Saturday, August 18, 2012

Aaron Sorkin responds to Newsroom critics - USA TODAY

HBO's The Newsroom has won respectable ratings on Sunday nights (10 ET/PT) but the show has not been treated kindly by many critics, who've complained about its sanctimony, depiction of women, and other perceived transgressions.

So a belated session at the TV critics' tour here--more than halfway through its first season--was contentious and defensive. "We all know there were critics who did not enjoy watching the first four episodes," says creator Aaron Sorkin, who sees a silver lining in the chatter: "Any time people are talking this much about a television show, it's good for television."

One writer complained about "hectoring and condescending" dialogue, others about the portrayal of women as weak-willed and silly, despite their professional competence. But Sorkin says he believes that establishing them as competent buys him the right to let them "slip on a banana peel" every so often.

"All of his characters, men and women, have flaws," says star Jeff Daniels, who plays anchor Will McAvoy, discussing the complexity of the role. "This isn't CSI: Detroit." As for critics, "It took me a long time as an actor to stop reading you," he said.

Sorkin says he's no expert on media, just as he didn't know "how to run the Oakland A's" when he wrote Moneyball or how to manage Facebook as the screenwriter for The Social Network.

He disputed an "unsourced, untrue" Internet report that his writing staff was fired, even though Sorkin personally writes almost every episode. (He will, however, pay consultants for the show's second season, due in June).

As for his use of real news events from the recent past, Sorkin says "I didn't do it so I could leverage hindsight into making our characters smarter, even though at times it may seem that way."

It's just that one of the show's central themes might have rankled some real-life journalists: "The compulsion to be first trumps the desire to get it right," says executive producer Alan Poul.

No comments:

Post a Comment