I am sitting in the International Ballroom in the Beverly Hilton Hotel during the twilight of the 2012 Summer TCA Press Tour, as HBO, like every other network and cable channel has done this week, previews its upcoming movies with a series of panels and Q&As. In a matter of minutes, Aaron Sorkin, Oscar-winning screenwriter and creator of critical whipping-boy The Newsroom, will take the stage to face a room full of the writers and tweeters who have led the witch hunt against his show. Sorkin has only granted a handful of interviews as the first half of the season has rolled out to an increasing chorus of boos from Internet Girls and Boys from around his beloathed Twittersphere. But today he's sitting down, cracking open a tiny bottle of Evian, and bringing on the firing squad. It's the can't-miss event of this year's TCAs, and I'm about to die of anticipation.
HBO has taken us to some fanciful places during its recent ratings resurgence, from the vampire-blood-stained bayou of True Blood to the violent kingdom of Westeros on Game of Thrones. But in terms of pure fantasy, neither holds a candle to The Newsroom, the new series from writer Aaron Sorkin and producer Scott Rudin. Although the program — which focuses on the backstage shenanigans at a popular cable news show — is ostensibly set in the real world, the true backdrop is one that should be familiar to fans of The West Wing (not to mention survivors of Studio 60). It’s pure Sorkinstan, an overwritten utopia where all names are alliterative, all dialogue is charged, and the call sheet runs wild with all manner of mythical creatures, including the Liberal Republican, the Gun-Toting Manhattan Lefty, and a preponderance of Twentysomethings Who Reference Musicals. But the biggest flight of fancy here is the one Sorkin seems most invested in: that television audiences are desperate not only to relive recent history, but to watch him attempt to pompously rewrite it.
When Aaron Sorkin won his Golden Globe last year for writing The Social Network, a few eyebrows were raised by the cause to which he tipped his hat. Acknowledging the female nominees around the ballroom, he thanked them for showing his daughters that “elite is not a bad word, it’s an aspirational one.”
Sorkin’s love affair with America’s elite continues this summer with the debut of his new show, The Newsroom. The show chronicles the veritable revolt of the elites that occurs when a brilliant but deeply troubled TV anchorman (played by Jeff Daniels) and his brilliant but deeply troubled staff decide one afternoon to stop mouthing patriotic bromides to the bovine masses and begin educating them in the real, hard, statistic-heavy truth.
Wednesday night in Hollywood, the showbiz elites who created this tribute to American elites gathered for an elite red-carpet premiere at the historic Cinerama Dome, followed by an elite gala after-party and buffet, and this reporter was on hand to watch in awe.
Fans of idiocy the world over rejoiced yesterday when news broke that Bobby and Peter Farrelly were planning on revisiting their first — and some would say funniest — film, Dumb & Dumber. According to Deadline, the new project would be a sequel (presumably called Dumb & Dumbererer because obvs) and the plan is to reunite original stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.