I was so taken by these by-now famous three minutes of the new HBO drama “The Newsroom” that I plugged the show in this space a few weeks back.

So the first thing to say is: if you haven’t yet seen those three minutes — in which one of the nation’s best-known nightly news anchors (think an exasperated Tom Brokaw, if he still occupied one of the anchor chairs) cracks during a panel discussion (he’s apparently on meds) and does some very serious “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more”-style truth telling — do.

The whole country should see those three minutes, except for the F-word (sorry about that) and even though a lot of us, including me, believe America is still, in fundamentally important respects, the greatest country on Earth.  But one of those respects is that we produce three-minute clips like this one, and have — or I hope still have — the capacity to discuss them and, eventually, stumble to the right conclusion and self-correct.

That whole first pilot episode was, I thought, pretty spectacular.  The newsroom encounters the BP Deepwater Horizon blow-out.  If you liked Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing” — I totally loved it — here he is writing “The Newsroom.”

Only . . . when I started watching a subsequent episode, it seemed to me the dialog was just a bit TOO snappy, the interpersonal relations just a bit TOO intense — are all these people on coke? — and the story line just a bit TOO preachy.  Which is a shame, because we need this message to get out.  Maybe Sorkin has dialed it back a bit, even at the expense of its incandescence.  (As one of my friends put it: “Don’t any of these characters ever say anything humdrum and boring?  And slowly?  Everyday normal-speak things like, ‘I don’t know.  Where do YOU want to eat?'”)  I do plan to give it another shot.

In the meantime, I have fallen in love with “Political Animals,” in which Sigourney Weaver plays a thinly disguised Hilary Clinton, and the actor who plays her husband delivers a grossly unfair yet vastly entertaining caricature (which is okay, because it’s fiction) and they have handsome twin sons and . . . just watch.  You’ll love it.  You can see it on-line at that link.


Russell Bell: “From the New York Times obituary of Sally Ride we learn that ‘Dr. Ride is survived by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy’ — a woman.  My gaydar failed again: Anderson Cooper, Ken Mehlman, Ellen DeGeneres . . .  Perhaps it never worked.  At least there was progress at the Albuquerque Journal: they didn’t remove mention of Dr O’Shaughnessy from the wire service obit they ran as they removed the mention of you from Mr Nolan’s.”

Sally was a hero (if you ask me), and young people, especially, should know that heroes come in all stripes.


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