an awesome way to watch TV

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Newsroom Is Bad

Ok, to start out with, I know I've been AWOL for a while.  Well, only a couple weeks, but it feels like a long time.  And the truth of the matter is I just haven't been watching TV lately.  *GASP*  Oh, I watched Mad Men, and I caught up on Veep over the weekend, but mostly my pop culture time (which hasn't been much, since I've started a new, full-time job) has been consumed with reading the Game Of Thrones books. They are just SO GOOD!  I could read them forever!  And I pretty much have been, to the exclusion of almost everything else.  I'm gearing up to start doing Dawson's Creek recaps pretty soon, but I've got to finish Storm Of Swords first.  SORRY!  But some things take precedence in life, and amazing books are one of them.

It's no surprise, then, that I slept a little on the premiere of Aaron Sorkin's new drama, The Newsroom.  And  then when I saw pictures of Kristin Davis macking on Sorkin, I remembered OH!  This show!  I am excited about it!  So I took a break from Arya and Jon Snow to check it out.

And....oh.  This face. :/

By now you've probably seen the opening speech that Jeff Daniels makes, where he talks about how America ISN'T the best country in the world:

It's wonderful and honest and informed and really great and exactly what I hoped this show would be.  But then...he says this (italics mine):
"But [America] sure used to be [the best] (ed: REALLY?  IT DID? SINCE WHEN???).  We used to stand up for what's right (again: REALLY? SINCE WHEN???).  We fought for moral reasons (like all those Native Americans we killed for 'moral reasons'?), we passed laws for moral reasons (like all those laws to keep black and white people from getting married?), we waged wars on poverty, not poor people (REALLY? Like all that help we've given poor people during the decades-long War On Drugs?).  We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were and we never beat our chests (AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA).  We built great big things (Congratulations, America, on building big things.), we made amazing technological advances, explored the universe, cured disease, we cultivated the world's greatest artists (okaaaaay) AND the world's greatest economy (ummmmmm).  We reached for the STARS (vom).  We acted like men (VOM).  We aspired to intelligence, we didn't belittle it, it didn't make us feel inferior (If that is what you'd like to believe, Sorkin).  We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election and we didn't...we didn't scare so easy.  We were able to do all these things and be all these things because we were informed.  By great men, men who were revered (Yup, W.R. Hearst was super great and kept us EXTRA informed).  First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one.  America isn't the greatest country in the world anymore."

So, as you can probably tell, I've got some problems with this speech.  America isn't the greatest country in the world ANYMORE?  So when was it?  When we had slaves?  When we shoved our immigrants into tenements to die of tuberculosis and starvation and factory fires?  Was it during the Trail Of Tears?  When we outlawed alcohol?  When we lynched black people?  When we put Japanese-Americans into internment camps?  Was it when we put "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance or when we continually denied equal rights to women, and gays, and racial and ethnic and religious minorities?  When we entered in to multiple wars and armed confrontations against small countries because we disagreed with their ultimately ineffective and self-defeating ideologies? When we watched our citizens ravaged by AIDS and did so little to help?  When we freely armed horrible, genocidal people around the world?  When we allowed the Supreme Court to elect a president?  When we put our money where our mouth was and never beat our chests on Imaginary Island in Never Never Land?  Tell me, Aaron Sorkin, precisely WHEN America was the greatest country in the world.  Because by my count, that was NEVER.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Talkin' 'Bout Community On The Internets

I had the privilege to engage in a thoughtful discussion with my blogcrush, Gabe Delahaye, on Videogum today.  It was great, and everything I love about the Internet.  Even though I had to write it three times.  Check out the original post, and then scroll down to the end to read our comments.  Or you can read the entire thread after the jump.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Calling Bullshit On Mad Men

Since I've mostly stopped doing recaps, I find that for most shows there will be an episode that encapsulates the way I feel about the season as a whole - like the Leap Day episode for Modern Family.  "The Other Woman" was definitely that episode for Mad Men.  So, we can all agree this season has been pretty wack, right?  Definitely not the darkly beautiful subtle miracle of seasons past.  And yes, I understand that the tone of the show has changed to adjust to the tone of the world they live in, but it just doesn't seem like the storytelling holds as much weight as it used to.  That's not to say that this season has been bad; on the contrary, there have been many incredible moments (Roger on acid; Pete getting the shit kicked out of him; Joan kicking out her POS husband) and I still very much love the show.  But it's not the same.  Everything is a little more obvious, the emotions aren't as stark, and, worst of all, some of the characters actions and reactions don't seem at all in line with what we know of them.