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‘We’re Trying To Do The News!!’ Hercules Is Beguiled By The Year’s First Four Episodes Of Aaron Sorkin’s Much-Improved HBO Dramedy THE NEWSROOM!

Published at: July 14, 2013, 12:55 a.m. CST

I am – Hercules!!

The Newsroom 2.1 FAQ

What’s it called?
“First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers.”

Who’s responsible?
Teleplay is credited to series mastermind Aaron Sorkin.

What says HBO?
“Will (Jeff Daniels) and the ‘News Night’ staff are questioned by their lawyer about a story they’ve aired that’s become a network crisis. An on-air remark by Will has him pulled from 9/11 anniversary coverage. Jim (John Gallagher, Jr.) volunteers to cover for an embed reporter on the Romney campaign and Neal (Dev Patel) investigates the beginnings of Occupy Wall Street.”

So the season obviously starts shortly before Sept. 11, 2011? Has Pawlenty pulled out of the race yet?
Yes. Pawlenty quit Aug. 14. This season actually starts, I believe, in 2012. Then skips back to 2011 (still subsequent to Pawlenty’s withdrawal), when Maggie looked like Maggie.

Does the season start with Will chewing out another college student?
The season begins with Will giving a deposition in a conference room. It’s the kind of thing we saw a lot of in Sorkin’s acclaimed “The Social Network.” Marcia Gay Harden guest stars.

Is the college student even around this season?
She is!

Is Will pulled from the 9/11 anniversary because he called the Tea Party the American Taliban?
Essentially. Even though, as Will points out, it was Al Qaeda and not the Taliban who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

What story evolves into a network crisis?
“Genoa.”

Is the story about the Italian municipality or its famous meat products?
It’s a code name. It has nothing to do with salami or Italy.

Does Jim volunteer to be embedded with Mitt Romney because he finds it too painful to be around Maggie Jordan?
Yes.

Does Neal uncover anything interesting about Occupy Wall Street?
There’s a pretty redhead named Shelly Wexler who belongs to no drum circle. She’s kind of interesting.

What’s doing with Sloan Sabbith?
She’s doing some non-financial anchoring. And she’s been unanimously elected commissioner.

Commissioner of the Gotham City?
That would be telling.

What of Maggie’s hot roommate Lisa?
Namechecked but absent from 2.1. (She appears in the flesh in 2.2 to facilitate what I believe could be one of the best scenes Aaron Sorkin has ever written.)

The big news?
There’s a whole new title sequence. We’re now looking at trains and clocks and computer screens instead of CBS broadcast icons Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite.

What else is HBO not telling us?
Maggie is sporting a very different look this season, but we won’t quite find out why until 2.4.

What’s good?
The speed with which things are moving along. Sloan. Maggie. The OWS girl. Hamish Linklater as Jerry Dantana, who fills in for Jim. (If memory serves, a young Linklater shared some key scenes with a young Constance Zimmer in ABC’s 2001 pilot of “Gideon’s Crossing.” The fabulous Zimmer joins the “Newsroom” cast in 2.3. Small world!) “I make nerds look good.” “I’m not crazy about that either.” “It’s a blank piece of paper.” “We’re trying to do the news.”

What’s not so good?
Still not a lot of pay-cable nudity for an HBO series. (None, actually. But. If you hang around till 2.4 you get to see Constance Zimmer cavort in wet swimwear. Constance Zimmer looks amazing. Hopefully Netflix will get her naked in “House of Cards” next spring.)

How does it end, spoiler boy?
With Will and young Maggie together on the floor.

10 p.m. Sunday. HBO.

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