There’s Hope for The Newsroom

I write this with more than a little trepidation, but there may be hope for The Newsroom.

Aaron Sorkin’s scorched HBO drama about a cable news network launched its second season last night, and it sucked less than did Season 1. Though most of the characters continue to be insufferable, pontificating bores, the plotlines show some promise.

The season opens with ANC star anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) attempting to explain to the network’s $1,500-an-hour litigator, played by guest star Marcia Gay Harden, how he and his team screwed the pooch with their report about American troops using poison gas in Afghanistan.
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Got $40k? There’s a TV in Ardmore Calling Your Name

If the bald eagles weren’t enough to prove that Philly is the heart of America, this big ‘ol TV ought to do it. Few things are more ‘Merica than a giant entertainment system, and this one, located at World Wide Stereo in Ardmore, is the most giant of them all. Standing at an pupil-dilating 84″ across, Samsung’s S9 Ultra HD television is limited to a 250-piece run and has tech guys all in a tizzy. But at $40,000, it ain’t cheap—not like, say, a projector, which cost around $1000 and can project a 100-inch screen on any flat service large enough for it. Samsung’s TV is, however, cool, and that goes a long way. Or, at least, that’s what they seem to be hoping.

WATCH: Kate Gosselin and Kendra Wilkinson on Celebrity Wife Swap

Oh yeah, the whole episode!

It’s been awhile since there’s been much reason to talk about Pennsylvania nate Kate Gosselin, or Kendra Wilkinson after her husband left the Eagles. But in last night’s episode of Celebrity Wife Swap, they traded lives. Given that Gosselin is famous for, you know, having eight kids, you can probably guess how Wilkinson fared with the “swap.” Or can you? (Yes, yes you can.) This is Bad TV at its Bad TViest.

Snooki Sells Her “Historic” Escalade on eBay

Honestly, we want only good things for Snooki as long as she stays off our damned TVs. So we hope it’s good news that she sold her Cadillac Escalade for $77,000. “The Jersey Shore star put her custom 2011 Cadillac Escalade up for auction on eBay, citing it as “the actual car that she has driven in many of her television appearaces… this is not a vehicle that you can buy every day, it is an opportunity to own a piece of pop culture history!” The car, which has custom wheels, ambient lighting and Snooki’s autograph on the hood, was originally listed at $20,000.” [MyFoxPhilly]

Five Reasons Downton Abbey’s Third Season Is a Failure

It was while watching the previews for next week’s episode of Downton Abbey that a familiar feeling scratched the back of my head. That estate, with all of the beautiful scheming people, it seemed familiar. And then I realize: Update the show by about 60 years, transplant the abbey to Texas, and change the accents, what you have is a much classier version of Dallas. Read more »

So, Everybody Hated Lance Armstrong’s Apology

The reviews are in, folks. Lance Armstrong apparently pulled off the superhuman feat of making himself look worse than ever last night during the first half of his Oprah rehab.

The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson argued that Lance did not comprehend, much less apologize for, the damage he inflicted on others.

Armstrong failed, despite Oprah’s best efforts, to convey any real understanding of the most troubling complaints against him—the ones involving other people: that he induced, bullied, and required other riders to dope along with him; and that he set out to destroy people who told the truth about him.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, John Kador was irked that Armstrong didn’t properly say “I’m sorry.”

For the most part, what Armstrong offered Thursday night was a more or less contrite explanation of his difficulties, than a heartfelt public apology. He displayed some self-awareness, expressed considerable regret, and agreed that he acted like a bully, but Armstrong used specific remorse language only once.

Over at Slate, William Saletan maintains that Armstrong flat-out lied, contradicting accusations in the USADA report that he pressured teammates into doping.

That seems to be the game plan Armstrong brought to this interview. Downplay your power over others. Deny issuing explicit orders to dope. Convert any such story into a matter of setting a poor example.  Take responsibility for yourself, but suggest that others—those who claim you pressured them—must do the same. Recast your threats, retributions, and demands for silence as products of a hard life. Reduce your sins of coercion to a sin of deceit.

Across the pond, where people actually follow cycling, the Daily Mirror accused Lance of “boast[ing] about what a great liar he was and justify[ing] doping in sport as being no different to putting air in his tyres.”

And at New York magazine, Margaret Hartmann and Caroline Shin get on Lance’s case for not seeming to mean it.

More troublingly, he seemed somewhat removed from his own story, appeared to have trouble empathizing with those he lied to, and admitted to feeling no moral compunctions when he was still doping.

One question lingers for me after reading all this: Why are we so desperate for him to feel moral compunctions at all? Shouldn’t we make judgments about the guy based on what he did, rather than what he thinks about what he did?

 

VIDEO: Revolution Fall Finale Brings Battle of Good and Evil to Philadelphia Tonight

If you’ve been watching NBC’s so-bad-it’s-kinda-good-but-mostly-it’s-bad show Revolution, you know that the action is increasingly centered in a post-apocalyptic Philadelphia, where tonight’s “fall finale” will bring about the much-hoped-for battle between Good and Evil. The show takes place 15 years after electricity stopped working across the planet, ending civilization as we know it. Philadelphia is the capital of the “Monroe Republic,” which is led by the evil Sebastian Monroe, who doesn’t have a twirly evil mustache, but really should. He makes his headquarters at Independence Hall, and generally gives orders to torture and murder people. Tonight, he’ll face off against his former henchman-turned-reluctant-rebel leader Han Solo Miles Matheson, who spent last week’s episode leading his ragtag team into the city—past the 30-foot-walls that surround Future Philadelphia, lined with machine guns—via the deadly and fear-inspiring Broad Street line apparently. (Some things don’t change, even in the apocalypse.) Presumably, Matheson and Monroe will have a sword fight that will end inconclusively—there’s a second half to the season, after all—but hopefully it will feature other Philadelphia landmarks. Maybe they could have a running battle through the Italian Market that comes to its conclusion on the steps of the Art Museum? Or has that been done before? [Cinema Blend]

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