The Newsroom S02E06: One Step Too Many

By Carmen Petaccio / August 19, 2013

[Cue "Coffee, Clocks, and Paperwork."] The “First ‘Red Team (?)’ Meeting” is under way. The topic: Genoa. Some unfortunate intern at HBO has prepared an exhaustive real Power Point for this exhausting fake news story, and now it’s time for Dev Patel to click through it, one slide at a time. Someone obviously read the “Include Power Point Whenever Possible” chapter of Robert McKee’s Story. Apparently The Newsroom is no longer content with simply boring you the first time around with its secondhand news. No — it has begun doubling back on its own boring, and rehashing its stupefying story lines into oblivion. What a marvel it is to witness! By the time this scene was over I was pulling shards of exposition out of my face, and the only solace I could find was this chill jpeg of a helicopter:

Jim and Not-Maggie are Skype-ing. “Let’s go on a double date with Dev Patel,” says Not-Maggie. “You’ve never met that character before,” Jim says, “but whatever, I’m so effin horny.” (Jim is v. horny this episode.) Over on the other side of the studio, Will McAvoy is reviewing the results from his self-inflicted focus group of his last show. For whatever unimaginable, inconceivable, unthinkable, mind-melting reason, viewers don’t seem to like him. He is as self-aware of this fact as he is baffled by it. “Every fourth wall is a door.” –Aaron Sorkin Thankfully, Olivia Munn walks into McAvoy’s office and starts talking about the egregiously underrated Taylor Kitsch film John Carter, making everything better.


Time Elapsed: ~10 minutes. Hate Index: 13 out of Hate.

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Charlie Bowtie and Emily Mortimer are driving to interview Lieutenant Milton From Office Space about the Genoa Incident. The problem is that Emily Mortimer is driving. The other problem is that Emily Mortimer is a woman who is driving. The other other problem is that Emily Mortimer is a woman who is driving on an Aaron Sorkin show. So, she’s lost, and flustered, and just as Bowtie and Morts realize that the only things standing between them and the truth are some robo-cans chock-full of misogyny, Emily Mortimer crashes into some robo-cans chock-full of misogyny. Watching the two characters clean up the spilled garbage was an incredible, almost paradoxical moment of garbage cleaning up garbage.

Will McAvoy proves that Rick Santorum is dumb for ten minutes. Moving on.

Time Elapsed: ~20 minutes. Hate Index: 501 out of Hate.

Jim and Dev Patel are at the snazzy Romney fete, waiting for Not-Maggie and Who Cares. Dev Patel says, “What’s taking them so long?” and, in response, Jim nearly takes a bite out of Dev Patel’s jugular. He’s that horny. (Jim is v. horny this episode.) The girls show up, but not without (twist!) the Romney campaign trail aid who tossed Jim off of the bus for shattering the “Most Status Quos Shattered” World Record three episodes ago. They go on a five-person date to Sushi Samba and discuss Sex & the City, like Sex & the City.

Meanwhile, Alison Pill is getting loaded at a hotel bar. A super handsome model sends her a drink, but she’s too drunk to process his handsome, and she eventually ends up peace-ing with the man-frump bartender. But not before Jim and Not-Maggie stumble into the hotel bar, because Alison Pill is drinking at the bar where they’re staying, and Aaron Sorkin isn’t even trying anymore. “Watre yous guyis doin herrre,” Alison Pill slurs. “Jim’s here to fix my computer,” says Not-Maggie, Queen of the Euphemism. “I’m v. horny this episode,” Jim says, as they leave Alison Pill with her sadness and her gimlet.

Finally, Jim has gotten Not-Maggie back to his twelve-year-old’s concept of seduction hotel room. He’s set out the candles. He’s turned turned down the lights, he’s turned up the Drake, and he’s offered her “a Toblerone from the mini-bar (Jim is v. horny this episode),” making him a fit King for the Queen of the Euphemism. But Not-Maggie gets a call telling her that she has to be on a plane to Wherever in an hour. Jim remains v. horny.

Time Elapsed: ~35 minutes. Hate Index: V. Horny out of Hate.

In an attempt to repair his public image, WIll McAvoy has brought his Mission to Civilize to morning TV. Here we learn that Will was both the starting quarterback AND the star pitcher for his high school, as if anyone would ever think otherwise. To prove his athletic prowess, the hosts have Will try to throw a football through a hoop, and for every successful attempt they’re going to make a donation to cancer research. What they don’t know is, the only donation they’ll be making is to The Will McAvoy Foundation for Grump Research. Instead of throwing the football through the hoop, McAvoy pegs it at a light fixture. As if anyone would ever think otherwise.

Side bar: What was with the weird sports fixation this week? There was McKenzie’s destruction derby and Lieutenant Milton From Office Space‘s March Madness obsession and Will playing catch with himself while lounging and The McAvoy Cancer Football challenge. Sports were to this week’s Newsroom what Twitter was to last week’s Newsroom as being insufferable is to every week’s Newsroom. It’s like the show is an awkward, unpredictable fetishist who revises his fetishes on a weekly basis. If any aspect of the show motivates me to watch, it is this aspect. (Side bar to side bar: No it isn’t.)


Time Elapsed: ~45 minutes. Hate Index: Sporty out of Hate.

Olivia Munn monologues Will about being likable while I fixate on the weird newspaper towel rack apparatus in the back of the scene. Forget the Genoa Incident, what’s the story THERE?!?

New Jim travels to Maryland to interview Lieutenant Milton From Office Space about the Genoa Incident. He somehow navigates around the robo-cans and finds that Lieutenant Milton From Office Space has bailed on the interview. Luckily though, he sent another interviewee in his stead, and that interviewee is our own Mr. Cool Disguise.

Mr. Cool Disguise doesn’t provide New Jim with the info that he wants, so New Jim remixes the interview in Garageband until it’s a dubstep drop of filthy lies. Everyone at “The Second ‘Red Team (?)’ Meeting” buys his jerry-rigged (YES!) video and everyone at “The Second ‘Red Team (?)’ Meeting” marches blindly into the jaws of hell without questioning anything. Will this be the end of Will McAvoy as we have known and loved and treasured him? Probably not!!!

Time Elapsed: Eternity. Hate Index: Hate out of Hate.

We are all Will McAvoy. Good night.