Emily Mortimer in HBO's The Newsroom
Emily Mortimer in HBO's The Newsroom

The internet is abuzz with buzz for the buzzy Aaron Sorkin HBO joint, The Newsroom. The series, which follows Atlantis Cable News’ smuggest nightly news program, Newsnight, returns for its second season on July 14th. For the uninitiated, Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) goes on an angry straight white male spiel and his ratings tank. When he comes back, his ex-girlfriend Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) has become his executive producer — awkward! The show takes place in the recent past, recounting news stories we all know and love already had mercilessly beaten into our brains by real-life, real-time news organisations, with all the smarm that hindsight provides.

The season two trailer takes a different tack by not showing us any of the presumably damningly grating footage from the actual season and instead has all the characters in a desert for some reason. Wires & Lights was fortunate enough to happen upon one of Sorkin’s abandoned scripts in which this desert setting was the location for the season two premiere. I think he may have half-assed this one.

[youtube width=”555″ height=”312″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJNBqKeG20Y[/youtube]

EXT. DESERT — DAY

Will McAvoy sits at his desk, an oasis in the arid desert of things I (AARON SORKIN) do not like. His papers are blowing way.

WILL

Maggie! Why did you put that wind machine there? I feel like I’m [musical theatre character] in [Sondheim musical – fill these in later].

MAGGIE

Ohhhhhhh my god I’m so sorry sorry sorry it won’t happen again have I told you how much I love working here? I’m just a single gal in New York trying to have it all and I’m so sorry it won’t happen again.

WILL

Okay, calm down, [Sondheim character – fill this in later]. It’s not that a big a deal.

Maggie scrounges on the ground picking up the pieces of paper, accidentally disturbing a nest of scorpions.

MAGGIE

Scorpions?! It’s like my childhood best friend’s Bat Mitzvah all over again.

WILL sighs and stands up, walking away from his desk. He doesn’t have time for these things. His chair spins a few times symbolising the 24 hour news cycle or something. WILL staring at a cactus and discovers his twin brother BILL MCAVOY, canoodling with MACKENZIE.

WILL

You’re really quite something, Bill.

MACKENZIE

Don’t get jealous, Will.

Mackenzie receives a text message, pulls out her phone and suddenly a bomb explodes on the horizon.

WILL

Did you put that there?

BILL

I didn’t put it there.

WILL

MAGGIE! DID YOU PUT THAT THERE?

MAGGIE (O.S)

YOU TOLD ME TO PUT IT THERE!

MACKENZIE

Why did you tell her to put it there?!

WILL

Because! If we’re gonna broadcast from the middle of the desert, may as well give it the people some pizzazz. Because as we all know, everyone in the world is too stupid to pay attention to anything for longer than thirty seconds without an explosion. I’m speaking truth to stupid.

MACKENZIE

Why was it linked to my phone, then, Will?!

WILL

I don’t know! You’re just technologically inept just like Marin Blorkin, that new cameraman we hired.

MACKENZIE

All I did was try to send an email!

BILL

Why are you broadcasting from the desert again?

MACKENZIE

Because I’m a multi-award winning journalist and I’d like to remind people of that.

MACKENZIE throws her phone down dramatically and disturbs a nest of scorpions.

WILL

That doesn’t explain why you’re schmoozing with my twin brother.

MACKENZIE

Because I betrayed you, Will. Because anyone who works in this newsroom knows that women are senseless harpies who set out to break the hearts of powerful white men like yourself. We are also stupid; remember when Sloan had to explain the economy to me despite the fact that I’m a multi-award winning journalist who has reported from Iraq?

The scorpions are crawling all over MACKENZIE’s body. She has no eyes and they crawl through the empty sockets.

BILL

Man, this chick is crazier than tabloid journalists who are like, the worst.

WILL

Damn right, they are single-handedly making our society dumber.

Four women rise out of the sand and throw drinks into WILL and BILL’s faces.

WILL

This is more exhausting than anything by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

WILL walks past a news desk and discovers NEIL waving his phone around in the air.

WILL

See, Marin Blorkin told you phones were useless. You can’t even get reception!

NEIL

But I need reception so I can read about Bigfoot! Isn’t it fun and quirky how I’m the lone Indian character and am apparently the only person in the newsroom who knows anything about technology? But then I just talk about Bigfoot a lot?

WILL

Shouldn’t you be glogging or something?

NEIL

You mean blogging?

WILL

Whatever, Marin Blorkin says glods are for twenty-something idiots who are the worst generation period ever period.

NEIL

You’re so right, Will. You and Marin Blorkin are always right.

NEIL throws his phone off into the distance, symbolising how good news only comes from pen-and-paper reporting and technology is ruining everything. JANE FONDA LEONA LANSING pops her screeching head into the frame.

LEONA

I ONLY CARE ABOUT MONEY I DON’T CARE ABOUT NEWS!

CUT TO:

MAGGIE standing with JIM; she is swollen from all the scorpion stings.

JIM

Maggie, I don’t care what you look like. I am plaintively in love with you!

MAGGIE

But Jim, I made an ass of myself when that Sex and the City tour bus splashed me with water and I screamed at it about how that show misrepresented what it’s like to be a single girl in New York which would have been super incisive if it had’ve been 2004!

JIM

And then I was on the bus, I know, crazy right? Oh, hold on, Kelen Coleman [Reminder: look up this character’s name] is calling me.

MAGGIE

Oh yeah. Profess your love for me and then take a call from my best friend who you’re dating. Great.

DON enters.

DON

Hey Maggie, I’m a noble asshole and failed to even come to dinner to meet your parents yet you keep coming back to me because that’s what girls do when they’re not breaking Aaron Sorkin Marin Blorkin Will’s heart.

SLOAN enters.

SLOAN

I have a PhD in economics and I am one of the only functional characters in this newsroom which is why I am in love with you Don. Because my intelligence and functionality needs to be ruined by being the fifth point in a love pentagon.

JIM

I just got off with Maggie’s best friend Kelen Coleman. She is pregnant. This sure complicates things!

MAGGIE

I, too, am pregnant.

DON

Guys, there was just a shooting in a cinema in Aurora, Colorado.

They all wail. Coldplay’s “The Scientist” begins to play. WILL enters.

WILL

This place is such a shitbox.

WILL sees Mackenzie standing wistfully on the horizon, like a mirage that maybe symbolises how a good story can get away from you or something.

WILL

Mackenzie, come back! I forgive you!

A coyote appears from behind a tree. The coyote is Allison Janney in a coyote suit.

COYOTE

If you want her back, you need to discover your true purpose in life. I’m Allison Janney.

WILL

But I already know my purpose! It’s speaking truth to stupid!

COYOTE

You must still take the vision quest.

WILL

Alright. I’m coming, Mackenzie! I’m on a vision quest to civilise!

WILL climbs a sand dune, symbolises his ascent up the ladder of history’s greatest journalists probably. He sees a light shining in the distance. He teleports towards it because he can teleport now.

WILL

Why is this TV playing Real Housewives of New Jersey? This is the kind of thing I, Will McAvoy and not a cipher, think is very stupid.

The rest of the cast appear, standing behind him like a phalanx of totally realistic characters who are totally not inept.

MACKENZIE

Maggie, change the channel. I have two Peabody awards somehow.

MAGGIE presses a button on the television and suddenly catches fire.

CUT TO:

INT. THE NEWSROOM SET — NIGHT

MACKENZIE

(shrieking) WILL!

WILL

What?

MACKENZIE

Did you eat pot cookies again?

MACKENZIE’s shrieking gets louder.

WILL

Either fire me, or shut up. That’s Newsnight, I’m Will McAvoy.

WILL looks up. Mackenzie is an ostrich. MAGGIE runs around in the background, actually on fire somehow. The men all look on bemusedly. NEIL is making out with Bigfoot. CHARLIE SKINNER walks in.

CHARLIE

I’m so durnk you gusy.

The cameraman fumbles with his camera having forgotten how to turn it off. He turns and stares directly into the camera. 

MARIN BLORKIN

That’s all, folks!

FADE TO BLACK

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