Many moons ago, I came across The Newsroom, a Canadian CBC comedy on my local PBS station. It was late at night and even though I was fairly young the show made an impression on me. Coincidentally, it was around that same time that I discovered Forever Knight. However, unlike FK, I never got this series' name. A few years ago, while combing the net for other things a show description for The Newsroom rang familiar and lo and behold there was my long lost show. There was a first season, a TV movie, a second season (8 years later!), and a third season. I purchased the first season and the TV movie and while watching the first episode there was Lisa Ryder fresh off of Forever Knight.
Lisa Ryder did a four episode stint as Kris, a slightly dim and recently hired research assistant to George Findlay, a self-obsessed and politically incorrect news director in Toronto. Shot in a documentary style, The Newsroom is part The Larry Sanders Show and part Curb Your Enthusiasm. The characters squabble over parking spaces, lead anchors and the best way to pull in ratings while straddling the fine line between outright lying and reporting the news. I'm not much of a comedy person but I love this show's style.
Right off the bat the show dives into the type of dry and satirical humor that will be the norm. A train with 200 passengers has fallen into the Congo River. George off hand wonders if there are piranha in the Congo and decides the copy for the anchor should mention the deadly fish. After a discussion with producer #1 the copy goes from "piranha ridden" to "piranha infested" Congo River. When producer #2 takes issue with the topic because it's not local, producer #1 supplies that there may have been a Canadian on board the train. George hopes this hypothetical Canadian fell into the river and died. That's his local hook. Producer #2 doesn't think there are piranha in the Congo so the copy is changed to "piranha like".
"Perhaps one Canadian was eaten by piranha like fish," George declares. Again producer #2 has concerns so George corrects to "Perhaps one Canadian may have been eaten by piranha like fish" and then finally to "Perhaps one Canadian may have been eaten by flesh eating fish"
There are several storylines running through this 30 minute series opener.
George tries to avoid his mother who is calling throughout the episode. When asked why he won't simply talk to her George launches into a tirade on how the network is too cheap to get him an assistant. Then if he had an assistant, she could talk to his mother and run errands for him, which the news intern refuses to do. Therefore, George decides that the number into the show should be changed so that his mother can't reach him. He assigns the intern to deal with it.
George purchased a pair of shoes (British shoes) that he was told were very hip. However, everyone he shows the shoes to say they're walking shoes. He doesn't like that one bit.
To solve the assistant situation the producers suggest George get "an entry level research assistant." They explain that because there's no job description for the title, George can use it as a loop hole to get an assistant. He's told to hire someone he can work well with, meaning "an attractive woman who's subservient and not very bright."
George goes through several interviewees, including one who is incredibly overqualified and has done executive level research. But George doesn't want a "black non-skier lesbian".
And then in comes Kris (Lisa Ryder) and George is delighted.
Kris: "Yeah, I love horses."
George: "Yeah, the smell of horses. That's the thing."
So Kris gets hired and in turn the "black non-skier lesbian" sues the network for hiring discrimination The division head (Sydney) is not happy when George said she was wrong for the job.
Sydney: "She's black, female, a post graduate degree in history, and a brilliant CV and you hired a blonde ski bunny."
George: "This 'ski-bunny' thing I've heard this is around and..."
Sydney: "George, you hired someone you think you could screw. Admit it."
After speaking to the legal department George begrudgingly lets Kris go and hires Sandra. Kris in turns sues.
Sydney: "The ski bunny is suing for wrongful dismissal."
George: "Well that's ridiculous. I fired her before she even started."
Sydney: "She claims you discriminated against her good looks."
Conclusion: George hires both Kris and Sandra and Kris gets to return George's walking shoes.
It's not the greatest shot of him but the man on the left with the bullet proof vest guested on Forever Knight's 3rd season episode "Dead of Night". It's okay if you don't remember him. He was killed in the teaser. Here he plays the not so bright anchor man. Think Ted Baxter in The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Kris: "Not well."
Producer #2: "She gave up."
At the end of the working day George makes small talk with Kris and asks her about her desk, skiing and her weekend plans.
George asks if she wants to grab something to eat.
After Kris hangs up the intern asks who she gave the number to. Kris said it was George's mother and the intern, who in the end managed to successfully change the show number after much hassle and her own share of lying, looks like she wants to shoot herself.