Life in the Fast Lane


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By 10:46 AM , , ,

Before my blog completely turns into a fitness journal, I shall digress and write about something else that I've been interested in lately.

And it happens to be the a relatively new TV show that has gotten a lot of people talking.

Now I've followed legal and medical dramas, crime shows, and a few others that deal with the behind-the-scenes of a TV network. I've also watched lots of movies about journalism endeavors (my favorite back in the day was Up Close & Personal), but I'd never actually come across a TV show about a cable news channel.

Until The Newsroom, which premiered last June 24th.

The series was created (and the episodes are mostly written) by the Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing and The Social Network, anyone?) and shows what happens in the fictional Atlantis Cable News Channel (ACN) before, during, and after they go on-air. In the cast are Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher, Jr., Allison Pill, Thomas Sadowski, Dev Pattel (of Slumdog Millionaire, among others), Olivia Munn, and Sam Waterston.

Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) is the anchor and managing director of News Night, their fictional evening news show. Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer), who happened to be his former flame, turns his world upside down when she is hired as his executive producer. The other cast members make up the other producers of varying titles, with Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) as the ACN News Division president.

Since I'm not an American — and this show should be understood by the majority of the American population; if they know their current events) — sometimes, I get lost during the episodes. Not because of the Aaron Sorkin-esque manner of speech (which, according to people, is quite wordy and metaphorical). But because of the fact that I don't know what happens in the US all the time.

Sometimes, I get confused when they start discussing politics (Republican, Democrat, Tea Party — yes, I've had to review what I know about the US government) or events that transpired in the near past (the show covers actual events from 2010 'til the present). But the good thing is that it has made me want to be more aware of what happens around me; not just in the Philippines, but globally.

Admittedly, I'm not a daily newspaper reader. I get my news online, and I don't even look up the e-counterparts of our broadsheets. I find out what happens in the country and around the world from Twitter or Facebook. This has made me stay updated in a sense, yes, but I don't always see events from a larger perspective. Maybe I should make more of an effort to keep myself "updated" in the real sense of the word.

Going back to the show, a number of people have praised Sorkin and his team for bringing something fresh to our TV screens. People who are a fan of the show like Sorkin's writing style, his humor, wit, and the interplay of the characters. Personally, while I may not be the show's biggest fan (which could also be because, again, I'm not an American and I don't know everything there is to know about their current events and government), I can see myself being a loyal follower of the show for a very long time.

I enjoy the exchanges among the characters (even if, yes, their arguments usually sound like speeches), the humor, and the energy that flows throughout each of the episodes. As someone who enjoys working backstage during events, I know how exciting and nerve-wracking it can be to put something together and to make it work. And when the producers in the show are running around, beating the time, making sure that Will has something to say on-air, I feel nervous as heck for them. If only I could grab the cue cards from them and run to Will's desk myself, I certainly would.

A number of viewers of the show, however, have given the show negative ratings. They've called it contrived; that the things they do on the show don't always happen in real life. (Then again, according to my doctor-friend, Veena, not everything that happens on Grey's Anatomy happens in real life either.) That the show attacks Republicans and the arguments are always one-sided. That they find the writing too dragging and also unreal. Also, that it makes women look dumb.

I can't blame them for feeling the way they do. Maybe if we had a show here about a news channel that seemingly attacked one side of the government, I'd be pretty offended, too.

As a girl, though, I just laugh at the subtle pokes made against the show's supposed femme fatales (or am I just imagining that the women on Will's staff have a collective lower IQ than that of their male counterparts?). I don't take it seriously. Anyway, I have high hopes for Sloan and Maggie's characters.

In a way, it's a good thing I'm not offended. So I can go on and enjoy the show without any form of bias.

There have only been six episodes so far, but the show's being renewed for a second season.

I can't wait to find out what happens next, and what's in store for News Night and ACN.

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