Monday, August 19, 2013

HBO “The Newsroom” #16 “One Step at a Time”

The Hit Parade
By Catherine Giordano

The most amazing thing about HBO’s “The Newsroom” episode 206,that aired on Sunday August 18 was what didn’t happen.  On the episode titled “One Step at a Time,” no one hit anyone. 


This season the violence started with slapping, escalated to drink throwing, and then to punching, and finally, in the previous episode, kneeing to the groin. I wanted to yell at the characters, if you see a baseball bat or bow and arrow, run for your lives.  But no one hit any one, unless you count “hiting on” someone as hitting.

Maggie is still doing her “slut thing”, Sloan is still mooning over Don, and Jim was supposed to have a big night in a hotel with Hayley, but it all goes wrong for poor hapless Jim.  Will had a brief romance with Nina, the gossip columnist, but she urged him to go on a daytime show to improve his likeability ratings. When that went really badly, he broke it off with her. The characters may be marching forward, but they are not getting anywhere.

The biggest push forward was the Genoa story. The ACN team tracked down a retired general who could be their confirming source. They get him to speak on camera from his home with his face in shadow and his voice altered.. However, the general will allow only Jerry, the person who received the tip that got this story rolling in the first place, to be in the room for the interview. This general is a bit eccentric. He insists that the television showing March Madness football games be on. He doesn’t want to miss any part of the game, and I guess he doesn’t have TIVO or a dvr,

The general says, “If we used sarin…”  This will not be enough to move the story forward, so Jerry decides to edit the tape to “We used sarin.”  Back in the newsroom, just to be sure, having learned a thing or two about the dangers of edited tape in the last episode with the Zimmerman 911 tape editing incident, Mackenzee and Charlie want to hear the original unedited tape. The word “If” is not there. It is a nice contrast with prior episode—an accidental editing blunder with a deliberate editing blunder.

Now I understand about the having the football game on in the background.  The corner of the TV screen is in the video frame. Sooner or later, some one is going to spot the continuity error in the tape. The football game will be missing a few beats.

The part of the show that was best I will call the “hit-parade” moment of the week. There was a montage of Will’s on-air reporting of the weeks leading up to the Republican convention--Quick jump cuts from one over-the-top comment to the next.  (He seems to have totally skipped over the Democratic convention, perhaps there were no buffoons saying ridiculous things among the Democrats.)


The Genoa story is moving forward, but the characters love lives take one step forward and two steps backward, with a little sideways shuffle thrown in for good measure. 

P.S. The caption on the picture above is probably the apology that will ultimately be delivered about the Genoa story.  However, as a reviewer, I want to say "except for the one thing you got right, you got everything wrong" because each week there is only one thing to like about the whole hour.

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