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  • courtneyward09

The Morning Show

Season 1 Ep. 1-3

Holy crap. Where have I been? I love this show. I'm only three episodes into the first season, but I love everything about it so far. Maybe it's my history of working in local news, but I relate to it so much. That line Jennifer Aniston’s character Alex gives to her husband and daughter about going out and living their lives while she has to go to bed literally made me bust out laughing. I had to pause. I only worked the morning shift for eight months, but boy did that hit close to home.

I didn't read any press or reviews of the show when it first premiered. I only knew that people liked it, and several friends and coworkers who were also in the news business encouraged all journalists to watch it. And now I'm mad I didn't catch onto it sooner.

Oh, the news business. [insert long exasperated sigh here] It’s a love/hate relationship, and The Morning Show captures it beautifully.

The debate of news vs. entertainment. Soft news vs. hard news. The cutthroat nature of competing networks. How much of your worth is put into ratings and ad dollars. The heavy weight it places on your personal life. This show, so far, has delivered this with nuance and a heavy dose of accuracy.

But, of course, you wouldn’t have any of that if the writing and acting weren’t on point. I knew Jennifer Aniston had been nominated for multiple awards for her role on the show, but I was pleasantly surprised by her performance. I haven’t followed her career that closely, and admittedly, I wasn’t aware of the range in her acting ability. I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of “Friends.” (Yes, I know. I’ve heard it all before. ‘It’s a classic. It’s iconic. It’s hilarious. It’s the greatest show ever.’ Blah blah blah) And out of all the films she’s been in, I think I’ve only seen some of the comedies from the early 2000s. I couldn’t picture her in a dramatic role, so watching her in The Morning Show is truly enjoyable.

I get lost in her character and forget that I’m watching Jennifer Aniston. Occasionally, when watching a movie or TV show, I can slip out of the story and get stuck on watching the actor and thinking about their acting choices rather than paying attention to the character. But I’m all in when it comes to Alex Levy. I think it’s the nuance you see in her facial expressions. You can feel the hurt, confusion, angst, and sadness she’s feeling.

Now, when it comes to Reese Witherspoon, I’m very familiar with her career. Granted, I haven’t seen everything she’s ever done, but everything that I’ve seen her in, I have loved. I honestly can’t think of a movie or show she’s been in that I didn’t like. She’s incredible at what she does, and she’s one of the few actors where I always get lost in her characters. My only thing when I first started watching The Morning Show was trying to figure out how old her character Bradley is supposed to be. Prior to watching the show, I had the impression that Bradley was going to be the young, up-and-coming journalist who was going to viciously and unapologetically try to replace Alex at the network. A cliché storyline but still what I expected, and I’m glad the show took a different route. She eventually says she’s a 40-year-old woman, and I let out a silent sigh of relief that they made her character a realistic age.

And then there’s Steve Carrell. I've seen his dramatic work and think he's wonderful. But wow. I didn't know I could borderline hate him. His character is disgusting. I mean, you can claim it was consensual as much as you want (with his wife right there in the background) but that's not an excuse for his behavior. And the never-ending diatribe about how he didn't do anything wrong and how he feels the need to defend himself to anyone and everyone who will listen. Ugh, he was annoying. I can only imagine that this is how it all went down in the real world during the peak of the MeToo movement. These men having total meltdowns, convinced they’ve done nothing wrong. Because they're too blind to see what is staring them right in the face.

Also, how much do these network anchors make? When his business manager was listing all the properties he should sell -- WTF? I'm sure he did other outside work: hosting, writing memoirs, maybe even a little acting stint for 30 seconds in a movie here and there. But geez, he's got a lot of money. And his house is ridiculous. Where does he live?

Clearly, I'm too invested in these fictional characters. I will say that he had two redeeming moments in the first three episodes: When he calls Martin Short’s character a predator and when he doesn't go to the press dinner to not embarrass Alex. Outside of that, he's a disgusting human being with no sense of self-reflection or remorse.

An ongoing narrative in entertainment is the portrayal of women on screen. That female characters should have more depth and play more integral roles to their male counterparts. I love how unapologetic and in charge the women are on this show. That shouldn’t come as a surprise with Reese Witherspoon as part of the project. I know that's her whole mission during this stage of her career. And I am here for it.

While being the face of a nationally televised news show, Alex has seemingly sat on the sidelines for most of her career. The big wigs at corporate have been calling the shots, and Mitch’s scandal has proven to be the catalyst she needs to have her voice be heard.

Too often women are left out of the conversation and are just expected to do what they’re told. But we can be outspoken and bold. We have ideas, and we shouldn’t just be brushed to the side. Alex took control when she publicly announced Bradley as her new co-anchor. I don’t think it would have gone down that way in the real world. There are way too many moving parts and repercussions for such a move, but Alex decided in that moment that she would no longer be riding in the back seat while others decided her fate. She’s in the driver’s seat now.

“Sometimes, women can’t ask for control, so they have to take it. I want you to remember that.”

Alex spoke these words to her daughter. And while it is so true, she still had to convince herself of that. She’s taking no prisoners to ensure she protects herself since she knows no one else is going to do it. As scary as it may be.

I'm only three episodes in, and I'm hooked. I only stopped my binge-watching session because I had personal responsibilities to take care of. You know, adulting. But I'm more than excited to keep going to watch Bradley's debut. I think it’s a safe prediction to say it won’t be smooth sailing.

What is she going to say? What is she going to do? Stay tuned for my next analysis.

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