HBO has finally announced it will cancel The Newsroom, the smarmy TV series dedicated to satisfying the ache of l’esprit d’escalier for MSNBC liberals (“That’s what we should have said about the tea parties!”) and pandering to the sensibilities of those who think Bill Maher is funny.
Though I’d quickly figured out how to avoid one of the biggest must-miss TV shows of recent years, it’s good news to be sure. The bad news is there will be a whole third season before it finally goes away. But maybe there’s an opportunity here. I always liked crossover episodes. You know like when Don Adams had a guest spot on Scooby Doo? Anyway what if HBO took its worst drama and had a crossover with its best drama?
Will McAvoy holds a staff meeting at Starbucks. One of McAvoy’s twentysomething male staffers is in tears. The wunderkind grad of Brown University had dressed down a barista for not demanding a better “living wage.” But the tables were turned on the digerati hipster. It turns out that the barista went to a better Ivy League school than he did, and his personal narrative of victimization trumped the overpaid newsroom Web surfer’s. Even more humiliating, the barista corrected the staffer’s Howard Zinn quote. Before the tense scene can be resolved by McAvoy’s hatching the Solomonic idea of having the two men switch jobs, a vortex opens in the floor right beneath the French-press display. Fair-trade-coffee fliers are ripped from the wall and swirl around the room on gale-force winds. It’s bedlam. McAvoy grabs hold of one of his female aides (sorry I don’t know any of their names). Shouting over the din, he asks her: “Do you think this is because of climate change!?” She replies from behind her lens-less but otherwise very serious glasses, “Maybe it’s the Koch Brothers?!” Even as the espresso machine rips from the wall and disappears into the miniature maelstrom below, there’s still time for a little mansplaining from McAvoy. “You don’t get it, do you?” he says managing to duck a flying napkin dispenser while still rolling his eyes. “Blaming climate change is the same thing as blaming the Koch brothers,” he shouts. “Their actions created the problem! It’s like the chicken or the egg thing!”
“What!?” she asks, barely able to hear her own voice above the chaos as one male colleague after another is sucked into the abyss, their high pitched and disturbingly girlish screams cutting through the pandemonium.
“The chicken or the egg thing!” he repeats. “The Kochs are the chick—!”
And before he can finish his sentence, McAvoy is pulled into the pit as well. But not before he grabs his lovely aide and uses her as a kind of makeshift surfboard/human shield. Then, with a vacuum sound, all goes quiet. The head of the hectored barista pops up from behind the counter. He sees the whole crew is gone. A wan smile crosses his face.
Cut to a dark room. Someone takes out an iPhone and uses it as a flashlight. “Where are we?” asks one of the staffers.
A large oaken door opens, splashing torchlight on the cold stone floor. “You are north of the wall,” comes the reply. “And winter is coming.”