This week, The Newsroom dips low yet again. “I’ll Try to Fix You” focuses on the personal relationships of the central characters, as well as an attack on Will made by a gossip rag. The shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is also featured. Yet the show is unable to balance love and the news. Which one is more important to the series and its viewers?

The Players:

  • Director: Alan Poul
  • Writer: Aaron Sorkin
  • Cast: Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel, Olivia Munn, Sam Waterston, Chris Messina, Hope Davis, Jon Tenney

Episode Title: “I’ll Try To Fix You”

Will is the object of unwanted attention when his dating habits become tabloid headlines. MacKenzie’s boyfriend shares some information with Will on why his department can’t properly prosecute the nation’s financial criminals. Meanwhile, Don sets Jim up with Maggie’s roommate Lisa without Maggie’s support. And Neal attaches himself to the nonexistent Bigfoot story like a fly to compost heap.

The Good:

  • The Will and Sloan Show: One of the only bright spots in this episode was the banter between News Night’s anchor and its economics correspondent. All three interactions were entertaining bits of semi-rapid fire dialogue, with Jeff Daniels and Olivia Munn really working and feeding off each other’s tone and attitude. As long as you ignore Sloan’s confusing Ado Annie with Annie Oakley, it all works.
  • Tucson, AZ: Ignore the loud track of Coldplay’s “Fix You” and the use of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ story as a climactic end of the episode for a moment. News Night’s reporting of the shooting, and refusal to report Giffords as deceased shone a light on a very real mistake in media. Many outlets announced Giffords was dead based on an NPR report, something that many of the viewing public never realized during the course of a very serious day. Call it what you want but a glaring oversight of facts in the face of a tragedy all in the name of being first to report is disgusting.
  • Don, not Don Quixote: Don is that guy, the guy you think you’re supposed to hate but can’t quite commit to the feeling.  He saw, as everyone can, that Jim and Maggie are building a very strong relationship. And in the name of saving his own, he set Jim up with Loose Lisa. It was a tad jerky to burst Maggie’s bubble by having Lisa’s awesome Rod Stewart ringtone make it clear Jim and Lisa slept together, but can you blame him? The man is trying to hold onto a woman that’s falling in love with someone else; fighting dirty is the only way. And since Will’s scream about him being a newsman makes his return to News Night all but inevitable, you should get used to his constant presence.

The Bad:

  • TMI: You’d think the glaring problem with TMI (The Newsroom’s TMZ like magazine) would be that it took the news team 50 minutes to figure out that their parent company owns it, and are behind the attack on Will. The real disappointment is that moment of clarity would have been excellent fodder for another scene with Jane Fonda. Even if it was just a brief and bitter phone call. That missed opportunity could have really helped.
  • Big Foot: Neal was always going to be a dork, and that’s just fine, but this whole Bigfoot thing is so not the way to go. The constant chatter about the apex predator primate is a part of the bit, but it does nothing for the viewer besides challenge their ability to not change the channel.
  • The Women: This week, Maggie mocks her roommate Lisa’s possible hook up with Jim because, “She works in fashion Don,” but feigns shock when Lisa worries she’s dumb before her first date with Jim. Maggie’s flimsy pondering of, “Who told you that,” is laughable; you inferred her inferior brain power at their first meeting Maggie. Maggie could also be hung out to dry for interrupting meetings at work to inject her venom towards Jim, but she’s only taking a cue from her bosses, who use every opportunity to air their relationship’s dirty laundry. The small slights, like Will telling his date, “Thank God you met me in time,” and Jim instructing Maggie to, “Sit your ass at that desk,” are just fodder for The Newsroom’s continuous theme of poor images of women.
  • I’m a Republican: No matter how many times Will screams, “I’m a Republican,” it doesn’t do enough to quench the rumblings about the show’s liberal bias. That’s not to say that anything he says is unfounded, but when the only news shown for the first 50 minutes of the episode is a brutal dismantling of right-wing lies, one must be prepared for the predictable backlash. The show can’t continue to claim to be in the center if every complaint they have is with the right.  Give some criticism to the left or embrace the fact that the show is a liberal sounding post, but stop pretending please.

The Quotable:

  • “Yes! How do you introduce the Netflix queue of crazy divorced women with digitally remastered breasts that you spend your nights with?”
  • “If there’s one thing a man likes, it’s a woman who tries to change him.”

Overall:

Decisions have to be made. We can’t have a week where the show is full of news and an appropriate amount of relationship mess, and then turn around and have an episode that’s all relationship with tiny bits of the news spliced together. Is this a show about a burgeoning news show, or a dramedy about relationships in the workplace? Please, someone tell us so we can decide if we want to keep watching.

Rating: 5/10

The Newsroom airs Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m. on HBO.

What did you think of the episode?