We’ve Come a Long Way: The Newsroom Thread

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I would sign up for a world run by Charlie and Leona. I HAVE A PROBLEM HERE OKAY.


Quick takes: Anyone NOT call Don being the purchaser of Sloan’s book, like five minutes into tonight if not last week entirely? Anyone NOT think it made the eventual end of that all the more awesome, nevertheless?

Will and Mack are engaged. Whatever. It was always gonna get there, the only thing that mattered was when.

Charlie and Leona and Leona and Reese. She wants so much for Reese to be a good guy, and you know what, I think he might get there, if only she’d stop expecting him to be. Jane Fonda should win all the Emmys in the universe for that performance, she really should. I may buy her exercise tapes.

You know who was never my favorite? Maggie. Don, too, but that changed about six eps in. Thomas Sadoski deserves all the awards for the way he sold that speech to Rebecca, for the way he has slowly, sweetly, authentically come around to loving the infuriating environment he used to be infuriated by. That started a while back, though, with him slowly slowly painfully starting to believe, just when it was all about to be taken away.

Maggie was never my favorite at all. Tonight, though, her arc ended with her learning what everybody learns sooner or later: Tough is getting up one more time than you get knocked down. Tough isn’t a bunch of lines on your resumé and it isn’t showing off your medals or even your scars. Tough isn’t a shelf of awards. Tough is coming in to work, each day, even though it might take you a fifth of vodka in the elevator to do it. Tough is going back into the building. Her arc ended with her, alone, working, being what she truly wanted to be. She didn’t want Don and she didn’t even really want Jim and she didn’t want a man. When we first saw her, she wanted to do the job. Tonight she got back up and did it.

Here’s the thing about spending all this time in a foxhole with somebody, with a bunch of somebodies. Here’s the thing about all that proximity. You hurt each other. You do things to each other you’d think were unimaginable and if you told anyone else (if you showed thousands of anyone elses on TV each week) they would think you were sociopaths if not just total assholes. You get up every day for a fight beside one another and eventually that turns into a fight with one another. It’s a law of nature. You get so used to throwing punches. You stop noticing where they land.

And after months of it, after years, after two years, four, you’ve gone a thousand rounds. You’ve cut all your hair off. You’ve lied and betrayed and played jokes that completely weren’t, you’ve punched a guy in arbitrage and yelled and called each other names. This fight has gone on long, long after somebody should have stopped it. And you’re so hurt and you’re so exhausted and you’re just staggering around the ring, trying to stay off the canvas.

That’s what I thought of when I saw Jim and Lisa and Maggie and Don and Sloan and Mack and Will and Leona and Charlie. Bloodied, beaten, bruised from neck to knees, just trying to stay upright, just doing everything they can to keep lasting through it. They’ve all done these unspeakable things to each other over and over and it’s all beyond apology, beyond explanation. They’ve all hurt each other so much. They’re all so tired.

In the end the only way to stay up is to lean on each other. You ever see two heavyweights at the end of a long fight? In each other’s arms, taking each other’s weight, still landing blows? Holding each other up. The punches still hurt. Would the fall hurt more? You’ve been fighting forever, and the fight is what keeps you alive, and your opponent, your sparring partner, is the only other one in the ring with you. The only one who understands how hard this is, and how exhausted you are, and how you have to keep going.

You lean on each other and you stay standing. You do that, doesn’t really matter who takes home the purse. You do that, you win.

A.

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