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Fandom Manifesto: The Newsroom

Fandom: The Newsroom
Pairings: MacKenzie McHale/Will McAvoy, Maggie Jordan/Jim Harper, Sloan Sabbith/Don Keefer, Maggie Jordan/Don Keefer
Spoilers: Though I tried to stay spoiler-free for those who haven't watched it, all of season 1.



One last thing though before you embark on this fandom manifesto. If it makes you want to watch this show know this: I'm not to be held responsible for any loss of sleep that comes with it because once you start watching you just can't stop, it's always 'one more episode'. :D (long and gif heavy! You've been warned!)





First, I think that if you ever watched another Sorkin show, you won't need any reason to watch The Newsroom, really. Let's just leave it at it's Sorkin at his best. For those, who are unfamiliar with Aaron Sorkin and his shows (are you leaving under a rock?), here are a few reasons.

Blurb:
Reason #1: Aaron Sorkin
(at least, that was my #1 reason to watch it in the first place)




The Newsroom marks Sorkin return to TV. This return was so anticipated that I'm sure I'm not the only fan who squeed when I saw that he was doing a new show. His last tv-show was for the 2006-2007 season, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which sadly lasted only one season. Before that, he had two other successful shows, Sports Night and the critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning The West Wing (the show and pretty much everyone involved in one way or another got an award). And let's just say that The West Wing is one of the best shows on television ever.

So yes, every fan was waiting for a new show, hoping that it would turn out to be as good as The West Wing. When you start thinking like that, you ought to be disappointed. Not when it comes to Aaron Sorkin, though. When Aaron Sorkin is involved in a project (on TV or for a movie) you know it's going to be good. Sorkin does his research when he's writing something. And he does it well. (Which is probably one of the reasons why Studio 60 only lasted one season: it described a bit too well what really happens behind the scenes of such a show.) He proves it once more with The Newsroom. He knows what he's talking about, and just as he made politics sexy before, he makes journalism sexy now.




Reason #2: The Storylines and Dialogues
(that's why we're here for, right?)


"And you... sorority girl. Yeah, just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there are some things you should know, and one of them is that there is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're seventh in literacy, twenty-seventh in math, twenty-second in science, forty-ninth in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force, and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies. None of this is the fault of a 20-year-old college student, but you, nonetheless, are without a doubt, a member of the WORST-period-GENERATION-period-EVER-period, so when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don't know what the fuck you're talking about? Yosemite? We sure used to be. We stood up for what was right! We fought for moral reasons, we passed and struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were, and we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and cultivated the world's greatest artists and the world's greatest economy. We reached for the stars, and we acted like men. We aspired to intelligence; we didn't belittle it; it didn't make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn't scare so easy. And we were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore."
Will McAvoy – "We Just Decided To"


This show follows the making of a news show. Now, I have to say that I don't like watching the news of TV. But this is not only about the news, this is about the behind the scenes. And this is exactly what Aaron Sorkin did in his previous shows. But like I said, it's a bit about the news in themselves too. Sorkin had the brilliant idea to use REAL news we got these past couple of years. The first season spans from April 20th, 2010 to August 8th, 2011. Some episodes are set during a single day, some are set over several weeks/months. It all depends on the news. The first episode was about the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf, for example. Another, well, I can't really say as that would be spoiling, but you understand what another episode is going to be about because of its title. It shows how they construct a show around the news they get, and how sometimes, they have to 'throw out the rundown' because of something unexpected happening.

This quote above came from the series premiere, and as always with Sorkin, it's just a great piece of writing in itself. This is just one example of the formidable monologues and dialogues this guy writes. Because, yes, there's something else you need to know: Aaron Sorkin wrote every single episode of season one. He knows what he wants to do and where he wants to go, and he does it himself; he doesn't rely on someone else to write what he has in mind. Here's what he said once:

I create these shows so that I can write them. I'm not an empire builder. I'm not interested in just producing. All I want to do is write. I came up as a playwright—writing is something you do by yourself in a room. That said, I couldn't possibly write the show without that room full of people. I go in there, and we kick around ideas. I'm writing about all kinds of things I don't know anything about. So they do research for me.
Aaron Sorkin, Vanity Fair.


The dialogues are what makes a Sorkin show an amazing show. Let's be honest: when we watch one of his shows/movies, it's for the dialogues, mainly, right? We're looking for something well-written, and that we will enjoy immensely. Something that will push us to rewatch the show again and again. And trust me, you can't just watch these episodes once; you're going to watch them again and again. (if you watch a Sorkin show before, you know what I'm talking about)

This quote also marks the start of changes at 'News Night', the show within the show. Because of this rant, changes are made, unwanted changes at first, but we soon understand they were needed. They are finally making the news they had always dreamed about. They don't just report the news, they inform the viewers. They choose to do this, even though it makes them unpopular with some people, including in the parent company of Atlantis Cable News: Atlantis World Media. As Charlie Skinner put it once:

"The newsroom turned into a courtroom, Reese, because I made the decision that American voters need a fucking lawyer."
Charlie Skinner – "The 112th Congress"


Let's not forget one more thing. As always, Aaron Sorkin knows what he's talking about because he has done his research on this world. You want a proof? Margaret Judson, who's playing AP Tess Westin, was a research assistant Sorkin shadowed while he was researching for the show. She later auditioned and got the part in the show.

Reason #3: The Characters

(you're going to love them)





Will McAvoy. Anchor and Managing Editor of 'News Night'. Played by Jeff Daniels.


Prior to his outburst at Northwestern, Will McAvoy was affable. He didn't want to express opinions that might make him unpopular. For him, it was about the ratings and what the public thinks of him. And then comes Northwestern when he's asked the question and he gives the answer quote above. This moment is a turning point both for him and 'News Night'. After a two weeks vacation, he finds out that most of his staff have left for the news 10 o'clock program, and that Charlie has hired him a new executive producer, MacKenzie McHale, with whom he shares a past. After a difficult beginning, he realized that it's really his chance to do the news they used to dream about. Will also gives himself a couple of missions, like a 'mission to civilize' or to 'single-handedly fix the internet'. Because yeah, that can never go wrong. LOL


MacKenzie McHale. News Night's Executive Producer. Played by Emily Mortimer.


Mac comes back in the States after two years spent producing in war zones: Iraq, Afghanistan (but really Pakistan ). According to Charlie, line up 10 people and 8 of them will tell you that she's the best EP in the business and the other 2 will be stupid. And when you see what she and Will did in 'We Just Decided To', when he had nothing on the prompter, and she had everything in her head, you know it's true. She arrives in the newsroom, thinking that Will knew about her having been hired, but she quickly learns that he didn't. Let's add that Mac is slightly crazy (but so funny and so adorable!), and that when she wants to say something important, she'd usually start a phrase, and then just trail off because she has no idea what she wants to say anymore. Oh, and she counts on her fingers.


Charlie Skinner. Atlantis Cable News Division President. Played by Sam Waterston.


A friend of Will and Mac, he really had everything orchestrated from the start, because he wanted to watch the news and he realized that he was president of the News Division. He's an alcoholic, drunk most of the time, but that's part of his charm, really. He doesn't hesitate to protect them from AWM, even going as far as to lying to them in saying that everything was fine. He just wants them to do the best news possible. He sometimes references to his time as a war reporter to make his friends understand how things have to happen. Towards the end of the season, he's at the center of a large arc. (and you can't get it out of my mind that somehow, he's Amy and Rory's adopted son because come on: bowtie!!)


Jim Harper. News Night's Senior Producer. Played by John Gallagher Jr.


Jim is Mac's senior producer, whom she brings with her when she arrives at News Night. According to Mac, he always had a crush on her; according to him, he never did. He's clumsy (see gif for one example), he's an absolute disaster when it comes to flirting (or just talking sometimes) with women, but he does play guitar and sing. He defends anyone on the staff, from Will and Mac, to an associate producer, when he feels it is needed, even taking the responsibility sometimes. He's the one who got Will and Mac the story in 'We Just Decided To' thanks to his sources. And his full name is not James Tiberius Harper.


Maggie Jordan. Associate Producer of News Night. Played by Allison Pill.


Maggie is one of the rare staff members who decided to stay with Will after most of the staff left for the 10 o'clock. At that moment, she was Will's assistant (well, she started in the news room as an intern and was 'accidentally' promoted to Will's assistant when he though she actually was his assistant), and she stayed out of loyalty. Upon hearing this, Mac immediately promoted her to Associate Producer. She's a bit clumsy and she sometimes speaks too much. She makes mistakes, but she's also the one to uncover information at times.


Don Keefer. Executive Producer of the 10 o'clock. Played by Thomas Sadoski.


Don was the former Executive Producer of News Night and he decided to leave for the 10 o'clock with Elliot Hirsch after Northwestern. Mac was actually the one who offered him his first summer internship. Don starts off as a total jerk, but as the season continues, you discover that it's really just a way of protecting himself. He's unsure andhe doesn't often show what he's feeling, but when he does, you just want to hug him. So yeah, you start the first episode by just hating Don, and by the end of the season, you just love him.


Sloan Sabbith. Economist with a segment of News Night and a show on ACN. Played by Olivia Munn.


Sloan is an economist and a financial reporter. While she could earn more money if she was analyst, she decided to educate the public on economy. Mac decided to hire her for a five minute segment every night to talk, saying that she was the perfect combination of intelligence and good looks. The two quickly became friends. Sloan, while being really smart, is socially inept. She's also known to take things literally and thus, in the wrong way. She looks up to Will, follows his advices, and he sees her as a little sister.


Neal Sampat. Writer of Will's blog. Played by Dev Patel.


Neal writes Will's blog, and he's an aspiring journalist. He once explained that he was in one of trains during the bombing in the London Underground on July 7th 2005. When he couldn't contact his family, he chose to take videos of the events and he later sent them to a news station. This was when he realized he wanted to work in this world. As he wants to be an associate producer one day, he quite often pitches stories, some of them involving the Bigfoot. He's also one of a handful of staffers who stayed with Will instead of following Don and Elliott.


Leona Lansing. CEO of Atlantis World Media, parent company of ACN. Played by Jane Fonda.


While Leona isn't a main character, I had to put her there if only because it's Jane Fonda. Leona, being the CEO of the company, has to deal with the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, composed by some of the people Will and his staff had been attacking in News Night. Let's just say that she's not too happy about it, and threatens to fire Will if he continues on his way. She could be seen as an antagonist to the staff, but as she tells Charlie, she thinks the same as them, it's just that she needs the funds these people give AWM.


Reason #4: The Ships
(because yes, you're going to love them, and they'll break your heart)





Will McAvoy/MacKenzie McHale.


Will and Mac share a past, as I've mentioned before. And no, I won't say more about that, because it's better if you don't know before watching the show. That said, this gif I posted is the first time they saw each other in three years, you can see and feel the angst. It's quite easy for everyone watching the show that they still love each other, but that they're not quite there yet. Well, it's quite obvious to everyone in the show too. I think sometimes they are bigger shippers than we viewers are. Anyway, it's heartbreaking to watch Will and Mac, really, because they have so much angst, and you just want them to be happy. They offer us beautiful, angsty and sometimes funny, moments in season 1, up until the last few minutes of the season finale. They are the main ship for the show, and my experience with Sorkin predicts more angst and more lovely scenes in the seasons to come.


Jim Harper/Maggie Jordan.


At first, you can feel as if Jim and Maggie don't make any sense, because it started with Mac wanting Jim to flirt with Maggie so that she can get Don's help (yes, flirt, we already determined that Jim can't flirt). But then, as the episodes progress, it's really there. At one point, your only thought is 'what the hell are they waiting for?'. They had their moments of tension in season one, and I can see more coming for them. But still, they had cute moments too. You have to wonder where Sorkin is going to take them next. Oh and Mac ships them, of course.


Don Keefer/Sloan Sabbith.


These two just kill me. They crept on me slowly, unnoticed, until the season finale. And then, you go back and see that yes, it wasn't just in the season finale, it was there before. You watch them bicker, you just watch them interact and you have to fall for them. Between the socially inept woman and the guy everyone think is a bad guy, the chemistry is there, and the day it will explode, well, I pity the people who are going to be around (or envy them, I'm not so sure yet). Oh, and yes, Mac ships them too.


Don Keefer/Maggie Jordan.


The pairing I shouldn't ship because I ship the two pairings above, but I can't really help myself. They have an on-again, off-again relationship, and you know that eventually, they'll be doomed, because really, the intended ships are those above. But it's like a car crash, you just can't look away. And Don and Maggie just have their cute moments too, and you wonder if it can last, and sometimes, you say yes, and others, you know it won't. And well, they're the only canon couple for now, and I need to feed my shipper heart, ok? But annoyingly, I only found fics where they're a background, soon-to-be broke up, pairing.


And now, onto the fics, shall we?




Fic Rec #1: I'll be there for you
Author: Katycat1970
Pairing: MacKenzie McHale/Will McAvoy
Link: Here
Rating/Warning(s): G, minor character death

Why This Must Be Read: One of Will's sister dies and he's named guardian of his niece. This fic has all the angst it needs, and some happier feelings. Will and Mac's relationship progresses slowly as she's his anchor. The OC of Sophie, Will's niece, is just so adorable, and you just fall for her the moment you meet her. This is well written, they're in-character, and you just want more when you're done reading a chapter. This is a WIP, but it's updated quite regularly.




Fic Rec #2 I'm gonna give all my secrets away
Author: throwingpens
Pairings: Maggie Jordan/Jim Harper, Maggie Jordan/Don Keefer
Link: Here
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13

Why This Must Be Read: This fic is set during 'I'll try to fix you', when Maggie realizes that maybe she has more than a crush on him. It's a beautiful piece centered on Maggie who reflects on her relationship with Don, and her feelings for Jim. I really think that's what's going on in Maggie's head at this point.




Fic Rec #3: Bright Lights and Cityscapes
Author: Mrs. Elizabeth Gibbs
Pairings: Sloan Sabbith/Don Keefer, Maggie Jordan/Don Keefer (mentions of Maggie Jordan/Jim Harper)
Link: Here
Rating/Warning(s): PG

Why This Must Be Read: This is a cute little fic for Don/Sloan, set about a week after the season one finale. They're all in-character, and it's something I can see happening in the show (maybe not at the time the author placed it, but in the near future, yes). Don's characterization especially is quite perfect. Just for that, you have to read it, really.




Fic Rec #4: (featherlight) string theory
Author: shan14
Pairing: MacKenzie McHale/Will McAvoy
Link: Here
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13, AU

Why This Must Be Read: Five realities Will and Mac could have lived if she had never told him. That fic is just perfect. It explores all five possibilities beautifully, Mac and Will are spot-on. The possibilities are told in non-linear ways so be sure to follow the roman numerals to know which reality you're in. ;)




Fic Rec #5: Page Six
Author: iworkwithpens
Pairings: MacKenzie McHale/Will McAvoy (small mentions of Don/Maggie, Don/Sloan and Jim/Maggie)
Link: Here
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13

Why This Must Be Read: Mac and Will's relationship takes a new turn, and they're outed by the infamous Page Six. This is a cute little fic, with plenty of Will/Mac fluff, with also some humor true to the show. There's also quite a bit of friendship between Sloan and Mac, and Charlie, Mac and Will. The characters are well-written, and I suggest you check out iworkwithpens's other fics if you want more. And especially the sequel to this fic, Page Six Part Two.




Fic Rec #6: Punctuality
Author: herbalistic
Pairings: Sloan Sabbith/Don Keefer, Maggie Jordan/Don Keefer
Link:Here
Rating/Warning(s): R, language

Why This Must Be Read: herbalistic writes some of the best fics in this fandom, really. This is one example. This fic is just perfect, the characters are spot-on. It's just everything you want in a fic, really.




Fic Rec #7: Get Home Safe
Author: merusa
Pairings: Maggie Jordan/Jim Harper, Maggie Jordan/Don Keefer
Link: Here
Rating/Warning(s): R, sexual situations

Why This Must Be Read: I feel like I'm repeating myself in this manifesto, but this fic is gorgeous. It's centered on Maggie and her feelings, written before the season finale, just so you know. This character-study shows Maggie struggling with her feelings about the two men in her life. And really, this is what is going on in her head in the show: on one hand, she has a relationship with Don no matter how unstable it can be at times, and on the other hand, she has the possibility of something with Jim. She's quite lost.




Fic Rec #8: I don't want to start all over
Author: tocatchathief
Pairings: Sloan Sabbith/Don Keefer, Maggie Jordan/Don Keefer (mentions of Maggie Jordan/Jim Harper)
Link: Here
Rating/Warning(s): R (for later chapters)

Why This Must Be Read: First, this is a WIP and only chapter 1 has been posted, but really, you can even read it as a one-shot. This is a beautiful beginning showing Don being lost between two women. It also features the start of a Sloan&Jim friendship. tocatchathief's Don is quite perfect really, and you can see it all happening in the show. Set post-season finale.




Fic Rec #9: Only fools rush in
Author: starsofmorning
Pairing: MacKenzie McHale/Will McAvoy
Link: Here
Rating/Warning(s): PG

Why This Must Be Read: This fic, just this fic. Wow! It's a gorgeous, and oh so angsty piece about Will and Mac. This is something I can see happening in the show, and it really hurts. That fic is just amazing and perfect, that's all.




Fic Rec #10: Faster than my bullet
Author: cerie
Pairings: MacKenzie McHale/Will McAvoy (mentions of MacKenzie McHale/Brian Brenner)
Link: Here
Rating/Warning(s):PG-13

Why This Must Be Read: This fic is set pre-series, and it's just heartbreaking. You know what's going to happen, but you have to read it anyway. This is also the story about the New York Marathon that Will never finished. The characters are spot-on, it's a beautiful character-study for MacKenzie and how It happened. And you just want to hug Mac and never let go.




Bonus Fic Rec: A Glass Half Full, Half Empty
Author: shan14
Pairings: MacKenzie McHale/Will McAvoy, Maggie Jordan/Don Keefer, Maggie Jordan/Jim Harper, Sloan Sabbith/Don Keefer
Link: Here
Rating/Warning(s):PG-13

Why This Must Be Read: This is a bonus fic rec for two reason: 1) as you see, I didn't rec more than one stories per author, and this is the second for shan14, and 2) the ships are more mentioned than really present in this fic. This is the story of how Will ended up with two women in his bed (no, not like that, get your mind out of the gutter for a second there). It's funny and angsty, but there's alcohol involved and Sloan plans to take over the world, and yes the funny part wins.


That's all! One more thing though, go check out the other fics of these authors, they're worth it! ;)

Going now! Have fun! :D

Tags: fandom: newsroom, ship: mackenzie mchale/will mcavoy, ship: maggie jordan/don keefer, ship: maggie jordan/jim harper, ship: sloan sabbith/don keefer, special: manifesto
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