It is a truth universally acknowledged that Will McAvoy is the smartest, noblest, most principled man in news – nay, the world.
Unfortunately, some people will never see Will that way because he happens to be played by Jeff Daniels – a.k.a. Dumb & Dumber’s idiotic Harry Dunne, a touchstone for a generation of slack-jawed yokels. (Also because Daniels looks exactly like Dave “Joey Gladstone” Coulier, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Then again, it makes a weird sort of sense that The Newsroom – which returns to TV this Sunday – shares a close connection with a Farrelly brothers classic. Despite their impeccable pedigrees (two Peabody Awards! Two PhDs! A B.A. from whatever clown college Maggie went to!), the ladies of Aaron Sorkin’s latest creation could easily be described as dumb (Sloan), dumber (MacKenzie), and dumbest (Maggie).
To wit: They don’t know how email works. They brag about reading Don Quixote “in the original French.” They think LOL means “lots of love.” They can’t add and subtract without counting on their fingers. They don’t get the difference between Ado Annie and Annie Oakley, a mortal sin in Sorkinland. When you sarcastically note that you’re glad “nobody’s invented a way to digitally store images and upload them onto a free website where anyone can see them,” they earnestly reply, “Has someone invented a way to digitally store images?”
And if you mix a bunch of their quotes with quotes from Dumb & Dumber, it’s actually tough to figure out where each line originated. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:
1. They always freak out when you leave the scene of an accident.
2. I ain’t afraid of nothing except jellyfish. Which is completely normal.
3. All we need to do is show a little class, a little sophistication, and we’re in like a dirty shirt.
4. I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this.
5. Wow. Can I tap your chest? [taps] Holy cow! Have you felt this pec?
6. She gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her, or something. I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention.
7. I saw your luggage. Then when I noticed the airline ticket, I put 2 and 2 together.
8. That probably makes you feel worse. And my saying that just then probably makes you feel a lot worse than you did a couple seconds ago.
9. Excuse me. Could you tell me how to get to the medical school? I’m supposed to be giving a lecture in 20 minutes, and my driver’s a bit lost.
10. [After being caught yelling by the person the speaker was just yelling about] I was talking about… other people.
11. How about you go over and introduce yourself, build me up? That way I don’t have to brag about myself later.
12. [After being told that a romantic rival is a brain surgeon] That’s not hard to be.
13. Austria! Well, then. G’day mate! Let’s put another shrimp on the barbie!
14. I mixed up Georgia the state with Georgia the country.
15. I could be wrong. I almost always am.
16. I am this close to losing it! I think I have! I think it’s happening right now! I WILL NOT SETTLE DOWN!!
Dumb & Dumber quote: 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13
The Newsroom quote: 2, 5, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16
The Newsroom’s second season premiere airs Sunday, July 14 at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.