Quote of the Day: Don’t let your shame of what other people think run your life. Alex Levy (Jennifer Anniston) Season 2, Episode 10 of The Morning Show on Apple+. In a breakthrough moment in the relationship between the two main characters Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) and Alex.
They started advertising for The Morning Show in the Spring of 2019, as the pandemic was hitting the USA. I didn’t have Apple+ TV then, or any streaming service beyond Netflix and Prime. I was going to live theater for my main entertainment, writing reviews, spending time with family and friends. Then, we went into lock down. All the theaters went dark. I thought I’d spend more time with family, but we all got scared about getting each other sick. So, I stayed home and got more streaming services, started watching more shows, old shows that I’d missed back in the early 2000’s when I was a mom of young kids. And, I started watching more movies. I missed reviewing so much, I wrote my reviews in a journal. This is the first mini-series that I’m reviewing. It had an emotional impact.
I watched the first few episodes of The Morning Show because I like the two main actors, Jennifer Anniston and Reese Witherspoon. While Witherspoon has had a variety of roles, from comedy to romantic and a bit of drama, I’ve mostly watched Anniston in comedic roles (we all loved quirky, spoiled Rachel), and romantic comedy. It was hard getting used to her in a heavy drama, and such an angry character. What I liked about Season One of The Morning Show was how Witherspoon played Bradley. She was fresh and sassy. She had nothing to lose, so was completely honest and bold in her delivery and journalism on a show that had built its reputation on its nicey nice false front. While in the background the co-host Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) is using women and flying high on his own inflated ego. It all goes to shit one awful day.
I was pulled through Season One by the unveiling of people’s secret, or not all that secret, lives, and how others reacted to them. It’s a heavy drama, and I couldn’t watch more than one episode at a time. The scene where Mitch forces himself on an employee is stomach churning, and the repercussions of those actions are heartbreaking. In the meantime, you see Alex and Bradley getting closer, then exploding and turning on each other. It’s hard to root for anyone by the end of Season One. Yet, I kept watching.
Season Two of The Morning Show was almost too much drama for me. Everyone was mean, saying horrible things to each other, trying to cut deeper and deeper into them. It was cut-throat and felt over-the-top to me. I can’t imagine saying anything so horrible to someone I worked with, let alone had a relationship with. Somehow Carrel is able to evoke sympathy for his character, showing us that everyone is human and capable of feeling remorse. I was ready to stop watching after a few episodes. No one was likable, not even Bradley. They turned her into one of them. Greedy, backstabbing, and self-centered. Until, she is in a new relationship, her addict brother Hal (Joe Tippett) shows up, and Cory (Billy Crudup) starts to show his human side.
In episode nine of Season Two, Bradley interviews hard-core journalist Maggie Brener (Marcia Gay Harden) who has written a scathing book about Alex and Mitch. Bradley asks her tough questions, and defends Alex, finally giving us something good to cheer for in the show. In the final episode of Season Two, Fever, the build-up comes to an emotional climax. They did a fantastic job of showing how much Americans were in denial about Covid, and the sudden fear we felt as people we knew started to come down with symptoms and hospitals became flooded with patients. Anniston’s performance as a sick Alex broadcasting from her New York apartment, while suffering from the disease, was incredible. She says things that hit at cancel culture, judgement of celebrity, simply because they’re celebrities, Schadenfreude (the German word for taking pleasure in other people’s pain and shame), and owning your own life and actions. Her producer Chip (Mark Duplass) risks everything to help her.
The quote, above, comes from Alex’s conversation with Bradley who holds back on asking for help to find her addict brother because she’s afraid of the public’s reaction. I cried at the end of this episode. I went from not wanting to continue watching this show to looking forward to another season. Maybe the writers and directors have learned something. We don’t want to watch people yelling and screaming at each other and hating on co-workers all the time. We need to see people reaching out, connecting, and standing up for each other, too. We crave characters we can root for and look up to.
When I told my friend Krista that I’ve been reviewing movies and shows in my journal, she suggested that I publish some of them on this blog and call it Play off the Couch! Well, I am comfortable, warm, and safe, for now. But, all things considered, I’d rather be at the theater and out with friends and family!
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: What are you doing to still connect and keep your spirits up during this time?