Last episode I had the opportunity to interview Hope Hanafin, the costume designer on shows like 500 Days of Summer, The Newsroom, and Thank You for Your Service. Normally I do the commentary at the end of each interview, but the interview with Hope ran longer than usual.
Hope shared a lot of great insights, so rather than try to cut down the interview’s length, I decided to do my commentary on a separate episode. It would also give me the opportunity to think more about Aaron Sorkin’s work and to delve more deeply into The Newsroom, which I watched all the way through for the first time in preparation for the interview.
While The Newsroom came out in 2012, it still feels relevant in today’s political landscape. It dares to imagine what the news could be like if more of its practitioners were focused on telling the truth, and not merely entertaining for the sake of ratings or succumbing to the pitfalls of partisan politics.
It’s a big vision, but does the show live up to its potential and its own ideals? What if anything can we take away from the show as we try to navigate the often polarizing waters of today’s current events?
That’s what I set to examine in my commentary. The Newsroom involves a number of political discussions, so I couldn’t see a way to thoughtfully discuss the show without touching on its political outlook. My podcast is not primarily a political one, but I do believe it is important to address challenging issues on occasion, even if they do touch on politics.
I understand that politics can be polarizing, so I was hesitant to dive in, but the stakes felt substantial enough, and just because certain terrain is tricky to navigate doesn’t mean we should avoid it entirely. On the contrary, it can be important to engage and to do so in a civil way. Otherwise only the most belligerent and extreme voices will be heard.
My perspectives might be a little different than how you see things or what you might expect based on other film and TV commentaries, but they are earnestly offered. Regardless of where you fall in the political spectrum, I’m hoping that you’ll consider my outlook and that we can continue the conversation in a thoughtful and considerate way.
Let’s work together to make things better, shall we?
The Newsroom includes ongoing references to Man of La Mancha, a musical that has also meant something to me over the years. I discuss it in the commentary and briefly mention it in my prior discussion with Steve Kaplan, Hollywood’s go-to comedy consultant. Check out the interview with him below to get a better sense of how comedy works and why it matters.
Show notes for that episode are here:
Sponsor for this Episode
- The interview with Hope
- Hope’s website
- MSNBC edits town hall footage
- NBC edits George Zimmerman call
- Occupy protests cost millions
- Origin of the Tea Party
- My interview on NOLA FilmCast, where we discuss On the Waterfront
- I enjoyed Thank You for Your Service, but I didn’t end up discussing it in this episode. In context of Mary Gauthier’s veteran-minded album, I shared some of my thoughts about the film over here.
Music for the show provided by Rob Costlow
Films & Shows Mentioned
- 500 Days of Summer
- I, Tonya
- Man of La Mancha
- Molly’s Game
- The Newsroom
- On the Waterfront
- The Post
- Thank You For Your Service
- Elia Kazan: A Life
- Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials
If You Liked the Show
- Say hello on Twitter: @nsavidesPRO
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