The women of Aaron Sorkin’s mind

I’ve been thinking about doing this post for awhile and finally had a little window to write.

I recently (well, OK, not so recently at this point but in the not-so-distant past) had a long conversation regarding what the others noted as “[Aaron] Sorkin’s awful female characters” — they were not alone in bringing this up.

My argument was that I love many of Sorkin’s female characters — this is completely true — but I couldn’t name a female character that I liked, respected and felt was fully competent in the Newsroom. So what’s the difference between his West Wing/Sports Night characters and the Newsroom cast? Let’s dive in:

MacKenzie Morgan “Mac” McHale vs. Dana Whitaker

This one is obvious: they are both the EPs, they both have issues in their love lives and follow similar arcs between the first two seasons.

Mac has the obvious flaw that she cheated on Will, Dana is practically perfect (just quirky). Dana seems a lot more qualified and able to deal with the show than Mac (it seems that while Mac is constantly in danger of being fired, Dana is “in danger” [in her mind at least] of being promoted). Mac seems to have a hard time dealing with her group of misfits, while Dana thrives on it.

Dana can come across as flighty and strange, but Mac often seems self conscious and unsure. Bias alert: we see Dana in her element (the control room) more often than we see Mac in hers (control room and [arguably] meetings). Mac also has an overbearing boss (Charlie Skinner) where Dana had an awesome boss who let her be (Isaac Jaffe).

Margaret “Maggie” Jordan vs. Natalie Hurley

I almost put Maggie up against Donna Moss, but thought that was a little strange (since Donna is actually an assistant and we only see Maggie as a producer). Now Natalie has a huge advantage in that she’s awesome, has a much better boyfriend (Jeremy Goodwin), and is witty where Maggie is whinny.

Natalie always seems more comfortable than Maggie, Natalie seemed to be able to take control and focus on things — Maggie seemed distracted and to get distracted.

HUGE advantage to Natalie here.

Sloan Sabbith vs. Claudia Jean “C.J.” Cregg

Sloan is my favorite female in the Newsroom main cast, it seems unfair to put here against Claudia Jean… but that’s the way it goes. You could even give Sloan the intelligence advantage here (although I wouldn’t ever call the former Chief of Staff dumb). C.J. just seemed able to deal with things and chaos (at a much higher level than Sloan) better.

But you know what really clinches it?


~ by realfactsandbeer on October 12, 2013.

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