From Facts to Fights. HBO's The Newsroom Driven by Relationship Drama

Season one of the newsroom introduced us to the bold and opinionated anchor Will McAvoy and his new team as they attempted to bring back credibility and truth in the news they produce all while simultaneously frequently fighting with one another. The social conflicts among the characters usually take quite a forefront in the plot. Sometimes this almost distracts from everything else in the show. We forget about the content and the actual political and cultural contexts of the stories News night covers when the relationship drama takes over.


 When this drama is not dominating the screen however, a rewarding aspect is that the real life stories featured take us back to these events and help us remember important details. We see the event unfold as it is new in the context of the episode. We as viewers may know what comes next because we lived through it, but the characters are reporting in real time and do not. This creates an interesting new understanding of the event to see how the media takes a story and works with it to produce a show. We have to hand it to Sorkin for once again taking the formula that we have come to expect and love from him to produce yet another gem. It features a top notch cast, stellar writing and direction, and also many relevant themes related to the media and life in the United states circa the digital age.  

Show writer and creator Aaron Sorkin, who's similar credits include The West Wing and The Social Network, balances the facts of actual real life news stories with the trademark character drama prevalent in his other works, featuring very dense intellectual dialog.  As Will and the team gather information, track sources, and proceed with reporting stories, relationship drama among key characters takes center stage as a huge aspect of the plot. These people shout at each other and have fights unrelated to the stories, thus disrupting the actual work at the office quite a bit. They bring up relationship issues in the middle of crucial team meetings and say clearly inappropriate things. Characters like Will and Charlie behave recklessly towards the corporate heads and bite the hand that feeds so to speak on more than one occasion.  It makes one wonder how none of these characters ever seem to get fired despite acting so unprofessionally so often. At the end of the day, they are however still able to put everything together and produce a good effort. But now, to discuss that juicy character drama that will draw a lot of predictions for the new coming season!


Will and Mac's history creates a power battle between the two. They bicker like an old married couple. There are a lot of unresolved feelings in the relationship. They both clearly show signs here and there that they desire reconciliation, but continue to fight. While they may be arguing over details in a report, what they're really arguing about it obvious. Mac mainly conflicts back in defense of Will's continual outward displays of resentment towards her for cheating on him four years earlier. They have hit a plateau where they are able to work together, and do so well, while essentially agreeing that they can disagree. At least for now more or less. But with the new season about to begin, will these two finally be able to possibly get back together? In the various moments in season one where we saw Will and Mac work well together and behave more like they used to when they were a couple, we can see that they really are right for each other. They're really a great team. They work so well when they put aside their differences and drop their guard. The most rewarding moments have been when Will has dropped his guard and was able to admit that he still has feelings. He is even intellectually aware that he should forgive Mac. He is unaware though as to why he can't simply cannot bring himself to do so. If Will can at least forgive her, this will be a major breakthrough for his character in the new season.


An even bigger amount of drama centers around the complicated situation with Don, Maggie, Jim, Sloan, and Lisa. This love pentagon has drawn internet discussion and debate where teams have been created similar to that of the ones created in response to the twilight movies. There's team Jim/Maggie vs Don/Maggie and so on. Maggie cannot seem to make up her mind. She has feelings for both Don and Jim but ultimately stays with Don. Jim likes Maggie's roommate Lisa, who likes him, but not as much as he likes Maggie. Sloan has come forward to Don with feelings for him. It's really up in the air for season two with Jim following the campaign and Maggie and Don continuing to live together. The season one finale hinted at a possible future for Jim and Maggie with the kiss, but it's not looking great. Poor socially inept Sloan might just have to wait for Don to make a decision.  The tension is all around. All five of these characters overall suffer from indecision and confusing and poisonous relationships.

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These characters all contribute their various strengths and work very well together to produce the reports, and yet having successful relationships seems to be their biggest weakness and challenge. They can handle reporting on difficult topics and putting valuable information together and have the smarts essentially. Just seems like they're heart- stupid!   

The second season is stated to premier on July 14th. Some recent real life events to be included among the new stories are the Occupy movement and the Trayvon Martin case. It will be exciting to see the team jump right back in to what they do best: Reporting the news and fighting with each other constantly along the way. The relationship drama will continue with the pentagon and Will and Mac. With the great performances of the cast and Sorkin's adept writing, season two should shape up to be even more ambitious than the first.