Morning Show, The – Seasons 1-2


Mayhem in the A.M.

Main Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon

Creator: Jay Carson

It’s not unusual for TV shows to wrap current events into their storylines. It isn’t even unusual for a streaming platform to build an entire show around a movement or event. What is unusual is for a TV show to completely absorb both a cultural movement and a global pandemic into its fictional storyline.

Welcome to The Morning Show.

Debuting in late 2019, The Morning Show is about the fictional cast and crew of a fictional morning television show on a fictional cable network. It’s based on a non-fiction book about the sometimes brutal world of morning television.

Jennifer Aniston stars as Alex Levy, the longtime co-host of The Morning Show. As we enter her world, her co-anchor, Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) has just been fired for sexual misconduct. We follow Alex, her producer Chip (Mark Duplass), network news head Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) and the rest of the network as they try to make it through the scandal.

While it seems like just an exploitation of recent events at various networks and on various shows, The Morning Show refuses to remain on the surface of this contentious issue. The showrunners make every character whole, neither angel nor demon.

They dive deep into the complicated dynamics of workplace relationships and how power intoxicates and corrupts. They look at the insecurities that lead to terrible decisions by even the most successful and talented faces we see every day on our screens.

As a written description it seems like The Morning Show is painful, and there’s some truth there. It’s hard to watch sometimes as all of these characters suffer, and as they try to hold on to the lives that they’ve known for the past 15 years.

But there are also amazing performances that elevate the material beyond exploitation and into exploration that other programs don’t reach. Reese Witherspoon stars as Bradley, a newcomer with an itch to get to the truth. Through her we explore everyone and everything.

And then we come to season two. Production was halted due to the pandemic but the timeline of the series is not altered. We see this group of people, who we’ve come to know well, fumble through the early days of COVID.

Again, it’s uncomfortable. It’s like watching ourselves and wishing we could do things over, and better. But once again, the characters, scripts, and actors carry us through. Instead of being dreadful and scary, it’s poignant and revealing.

This is not what the showrunners had planned for their second season. But they stayed true to form and didn’t ignore it because it was hard.

The Morning Show is not a grim slog through the pain of others, though it sounds like one. It has many, many moments of levity and characters we come to care about. The subplots are substantive and interesting, as well as offering relief from the main topics.

The performances are stellar, particularly those of Aniston, Witherspoon, Duplass, and Crudup. It’s certainly a side of Steve Carrell we haven’t seen before and he doesn’t shy away from stepping out of his comfort zone.

There wasn’t supposed to be a third season of The Morning Show. COVID didn’t give us much, but it did give us that. I’m interested to see where the show heads after its unexpected detour.

You can find The Morning Show streaming on AppleTV.

More AppleTV

Ted Lasso Season 1 ~ CODA ~ Ted Lasso Season 2

Related posts

Get Netflix Dates emailed free to you every week