The Morning Show Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

The morning show on the UBA channel with the beautiful name “The Morning Show” has been watched by millions of Americans for seventeen years now. The hosts of the show are the king of air Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) and the most charming Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston). All these years, the main producer of the show is Charlie Black, nicknamed Chip (Mark Duplass).

But at some point, a catastrophe occurs with the show: the UBA management receives several statements from the channel’s employees about sexual harassment by Mitch. The management has to start an investigation, and then someone leaked information about him to the NY Times. A wild scandal broke out – until now, nothing like this had happened with UBA, unlike competing channels – and the management had to immediately fire Mitch.

Kessler is furious. He’s not some Harvey Weinstein! He didn’t rape anyone (or so he thinks)! Yes, he flirted with employees, slept with some of them, but everything was by mutual agreement! And what is he doing now?!

Meanwhile, Mitch’s career is completely destroyed, his wife left him, taking the children. Mitch sits alone in a huge mansion, drinking and trying to figure out how to deal with it all. Of course, he will fight: he will go to other TV channels, he will tell how everything really happened.

Meanwhile, management urgently needs to decide who to put with Alex as co-host. They’re considering second-roster black host Daniel Henderson (DeSean Terry) but aren’t sure. Daniel is backed by producer Charlie Black, but new news chief Corey Ellison (Billy Crudup) believes the morning show needs a major shake-up or it will lose out to the new forms of reporting the Internet has brought to people’s lives.

And Corey starts looking at SENN 9’s freelance reporter Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) – a kind of truth cutter – who made the news when she was filmed during a scandal filming a report about striking miners.

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The most high-profile project of the new streaming service from Apple: the company decided to compete with Netflix, Amazon and other players in this market. And Apple decided not to waste time on trifles: the budget of the “Morning Show” outdid even the “Game of Thrones”, despite the fact that there are practically no computer graphics and location shooting. As you know, the budget for each episode of “Game of Thrones” was about 6 million, then grew to 8, then to 10, and each episode of the final eighth season already cost 15 million.

So, at Apple, all episodes of the first season cost 15 million. But there it is clear that substantial amounts went to the fees of the stars: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. As far as is known, the fee for Aniston and Witherspoon for each episode was 2 million. (Carell was getting somewhat less because his character on the show is more of a minor character.)

But, by the way, God bless him, how much Apple spent on this series, even if their management has a headache on this matter. What matters to us is what they did, what this series is.

And the series, in my opinion, turned out great! Its creators are Jay Carson – one of the producers of “House of Cards” – and Carrie Erin, who worked as a writer and producer on “Moonlight Detective Agency”, “Boston Lawyers” and many other series.

Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon acted as executive producers in the project and played two main roles. (By the way, they are already working together on the fourth project, well, you need to remember that Reese Witherspoon played the unlucky sister of Aniston’s character back in Friends.)

The “Morning Show” grabs you from the very beginning (at least that’s what happened to me with the cat Bublik) and doesn’t let go until the final episode, at the end of which we literally applauded standing up (to be honest, Bublik applauded lying down), before it was great made!

By the way, when they heard about the creation of Apple’s streaming service, many film critics expressed concern that such completely toothless family content would be produced there, where there would be no place for the coolness of HBO, Netflix and Amazon.

After watching this series, we can say that these fears were not too justified. The Morning Show is a tough series, and they play on a field where you can break your neck after receiving a flurry of criticism from some hard-nosed leftists.

But what happens to the show is what Corey Ellison is trying to do to the morning news show in the show itself: to inject edginess into it, take away that glossiness and slickness, make it ask uncomfortable questions.

The Morning Show has several interesting lines. First of all, this is the line of Alex Levy, who somehow needs to recover from the fact that her TV partner (actually – “TV husband”, as she calls him) turned out to be some kind of sexual monster. In addition, she needs to figure out what to do next: the management refuses to approve the clause in her new contract, which contains the requirement to agree with Alex on the candidacy of a new co-host, and Alex realizes that she is losing control of the situation.

And in this line, it’s interesting how Alex will resolve all this, how she will resolve problems in her own family with her husband Jason (Jack Davenport), who has long wanted to send such a life to hell, how she will build relationships with a new co-host (well , it is initially clear that it will be the character of Reese Witherspoon, the only question is how exactly this will happen).

Jennifer Aniston this Alex, in my opinion, played just fine. I read in some strange reviews claims that, they say, her Alex is no different from Rachel from “Friends” – well, that’s complete nonsense. Just about Aniston is almost the only one of the six actors of “Friends” who continues to act actively and is not afraid to appear in roles completely on the breakdown of the stereotype: it is enough, for example, to recall her nymphomaniac dentist from “Horrible Bosses” and a stripper from “We are the Millers” .

So here Jennifer’s character is more than complicated. Alex on the air is alone, in communication with colleagues she is completely different, and in battles with bosses and co-hosts she will not allow to wipe her feet on herself. Well played, very believable.

The line with Reese Witherspoon is pretty interesting too. A poorly managed and constantly scandalous journalist who, by chance, got into one of the main shows of the country, where everything works according to strict rules, according to which Bradley simply cannot work. She, on the one hand, tries to meet the requirements of the channel, but, on the other hand, she is constantly a source of various problems.

Reese Witherspoon Bradley played well, but here, compared to Alex, the character was, let’s say, less voluminous. Well, the truth cutter is good, she played it quite convincingly, but we know much less about her character than about Alex. But, however, there is still a second season ahead, so perhaps her character will be properly revealed later.

Well, there’s a new head of news service Corey, who is brilliantly played by Billy Crudup, attached to this line. At first, it seems that Corey is such an evil genius who will put a spoke in everyone’s wheels and weave intrigues. However, it turns out that he is really concerned about the channel becoming modern and attracting a younger audience. Cory covers for Bradley, who does exactly what he expected of her, holding back the head of the channel and at the same time – yes, weaving intrigues against him, hoping to take his place. However, Corey is not afraid of losing his job, he is very confident in himself, almost unemotional, but at the same time he steadily develops everything in the direction that he has outlined, carefully and almost imperceptibly pulling on certain strings.

The third main line is the retired Mitch Kessler. Mitch put together the following picture of the world in his head. There is the first wave of #MeToo, during which real rapists like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby were expelled from the industry (they were charged with several charges of violence, and Cosby went to jail for this). But then came the second wave of #MeToo, because of which quite innocent people like him, Mitch, suffered. Well, he didn’t really rape anyone! Well, yes, he flirted, well, yes, he slept with colleagues at work: but why did he suddenly need to completely break his life because of this?! Moreover, Mitch quite sincerely believes that many of these women used the connection with him to climb the career ladder – and they did climb it!

What the series is good for is that all these issues are considered in it from the positions of different sides: the TV presenter himself, the channel employees who were in touch with him, and from the side of the management, which can also be reproached with a lot of things. Mitch is not justified here, but they are trying to understand, and according to the plot, they are trying to explain to Mitch himself what was wrong in all this – and there it is all explained quite clearly.

Carell really liked the role of Mitch: the role is purely dramatic, but Steve has long proved that he is not only a good comedic actor, but also an interesting dramatic actor – just remember his excellent role in Foxcatcher.

By the way, Kessler’s character was most likely based on a story with one of the highest paid hosts in the history of television – Matt Lauer from NBC. He was accused of inappropriate behavior, the channel’s management found out that such cases were not isolated, Lauer was fired, terminated his contract and did not pay the $ 30 million that he was due. After that, his wife divorced Matt, and, in general, he did not surface anywhere else.

Another storyline is the relationship between weather forecaster Janko Flores (Nestor Carbonell) and junior assistant Claire Conway (Bel Powley). Despite the fact that Yanko is in fact Claire’s boss, it is clearly seen that it is the girl who dominates in their relationship, and Yanko is afraid of this relationship, and they make him very nervous. Watching the development of where this relationship will lead them was extremely interesting.

Well, for all that, the audience is shown in sufficient detail the ins and outs of all this work on the morning show: how everything is done, who is friends against whom, how the producer drives it all (the excellent role of Mark Duplass), what undercover intrigues take place there in the struggle for power.

I was waiting with great interest to see how they would sort it all out in the finale: a powerful and intricate intrigue formed there, which could lead everyone involved in it incomprehensibly where. And they did not disappoint me with the finale, it was really great done!

Good dramaturgy, many bright roles (practically every character, even a very minor one, is very interesting), perfectly staged! I liked it very much, looking forward to the second season.

PS I read a funny review in Esquire. In it, the series is called a disaster and scolded for toothlessness. I especially liked this passage, I quote:

Except that on air TV it was impossible to say the word fuck and openly discuss sex, well, nothing, Apple also has a number of restrictions: for all the “courage” of the show, we are unlikely to ever see a story about Hong Kong or any criticism of the Chinese authorities, with which Apple is still working and working. What is there, even about Trump there has not yet been sharply spoken out.

Got it, kids? We did not see criticism of the Chinese authorities there, with whom Apple is still working and working! And Trump was never kicked, but what kind of series is this, where Trump was never kicked?!

 

The Morning Show serie meaning

Director: Jay Carson, Carrie Erin Cast: Nestor Carbonell, Reese Witherspoon, Jack Davenport, Billy Crudup, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Karen Pittman, Mark Duplass, Gugu Embata-Rho, Bel Powley, DeSean Terry

Series, USA, 2019, 60 min. 2 seasons of 10 episodes

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