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On The Tube

June 21, 2012
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By Dean Robbins

Aaron Sorkin screws up TV journalism in ‘The Newsroom’

In Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” (Sunday, 9 p.m., HBO), complacent TV anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) rediscovers his inner Edward R. Murrow with the help of passionate new producer (and old flame) MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer). All the Sorkin trademarks are here, familiar from “The West Wing” including smart dialogue, prickly professionals immersed in their high-powered jobs, even the long tracking shots as characters barrel down a hallway in mid-conversation.

What’s missing is the Sorkin magic. Those prickly professionals are meant to be ultimately likable, but so far Will is too overbearing and MacKenzie too cutesy. That smart dialogue is showoffy this time around, with groan-inducing references to “The Merchant of Venice” and “Don Quixote.”

And Sorkin doesn’t convince us that he really knows this setting. The people stand around the newsroom making bogus patriotic speeches: “There’s nothing more important in a democracy than a well-informed electorate!” MacKenzie tells Will.

In a presidential election year, who needs more bogus patriotic speeches?

‘Miss Advised’

Monday, 9 p.m. (Bravo)

Bravo’s new reality series rolls out yet another group of shameless narcissists. It introduces us to three single relationship experts: matchmaker Amy, radio host Emily and columnist Julia. Each one offers the public a strict set of romantic rules but – are you ready for the high concept? – doesn’t take her own advice.

As a critic with high standards, I suggest that you spend your time on a TV show with more socially redeeming value. But I doubt if I’ll take my own advice. “Miss Advised” is a trashy good time. CV

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