Monday, December 15, 2014

The Newsroom #306 "What Kind of Day Has It Been"

The Newsroom Final Word
The final word for "The Newsroom"
by Catherine Giordano

"The Muddle"

At last, The Newsroom, is over. It ended, as it began, in a muddle .Actually, it literally ended as it began, with numerous flashbacks to the first episode and prequel segments showing how the team all got together.

I was so tired of this show. I know you were too. My reviews for Season 3 got far fewer views that my reviews for the first two seasons. Elsewhere on the web, I saw the term “hate-watching” used in reference to this show. It is an actual word that appears in The Urban Dictionary. It means to watch a show that you hate precisely because you hate it.  I think this series survived on hate-watchers, although I will admit, some people apparently liked the show. 

The unlikely plot of this final episode centered on the return of ACN to its former glory. The former owner, Leona, meets with the new owner, Pruitt, at Charlie’s funeral, and convinces him to endeavor to be the best news channel on TV instead of the most profitable channel or the channel with the highest ratings. (Yeah, that is going to happen—never in the real world, but The Newsroom was always about an idealized world.)  

Pruitt takes Leona’s advice and makes MacKenzee the president, replacing Charlie (who had a heart attack on the floor of the newsroom and died in the episode #305). (See my review and recap, Til Death Do Us Part).By the way, if you were sad about not seeing Charlie anymore, not to worry-- with the flashbacks, he was a dominant force on the final episode.  Also, it is revealed that Charlie was not enraged that everyone on his staff was deliberately disobeying his orders; his wife tells us that he secretly wanted everyone to disobey his orders. He was only putting on a show for Pruitt. So no one had to feel guilty that their insubordination got Charlie so angry that he had a heart attack.  

Neal is back. He just shows up in the Newsroom and takes over the ACN website. He tells the insufferable Bree to shut the whole thing down. The entire website is going to be revamped and restored to its former glory.  

Mackenzie is pregnant, having conceived the night before Will went to prison. Will is all aflutter with the news that he is going to be a father. Seriously, he was in dire need of a fainting couch.  

We are not given any finality about Jim and Maggie. Jim is Maggie’s boss, and he recommended her for a job as a field producer in DC. If she gets it, she and Jim will embark on a long distance relationship which will work out because Jim loves Maggie. Don is Sloan’s boss, and indications are that their affair will continue as well. None of them has any qualms about the boss dating his subordinate, and none of them seemed to have learned anything from the Jim-Hallie breakup about the dangers of love affairs with the people you work with even if it is only because you work in the same industry. 

The emotional high point of the episode is when Will, while at the funeral gathering at Charlie’s house wanders over to the garage and sits in with Charlie’s grandson’s band. Is Will a news anchor who plays country music on the side? No. Will tells us he is a musician who does news anchoring on the side. (Funny, this is the first we have heard of Will’s interest in playing and singing country music.)  

It’s a real nice song called “How I Got to Memphis. It’s about going home to Memphis. It’s a metaphor. It is supposed to symbolize how all the characters got to where they are from where they were at the beginning of the series. It is even explicitly stated that “Memphis” can be any place where you feel at home. 
 
Watch the video "How I Got to Memphis"

The problem with “The Newsroom” is that it never knew where its home was.  Was it serious drama about a TV newsroom giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the TV news industry? That is a good show. I would have love-watched it. Was it a situation comedy about the high-jinks and mishaps of the Newsroom cast of characters (like Night Court  was for the courtroom or Scrubs was for the hospital)? That is a good show. I would have love-watched that.  Was it just a platform to presenting ideas about politics? That is a good show. I would have love-watched that. 

The Newsroom, however tried to be all three of these shows at once.  As a consequence, it was a muddle.
 
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