Thursday, April 25, 2024

Jane Fonda Rocks HBO’s “The Newsroom” As Show Attacks Tea Party


Wow. What a night on “The Newsroom.” The Aaron Sorkin drama showed its third episode tonight, called “The 112th Congress.” Two time Oscar winner Jane Fonda joined the cast as Leona Lansing, the billionaire owner of the network. Fonda didn’t say a word for nearly 50 minutes, and then had an Emmy winning scene with Sam Waterston that peeled the paint right off the walls. Watch it. This was a lesson in acting that should not be missed. Fonda returns for one more episode this season, but Aaron Sorkin told me at the show’s New York premiere he’d like to write her into every show next season. If that works out, “The Newsroom” will really be wild. Leona Lansing is no knee jerk liberal. She’s Rupert Murdoch in a Chanel suit. Tread lightly.

Otherwise, the third episode of “The Newsroom” was talky but made several points. It also established itself has the most liberally biased TV show in history. Sorkin and gang re-created or invented interviews with members of the Tea Party, and went after them like it was a surgical military attack. There’s no question that they’ve built “The Newsroom” for the already converted as the anti-Fox News show. You’re either with it or against it. The real triumph of it is that it’s never boring. Just when you think “The Newsroom” is about to become pedantic, Sorkin lifts it up. This was the best episode by far.

Jeff Daniels, Allison Pill, John Gallagher Jr and Tom Sadoski, and this week David Harbour–all doing great jobs. But I really love Emily Mortimer as Mackenzie, the executive producer of “NewsNight.” It’s too bad “The Newsroom” is too late for the Emmy Awards this year. Mortimer should score a Golden Globe. She’s just wonderful, you can’t take your eyes off of her. She’s handling drama and comedy, keeping the relationship stuff from seeming silly. Bravo. And Jane Fonda– I’m telling you, her speech comes late in the show, but it was scarier and more realistic than anything “real” that was being discussed in the news section of the show. Wow.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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