when they were informed Bin Laden had been killed.  What a fantastic surprise he was.

 

madam magpie and HollaMcdollar....I enjoyed your posts immensely.  I wish you both well.

Edited by CaughtOnTape
  • Love 4

Share this post


Link to post

- Maggie and Jim are still awful.

 

Jim is eye-rolling in general.  I didn't mind Maggie as much, but thought Alison Pill looked horrible throughout the episode.  The zipper in the back of her black dress was very distracting, and she looked too thin. 

 

 

And I still can't decide how I felt about the scene with Will and the three lesser known ladies at the funeral. One comment about his health and they go off into peals of joy because they've figured out that Mac is pregnant, while the other newsroom dude stands there clueless.

 

I almost wanted someone to point out to Will that even if he gave up all his vices and lived a healthy lifestyle going forward, the chances of his living to see his kid reach 25 are not great.  And that doesn't even get into the ridiculousness of a 70-something with a teenage child (presuming Will is similar in age to Jeff Daniels). 

Share this post


Link to post

I almost wanted someone to point out to Will that even if he gave up all his vices and lived a healthy lifestyle going forward, the chances of his living to see his kid reach 25 are not great.  And that doesn't even get into the ridiculousness of a 70-something with a teenage child (presuming Will is similar in age to Jeff Daniels). 

 

I think he identified that he was 50, so...yeah. That's not great. Not Scotty from Star Trek appalling (IIRC, he was in his 70s), but still.

 

Between his drinking, his smoking, his diet...things don't look great, IMO. ;)

 

I did find it mildly endearing and amusing when Will started in on the panic about whether Mac should be out of bed etc., and her sass in reply to his more ridiculous questions/comments.

Share this post


Link to post

Work harder to impress her.....because she's all those things and Will knows it and respects her for it.

If there's one thing this show taught me it's how to love a show without anyone else making you feel guilty for it because of their own agenda.

Charlie said the line about Will working harder to impress Mac right after he acknowledged he knew they were once a romantic couple, AND after Mac asked about Don, and Charlie said complimentary things about him. To me, the implication was clear. I don't think being good at your job and someone working hard to impress you for reasons other than respect, like an attraction, are mutually exclusive. It's a given that Mac was a star EP, but so was Don. But Charlie recruited Mac based on the romantic/impress angle as well as her qualifications.

As far as an agenda, I'm not quite sure what you're referring to, but I'm probably not unique in saying my only agenda in watching this show is to be entertained. I'm sure the writers and creators and network all had a number of agendas in producing the show, and I'm sure Aaron Sorkin, in particular, had a strong agenda in mind, which is his right, and perhaps his responsibility as a writer to present. But don't viewers also have a right to critique? Especially when we're participating on an online message board?

  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post
I think he identified that he was 50, so...yeah. That's not great. Not Scotty from Star Trek appalling (IIRC, he was in his 70s), but still.

 

If Will is supposed to be 50, then that is a pretty hard 50.  That's no offense to Jeff Daniels, but he looks his age, which I think is 59/60. 

Share this post


Link to post

Charlie said the line about Will working harder to impress Mac right after he acknowledged he knew they were once a romantic couple, AND after Mac asked about Don, and Charlie said complimentary things about him. To me, the implication was clear. I don't think being good at your job and someone working hard to impress you for reasons other than respect, like an attraction, are mutually exclusive. It's a given that Mac was a star EP, but so was Don. But Charlie recruited Mac based on the romantic/impress angle as well as her qualifications.

Will loved Mackenzie. Charlie knew that (though now I'm unclear how since he supposedly had never met Mac before the bowling alley, but whatever). Because of that attachment, Mackenzie has much more pull with Will that Don does. Charlie told Mac that the work she and Will had done together at CNN was admirable, that's what he wanted for ACN, and they were both at their best when they were working together. That's not sexist; it's romantic. I don't necessarily mean "romantic" as in "aw, they're madly in love"; I mean it in the sense that it's a romantic notion, this idea that we care so much about what the people we admire and love think of us that we always want to improve ourselves to meet their expectations. It's also true, as far as these characters have been presented. Mac and Will were struggling without one another. Whether we think that's schmaltzy or not (personally, I do sometimes, but not always) doesn't impact the purpose of the story. Will had lost sight of his integrity and goals and self, and Mac was buried under guilt and regret and on the cusp of giving up the battle for her own integrity. They needed each other to recapture their best selves, so Charlie went out and made that happen. Originally, I'd have said he did it because he knew and loved them both and saw them struggling; now it looks like his goal was to save Will. But Charlie didn't just hire Mac because she'd once been sleeping with her anchor and could bend him to her will. Presumably she had worked with other anchors and hadn't been sleeping with them. It was because the unique, symbiotic relationship Mac and Will had made for a brilliant news show (according to Charlie). He just wanted to get that back. Don couldn't do it; Mackenzie could. And everyone would be happier in the process: Mac, Will, Charlie, and Don.

That's how Charlie viewed it. We saw how Will viewed Mackenzie over the course of the show. It always seemed clear to me that he adored her--even when he acted like he hated her, he hung on what she said and was moved by her passion, conscience, and intelligence. That's just a love story. So when he told his ghost father/self/whatever that Mac was smarter than him in every way, he was telling us how he views her, that he placed great value on her intelligence. I think Charlie made it clear over the course of the show that he had a high opinion of Mackenzie's skill and intellect as well. But yes, she would always have more pull with Will than Don did because Will loved her, and vice versa. Charlie also had more pull with Will than Don did because Will loved him. There's a great power in that for all of them, and I don't think it's negative.

Edited by madam magpie

Share this post


Link to post

Charlie openly stated, that he believed both of them did their best work when they were working together, which was at CNN (which I think we can't really figure the timeline out for, here). When Mac presses him as to why he thinks they can recapture that, when she believes Don to be a very capable producer, Charlie outright states that it's because Will will work to impress her, but he also alludes to the fact that he believes she won't roll over to Will's desire for ratings at the sake of good news, which we have seen Don actually act out.

 

I took as Charlie hiring the news producer that could make his broadcast something to be proud of. MacKenzie represented the perfect person due to talent (on par with Don); and the personal relationship that wouldn't take Will's shit, while also inherently pushing him to be better.

 

The Pruitt promotion angle was much more contrived. But, such is TV's desire to make a big meaningful announcement for its characters.

Share this post


Link to post

Will had lost sight of his integrity and goals and self, and Mac was buried under guilt and regret and on the cusp of giving up the battle for her own integrity. They needed each other to recapture their best selves, so Charlie went out and made that happen.

I think you're giving Charlie too much credit. Since he had never met Mac before, he wasn't trying to right her ship; his sole mission was looking out for Will. But I agree with you that he knew they worked well together, and wanted to exploit that - for everybody's gain, esp. Will's, but also his own, or ACN. And maybe also for Mac, but again, he didn't know her.

I think this recruitment also has to be looked at in the context of the rest of the episode. Maybe Charlie's hiring tactic wouldn't stand out to me as badly as it did if Mac didn't get her second job offer at ACN delivered to her by her husband, without her consent, and based entirely on damage control. Based on her job performance, Pruitt wanted to fire her. He relented, and promoted her only because of issues involving him, not her, ie. being the best person for the job. Idiot. (Him, not you!!)

  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post

I did like the flashback of showing the state of ACN before Mac came, Charlie's realizing that it wasn't what he wanted for news and he had to make a drastic change.  Whether he knew Mac and Will were romantically involved or not (I think he did, he has his sources), he knew they did good work together and Mac's being there, perhaps also because of their breakup, would push Will back to his 'old self.' 

 

Also nice seeing that Mac knew immediately how to push Will's buttons with Jenna's question, and manuvering Jenna to be in place to ask that stupid question.

 

I also appreciated seeing the Sloan/Don beginning and its always worth hearing Sloan (or anyone) remind the viewers about the sub-prime mortgage debacle and how it is not the borrowers' and the publics' fault, that the banks and their executives/stock brokers' greed caused all this mess.  And Sorkin explained it pretty simply too.

 

Maggie and Jim, who cares, I sure don't.  Yes, nice seeing Maggie finally become her own person and grow up, but I still don't care for the characters.

 

I did get the feeling that the whole bit with Leona and Pruitt was Sorkin's attempt to say "see, I'm not sexist, I do too care about women."  But then he had to follow that up with Pruitt asking Will if it was ok to make Mac the President instead of, you know, asking the woman herself.  It was very much like the last episode where he seemed to be attempting to address the campus rape problem as it affects the women, but ended up arguing how much it hurts "all those many" innocent men.  I may agree with most of Sorkin's politics, but his views on women still need lots of work.

Edited by Hanahope
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

I hear you, LotusFlower, but really think they're two totally different situations. The Pruitt thing was bizarre. I can't explain it and think it was a poor, maybe even lazy, storytelling choice for the sake of time. So I just write it off as such.

I also think, though, that the fact that Charlie and Mac supposedly didn't know each other before the bowling alley is very odd. I'm reminded of Charlie telling Will in the pilot that Mac was exhausted and just wanted to come home, implying that ACN was "home," and that Will hadn't been a "nice" guy since last he'd seen Mackenzie. I think all of those contradictions made Charlie's job offer and explanation to Mac confusing. But the crux of what Charlie intended seemed clear to me: Will was a mess and Mac was drunk in a bowling alley when they should have been working together doing great news. Charlie definitely wanted to save Will. With the back story change, maybe he only recognized Mac's struggle when he saw her. But when Will said at the funeral that he couldn't believe Charlie wasn't here for "this," meaning the baby, which was the most important thing Will and Mac would do together, I think we were meant to understand that it was Charlie who had facilitated and set up everyone's success. Then what the Pruitt job offer did was hand that baton to Mackenzie instead of Will, which I liked in theory, but disliked in execution. And the thing is, that progression always seemed crystal clear to me until Sorkin muddied it in this episode.

Edited by madam magpie

Share this post


Link to post

I hear you, LotusFlower, but really think they're two totally different situations. The Pruitt thing was bizarre. I can't explain it and think it was a poor, maybe even lazy, storytelling choice for the sake of time. So I just write it off as such.

I don't think it's bizarre, and I can explain it, fairly simply, in fact - it's sexist. And vintage Sorkin, which is why he gets the rap he does.

Edited by LotusFlower
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think it's bizarre, and I can explain it, fairly simply, in fact - it's sexist. And vintage Sorkin, which is why he gets the rap he does.

Even if that's true, it still makes no sense to me. It contradicts a lot of what came before and there's no explanation in the story for how that act, sexist or not, contributes to purpose of the larger narrative. How does Pruitt giving Mac a job via her husband serve the narrative? It actually contradicts the narrative, saying that Mac really isn't all we've seen and been told, she's a worthless woman. That why I think the simplest answer is a writing mistake, not an entire, new agenda. It also has nothing to do with Charlie's job offer.

Edited by madam magpie

Share this post


Link to post
×
×
  • Create New...

Customize font-size