The Morning Show, one of the first original series to be released by Apple’s new Apple TV+ streaming platform, provides an interesting look behind the scenes of a morning news program after the male co-host has been fired for alleged sexual misconduct.
Starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell, the star-studded cast helped get The Morning Show plenty of chatter before it launched.
And now that the first few episodes of the series have officially been made available to the public, garnering mixed reviews thus far, we can see how it deals with issues like feminism, sexual assault and misconduct, and the portrayal of the media, personalities, network executives, and others.
What do we like about the series and what doesn't work for us? Here’s a breakdown.
10 Like: It’s Topical
Watching the series and its morning show backdrop, it’s hard not to compare it to current events in the real world that involve sexual misconduct allegations against TV personalities and Hollywood players. The show also makes us think of actual on-air personalities who we suspect are either great friends in real life or can’t actually stand one another.
Viewers can relate to the stories having heard of similar ones in the real world and are left to wonder if the way things go down on the show mirrors what might (or maybe even did) happen in a real scenario.
9 Don’t Like: Many of the Men Are Presented As Jerks
We’re all for a show that highlights women and shines a spotlight on how men sometimes try and use their power and privilege against them. But many of the men on the show are presented as downright jerks, which isn’t fair either. While we get that they are characters and meant to be a larger representation of a problem, not designed to stereotype everyone who works in the business, it’s hard to watch sometimes.
There are, however, a few male characters who are portrayed in a more positive light. Even if they’re also egotistical or power-hungry, they are shown to treat women and colleagues overall with some level of respect.
8 Like: It Tackles Women’s Issues
It’s due time for a series to tackle real issues that women deal with in the workplace. That means not only things as severe as sexual assault or misconduct, but even things as simple as not being heard or respected.
We get to see many aspects from a female perspective, including what it’s like working as a singular woman in power with a group of men, as well as how men might not even realize what they’re doing sometimes with their unconscious biases or enabling of bad behavior.
7 Don't Like: The Women Can Be Catty With One Another
While there’s an opportunity for the female characters to really come together on the show, and many do, they are also often stereotypically catty and competitive with one another. We wish the show portrayed women less like that and more confident — though given many of the situations, their reactions are understandable. It’s unfair that, as revealed in an early episode, the male co-host was secure in his seat while the network was considering getting rid of the female co-host who seemingly had lost her mojo.
6 Like: Alex and Bradley Together
Alex and Bradley, the two main female characters on the series, are very different people with very different feelings about the news, what to report, and how to report it. But they do eventually come together at times, which is nice to see, even if it is only for fleeting moments.
On a series that tackles such serious issues, it’s important to see female characters coming together instead of tearing each another down. It's also equally important to see men who stand with them as well.
5 It Can Get A Little Too Real: Don’t Like
For victims of sexual abuse or assault of any kind, the show might be triggering at times. This isn’t something we should shy away from, because it’s important to bring these serious issues to the forefront in order to deal with them. But for some people who have been through similar situations, even just the dialogue could be enough to throw them off kilter.
For someone who might be suffering with their own situation, there are some episodes that might be more difficult to watch than others. And there’s little warning about what's to come, so certain scenes and conversations might catch some viewers off guard.
4 Don't: It Portrays Media Personalities as Generally Flaky and Fake
While we know deep down that the bright-eyed, wide-smiling morning show hosts we watch on television every day are probably not like that in real life, we choose to believe that they are. They help us get ready for our days, bring some entertainment to wake us up, and prepare us to tackle whatever we have on the calendar.
The Morning Show digs a little too deep into the underbelly of a television news program as we see the real personalities of the people on-air, the drama that unfolds, power struggles, selfishness, and ego. It can be disheartening as you think of your own favorite local morning show personalities and wonder how much like the characters they might be. That said, it is TV after all.
3 Like: The Characters Are Likable
Many of the characters are likable in their own ways, though on different levels. We want to root for each one in different ways, even if we know they aren’t entirely perfect and have their share of flaws.
The cast is fantastic, convincingly portraying everyone from a small-town local reporter to a studio news head to a frantic executive producer. Keep an eye out for great performances from cast members like Billy Crudup, Marcia Gay Harden, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw alongside Carell, Witherspoon, Aniston, and others.
2 Like: The Story Presents a Unique Angle
The idea of pulling back the curtain of a news-based TV show has been done before in series like The Newsroom, Back To You, and Murphy Brown. It’s not an entirely new concept.
That said, what hasn’t been done before? While the concept itself isn’t totally new, with an angry morning show co-host and the morning show itself struggling to stay relevant in changing media times, the approach and the back-story is more true-to-life and current than any other series we’ve seen thus far that tackles a similar premise.
1 It Mentions Real World News: Like
While the series takes place on a fictional morning show set, it mentions some real-life events that occurred in current times. In some scenes, you can also see clips of Harvey Weinstein on televisions in the background, talking to reporters following the allegations brought against him not too long ago.
This adds a level of realism to The Morning Show and makes you wonder how morning show news programs in real life might have dealt with such situations when they had to tailor their coverage to a particular story.