The MeToo revolution gave “The Morning Show” its purpose.
The Apple TV+ drama starring Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell and Jennifer Aniston as news anchors caught up in a network sex scandal.
Carell’s Mitch Kessler, a stand-in for NBC’s Matt Lauer, loses his job after his sexual advances on multiple colleagues leak. You’d expect the drama to wallow in lectures about the patriarchy, white privilege and more.
And you’d be wrong.
Not only did “The Morning Show” explore the nuances behind workplace romances it refused to demonize Mitch. Yes, he was selfish and unable to understand the ramifications of his actions, but he cared deeply about his co-workers and wanted to make amends in some fashion.
Aniston’s Alex Levy also offered a layered portrait of a powerful woman, eager to exploit any advantage to rise up the corporate ranks but with a conscience that kept her worst impulses in check.
The show’s writing team even poked fun at the woke bylaws that infect the modern news room.
Yes, the show reflected the left-leaning biases of the modern morning news, but the strong writing and ideological balance gave it an edge.
Season 3 finds the series living down to a conservative’s low expectations given the topics in play. Or, for that matter, anyone who enjoyed the first two seasons’ sense of proportion.
The first episode involves a silly plot involving Alex prepping to go into space with a Elon Musk-like gazillionaire (Jon Hamm). The story also finds Witherspoon’s Bradley Jackson accepting a journalism award, letting “The Morning Show” fawn over Dan Rather (yes, THAT Dan Rather) and exploring how “democracy hung in the balance” during the Jan. 6 riot.
The season fetes the modern journalist to a sickening degree, while a subplot involving a pro-abortion storyline gets plenty of coverage.
One character even makes an offhand reference to global warming, another obvious tell.
The season’s overriding story, though, is Bradley’s connection to the Jan. 6 riot. The show’s creative team padded itself on the back for the plot decision via The Hollywood Reporter this week.
Kristin Hahn, Aniston’s producing partner with Echo Films, said that, with a fourth season already renewed, Stoudt plans to dive into those questions throughout the rest of season three and in the season still to come.
“The insurrection storyline felt like it would continue to resonate and literally, in headlines in the present moment, it’s still really resonating,” Hahn told THR in a recent chat. “We really try to choose current events that we believe we will probably still be grappling with in the years to come, and the relevance hopefully of those conversations continue.”
Note: The THR story linked here has sizable spoilers.
Some of this was inevitable.
It’s darn near impossible to root for any show’s TV journalists given what we’ve witnessed since Season 2 wrapped two years ago. The mainstream media’s former liberal bias metastasized into pure corruption, burying stories that hurt the Democrats and leaning into the wildest allegations that could, potentially, spell doom for any given Republican.
Consider a Whitman’s sampler of recent media lowlights:
- The Pee Tapes
- The Hunter Biden Laptop
- President Biden’s obvious mental decline
- The false “Don’t Say Gay” narrative
- The false “book banning” narrative
It’s all you need to know.
Plus, the show sprang from one of the most biased “journalists” of the modern era. Former CNN media analyst Brian Stelter’s book, “Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV,” served as the show’s DNA.
Stelter’s “Reliable Sources” became a mockery of what journalism should be.
Stelter’s tenure at CNN turned him into the face of media bias. (Your joke goes here ________.) In short order, he went from a relatively obscure liberal media critic to Public Enemy No. 1 on the right. With good reason….Stelter wasn’t always the annoying lickspittle that he became. He covered media for The New York Times and TVNewser and did a respectable job at it. But when Trump came on the scene, Stelter went from bad to corporate mouthpiece attacking the candidate and later president.
Stelter remains on board as a show producer through three seasons, but his overt biases were kept firmly in check up until now. Or, others took the biased baton from him.
“The Morning Show” still serves up fine performances, especially from Billy Crudup as the network’s embattled boss Cory Ellison (he won an Emmy for the performance three years ago).
Still, audiences may need a garbage pail or bowl by their side during Season 3, at least whenever someone says they’re speaking “truth to power” or hailing modern journalism.