84 minutes on the Mayor of Toronto
The Newsroom Season 3 Episode 5 recap.
I chose that as the title because I have, in the past, enjoyed news reports on the Mayor of Toronto. Maybe not 84 minutes worth. I chose that phrase for the title as I was trying to think of all the other things I might have done to offend Aaron Sorkin, including perusing (and working on) websites he might find distasteful, occasionally noting that a celebrity was in my immediate vicinity, not having a working knowledge of Don Quixote. To my knowledge my insubordination has never caused a man to have a heart attack and die yet, but I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong.
I am so lost for things to say. The Newsroom characters had to explain the way to be good and stalwart and truthful, no matter what, to cretins at all levels. There’s the digital cretin, who makes $55,000 a year. There’s the wife-beating cellmate cretin, who, the show lets us know, in case we didn’t know, actually belongs in a jail cell. Of course, it’s a figment of Will’s imagination in the image of his father, so that’s a thing. There’s the money-is-everything cretin who will fire people who don’t agree with him. So many! And so few people willing to fight the good fight.
So imagine how it is that the show decides Mary is not one of the good people.
She stands up for what she thinks is right. Just like Sloane or Don or Mac. She has reasoned arguments and isn’t operating from a place of passion. She, like Sloane or Don or Mac, is willing to put herself and her face and her livelihood, or future livelihood, on the line. But what she’s saying isn’t good enough for Don. “I was raped” isn’t good enough for him, because women have to prove something virtually unprovable happened while men only have to shrug and say it didn’t. She’s standing up. She’s being strong. She’s being truthful. But apparently not in the right way for these characters, who will tell all the other people how to do being a good person right.
It wouldn’t have made a difference, is the worst part. Everyone who’s talking about how this is ‘a terrible week’ for this episode to air, it wouldn’t have made a difference to this episode, if all the things that have come to light this week were factored in. Because, you see, our people at good old ACN not only have to be right, they have to be the only ones who are right. That’s the only way the show makes any sense. You can’t be fighting the good fight if everyone’s fighting with you. Then you’re just…regular. Not special. Not noble.
So I’m not sorry it’s ending, even though I know people really feel like it’s saying something to them. Because the gulf between Sorkin and the world he’s trying to write about is only going to get bigger, I suspect in part because he stopped living in it a while ago.