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Resistance Is F*cking Futile: Why I'm Afraid You're Going to Have To Join Me In Giving Up On Hating Olivia Munn

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | August 12, 2013 | Comments ()


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OK, maybe you never hated Olivia Munn. Maybe hate isn’t even the word anyway. It’s much too personal a word to describe our feelings about an actress we hardly know. But here’s what I’ll admit to you: I’m a former Olivia Munn antagonist and, if it’s OK with you, I’d like to take it all back. Munn has, for a while now, been worming her way into my affections. She was solid as a rock last season on “The Newsroom” and equally charming in a couple of episodes of “New Girl.” But this season on “The Newsroom”? Wow. Last night on “The Newsroom”? F*CKING Wow. If you don’t watch the show, bear with me, because something happened on last night’s episode that was not only great but also resonates outside the realm of the plot of the show itself. I’ll get to that.

If you’ve not watched “The Newsroom” or gave up on it a while back, I don’t blame you. But I think it’s generally accepted by those of us who do still watch that Olivia Munn’s Sloan Sabbith and Thomas Sadoski’s Don Keefer have emerged from the bloviating wreckage relatively unscathed. They rise, they float above the Sorkin traps and positively shine. Sorkin and company, in their sporadic wisdom, have seen fit to thrust Don and Sloan together this season. And, trust me, we all benefit.

Last night, the plot involving Sloan and Don centered around a naked picture scandal featuring Munn’s character. You may remember that Munn herself was embroiled in a similar scandal that involved her cell phone being hacked and private photos leaked all over the Internet. No, I’m not linking to it. This is not that. In the context of the show, the photos were leaked by Sloan’s recent ex-boyfriend who released them as part of some petty revenge. And so during the first three-fourths of the show, we kept revisiting Don and Sloan on the floor of Don’s darkened office while Munn turned in a knock-out performance as a woman who feels violated, shamed and gutted. Sadoski wasn’t so shabby himself.

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I’m wondering if we’ve ever seen an actor play out their own personal drama with such convincing emotion. It was a brave and intelligent performance that never smacked of personal agenda (though that was of course a factor). Sloan’s story was highlighted by a side plot involving Sandra Fluke and certain websites (ahem, Huffington Post, ahem, probably Pajiba) being called to task for sometimes muddling feminist outrage with titillating voyeurism. So, yes, in this particular plot, it’s an evil ex-boyfriend who’s responsible for the leaked photos, but in a larger sense (and certainly in the case of Munn’s own “scandal”), we’re all complicit.

The episode ended with a good old fashioned revenge fantasy for Munn. Now if the episode had only been this (admittedly fun) scene, it wouldn’t have impressed me much. But as a follow-up to those Don and Sloan moments? It was perfection. As was the level of Don’s involvement. So, yes, to a certain degree my affection for Munn is tied up in my affection for a character she plays, but she handled this depiction of a personal embarrassment with such grace and emotional depth that I can’t help but love her too. In the words of Don Keefer, she’s impressive.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • ryallen

    That end "rage"scene was so stupid. And "knock out performance" is really overstating it Joanna.

  • Joe

    OK, so, I guess this is going to be the only "Newsroom" posting for this weeks episode? That's cool. But now I feel like I've gotta as a non-Olivia-Munn question.

    What happened to Alison Pill's hair? she cut it off last episode, but this episode it was long again, despite this clearly being set after last episode chronologically, and previous to the Operation-Genoa-Law-Confence flash forwards,. right?

  • I had the same issue. I think what happened was that we saw her cutting her hair in flashback, and that hasn't happened yet. It bugged the hell out of me until I worked that out. I can't believe no one on the show watched that and thought "huh, that's going to be confusing."

  • Joe

    Thanks for the response. That would make sense but yeah, super confusing.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    What's to hate? She is an olive skinned hottie.... and she has freckles.

  • I like Olivia Munn and Justin Timberlake. They should date.

    /dives out the side door

  • Marko

    Sadly, people are going to always separate Munn as an actress, and Munn as a public figure. So no amount of fine acting is going to convince everyone.

    I think it was a brave move, one she embraced very well, and performed impeccably. She's a very convincing actress, with a lot of screen presence, who doesn't rely entirely on her looks. She gives a particularly convincing indignant, proud yet wounded, shown perfectly both in this week's episode and during the aftermath of Fukushima.

    So I, for one, will just continue to be impressed by her performances, and leave the negative commenters to their gossip rags.

  • marigi

    I have no problem with Munn, probably because she has next to no visibility in Italy so I didn't know who she was before Sodenberg and Newsroom, but I do have a problem with her character hitting her ex.
    I know, I know, he had it coming. But as a woman in a country that is having HUGE issues on violence against women, I can't help but think that the scene justifies this type of reaction. She broke his nose! Would it be wrong for him to call the police? If yes, then why should a woman be able to call for help? Because she's weaker?? Sloan looked pretty strong...
    I'm sorry for the rant, but our papers this morning opened with a woman dead in the trunk of her ex's car, another disfigured by acid and a husband who shot his wife and then killed himself (they never do the suicide first, do they?). So violence has zero tolerance for me today...

  • PaddyDog

    I was coming on here to say pretty much the same thing. Well-said Marigi.

  • Daryl

    Joanna Robinson how come? Have you taken time to watch some of her ATOS clips on youtube. Remember, it was live, and search out Blair Butler talking about Munn. One women complementing another women that has spent a few years working with her. You seem a little to quick just going off on another women with no particular stated reason. But that is okay that doesn't make you a .....

  • kbenton

    I have no problem whatsoever with Munn and never have... quite like her actually.

    The scenes in the office were touching and genuine. The end was pure fan service. I get it, I think, but it kind of left me soured on the episode... I expected more. Everyone (decent) wants to knee a jag like that in his nards and bust his face, but we can't, because jail would probably ensue. Playing it like a cartoon kinda devalued the earlier honest scenes.

  • I think Sorkin's writing was better when he was smoking pot. Or maybe he still is, and it has eroded his ear for dialogue and timing. There are moments when I recall how much fun it was to watch one of his shows - the back and forth between Charlie and the NSA (?) dude in this episode, and some of Sloan's breakdown/bonding with Don. I just wish he didn't make me cringe so often.

  • John G.

    If I have always hated Munn, and I hate The Newsroom, do I still have to like Munn for her performance in the The Newsroom? Why don't you just come out of the closet Joanna, and stop making us try and like her just because you have a crush on her.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    I don't care about Munn. Take her or leave her. But if I promise to actively like her can I begin to openly hate Sorkin? I've been holding back a little.

  • InternetMagpie

    A+ as always, John.

  • Ian Fay

    Could someone do a Phantom Edit style version of Newsroom and cut out all the Sorkin bloviating and the completely unwatchable fliberigibbets that are the other ladies on this show, and just cut together the Sloan stuff and maybe Sam Waterston being awesome and drunk?

    Please?

  • pajiba

    Could someone do a Phantom Edit style version of the Comments section and cut out all the bloviating and the completely unreadable fliberigibbets that are the other constant complaints and negativity, and just cut together the commenters being awesome and drunk?

    Fixed!

  • Ian Fay

    I walked right into that, didn't I?

    Well played.

    This time.

  • I don't usually post drunk(although it's been known to happen), but I do usually post awesome.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Bam! Sandy Vagina-d.

  • bastich

    Munn read the audiobook edition of her book "Suck It, Wonder Woman". I found the book kinda dry overall, but her performance was endearing.

  • I respect that relationship a hell of a lot more now that it's beginning to look like it's not sexual or romantic in nature. It seems like Don's protective in a brotherly way.

  • Allen

    Anyone who watched her back on Attack of the Show has no problem with her. Her and Kevin were absolutely perfect on that show.

  • MissAmynae

    effing exactly! We know her as the goofy tech-savvy chick who dressed up in stupid costumes, and laughed all the while!

    Now, more gadget pron!

  • Adam Borden

    They were... But I think there's a bit of a "Kevin who?" attitude out of her that bugs some of her AOTS fans.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Also, her "low-five" with Charlie was THE SHIT! Despite how heartbreaking it was watching her admittedly stunning display of humiliation, Jeff Daniels still crushed me the most.

    "I guess it's just us now."

    Holy shit that was powerful stuff.

  • Devin McMusters

    Well, I loved her in Perfect Couples....

  • JenVegas

    That scene with Don and Sloan on the floor of his office was possibly the best thing on TV all week. Yeah, I said that and I meant it.

  • disqus_N4EigheiZo

    Can I continue to dislike her for her continual use of Asian tiger mom jokes, complete with terrible accent? I'm gonna go ahead and continue to side-eye her while she keeps telling her LOL MY IMMIGRANT MOM jokes on late night talk shows.

  • Repo

    I will stop with my persistent negativity towards her just as soon as it gives her a seizure.

  • Bea Pants

    Walter disapproves.

  • John G.

    You've been missing Munn and hitting Chris Brown, not that I'm complaining.

  • Xikar

    You know, anyone who didn't read the other post to get this joke is going to think you're a real nice guy ha ha.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I read the other thread and I still thought it was a dick thing to say.

  • I think it's kind of a dick thing to say, but I also thought it was funny, so you both get upvotes.

  • $65530708
  • emmalita

    I'm upvoting you for use of Louis CK. I don't care how you (or anyone) feel about Olivia Munn.

  • $65530708

    Yeah that Louie gif is totally worth an up vote (seriously). And you're right no one should care how I or anyone feels about O.M.

  • emmalita

    I came off snottier than I meant. I still like your gif.

  • $65530708

    No snottiness detected initially. No need to apologize.

  • Maguita NYC

    Her feeling rageous was a beautiful thing to behold.

    Munn is proof that you can redeem yourself, work on your craft, while your personal life stays far from the paparazzi's glare.

  • lowercase_ryan

    We should watch this together sometime. I have yet to work out the logistics, but I will.

  • lowercase_ryan

    downvoting dick is rolling hard through these comments.

  • Maguita NYC

    You got your own pet/stalker! Now you know you've made it in Pajiba Land when someone faithfully follows you around and BEGS for your attention!

    ... Unless someone is actually jealous of us watching this together? Don't matter, because it's gonna happen.

    Also, wanna share?

  • lowercase_ryan

    I do want to share and it will happen.

  • LIN

    Er? i regularly see pics of her and her boyfriend (dude from FUCK THE KILLING).

  • lowercase_ryan

    Holy Shit she's with Joel Kinnaman?!?! Best couple ever.

  • koko temur

    holy shit, its true! my favorite couple!
    and they are friends with Hannah Simone. ADORABLE.

  • lowercase_ryan

    love it

  • LIN

    Eh, I've met him in real life, smarmy douche that one. But it seems her type (see: chris pine)

  • Maguita NYC

    I don't. Honest. I haven't seen her or heard from her in a while, except on red carpets.

  • GDI

    Vague innuendo. My favorite.

    I'll just see myself out.

  • billy bob

    no. just no

  • That is a cogent, in-depth and well-reasoned argument.

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