Jennifer Aniston. Reese Witherspoon. Steve Carell. When I saw these three big names were starring in a new drama series, I had to check it out. The Morning Show is one of the best television series I’ve seen in some time due to the sheer intensity it brings. The plot and the cast work in sync so well to give us a drama that’s both searing and sometimes emotional. The plot is very relevant to our recent climate in media because it surrounds a nationally famous morning TV show where the male co host is fired for sexual misconduct. The set up is reminiscent of Matt Lauer being let go from Today due to allegations. They explore this whole idea, one that’s unfortunately very real to so many, in a clever way that’s refreshing to see.
I was wondering just how they were going to handle and ultimately portray this type of #MeToo plot summary. I’m really thankful that the writers didn’t go the simple straw man route but instead created an interesting series that lets us see this through several different viewpoints. Jennifer Aniston plays Alex Leavy, who’s the main character we follow at first. We see her reaction to the firing of her co star and almost immediately get to see what kind of person she is. I really adore Aniston’s work here, in fact I think it’s the best performance I’ve ever seen from her. She gets to play this really tough ballsy businesswoman who knows what she wants and doesn’t take anything from anyone. Aniston absolutely kills it playing this kind of tough persona and it’s just delicious seeing her being so frank. Speaking of tough female characters, Reese Witherspoon plays Bradley Jackson, a small town news reporter who ends up by way of events becoming Carell’s replacement on The Morning Show.
Witherspoon has a great opportunity with this character. Her character says what’s on her mind and doesn’t really hold much back. That kind of person mixes things up at The Morning Show and provides an interesting atmosphere. Her role brings fresh material to the plot and also shows off Reese’s acting skills. While Aniston’s performance does come across as the strongest and most memorable out of everyone, Witherspoon certainly makes an impression with some pretty intense scenes.
Steve Carell shines in his role as the disgraced TV anchor. He’s succeeded in previous dramatic roles so it’s no surprise to see him excel here. He starts out as extremely defensive, confused, and angry about what’s happened to him and comes across as extremely unlikable. But… as the show goes on, we see him start to almost see what he did as inappropriate. There’s one scene in particular between him and guest star Martin Short that shows him visibly shaken not only by his actions but also by other men’s actions and that’s really interesting. Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, and Karen Pittman all play supporting but important roles here and I absolutely love them, they’re all used so well. Crudup in particular is just incredible at becoming this sarcastic unbothered executive, really impressive.
I really love the way this whole series is laid out because it explores two different things at once and balances them really well. It goes into sexual harassment and toxic workplace culture and has some interesting things to say about that. On the other hand, personal ego contests and hard hitting fictional drama has a big role here, it is a TV show after all, not some Me Too lecture. It’s able to be an interesting drama and have high stakes plots and also be sensitive to the main issue at hand which is why it’s so great. The writers for this series are seriously talented and deserve a lot of credit. This cast has been given a great gift in this writing and they prove they’re more than capable of delivering it flawlessly. On a side note, I also really admire the way this show talks about abortion and stands up for reproductive rights, that’s very commendable and much needed in today’s times.
The Morning Show is for sure one of televisions best right now and I highly recommend you start watching. Can’t wait for episode seven!