The Morning Show: series hits right by focusing on contemporary issues (review)
Series about journalism, as we have already discussed in this column, are a very explored branch of teledramaturgy. There is a fascination and idealization around the lives of these professionals, who are seen in democratic cultures as protectors of democracy. Therefore, the narratives of series such as The Newsroom usually attract a more politicized audience, which understands fiction as something that goes beyond entertainment.
The series The Morning Show, of Apple TV+, generated a lot of repercussion in its launch due to a perfect adaptation with the time in which it is broadcast. She tells a story that, although totally fictional, is also well-known: that of a morning news program in which a well-loved presenter suffers worldwide “cancellation” after complaints reveal that, for years, he maintained abusive relationships (which involve harassment to suspected rape) with several women he worked with. The inspiration, clearly, is the #MeToo movement.
Scene from the second season of The Morning Show. (Source: Apple TV+)Source: Apple TV
The Morning Show, then, it thematizes what remains when the change in culture (in this case, the collective conception of how, for years, powerful men were abusive in their work environments) begins to foreshadow on the horizon.
The presenter, in this case, is Mitch Kessler (played by Steve Carell, an actor who brilliantly transitioned from comedy to drama), and who, after being defenestrated by public opinion, was removed from the newspaper, leaving his “television wife”, presenter Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston), without a partner.
In a marketing move, the broadcaster UBA ends up hiring a fearless and foul-mouthed journalist, Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon), to be his colleague.
The series follows current themes
The positive impact of the series involves the fact that it makes an up-to-date portrait of a historical moment in which there is a kind of accountability for past mistakes. errors, like The Morning Show illustrates well, they are not just individual, but systematic – therefore, one of the recurring themes in the series is the environment that allowed abusive behaviors to occur without being recognized as such.
the success of The Morning Show brought high expectations for the second season, as we hoped to see how the producers would unfold the series after the end of the initial season – with Alex Levy, who symbolized the presenter tottering between her comfortable job and the charge for representing abused women – speaking out at the same time. alive against the toxic atmosphere of the UBA, in a kind of kamikaze movement. He thus joined the ideals of integrity of his colleague Bradley.
The second season begins by presenting the impacts of this final scandal. Alex literally ran for the mountains, away from public life, and Bradley continued to present the The Morning Show – I work within an amenity journalism that, as he always makes clear, is far from what he dreamed of for his career. But soon the tables are turned, and UBA must, once again, confront the problems that remain in its corporate culture.
A season of ups and downs
There are qualities and problems in the second season. The qualities focus, once again, on the sharp text and adjusted with its time. UBA employees, in this season 2, are dealing, for example, with the impacts of COVID-19 on journalistic work.
There is an effort to show in a didactic way how newsrooms reacted to the disease little by little – when the severity of the new virus was not yet known and the tragedy that the future announced was gradually being discovered.
Not by chance, there are scenes in The Morning Show that take place in Italy, where Mitch finds himself after virtually losing every shred of his reputation. Italy, as is known, was one of the first places where COVID-19 cases caused spikes in community transmission and deaths.
In season two, Steve Carell’s character is in Italy. (Source: Apple TV)Source: Apple TV
Another good aspect of this season, by the way, is the way it approaches the character of the canceled presenter. At no point is Mitch Kessler presented as a victim, that is clear, but he needs to confront his abusive acts, facing the dilemma of many men: how to deal with the consequences of their past actions, when they were not the ones the only ones to practice them, since machismo has always been an expressive trait of our culture. Mitch’s suffering is real – although, as already stated, the series does not intend to absolve him. Steve Carell defends the character with a lot of dignity.
The negative points of the season also stem, in a way, from its strength. The effort to bring pulsating themes ends up making the series, at times, a little confusing and schizophrenic. This is because there are so many issues addressed that, in the end, they get stuck and cannot be developed as they deserved.
For example: the season discusses the theme of ageism, prejudice against older people, and also a kind of reverse ageism, a distrust of younger people (in this case, with the new CEO of the station, played by actress of Korean descent Greta Lee); xenophobia (faced once again by Greta Lee’s character and Latino Nestor Carbonell, who plays the weather forecaster Yanko Flores) and racism (debate focused on central black characters Karen Pittman and Desean Terry). In addition, there are questions about homophobia and celebrity journalism that are foreshadowed throughout the episodes.
It’s so much mixed up that many characters end up being tiresome and irregular. Even with ups and downs, there are some brilliant episodes – in particular, I highlight the eighth one, in which the UBA newsroom needs to make quick decisions about how to report an unexpected event. To say more about him would be to give spoiler.
Despite its irregularities, The Morning Show follows a very interesting and important series, especially for its ability to shed light on uncomfortable subjects whose awareness may not have reached Brazilian culture yet. Let the third season come soon.