Wednesday, September 11, 2013

HBO The Newsroom #18 Election Night Part 1

Are Your Ready to Have Some Fun

 by Catherine Giordano

Marcia Gay Harden on
 HBO's "The Newsroom"
It’s election night 2012 in the newsroom, but everyone still has plenty of time for their petty inter-personal issues on HBO’s The Newsroom, episode 18, “Election Night Part I,” airing on September 8, 2013.  Before Will begins prime time election night coverage he asks his panel “Are you guys ready to have some fun?”  We, the viewers, are ready to have some fun too, but we don’t get any fun from this episode.

We do get Rebecca Greenway, the ACN legal counsel, as “liquid sex” and perhaps that is a little bit of fun. Marcia Gay Harden, the actress who plays Rebecca tells the newsroom team that she is “liquid sex,” and she does look quite the sex-pot poured into her low-cut tight-fitting fuchsia-colored dress. Her excuse for wearing it is that a viewing party is being hosted by Reese Lansing on another floor. 

Sloan gives us a little bit of fun also. It seems a signed copy of her book sold at a charity auction for $1000. Only problem is Sloan did not autograph it, and the inscription written in German was supposed to read “Please enjoy this book,” but actually reads, “Please shred this book.” Ha Ha.

Now Sloan goes into her “I’m-nasty-bitch-so everyone-had better-do-what I-want-and-do it-now"mode. She grabs Neal and demands that he track down the buyer and get the book back. Remember, it is election night and Neal has a lot more important things to do.  But Sloan gives him that fierce look that she so often shows—the equivalent of a junk yard dog baring his teeth--and Neal drops everything to do Sloan’s bidding. How does he find the time! MacKenzie has him working on getting Wikipedia to correct the name of her alma mater on their entry for her. These newsroom divas think Neal is there to deal with their petty problems.

When Sloan isn’t being a nasty bitch, she is acting like a petulant child throwing a temper tantrum until she gets what she wants or moping in a corner because things aren’t going her way. It’s not really fun to watch.

You know what is really no fun to watch—Will and MacKenzie endlessly rehashing their failed love affair. It may be election night, the newsroom may have 500 races to report on, but they still have time to bicker over who was the bad guy in the relationship.  I want to shout at my TV, “MacKenzie, let it go already, Move on!. You cheated and lied and Will is never going to take you back.” During their exchanges on this night, Will informs MacKenzie that he was a “good boyfriend.” This is high-school stuff, and not at all funny or touching or anything else but stupid.

The big issue on this night is that Jim and Margaret made a wrong call in some minor congressional race. (It’s a wonder that is the only mistake since these guys can’t seem to keep their minds on their jobs.) They are debating whether to retract it or just quietly remove it from the scroll. Just then, Charlie parades through the newsroom waving some papers. He informs the team that in a very loud voice that he is holding the test that people who apply for a job as a sanitation worker must take and he is giving it to the first person who makes a bad call. (I know everyone is on edge because of the Genoa thing, but really.)

Jim and Margaret decide not to retract. It is some minor race and the statistician who is in charge of calling the race, says the race it “too early and too close to call” and also “he will win.” The statistician is a dignified middle-age Japanese woman, very prim and no- nonsense.  It is sort of funny the way she keeps repeating these two contradictory things with no explanation.  It is ridiculous when Jim and Margaret blindfold her with a sash from her dress and bring her into the newsroom.  They want to talk to her, but the people who call the race are not allowed to see the TV screens of the other networks less they be biased by the calls made on other networks. Evidently, there are quiet corners or hallways.

Charlie is still trying to resign. Leona, the head of ACN, won’t fire him and he can’t quit or he will be sued for breach of contract. He corners Reese at the party and he begs him to get his mother to fire him. Reese said he has tried, but she won’t budge from her decision to hang tough. I like Leona.  She is often the only grown-up in the room. She is fierce and she won’t let others push her around.  Previously, she had been looking for an excuse to fire Will, now that she has it, she won’t take it because doing so would look like she was caving to outside forces.

Mackenzie wants to get fired too. Charlie, Will, and MacKenzie all feel that they must be fired to restore credibility to the network.  Only will has the authority to fire MacKenzie.  She begs Will to fire her.  He won’t, and then he caves, and tells her that when election night is over, she is fired.  Maybe he realized he had enough of her pestering him about their former relationship. 

Taylor Warren, the former Romney communication director, who was making Jim’s life miserable on the campaign bus, is back. She is on the panel for election night coverage. It doesn’t make a lot of sense why a Republican would dish dirt on another Republican to Margaret just so little Maggie can one-up Jim, but Taylor does it. She tells Margaret that former General Pratraeus, now head of the CIA is going to resign over an affair.

The next episode is the season finale. Only nine episodes in season two, unlike Season one, which had 10 episodes. I wonder why?  Maybe the writers are not having fun.

Are we having fun yet?  No, we are not having fun yet.

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