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The Newsroom, a serious show about the pursuit of journalism with protagonists dreamed up in the mind of Jim Acosta after viewing It’s A Wonderful Life, may get a revival. Aaron Sorkin looks out at the small screen and real world and sees a climate ripe for ideas. Big Aaron Sorkin Ideas, which can only be explored through machine-gun fire dialogue as characters walk with task and purpose down a hall to a meeting.
Pay no attention to what Aaron Sorkin says. Even Aaron Sorkin doesn’t buy his denials.
For all The Newsroom‘s faults, it did excel as an interactive experience. So many have such warm nostalgia for yelling at the implausible events and overwrought monologues. It was cathartic, or rage-inducing, tinged with catharsis. The truth of the matter is, most people didn’t watch the show. Those who did treated it like a bit of a vaccine, introducing low-grade smarm and gravitas to the system to build up an immunity.
When the stars align and Sorkin gets less busy, it’s logical that the series will return with a look back at the 2016 presidential campaign, just as the original ripped headlines from two or three years prior for content.
Folks, here are some things that will surely be addressed. Make your peace with it now.
Campaign manager grabs a reporter
The newsroom gang must decide how to play an incident in which Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager gets physical with an ACN embed. An irate MacKenzie scrambles the lifeboats to get the reporter on the first flight back to appear in a splashy primetime sit-down.
McAvoy and Don disagree, believing that JOURNALISM is about the work, not the journalist. An Eleventh Hour compromise to have the interview, but just focus on the news of the day, is reached. It is deeply unsatisfying.
ACN contributor leaks debate question
A former political advisor to Clinton, who has been appearing on panels for ACN, gets caught red-handed feeding debate queries to her old friend. An internal investigation reveals that the information was stolen off MacKenzie’s desk. In a magnanimous and grandstanding fit of both-sidesism, Will decides all the questions will be released ahead of time. “The job of president is not so much a pop quiz as it is an open-book exam,” he opines. “Americans should see which candidate will study up and prepare.”
Charlie Skinner, former Clinton donor
Our fearless and incorruptible protagonist may have hobnobbed with both candidates in the past, but that was strictly personal.
This is business. You see, all that time, he was observing. His champagne glass may as well have been a pen. His hors d’voure plate a reporter’s notebook. “The rubbing of elbows is the greasing of sources,”’ he says. Skinner puts on a PR clinic when a photo of he, Trump, both Clintons, Anthony Weiner, and Eliot Spitzer appears in another network’s hit piece. “New York, New York” plays as we fade to black.
Also, he’s not really dead. What????????
Donald Trump tweets a GIF of ACN broadcaster being bodyslammed
During a morning news meeting, a producer notes that anti-ACN rhetoric has subsided a bit. The staff then all get push alerts on their phones and realize the Republican nominee has sent out a social media missive in the form of big-time wrestling. An effort to hide this information from Will yields a surprisingly funny and lighthearted episode chock-full of sight gags and old-timey physical comedy. The Rock, already part of Newsroom canon, guest-stars.
Airing the Access Hollywood tape
Chaos erupts in the newsroom when the stunning Access Hollywood tape comes to light. The women are apoplectic. The men are apoplectic. Will, however, is put in a tough spot because he shares an agent will Billy Bush. Pruitt, in a power move, dictates that none of the language be bleeped out. The Rock, now firmly entrenched in the fabric of this show, again guest-stars as an expert on “locker room talk.”
Take the bar for righteous indignation and ratchet it up about 28 notches. McAvoy personally pays for 30 minutes of airtime across the networks to decry the term, delivering a tearful and moving diatribe in which he quotes Plato, John Adams, John Lennon, Carl Bernstein, W.C. Fields, Jacob Riis, and Walt Whitman.
Trump plays McAvoy’s Northwestern speech at rallies
In a stunning reveal, we learn Donald Trump created the “Make America Great Again” slogan hours after seeing Will McAvoy’s off-script comments at the Northwestern symposium. He smartly plays it, in full, before campaign rallies as a form of red meat to his base. Pushed into a corner, the ACN anchor conducts a Facebook Live (with some technical difficulties) in which he offers platitudes about the inherent greatness of the USA. “Greatness is the pursuit of greater greatness,” he concludes.
But her emails
Deep fissures take root among the staff as the Clinton email saga finds its way onto broadcast, in one shape or another. Pressure from the C-level to balance coverage takes its toll on producers. Will, however, remains a rock, absolutely poised and ready to gnash his teeth and bemoan the security risk this poses for everyone.
Seem far-fetched? Check out this incredible clip of Jeff Daniels performing in-character and on-demand for Mark Halperin. Either put it in a museum or burn it unceremoniously. There can be no middle ground here.
The Comey letter
Skinner is tipped off that something could be coming, via the FBI, in relation to Anthony Weiner. We see him on a shadowy phone call on the opening scene. He shuffles down to the newsroom to give the crew a heads-up that a letter is coming. There is great gossip about its contents. “Sometimes nothing is something,” McAvoy says while wearing a quarterzip. No one really know what it means but they forge on. America seriously begins to wonder why they hell this on television again.
It’s the season finale. What will happen in the 2016 presidential election? You can only find out by watching The Newsroom three-to-four years later. Will is the only one who believes Trump can win. He makes a wager with MacKenzie on the outcome. She’ll “let him be him” if the Republican pulls the upset.
Jim and Allison reach for a slice of Election Night pizza at the same time and their hands touch. Is this the spark they need? Is it nothing?
The results trickle in. They call Pennsylvania for Trump. The screen goes dark, Sopranos-style, as Coldplay rings out.
Thanks for watching The Newsroom 2.0.
Kyle Koster is a senior writer for The Big Lead, where he covers the NFL, NBA, MLB, and just about everything else. A Michigan State alum, his work has also appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times and Uproxx.