In Defense of THE NEWSROOM Season Finale

HBO's The Newsroom, season finale, Will and Mac
Thomas Sadoski, John Gallagher, Jr. and Olivia Munn as Don, Jim and Sloan on The Newsroom

For those blistering the season finale of HBO’s The Newsroom I say just hold on a minute.

Among the show’s fans there are those who rooted for love to win and move Will McAvoy towards MacKenzie McHale.

Perhaps more viewers were hoping that the news execs would not be relieved of their duties over the duplicity of a raging and now fired producer, Jerry Dantana.

Because it all rolled out that way, is it fair to say that it makes others squeamish and screaming it is unrealistic? Of course and it is precisely because we have come to believe that happy endings, at least those that are written into popular culture’s film and television dramas are more fiction than non-fiction.

Aaron Sorkin made a stand for hope without promising the fairy tale ending. For the moment, there is peace. What happens thereafter is open ended, in many ways it mirrors what occurs after people get married.

At the wedding, it’s all cake, champagne toasts and promises to love, honor and cherish. Down the road may be divorce lawyers, but for that moment and for some thereafter the promises are true.

Using the assertion of popular author Jedidiah Purdy and his book, “For Common Things”, Charlie Skinner made the case that ACN’s principled execs were committing noble professional suicide when it wasn’t necessary.

“He (Purdy) talks about cynical times. People having terminal irony with a steady refusal to hope and care openly. Sound like us?” Skinner asked Will.  Charlie went on and painted a picture of why he was switching his reflexive position about resigning for the good of the public.

A hot lead to the soon-to-break David Petraeus affair-resignation story was tossed aside on election night 2012 in favor of one that related to a candidate’s duplicity, which the News Night senior folks agreed was more relevant, although not as sexy or able to state a case for the network’s ability to break a big story that was correct.

The point — ACN aired the false story of Operation Genoa only after vetting it two or three times longer than anyone else and ultimately, the responsibility for the mess lay at the feet of the now disgraced and vengeful producer Jerry Dantana.

Use the facts you know, Skinner insisted and stop forcing the issue through the prism of mob rule. You can end your own suffering.

It was then that Will McAvoy had his very obvious “Duh” moment.

Poof! McAvoy decided that he need not continue to torture MacKenzie McHale and ultimately himself for her romantic duplicity of some six years prior. He was his own emotional jailer.

The Tiffany engagement ring still in the desk drawer was retrieved and a proposal was made and accepted.  At the same time, Jim found compassion for Maggie and helped convince her to spring herself out of her own horror story of guilt over the death of the African boy.

Over on the Sloan Sabbith side, her search for what she thought was a bamboozled auction bidder led her to Don Keefer, who was the misinformed buyer of her book. That relationship got launched with a public and very large smooch in the control room.

Suddenly, it was catching as Leona allowed son Reese to make the decision about accepting the resignations of Charlie, Will and MacKenzie. Somehow Reese came around to the same position as Leona and her oddly sexy company lawyer Rebecca.  No one will put a gun to the head of the Lansings and ACN.

All were spared and the cable network hunkered down to fight Jerry Dantana to the death, embarrassing anecdotes made public be damned.

A rom-com ending had been unleashed except it wasn’t. What comes after the turnaround in decisions is real life, just like the marriage follows the romantic wedding.

Don’t feel guilty for loving the happy ending, because it’s not the end.

Read more about The Newsroom on TVRuckus.      Image: HBO/The Newsroom

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4 thoughts on “In Defense of THE NEWSROOM Season Finale

  1. I think you have made a case for liking the finale but have overstepped the general feelings of those that were less than impressed.

    It wasn’t the for now/immediate present happy ending that grated. Of course Mack and Will haven’t even married yet – they’ve only agreed to do so. No doubt obstacles will occur.

    I don’t have a sense that people were not pleased by the Sloan and Don commencement. In fact I am very happy for them. Don went from being a negative factor in season one – to a true good guy in season 2. The problem was that Sorkin et al made Sloan look ridiculous repeatedly to get to that point.

    Finally, no really minds that Jim found his adulthood and managed to patch up the Lisa / Maggie divide. No, the problem was that it was a cheap trick to have Lisa written out for almost the entire season only to loop her back in via a waitress job in the season’s last 20 minutes.

    Personally instead of Maggie and Jim, or Jim and Lisa, or even Jim and Hallie, or Jim vs Taylor, I’d prefer more news stories, or even Sorkin/Will preaching from their news desk about topics of substances.

    Yes, I know the Sorkin formula of Fact and fiction merged equals entertainment. And that’s well and good. But really, how entertaining was it to have Sloan cut off at every opportunity by Will. during the election night broadcast.

    And did you really care about Jim and the Michigan / Mississippi error.

    So I am on your side when you say that people should not consider the momentary happy endings problematic. But we should be aware of other problems within the scope of the characters.


    • Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment. What’s great about the show is the passion it stirs in fans like us. I appreciate the time you took to read and respond.

  2. As much as I like happy endings, it would have been infinitely more interesting if Mackenzie had of said no. This would have led nicely into season 3 with a huge elephant in the room, instead we get to think about them picking out china patterns until next year. Season 3 should have been Will trying to convince her he’s over everything that happened in their past and is ready to move forward. It was a little too easy.

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