‘Shipping Newsroom Season 1, Episode 2: ‘News Night 2.0’

Will & Mac

Mackenzie’s nickname could just as easily be Will’s, so I’m sure he gets a double kick out of the “Will + Mac 4 EVR” hearts he has scrawled on the inside of his Trapper Keeper. (It’s been left off this list because, spoiler alert, but Newsroom so totally has a Will/Will endgame.) This week Will makes the horrible mistake in the first five minutes of the episode of specifically asking Mac not to tell anyone on staff about what *really* happened with their relationship, and inadvertently pioneered the dramatic device that will heretofore be known as “Chekhov’s Staff E-mail List.” Later on, the two share a more tender moment, as Thomas Newman’s piano strains fade in and Mac gets real: “You were in love from the moment you met me. For two years you were the man of any woman’s dreams. You just had these ways of … doing things.” When Aaron Sorkin characters can’t properly complete a sentence, you know they are experiencing True Feelings.

Hottest speechifying: In a disappointingly subtle move from the writers room Wi-Fi-proof bunker, the feisty twosome didn’t try to re-create the impassioned, desk-pounding, stat-spewing magic of their prolonged tête-à-tête in Will McAvoy’s Soundproof Glass Office last week. (Newsroom : Will’s Office :: Jersey Shore : Smush Room.) In fact, the most verbose moments might have happened offscreen this week — Mackenzie alludes to several late-night discussions about the inexperience of News Night‘s young staff: “We talked about this last night, and for three hours the night before, and again at 4 a.m. this morning.” I’m not even a Will/Mac ‘shipper, but I feel a little cheated out of those hot convos; does Eric on True Blood ever just tell us about bedding and draining a random glamoured hooker?

Margaret & Jim

Margaret showed up to work in her most aggro potato-sack twinset, ready to earn her keep as Mackenzie’s “me before I grew into myself and got hotter with age.” And boy, does she hit the ground running, starting with some fiery back-and-forth with boyishly rumpled associate producer Jim Harper. Jim thinks she’s just a slave to Don’s magnetic, unbuttoned pull and will inevitably get pulled to ten o’ clock, which gives Alison Pill the opportunity to awesomely quote Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” with the most bitter hatred I’ve ever seen on a human face. I guess this is 2010, so Margaret is understandably kind of in the peak of hating that song and reading Jezebel posts dissecting all its anti-feminist implications during her lunch breaks. In two years, she’ll dance to it at her and Halpert’s wedding, but for now, she’s still got a few more news segments to bungle with her collegiate/sexual past. (Jim has former roommates who work for BP, Margaret hid under the bed of a future governor’s press aid while he banged his ex-girlfriend.)

Hottest speechifying:

Jim: Have I done something to you?
Margaret: I swear I was just thinking the same thing. I have no idea why I’m being mean to you.
Jim: Now that you know that, do you think you’ll stop?
Margaret: That’s the thing, it doesn’t feel like it.
Jim: Can’t ask for more than that. Except rational thought.
Mackenzie MacHale (offstage): That’s my girl!

[Side note: One time I accidentally switched to the Spanish-language HBO, where they show The Newsroom with subtitles. I can’t imagine anything much worse than watching The Newsroom with subtitles.]

Mac & Sloane

This was kismet from the beginning: While stuck in a boring (yet still indecipherably fast-paced, don’t worry) exchange with loathsome Don about something called “This Week on YouTube,” Mac espies a raven-haired beauty of questionable ethnic origin on a nearby monitor and is like, “Why is this Daily Show rerun so uncomfortably unfunny?” She quickly yoinks the host, Sloan Sabbith (a name that suggests a secret life as a singer in an Evanescence cover band, but we’ve got all season to tell that story, I suppose) into WMSGO and asks her to do a prime-time segment on “where we are and how we got here,” which sounds like a great follow-up to Bachelor Pad or The Newsroom. Sloan Sabbith says the line “I’m an economist” and momentarily stops to take offense at Mac’s suggestion that more qualified candidates “don’t have her legs,” but then decides to take it as a compliment and even “yes-and”s it: “Do you want me to do pole-dancing while I explain subprime mortgages?” The two share a giggle and set up a meeting, then get down to using WMSGO for its true purpose: talking about Will McAvoy.

Hottest speechifying:

Mac: We’re going to be friends.
Sloane: I’d like that.
Mac: I mean it, I don’t have any friends.

Charlie & Booze

Uh-oh! After being nearly inseparable in the pilot, it looks like booze has wandered from its bow-tied soul mate and into the hot-pink concoction in Margaret’s martini glass, leaving Charlie to negotiate his shakes while playing online poker late into the night with teenage boys in Kansas. Sad!

Everyone & Will

Mac: “You need to go from person to person and tell them that Will is an extraordinary man with a heart the size of a Range Rover.”
Margaret “I know he’s not the most cuddly guy in the world, but he’s trying to do good, and he’s risking a lot to do it.”
Charlie: “If you call Will a whore again, I will take out your teeth one by one.”
Will (whoops) Margaret: “Why do you think I need protecting? Do you like the fantasy of a girl in distress?”

Aaron Sorkin & the Internet

OK, it’s a long shot (e-mail asterisks, “This Week on YouTube”) but we’ll include it just because these two are so woefully incompatible that the inevitable “so wrong it’s right” slashfic would be too good to pass up.

Filed Under: Aaron Sorkin, Good Night and Good F***, HBO, TV