The Newsroom Season 2 Episode 2 recap

That Beyonce show was amazing. And one of the most amazing parts was her all-female band, which included three brass players. I couldn’t stop looking at them.     

Here’s what kills me. To be a professional trumpet player of that level is a full-time yet thankless job. You don’t pick up the trumpet because you hear Beyonce might be hiring for an awesome tour. You sign onto that career knowing it’s going to be thankless and random and kind of steeped in poverty and definitely anonymous.  No matter what, nobody’s buying 20 million trumpet albums. You’ll always be behind the scenes. Some incredible scenes, in this case – like I said, one of the greatest concerts ever – but you are not someone whose face is going to be out there, ever. You have to be cool with that.

Maybe that’s what it’s like to be Maggie Jordan. To know that even if you work hard,  do everything you’re supposed to, you’re still going to be just an also-ran, who is at best just an accessory to the success. I appreciate her initiative at work in this regard, that is, leaving aside that you don’t just get to declare that you “want to be the go-to” for something, you make yourself the go-to. She knew some preliminary knowledge but should be spitting information about Africa for months on end – make people believe she’s been there because she knows so much, even though she hasn’t and doesn’t.

I am not sure I’m going to be able to handle it if the part of The Newsroom that has some relevance and accuracy turns out to be that the young are a little too eager and callow (“I’m not green!” Maggie yelled, and Mac actually let her get away with it) and don’t really think before they make their moves. Because obviously, Maggie’s trip to Uganda is not going to go well – I shudder to think how not-well we’re talking about – and she’s just too wide-eyed and blonde to notice, and is rushing headlong into things.

This is a characterization I can understand. It’s maybe childish and overly designed to make us like her, but I get it. I get who Maggie is, and I get, to a certain extent, the willingness to run to Queens in order to stop a bad situation from getting worse.   She’s young, she’s new, she doesn’t have a lot of great examples in front of her of what a professional woman should be. Fine. Also, what’s going to happen to her panic disorder in a zone that has riots? Huh?

But I don’t understand Jim.   At all.

He is, as we hear all the time, a senior producer. He’s supposed to have had some professional success, which you’d think would translate to some personal confidence. But not only does he have to leave the office to get away from the evidence of the girl he loves being with someone else, he’s STILL WITH THE DECOY GIRL. Why? What kind of misguided nonsense is this? I know some of you are all ready to tell me he’s the “nice guy”, but you know what the “nice guy” does? He avoids her until she gets the hint and chases him around wanting to have “conversations” about what went wrong.  

What is wrong with Jim and how can we possibly like him when he’s so …limp? If he’s as smart and savvy professionally as you’re telling me he is, then he’s been in some situations before. I refuse to believe that the wide-eyed eagerness that is Maggie really has him SO confounded that he can’t even conceive of a new woman or a new job?

This is an inordinately long amount of time to spend on the romances of two lame characters, and that’s even before we get to Sloane telling the YouTuber she has 450,000 followers on Twitter. Which would have been fine until there was an inexplicable exchange about Chinese currency. Most of the references to social media on this show  are and should be fleeting, because it’s clear Sorkin doesn’t really understand them.

But we spend all this time on Maggie and Jim (and Grace Gummer, who is at least not bringing up and memories of Smash) because the bigger story that’s going on with the show and the news is utterly inexplicable. So the Genoa project is coming at a snail’s pace to foil us all, but in the meantime we have Will writing scripts for the others because even keeping him off the air is not going to keep his brilliant brain from churning.

No, but seriously. This was clear as mud, and though I have to admit there are fewer characters sending private emails to the rest of the company, the deeper problems that erupt from having things percolate oh-so-slowly are starting to show themselves. It’s worth noting that Sorkin actually rewrote – if not reshot – the first three episodes this season, going to HBO to tell them that he needed to restart the season and that he’d eat the cost. I’m not sure if the redirection has really been worth it, since the show is no longer so much of a hate-watch as it is kind of boring, and also since the dates onscreen – when we figure out which historical element is going to be discussed – are more “huh” than anything.

Look, The Newsroom is never delightful television, but the point of being infuriating is that at least people feel something. To look at the show that boiled in me such rage and have only sort of optimistic indifference (as well as a little resentment that Mac still calls Will a douche to her employees AND she was barely working out!) – of the two, I’ll choose the rage every time.