TV review: The Morning Show gave me a headache

Irish actor, Rúairí O'Connor has joined the cast as Ty Fitzgerald 
TV review: The Morning Show gave me a headache

The Morning Show: Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon

The Morning Show (Apple TV+) gave me a headache.

Season 2 is back almost two years after Season 1 ended and I’m finding it hard to figure out what is going on. To be honest, I think the producers and writers were struggling a bit as well.

A quick recap in case you missed Season 1. Mitch, played by Steve Carrell, loses his job as co-presenter at one of America’s biggest morning TV shows. Alex, played by Jennifer Aniston, is then paired up with an aww shucks former reporter called Bradley (Reese Witherspoon), with an eye for a good story. The show is overseen by a guy called Cory (Billy Crudup), who takes on the phone really quickly and seems to act entirely on impulse. He doesn’t strike me as a great guy to run a TV network, but what would I know?

Anyway, it was all a bit silly and like The West Wing for a while, until it emerged that Mitch was a malicious sexual predator and one of his victims died. The last few episodes in Season 1 were superb , a gripping illustration of how a sexual predator can be enabled by people who need him to help them make money. I remember thinking at the time that they should have left it as a one-season wonder. I don’t remember much else about it, because Covid happened in the meantime and we all kind of moved on.

Jennifer Aniston as Alex Levy
Jennifer Aniston as Alex Levy

But when you have that calibre of star power, it’s hard to say 'cut'. So they came back for Season 2. It started brilliantly, with drone shots of an empty New York city, explained by a giant ad containing Covid-related info in Times Square. It was spooky and stylish, suggesting the new season was going to take up where Season 1 ended, with more gravitas and less stupid walking-down-the-corridor meetings à la The West Wing —  meetings that should be banned from TV, because they don’t happen in real life.

The spooky, stylish stuff didn’t last. It didn’t take long before they were back doing walking-down-the-corridor-meetings and Cory was back doing everything on impulse and I hadn’t a clue what was going on. The writers seemed to forget that a lot has gone on since late 2019 and we could have done with a refresher before they jumped straight back in. I would have gladly watched Alex or Bradley telling a friend what had happened, like those exposition pieces you see in the soaps to make sure that Gareth in Coventry is up to speed.

If I had to guess, I’d say the producers reckoned we’ve had a tough 18 months and it would be nice to watch some fluff. It wasn’t. It was time-wasting and felt like some cheap drama you’d end up watching on morning daytime TV. The irony of it all.

Still, The Morning Show has form when it comes to starting slowly and coming good in the end. So let’s see if they can manage that again.

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