EJ Moreno reviews The Morning Show…
The Morning Show is an intriguing start to what will likely be Apple TV’s biggest show. One of the simplest ways to describe the show is it goes beyond having its finger on the pulse; it is the pulse.
The newest project from showrunner Kerry Ehrin feels so current and so fresh that I’m surprised this was created so quickly. Usually, Hollywood is a few years behind on what’s a big talking point, and while the peak of the “Me Too” movement is gone, it’s still very relevant today. The Morning Show pulls no punches on the topic and focuses on the accuser, the accused, and the people around them. That’s a smart angle to approach with a touchy subject like this.
But the show isn’t just about what “Me Too” movement, this is a real deep dive into the strange world of morning talk shows. The pacing, the hours, the perception to the viewers: all of that is discussed here and adds more to the show.
Jennifer Aniston is fiery in this role, probably the most intense character she’s ever played. Aniston, as Alex Levy, is layered with a brutal outer shell but a softer interior, a range she gets to show throughout just the first episode alone. The scene with Reese Witherspoon’s Bradley character, the one where Alex interviews Bradley about her viral video, is probably one of the favorite scenes of dialogue in a while. Just intense and venomous, with so many subtle and not-so-subtle shots at each other.
Aniston delivers some of her best work here as I’ve never seen her play a character quite like this. She’s not just a one-note role, but a woman with so much going on underneath the surface. Alex Levy will join Rachel Green as one of her most iconic characters.
Steve Carell delivers an excellent performance here, with a mix of his usual comedic side and some tremendous dramatic acting. I’ve personally enjoyed Carell in that type of genre-mixture, like the film Dan in Real Life, so this is another breath of fresh air. The character of Mitch Kessler is complicated, to say the least. You never know where you stand on him as he’s going through every emotion possible.
The real shining star here is another notable television role for Reese Witherspoon. Following the great work on Big Little Lies isn’t an easy task, but her Bradley Jackson is easily one of my favorite parts for Witherspoon.
Bradley Jackson is a complex character that makes you want to punch and hug her at the same time. She’s combative, but it’s earned as she’s dealt with a lot here. She’s also one of the most endearing characters with more heart and soul than both Mitch and Alex combined. Witherspoon gives Bradley all these admirable traits and makes me look forward to every scene with her. Even when she’s hard-headed and you want her to listen, she never makes you dislike her.
With only a limited amount of episodes to review, there wasn’t a lot of Witherspoon’s Bradley and Anitson’s Alex together, but the scenes they had are firey. Look for that to be your favorite part of every episode as these two women get the tone and intended execution of the show entirely.
The fantastic acting isn’t just for the leading players, though. The supporting cast is impressive with so many stand-outs. Excellent writing and directing can lead to that, and it’s a terrific problem to have too many actors to praise.
Mark Duplass and Billy Crudup do jump out to me as both men add something unique to the show. Duplass brings his singular snark to a significant role that could morph into a fun antagonist for Bradley, and Alex. Crudup is usually fantastic, so there’s so surprise there. Still, his character is an excellent mix of authoritative and real.
Another actor on the show I have to point out is Karen Pittman as producer Mia Jordan. Her character pops up more in episode three, and that’s when she starts stealing the show as well. Pittman is amazing, fans will know her from Luke Cage, but I look forward to seeing the Mia character playing a more prominent role going forward.
Apple TV Plus is off to an incredible start with a show like this. The Morning Show is needed at this time, showing what happens during Hollywood sexual assault allegations. It doesn’t just affect one or two people, but everyone around them, which is something not often talked about in pop culture.
The show is a mixture of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and The Newsroom. That means it’s smart, quick-paced, and utterly entertaining from start to finish. If those types of shows intrigue you, then The Morning Show is a must-see.