Newsroom

Apropos of Keith Olbermann losing his show (again) (sorry, Keith, I wrote you a nice sendoff last time, but you’re not getting another one), here’s the first trailer for Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin’s second stab at dramedizing the shenanigans and brow-furrowing that go on backstage at fictional recreations of shows Olbermann’s hosted.

I read the pilot teleplay last summer, and, candidly, it was pretty damn bad. You know how you can immediately tell in a bad movie when someone’s just trying so hard to channel the unique voice of a writer like, say, Quentin Tarantino, and their miserable failure to do so makes you cringe in transpersonal embarrassment? That’s how it felt reading the original draft of Untitled Aaron Sorkin Cable News Project as it was known at the time – like it was written by a mediocre Sorkin imitator.

And that’s why this trailer is such a pleasant surprise. Maybe it’s just well-cut, or maybe Jeff Daniels is so awesomely awesome that he can single-handedly turn piss into Utopias, but that trailer promises a show that’s clipped, funny and features that special kind of liberal wish fulfillment that only Sorkin at his best can pull off so satisfyingly: seeing someone stand up and say what’s in dire need of saying, distilling it into a blistering soliloquy that’s concise and incisive, not to have it save the world and make everything better in the blink of an eye, but to see it change one mind, affirm one wavering spirit.

Or piss tons of people off. That’s worthwhile, too.

College student: “Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?”

Jeff “Olbermann” Daniels: “It’s not the greatest country in the world. That’s my answer. You, sorority girl – just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there’s some things you should know: we’re 7th in literacy, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force and number 4 in exports. Now, none of this is the fault of a 20 year-old college student, but when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.”

Sounds like someone I know.

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