Aaron Sorkin, creator behind HBO’s THE NEWSROOM, was interviewed on National Public Radio the other day. He briefly talked with Terry Gross on his show Fresh Air.
Sorkin’s latest work is either a “love it or hate it” type of show that has been criticized as a preachy soapbox for his views and a sensationalized depiction of newsroom journalism. What follows are quotes that explain his approach to THE NEWSROOM a little better.
Aaron Sorkin states that he show is a fantasy. He says “I like writing about heroes that don’t wear capes and disguises. Gee, this looks like the real world and feels like the real world — why can’t that be the real world?”
Somewhat discrediting a political agenda he stated, “I think that the critics and the audience who are reacting as hostilely to the show as they are, part of the reason is because they think that I’m showing off an intellect and an erudition that I don’t have. I’m not pretending to have it. I know that I don’t have it. I phonetically create the sound of smart people talking to each other. I’m not one of them. The characters I create would have no use for me.”
And finally, here is his reasoning for the timeline used in the show. He said, “I realized I could set the show in the recent past. My big worry was making up the news — writing fictional news — because it was just going to take us too far away from reality. … But [setting the show in the recent past] became the gift that kept on giving because you have the fun of the audience knowing more than the characters. … I know that this device has bothered some people who think that I’m leveraging hindsight into a way to make my characters stronger. That wasn’t the idea.”
So, there is an admittance here that Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, is not intended to be a average real individual but a superhero of sorts. He is an idealized persona championing the cause of truth and justice. Also there is the admittance of amplifying the characters to a level that borders on not being real but keeping them grounded enough to keep them realistic.
Clearly, sounds like he is defending his effort. But, does he need to do so? What is your take based upon this short interview? Has your views changed about THE NEWSROOM now that a few episodes have aired? HBOWatch is curious for your thoughts.