Newsroom Season 3, Episode 1: Boston

Welcome back! I’ll be blogging the new season of the Newsroom from a new location and on a new TV but with the same gusto that you got from the previous posts.

For at least this episode I will be blogging during my first viewing and reacting as I go … that can either be really good or really bad (you can be the judge of which one it is).

I don’t know about you but my DVR’d recording was all boxing. This is ridiculous and (only having watched it in fast forward) looked like an awful match — get it together HBO. I had to find an alternative way of watching (part of the reason for the delay in the post).

No need for a previously on the Newsroom! You either binged it before or you’re out of luck. This seems like a trend in these days and I think it’s generally for the better (especially when watching a marathon of episodes).

Will McAvoy: How many?
MacKenzie McHale: Bridesmaids?
Will: Yeah
Mac: Nine

That’s a lot! Here is the list for those of you not crazy enough to pause the video tape and live-blog it: Mac’s sisters (seems like she has three), Will’s sisters (he has two), Sheila (Mac’s sister-in-law), Sloan, Maggie and Diane Sawyer. That seems like a lot.

Mac: You need nine groomsemen
Will: That’s, like, a law?

Apparently, Will and I are on the same page.

Will: Well, Charlie’s my best man. What if I have him just keep going back up the aisle and fetching bridesmaids?
Mac: Is there any chance Charlie is going to be sober when the ceremony starts?
Will: I have news for you — your sisters will have taken a couple of dips from the well, too.

Of course Charlie wouldn’t be sober, I bet he’ll come armed with enough flasks to keep the entire church from driving to the party. I had never heard the expression “dips from the well” used in that way — may have to add that to my regular vocabulary.

Mac: Charlie, Don, Jim, Elliot, and who else?
Will: There is no one else.

Four is a perfectly respectable number! Although you could add Mac’s brother and probably Will’s brother to make it six and even add Neal (if you are pressed for people).

Will: You’re telling me Diane Sawyer is putting on a dress with puffy shoulders?
Mac: The bridesmaids are wearing Vera Wang

Mac getting swanky! Diane Sawyer ain’t wearing puffy shoulders. C’mon Will!

Mac: How about Brian Williams? You love Brian.
Will: You love Brian. And if he’s up there next to me, you’re going to start to think.

How about a member of the New York Jets? Rex Ryan or Woody Johnson. I know fans aren’t thrilled with John Idzik right now but he could be available. Maybe Michael Vick should be the pick.

Ben (the Switcher): Someone wanted to watch the marathon

Marathons are arguably the worst spectator sport ever crafted and TV can’t even make them better. I’m sure something better was on. And yes, I know where this is heading and that Sorkin needed a way to get it in, but still… have them see it on Twitter or something.

Maggie’s hair is growing back! Good news.

Trainer: Come on, hot stuff. What you got? Focus. You’re bad. You are bad. You’re a bad fucking lady … Love the pain. Eat the pain

This might be the least motivating trainer ever. You don’t want to be thinking about eating while you’re working out.

Jim Harper: I’m at the only reliable breaking news network

So I guess that’s our clue that they got their credibility back. That was quick and I have to say that we had plenty of good coverage — it just wasn’t from TV networks.

Jim: Except for that one time, yes

Ah, so the stigma isn’t completely gone

Since when is Hallie Shea here? This last season is going to be fast and furious. Glad the newsroom is on Twitter and not trying to get news via the telegraph.

Mac: We’re not going based on tweets from witnesses we can’t talk to. What credible news agency would do that?

You don’t know a single stringer in Boston that you can call? Don’t have a local station that put someone there? Don’t know anybody good from the sports world? It’s possible, just very sad. I do agree that you can’t just go off tweets as confirmed news.

Gary Cooper: Fox is up!

You knew that dig was coming, but so many places jumped the gun OR they had some people that could confirm it quicker (it’s a possibility, no matter how slim).

Charlie Skinner: If I learn what happened by watching the news, I’m going to lose my fucking mind!

You can’t be first and right on everything. This type of yelling isn’t uncommon in newsrooms but it’s almost never helpful.

Jim: We’re dramatically understaffed

Completely accurate.

Charlie: Where’s Keefer?
Jim: Don’s got jury duty today.
Charlie: Are you kidding? Get him out.

This is one of the parts of Sorkin stories that I love… I’m predicting that this is great. I also would hate to have Don Keefer on my jury.

Why is Don wearing a tie to jury duty? He is much more dressed up for this than he would be at work.

Judge: All these people have someplace else to be. I’m sure your network can do the news without you.
Don: You’re probably right, but I’d hate for my boss to find that out

This is a calm Don! I can’t believe this is the same guy who freaked out on an airplane about missing the Bin Laden story. Even his freakout was pretty calm and with a purpose, this wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be.

Sloan Sabbith: They finally got one for me, a Bloomberg terminal

Those things are legendary, but this was probably a huge waste of the limited budget.

Sloan: This is a $24,000 system that gives me instantaneous access to all the financial information in the world.

You know how many freelance reporters that could have given you in Boston? More than they had and they could have had the complete story, instead they just have stock info.

Hallie: I’m tracking 2,221 tweets describing two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. What exactly are we waiting for?
Neal Sampat: Are an of them from official sources?
Hallie: Do you guys understand the explosion occured in the 21st century?
Neal: Welcome to ACN.

That’s not just an ACN thing. I don’t know a single respectable network that would admit to going with that story after just seeing unverified tweets.

Jim: We have to ask ourselves if we’re being gun-shy because of Genoa.

No doubt they are and, honestly, that’s probably the right thing to do in this case.

Mac: I don’t see anything wrong with being gun-shy because of Genoa.

Mac and I agree, ’cause we right.

Charlie: We’re not first, so we might as well be last and know something.

That’s the right attitude and it’s what you’re hoping from your news director.

Will: These situations can be like church, they can be — they can show us what — they can guide us in — this isn’t going to be a realty show. We don’t do good TV. We do the news.

I still reject the notion that you can’t do both.

Will: I think I blew that speech
Charlie: They got some of it

I think that was Sorkin poking a little fun at himself, his typical call to arms speech was flubbed. I don’t think that will silence any of the critics but it’s a bit of a change (to make the show less formulaic).

Elliot Hirsch: I want to go to Boston, it’s my home town. I want to be on the ground.

Do you have sources? Did you work a police beat at some point? Those are more important than it being where you’re from. Glad that Charlie sent.

Jim: [Maggie] knows Boston. She’s cultivated sources. She can do this now.

How’d she cultivate sources in Boston? Police sources? I don’t buy it, what was she doing that would have required that?

Will: I don’t make those calls, but she gives me anything less than I want and she’s fired. I’ll make that call ’cause I don’t think she’s cut out for this anymore.

If you don’t trust your people with assignments like this then you don’t send them… don’t just pull out a threat.


Now we’ve got a this is how it’s done montage.

Neal: Social media is going to solve this crime

It’s also going to make things a lot worse, Neal can’t be this naive — the Internet kills those types of people.

Hallie: I’ve got to post a column

NO, breaking news isn’t the time to post an opinion piece, get the news and get it right, take a breath and then think if you need a column.

Neal’s decrypted message: “Neal: Set up a higher level of encryption. Assume your adversary is capable of three-trillion guesses per second”

Except pure guesswork is one of the least likely ways to hack something. It much better to prepare for something like that but the majority of security problems are caused with other user error.

Sloan: Until this moment, I didn’t know you [Reese Lansing] had siblings.

Me neither, I would have guessed that Reese was an only child.

Reese: This is embargoed until it crosses the tape. We’re gonna miss our earnings projections by a little.
Sloan: By a little? Did the Titanic miss New York Harbor by a little?

Quo Vadimus (the company from Sports Night) should buy ACN! This would be the perfect ending.

The fact that Reese is getting these good guy speeches is a little much. Can’t some of these characters have different motivations?

Sloan: Can I tell you something about the New York Times crossword? Very often they put the wrong number of boxes in to house the correct word

Sloan isn’t old enough to get mad at a crossword. I’d think she’d be doing KenKen.

Don: Tell me again what you get for $24,000 that I don’t get for 1,500?
Sloan: You wouldn’t understand
Don: Really?
Sloan: You know how there are tall women who don’t mind dating shorter guys? I don’t mind that you’re dumb. And, Don, I mean that.
Don: Thank you

Don gets the answer right, Sloan has to be messing with him — it’s really hard to work for a producer you don’t respect/think is smart.

Charlie: I don’t want anyone telling anyone to stay safe

Point well made, but that’s why you put out memos on that kind of stuff — not talk about it in a closed-door meeting and hope the info magically trickles down.

Mac: No, I repeat, no interviews with children

That’s the right call here.

Neal: Somebody’s trying to give me classified government documents

I know that Sorkin has to condense aspects of this but this would be an awful time and place for that info.

Will: Neal, go buy an air-gaped computer

Will has completely turned around from the start of the series. And he probably has more money than sense.

Sloan: You know how after a 16 or 18 hour shift, you like to unwind with a little work?

18 hour shifts are crushing, it’s in everyone’s best interest that you don’t do extra work (or write insanely long blog posts) when working those. Also isn’t this Sloan’s puzzle? She should solve it.

Mac: Get a second source

Maggie doesn’t even have a first source. John King isn’t a source, you don’t know where he’s getting the info from.

Don: You get information people want you to have

A very good distinction, but if Sloan can report then she can also get other info.

Sloan: Very good student but he loves puns too much
Don: Well, praise his blog
Sloan: How do you know he has a blog?
Don: My phone can Google things
Sloan: I don’t like puns
Don: That wasn’t a pun
Sloan: I’m saying in general

It seems that Sorkin’s characters don’t ever like puns, lame.

Don: Sometimes puns can be punny
Sloan: What’d I just say?

I like Don, and he’s not even fun/drunk Don.

Jacob Geitfreund: Sloan… are you seeing anyone?
Sloan: Nope
Jacob: Well, I can tell you it’s a big deal. You’re going to be interested.
Sloan: How big?
Jacob: Well, I guess it’s all relative.
Sloan: Hang on a second. (To Don) He’s using puns. He’s talking about sex right now
Don: That wasn’t a pun. It was a double entendre

Don’s right! Sloan, if you are going to profess hate you should at least know what you’re hating.

No news network should ever applaud another place’s failure. It could have been you and it means good people could lose their jobs (bad people could also lose their jobs but focus on the good).

Charlie: What are you doing? Worst moment in this guy’s life and you’re cheering? Why?
Will: Why?
Charlie: Because you think if someone gets in line in back of you, it means the line moved? We still ble Genoa.
Will: The line didn’t move
Charlie: And if there’s anyone in the world–
Will: That’s right
Charlie: Who should be able to empathize with CNN right now you would think–
Will: WOuldn’t you
Charlie: That is would be the people in this room

That was awful to transcribe but it was worth it. Sorkin wrote that much better than I could have ever stated it.

Charlie: Dodged a fucking bullet there
Will: No kidding

Ugh, it’s strange to have a Sorkin monologue followed by a nod and a wink. I don’t know why that makes it so different to me but it does.

Mac: I don’t like when the media covers the media

I wonder if that’s Sorkins opinion as well, it’s what the Newsroom was accused of early on.

On Neal’s files: Confirming all of these would be really hard, especially considering that AWN has probably lost all their military sources.

Don: Earlier in the night Greg Hughes had tweeted, “In 2013, all you need is a connection to the Boston Police scanner and a Twitter feed to know what’s up. We don’t even need TV anymore.”

If you get your Twitter feed with good sources and check things out with the rest of the Internet you don’t even need the police scanner. It seems to be a required prior in this show that TV news is the best way to tell the story, it often isn’t.

Gary bought a 28 inch plasma TV? I didn’t know they made plasmas that small. I must have heard that wrong.

Mac: A reporter at BuzzFeed has 81,000 followers

A few even have over 100k followers on Twitter. BuzzFeed isn’t the New York Times but they have hired some good journalists.

Jim: The Buzzfeed tweet says…

I hate when this happens, did the official account of Buzzfeed tweet it or did one of Buzzfeed’s reporters tweet. It makes a world of difference.

Do we know if Maggie wants to be on camera? Are those glasses real or just to make her look smart?

If that was Maggie’s first time on live TV she is amazing. She is getting it done. Live TV stand ups are hard.

Will: Well, I think it’s time for me to quit

Moment of crisis is here.

Will: Let’s do sports, Charlie. We love sports.

YES! Do Sports Night… Just do it Aaron… revive the show and have a complete do over.

I’m having a hard time focusing on the rest of this show (also being more than 2,500 words into this blog) I keep imagining the greatness of Sports Night coming back with the changes in sports media.

Sloan was right? It was a pun… huh. That was pretty strange.

Will: By the way , Euripides can suck it. Chase the heroes up a tree, throw rocks at them, and then get them down? When does that happen? That was supposed to be this week. We were supposed to get down from the tree this week. HE’S HIDNG IN A BOAT IN SOMEONE’S BACKYARD? I’D LIKE CONFIRMATION ON THAT BEFORE I SAY IT ON TV!

Will (cont.): I’m not spending the rest of my career in a tree. I have to be somebody’s husband — hers. You know who did great this week? The police. The FBI. The DOJ. Homeland Security. In less than 100 hours, they found two needles in a haystack the size of the world. You know who sucked? Everybody els. Two times in 24 hours, law enforcement officials had to publicly disclose information before they wanted to because either a paper or website put someone’s life in danger. So I’m not so easily surrendering to citizen journalists or citizen detectives.

Will (to Mac): You were wrong. We’re not in the middle of the third act. We just got to the end of the first

Just brilliant, we’ll end it with that spectacular Sorkin speech. Thanks for reading, even if it was only for the transcriptions.


~ by realfactsandbeer on November 10, 2014.

One Response to “Newsroom Season 3, Episode 1: Boston”

  1. Good luck with the live and ongoing recaps. I did it in Season One, but felt it was a lot of work, and 3000 words or so per episode. I couldn’t do it any more.

    I was a bit disappointed. Thought the first 40 minutes were so-so, and the last 12 were excellent.

    Thanks for the hard work.

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