MacKenzie tries to assert her control over her super brand new version of News Night that she likes to call "News Night 2.0" because MacKenzie's knowledge of technology and cool buzzwords is stuck somewhere in pre-9/11 America. To that end, she manages to screw up at sending email, accidentally sending everyone who works for ACN not one, but two emails meant for Will. The first was a test email that says he hates immigrants. The second is the truth about what happened between them three years ago: while everyone thinks he was the one who cheated on her, she was actually the one who cheated on him and broke his cold, dark heart. Except she somehow doesn't think it counts as cheating because even though they were two years into their relationship, she didn't realize how much she loved Will until after she slept with someone else. So yeah, MacKenzie is basically terrible.
Will, on the other hand, is suddenly a great guy who makes an effort to know his staff's names and interests and doesn't fire anyone even though, between MacKenzie's insistence on reporting news stories that she thinks the voting public needs to know about rather than cool shots of oilrigs falling into the Gulf of Mexico and Maggie's inability to do a pre-interview without causing everyone involved in recently-passed Arizona immigration bill to bail on the show 90 minutes before air, "News Night 2.0" is a great big (albeit fun) mess. When Will sneaks a clip of Sarah Palin into the show and then defends her stupid statements in order to appeal to his conservative viewers and save his ratings, MacKenzie says he's not fully committed to what she's trying to do and demands to know if he's "in." I'm not sure if it was the Radiohead song from 1995 convinced him or the fruit basket his new asshole neighbors gave him, but he decides that he is.
Olivia Munn is also in, as New Night's new business and economics correspondent. Her character has a Ph.D. in economics, looks like a model, and turns down more lucrative jobs because she just loves the news so damn much. I really thought I wasn't going to like her, but it turns out that Olivia Munn is the only lead actress on this show capable of saying her lines without over-acting and coming off like someone in the throes of a manic episode, so she just might work.
Two Blackberries were harmed in the making of this episode.
After the longest opening credits in the business, we open in Will's giant apartment. It's sparsely furnished except for the four giant TVs in his dining room, each showing a different news channel. Will's cleaning woman dusts them while Will looks through dossiers of his staff members, which include photos to make them easier for him to recognize. And then part of his ceiling comes crashing down on his dining room table, almost killing him. "New neighbors," the cleaning woman says, pointing at the ceiling. Are the new neighbors are playing a basketball game above him? You'd think that he'd be able to afford a place with sturdier ceilings and better soundproofing, but maybe he had to scale down after he took that million-dollar pay cut.
Will goes to work. MacKenzie is setting up her new office. She's very excited about her first real day on the job. Will comments that his mostly-new staff is "very young," but MacKenzie doesn't think that's a problem. "What they lack in experience they make for in inexperience," she non-explains. "They don't know how to do things badly yet." It turns out that you don't need much experience to suck at stuff. Just ask Maggie. What Will really wants to discuss with MacKenzie is their prior relationship and what to tell the rest of the staff about it. Will would prefer to go with "nothing." MacKenzie promises him that she will keep her mouth shut.
Will and MacKenzie head into the morning pitch meeting. Hey -- who's that old bald dude in the back? So much for MacKenzie's young, inexperienced staff. MacKenzie and Will bicker over what should be tonight's opening story. Will thinks they should lead with the oil spill, as the rig recently sank and that will look awesome on TV, but MacKenzie says "we don't do good television, we do the news." Yes... god forbid we should try to do good television. This show, for instance. Clearly it has loftier goals than being good television.
MacKenzie welcomes the staff to the first pitch meeting of what she calls "News Night 2.0." Do we still say "2.0?" I didn't think so, but this does take place IN THE PAST so perhaps Sorkin is being time period-appropriate. No, wait, calling something "2.0" was lame even two years ago. Maybe it was cool ten years ago, which is when Sorkin probably wrote this script, intending to spin-off The West Wing. Also, what is Neal doing in this meeting? Isn't he just Will's blogger? Which I'm not sure how that's a real full-time job in the first place?