Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) is having trouble sleeping. There’s been a death threat, Sloan Sabbith (Olivia Munn) had a tough time on air, and Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer) continues to exist. Stories being covered include the Fukushima reactor problems in Japan and Rick Santorum’s entrance into the Republican Primary. To take care of the sleeping, he goes to see his old therapist—after some missed sessions—who delves into some of these issues. The love triangle of Jim-Maggie-Don is put on a kind of hold for this episode (relegated to about 60 seconds of screen-time).
I called it wrong. I expected the series to follow a chess-like regularity of one move per week on the corporation vs. Will McAvoy front. This episode, at least on its face, is not concerned with that fight. Instead, if you can tie it to a macro-level, this episode is about how far a journalist/broadcaster can go. The greatest flaw of modern broadcast news is that those involved dedicate so little time to individual segments that an interviewer basically has to let every piece of spin go right by them. But as Will says, “They’re not on plugging a movie, you’re not Jimmy Kimmel.” On the other hand, it’s easy to make that other person an abstraction and forget that they’re people.
I have a question about this time allocation business. The fictional network, ACN, and Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN are all twenty-four hour news channels. Why can’t they just wing it sometimes and let a discussion go longer or cut it short when it isn’t working? I have a similar thought with The Daily Show. Make the show an “hour” and actually do an interview. But Fox News is all in the same studio, right? “Chris’s interview is going well, let’s push into our four o’clock and cut the bit on Kristen Stewart.” But they don’t do that. I fear it has to do with advertisers.
As for Episode 6, “Bullies,” we’ve got another great show but not a big part of an overall story. That’s fine for a viewer like me that is interested in watching every episode Aaron Sorkin feels like writing, but I worry that those who are less dedicated may not stick with it. Not because they’ve decreased in quality, but most success seems to depend on cliffhangers with premium cable and this episode has no cliffhanger. Then again, I plug my ears so I can’t hear what’s coming next week, so some may be teased into returning. I hope so, this is a great show.
I do like that the Sloan character is more present in this episode (and presumably further episodes). At first I expected that she would be there for someone quirky to talk to. That said, her first moment in the bright lights is on a non-economic news story. Hopefully, she’ll be there for more and better explanations of economic events ongoing Euro crisis. The Daily Show can help only so much.