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The Sorkin-iest Episode of the Year: 'The Newsroom' - 'Contempt' Review

By Emily Cutler | TV | December 2, 2014 |

By Emily Cutler | TV | December 2, 2014 |

Oh, Aaron. We almost made it out of this season, didn’t we? Just last week I was so impressed at your restraint. Little did I know.

“Contempt” is by far the Sorkin-iest episode of the season (possibly the series), and absolutely the worst. It’s also the episode I was most fearing. Not because I had any advanced knowledge of the plot, but because I knew that eventually Sorkin would become too enraptured with his own writing and completely blow it. And wow, did he blow it.


1.) Everything Will Did

We got it. Will is standing up for what he believes in. He’s sticking to his guns even when his freedom is at stake. But did he have to give a speech during his sentencing so stirring even the judge was riveted? Did we need the judge to specifically remember Will arguing in his court from years before? Will needs to be smart, competent, and ethical. Making him the smartest, most ethical character ever is just overblown theatrics.

And in the interest of honesty, can Will have just a moment of doubt? He shows some real concern for Mac’s safety, but marches into court and jail without ever second guessing himself. Shouldn’t there have been at least one minute where he considered giving up his source in order to stay with his brand new wife? Speaking of his brand new wife …

2.) The Wedding

Yeah, your privilege is showing. I’m not talking about your white privilege or your rich privilege or anything else. I mean whatever privilege it is that allows you to write an entire scene without double checking any of the details about how city hall weddings actually function. The flower covered arch? Nope. The six piece ensemble to serenade everyone with “Ave Maria”? Sorry, but you can bring an iPod.

Or maybe just the fact that you’ve employed the entire news team as gofers for various wedding goods instead of being back at ACN doing their jobs. And does anyone who has been near a school post — Columbine/ post — Sandy Hook think that even harmless- looking geezer Charlie Skinner could walk aimlessly through a private school looking for talented, young musicians to hire for a party? At best he’d be booked for solicitation, right?

3.) Jim and Maggie

Nobody cares.

I’d prefer to say nothing else about either of them or their recently dismissed significant others, but if I need to expand: Maggie, if you’re willing to ruin two relationships for Blanderson Cooper, then you guys deserve each other. I’ll be happy to take Ethical McPoyle off your hands for you.

4.) Almost Everything Else

Lucas Pruitt (BJ Novak) is now a cartoon villain. HR is just screwing with Sloan and Don for fun. The Bloomberg Terminal is actually a high tech crystal ball. We had to watch the “new media” vs “old media” argument on two different fronts. Even the usually sparkling dialog was just … bad. It was just bad, man. Clunky and obvious and bad. Don’t do that anymore.

There are luckily two possible pluses from having a terrible episode this far into the season: Sorkin doesn’t have a lot of time left to Sorkin-around so the last two episodes could be good, and putting his characters in this kind of late game peril means we shouldn’t get the happily ever after ending. We’ll get a mostly happily ever after, but not full on happy. ACN will not rocket to first place, Jim and Maggie won’t suddenly get married, and the Lansing twins won’t suddenly reconcile with Reese to save the family business. We’ve just got to put our heads down, and get through the last two episodes without a huge incident. And if that doesn’t happen, I’m just going to search for Sloan Sabbith gifs and pretend this episode doesn’t exist.


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