The Newsroom – “Amen”
Aaron Sorkin’s HBO pundit show The Newsroom churns out yet another great episode. This week, the team for News Night 2.0 tackled the uprising in Egypt. Neal gets a new BFF, Will has a ton of great rants, and Maggie tries to set up Jim with her crazy roommate on V-Day.
There’s no mistaking The Newsroom has mixed reviews all over the board, for its idealistic viewpoint and the somewhat off quality the show has in general. These are not the things people should notice about the show. The Newsroom always charms me with one of the greatest casts on cable television. From Jeff Daniels to Olivia Munn to Dev Patel (especially Dev Patel), the cast of The Newsroom hits a home run with every performance, making actors and actresses whose skills I used to doubt (Munn, Patel), and making me fall in love with their characters. Amen was really the first episode where I realized that The Newsroom has an absolutely terrific cast. While every week a new actor seems to shine, there hasn’t been an episode yet where a single character is thrown away or underutilized. Aaron Sorkin is really a great writer, and where The Newsroom has its faults, it makes up for in charm and wit.
Enough of that tangent, let’s get into the episode.
“Amen” was a great episode. I enjoyed the amount of attention Sorkin paid to the secondary characters. Sloan, Neal and Maggie all had bigger parts in this episode than in the past. The standout character of “Amen” was definitely Neal, who is actually becoming my favorite character in the show. He isn’t a geeky internet guy anymore, Sorkin has given him such a great personality and he is so brilliantly acted by Patel that it’s incredibly enjoyable to watch. “Amen” also introduced Neal to his Egyptian counterpart Amen, and the scenes between the two are great.
Also part of my complete adoration for The Newsroom, Allison Pill does such a great job being the dorky-yet-cute Maggie, who seems to do nothing but mess stuff up. While Maggie might be a generic cute character, Allison Pill does a terrific job acting for the part and gives Maggie a real individual identity. In Amen, Maggie hits Jim in the face with a door. Later in the episode, when Maggie’s plan for a perfect Valentines day backfires, she decides to boycott it forever, only to realize her boyfriend is right behind her. Classic Maggie.
The continued awkwardness of Maggie and the Bigfoot fandom of Neal do make The Newsroom out to be a lot more of a Workplace Dramedy, which is actually a fitting genre title for the show. The Newsroom isn’t terrible for adding bits of comedy to the show, certain characters have a charm that is obtained through their wit and quirk.
I also like Will a lot in this episode. His fighting with Mackenzie is always interesting to watch. Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer have a lot of on screen chemistry. I also enjoy the tirades Will has on his “mission to civilize”, degrading and destroying gossip columnists and gun owners all over New York.
While Amen had some great quotes (“Was she really not ashamed to say she had Bieber fever?” and “Did somebody here hire a fascist thug?” to name a couple) and some nice characterization, it wasn’t without its faults. The news coverage part of “Amen” seemed lacking compared to other episodes, and was simply less interesting than the other components of the episode.
I’m giving “Amen” 9.0/10.
Disagree? Have some of your own opinions? Share them in the comments below!
(I apologize for the late posts, I recently had surgery so I was unable to post new content yesterday)