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The Morning Show Season 1 Ep. 4-6

Well, that’s one way to introduce yourself to America. Authenticity and relatability are admirable character traits but maybe ease people into it next time LOL. But the other thing that stuck out to me during these scenes was Bradley’s mom. The way she read her cue cards was very believable. I know in real life she’s a professional actress, but from what we’ve seen of her character, this doesn’t seem like it would be her strong suit. I also couldn’t believe that her mom’s reaction to learning about Bradley’s abortion was to be disappointed that she doesn’t have a grandchild. To each their own, I guess. [insert shrug emoji here]

At least Bradley followed through with the hardest part. She continued to show up. Every day, waking up before the sun to do her job. Speaking of which, that early morning schedule is a beast. I don’t know if your body ever truly adjusts or if you just accept it as your new way of life. Either way, it takes a lot of getting used to and a lot of sacrifice.

More was revealed about the inner workings of the news business in these episodes. The keyword being “business.” The foundation of journalism is providing the public with fair, balanced, accurate information. A common phrase you hear coming from journalists on why they do their job is because they want to “tell your stories” and “get to the truth.” But you often need money for that to happen. And in television news, the money comes from ratings and advertisers.

After Bradley’s abortion admission, the powers-that-be come together to decide what to do. Fred wants her gone because UBA was “bleeding” advertisers. He’s clearly from the old school. What would they do without the mighty dollar? But, he does have a point (to a degree). Those dollars is how they stay on-air and how everyone gets paid. The whole show would fall apart without it. On the other side of that coin is that they were gaining an audience they had never reached before. Advertisers don’t only care about how many people are watching; they also care about who is watching. Gaining a younger, female audience would benefit the network. Here enters the game of chess: do we continue to cater to the audience that has been loyal for so many years or do we start adding more versatility to the show in order to grow along with the up-and-coming audience. And don’t forget, Chip made sure to highlight that the narrative surrounding TMS had shifted away from Mitch. But scandal after scandal isn’t necessarily the best business model. Surely, you’ve got to find some stability somewhere.

My favorite line in Episode 4: The truth is “the only weapon that we have against the powerful men who are trying to shut us up.”

Bradley said this during her interview with Ashley Brown, one of Mitch’s accusers. She may have said this to encourage Ashley to tell the whole story about what happened between her and Mitch, but “truth” is a central theme on this show.

It seems that everyone at UBA and The Morning Show has their own version of the truth. And each person’s version of the truth is designed to protect themselves. This may be human nature, but they all knew about Mitch’s actions, and no one held him accountable. This was revealed during Ashley’s interview. Even when the investigator comes to the show, no one tells the whole truth. And many things were still completely withheld. It reveals a culture deeply imbedded in the workplace. And this is everywhere in all industries. After the interview, when Alex is going off on Bradley, she lays out how the interview was risky. We all believe that the truth is important, and it should always be the goal, but the potential fallout has a ripple effect. She may have selfish motives, but ultimately, Alex is thinking about the greater good of the show. Poking at the culture of the network (or any business) could mean that everyone – even those who weren’t involved – will have to face consequences.

Loneliness seems to be another theme for the show. Ashley said in her interview that she was surrounded by people but was alone and isolated. Bradley is a co-anchor on a nationally televised morning show but very few of her coworkers trust her. Alex is constantly putting on a front about her personal life. She’s getting divorced, but she’s supposed to be “America’s Family.” Mia had an affair with Mitch but feels she can’t openly express her feelings about it because she is already heavily judged at work. And poor Chip. I really think he needs a life outside of work. When’s the last time he took a vacation?

Anyway, the point is that they’re all silently suffering. Including Mitch.

He is desperate. He is scared. He is begging for someone, anyone, to be on his side. He is genuinely heartbroken because everyone at that show was his family. And now he has no one. This is all by his own doing, of course, but now he is the one who is alone and isolated.

I liked him briefly in Episode 5. When he and Alex are riding in the car after she abandoned her charity function. It was a casual, natural conversation with a friend. The chemistry between the two of them is evident, and it couldn’t be more apparent that they miss each other. Even though he suggests they should become a couple, they’re able to laugh and joke about it.

“Every girl’s dream to settle down with a sexual predator.”

It’s a weird thing to joke about, but the ease of the conversation highlighted that they truly were friends. Everyone should have friends, but you also have to draw a line somewhere. As hard as it may be, Alex needs to step away from Mitch. It’s clear that they both want the other person to remain in their life, but they would have to do it secretly. That’s not a real life nor a real friendship. You shouldn’t have to hide your friends. How much longer can it really last?

In a moment of sincerity and vulnerability, Mitch tells Alex that there’s still life after the show. And he says he’s sorry. He apologizes to Alex and Alex only. While I do think it’s important to see the many layers of Mitch, he’s still a terrible person.

The other highlight of these episodes was getting to know some of the other characters a little better.

Cory Ellison. There’s something about him that I like. I can’t quite put my finger on it. He’s definitely shady, cutthroat, and puts his goals ahead of others, but I can’t help but think he has a soft spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s actually an oversensitive person who puts on a front because he thinks showing any sign of vulnerability would hinder his career trajectory. We see a bit of his softer side when he takes care of Bradley at the end of Episode 5, though he admits he’s only nice to her because he likes her. Maybe I’m just falling for the quick wit, charming act he puts on. He’s also a character on a TV show. If I knew him in real life, I don’t think I would like him. And especially not if I had to work for him. In the real world, he’s that person who is too in love with himself to care about who you are as a person or employee. But I’m curious to see how his character develops. I find him to be an interesting case study.

Hannah Shoenfeld. She’s a bit of an enigma. At first, she comes across as a total badass, who loves her job, is good at her job, and who knows she’s good at it. She also probably puts her job ahead of everything else in her life. But you can tell there’s a backstory there. She goes from casually popping Adderall while working to snorting drugs and drinking alcohol by the end of Episode 6. I hope we learn more about her before the season ends.

Claire Conway. Claire is one of my favorites. She knows what she likes, knows what she deserves, and unapologetically goes after what she wants. I loved how she casually tells Bradley she could run a network one day, because of course. She says it so matter of factly like it could never not be an option. And then she immediately throws herself into the ring to be Bradley’s assistant. She’s confident, not afraid to be herself, and doesn’t make herself small for others. It's admirable.

Charlie Black. Oh, Chip. He seems so lost and is desperately trying to save himself. He’s the main person who will suffer the ripple effect from Mitch’s actions. I think at the start of his career, Chip was likely very easy going and a genuinely good person. Now he spends all his time trying to figure out how he got to where he is. Also, he could really use a nap. But instead, he’s drowning in stress, anxiety and fear. His concerns are legitimate; Cory confirmed it, so now he must go against the person he probably is at his core and has to play dirty like everyone else around him. I feel for him. Having a moral compass should be a good thing, but it appears to be what’s holding him back from saving himself, his reputation, and his job. Is that what it takes to make it in this world? Is that what is expected? Self-help pep talks often say being kind is the best way to build your character and your career, but is it all just talk because it makes people feel good?

I’m sure it all comes back to bite you in the end. Karma, as they say, is a ….

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