Last week I argued that Big Brother — a reality TV show that puts a house full of attractive sociopaths and egomaniacs (and for added fun this year, racists) together and documents their lives 24/7 —is a much smarter show than Aaron Sorkin's drama The Newsroom. Last night on Big Brother, the contestants binge-gorged on frozen yogurt in a competition to see who could gain weight the fastest. I still very much stand by my argument.
As disgusting as last night's Big Brother was, it didn't turn my stomach nearly as much as the continually awful Newsroom did. At one point in the episode, we are supposed to believe that ACN employees are watching old 9/11 coverage with a heavy heart, but not because of the reminders of the tragedy that unfolded that day. No, the real tragedy here is that Will McAvoy (I don't like disliking Jeff Daniels any more than you do) wouldn't be allowed to cover the 10-year anniversary footage because he's been in trouble at work. That on his first day on the job (yes, really, his first day was on September 11, 2001), he was a brave and noble anchor, and what a great loss it is that he can't do this anniversary report!
While that plot was emotional manipulation of the highest calibre, the Maggie YouTube meltdown was in a league of utterly offensive insanity of its own. Maggie, who has already spent the majority of her time on this show as a perpetual deer-in-highlights who makes one mistake after another, only continues to be punished on this show.
Maggie (poor, poor Alison Pill) was taken to an embarrassing new low on Sunday's ep when she chased down the Sex and the City fanfic blogger (are we to seriously believe that would be a thing in 2011?) who put up said incriminating YouTube video and begged her to take it down. She did this by stalking her on FourSquare, doing the mental math of how long it takes to do laundry calculated by a train ride to Astoria, and enduring yet another manic pixie nightmare.
Ultimately, the video was not taken down by the evil blogger (you know how Sorkin feels about those evil bloggers) and Maggie's personal life continue to spiral because of her unhinged lady actions. ("It was all me," she admitted at one point in the episode.) Will gets to be immortalized as a saint for his 9/11 coverage, but Maggie's legacy will apparently be as a YouTube sinner.
But Maggie wasn't the only punching bag in last night's episode. Sex and the City, which has been off the air for a full nine years now, was also the brunt of scrutiny and mockery. Timely! Never mind that The Newsroom's "two ring goes to voicemail" rule sounds like something lifted directly out of SATC, Will was annoyed about a colleague's wife's Carrie Bradshaw-inspired walk-in closet ("Women and closets!" he exhaled, with disdain, because women be shoppin') and a SATC tour has been the root of a woman's downfall. Jeez. Where's the HBO family love?
Perhaps Sorkin didn't like or get Sex and the City or its devoted female fanbase, and, oh no — what if their periods all sync up when they watch it? But when Sloan (Olivia Munn) admits, with shame in her voice, that her favorite character on the show was Charlotte, maybe there's something else entirely at the core of the SATC bashing: Sorkin's ex-girlfriend Kristin Davis. If you'll recall, the two briefly dated for a few months back in 2012.
Now, if The Newsroom bangs one drum repeatedly, it's that women are stupid (at one point in the ep, Will urged his ex MacKenzie to "use your words") and make terrible mistakes for which they must often pay. Case in point: Maggie, and now, possibly, Kristin Davis? I'd really like to think this was just a simple coincidence, but why pick out Charlotte specifically?
But, hey, don't worry, Maggie/Kristin/Charlotte/women everywhere annoyed with The Newsroom. I'm pretty sure in the television pantheon, Sex and the City will get the last laugh.