The Newsroom Briefing: We Got Em

“5/1” took place on May 1st, 2011.

I had forgotten the significance of the date 5/1. There are many dates we all have in mind: birthdays, anniversaries, Super Bowl victories, holidays, and dates of historical importance. I had forgotten that 5/1 was the follow up to 9/11. It’s the date Osama Bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces.

“5/1” began with a Charlie taking a mysterious call from someone who informed him that he’d be getting an email from the White House press secretary in an hour and a half. That someone didn’t identify himself, but right on que, Charlie got that email. Charlie, along with the rest of the “News Night” staff was at a party at Will’s apartment. They were celebrating the one year anniversary of “News Night 2.0.” Although we’re only seven episodes into the series, a year has passed. Mackenzie is still the EP, Will’s still busting balls for an hour a night, and relationships are continuing to progress.

Right now, there are two shifting plot lines on the show. There’s the Love Front, which covers the Will-Mackenzie struggle and the Jim-Maggie-Don love triangle. There’s also the Corporate Cold War, which deals with the political games News Night and network CEO Leona Lansing are engaging in. There were minor developments on each front tonight. Don is over-analyzing every aspect of his relationship with Maggie out of paranoia, Maggie continues to hide her feelings for Jim, and Jim keeps pursuing Lisa, because he’s not the homewrecker type.

Near the end of the episode, Charlie got a call from that someone again. He revealed that he works with the NSA, and has been tracking ilegal electronic monitoring within the network. Could Lansing be tracking Will to try and find a smoking gun to fire him? We’ll see.

Although “5/1” dealt with the most important news story since 9/11, this episode was by far the driest. Reliving coverage of important news events with The Newsroom has proved to be less than exciting. Were it not for the strong characters Sorkin has crafted, the show would be more of a dud than advertised. “5/1” didn’t get entertainment points, but it certainly got nostalgia credits.

I can remember where I was for only a few specific events in recent memory, and all of those memories start with 9/11. In fact, I can only remember a few things prior to 9/11. It’s like that when my adult consciousness began. During 9/11, I was in elementary school gym class, and a school nurse came out and whispered something in my gym teacher’s ear. She shrieked, started sobbing uncontrollably, and ran into the building. That was the first and last day she was our gym teacher. I always assumed she knew someone in the towers. I was only in 3rd grade, and it’s taken many years to fully understand what happened. I don’t have any emotions registered from 9/11, since I was so young, and so naive to the severity of everything.

I remembered where I was on 5/1 too. I was in my kitchen, and I stood the whole time. I remember thinking, “Oh cool,” but nothing more than that. In many ways, my generation will deal with the aftermath of 9/11. In US history class, we always analyzed the economic, political, and social ramifications of watershed event. I can only imagine what students will draw from 9/11 decades from now. We’ll probably go down in history as the first post-9/11 generation to emerge. We were old enough to remember, but young enough to not feel the tragedy, unless a close family member or friend was lost. Seeing an actors portrayal of how people reacted on 5/1 was weird. Men shook hands and hugged, adults cheered, and everyone had a look of relief on their faces. Charlie told everyone to “take three seconds” and remember where they were on 5/1.

“5/1” was an episode of emotional remembrance. Everyone knows someone who was affected by 9/11. We all have different degrees of separation to that point, but we all know a victim.

Follow Justin on Twitter @jblock49

Notebook dump: Why did that wrinkle of Will being high while broadcasting the news have to be added in? Kind of random. For someone who ate two weed cookies, he was pretty responsive. That was more unrealistic than Jim’s girlfriend having the foresight to break up with him before Jim did with her. What girl gets into a man’s head like that and does that?

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