google playGoogle
app storeiOS
profile icon

Home»Features»The Morning Show Season 2 Episode 1 review: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon’s newsroom drama starts off on a sedate note»

The Morning Show Season 2 Episode 1 review: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon’s newsroom drama starts off on a sedate note

Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell return for a second instalment of Apple TV+ newsroom drama The Morning Show

The Morning Show Season 2 Episode 1 review: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon’s newsroom drama starts off on a sedate note
  • Pratishruti Ganguly

Last Updated: 04.05 AM, Sep 18, 2021

Share

Story: The brewing storm of COVID-19 threatens to depose life as we know it even as Alex re-evaluates her career in the aftermath of her revelations about her own workplace on live TV.

In season 1 of The Morning Show, we saw veteran news anchor Alex (Jennifer Aniston) expose her network UBA as a breeding ground for toxic workplace culture, where women who came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, were either silenced or removed. She “started a revolution”, a character points out in the second season, but it happened at the cost of her own career. This season attempts to spotlight the aftermath of such an exposé within a system that refuses to change its ways. But attempt is the operative word here.

The first episode of The Morning Show season 2, now out on Apple TV+, opens with lingering shots of the deserted streets of New York as the sound of an ambulance siren blares in the background. But the scene swiftly jumps back in time, inside the confines of the air-conditioned studio where Eric (Hasan Minhaj) and Bradley (Reese Witherspoon) announce their Christmas special segment while shimmying to jazz music. The deliberate juxtaposition of our reality post-March 2020 and a few months prior, is effectively jarring. When a character remarks “2019 sucked” after an intern parrots the headline-makers of the year, you squirm at the thought of what waits to befall on these characters in a matter of a few weeks. Vehicle-choked streets, blaring horns and enormous, bustling crowds boomerang you into a time capsule that serves as a rueful reminder of a pre-pandemic existence. It’s not necessarily comforting – but it aptly corresponds to the chaos that the microcosmic UBA is also undergoing in light of Alex’s revelations.

poster

As Bradley’s firebrand personality becomes the point of contention for broadcasting heads, Alex retreats in the background, penning manuscripts in her snow-covered cabin in Maine. In a semi-autobiographical voiceover, Alex reveals how she took a step back from the voracious demands of success so that she could finally “begin to live.”

Her character was arguably one of the most well-written parts in the previous season, and it seems, in a bid to glorify Alex’s struggles, the writers have comfortably sidelined Bradley. Make no mistake, Witherspoon has ample screen time, but nothing her character says or does seems quite impactful in the grander scheme of things.

Bradley’s naïve idealism is the focus this time around too, and her serial do-gooder act is congruent with her character arc developed patiently last season, but all too often, it feels like a copout on the writers’ part to present her as a foil to the toxicity inside the newsroom, fostered both by men and women. She is Madeline from Big Little Lies, sans the overuse of pink in her outfits.

poster

Billy Crudup as Cory is still one of the most deliciously cocky characters this season. Nevertheless, his enthusiasm as compared to others feels a little too on-the-nose at junctures (he uses the word ta-da in one scene in the episode). His interactions with Bradley and Alex are charming but come across as a little too cocaine-induced in an otherwise sedate episode.

The first episode devotes its entire 52-minute runtime to presumably set the stage for graver issues to be debated upon in the subsequent episodes. There is a lot of sashaying down carpeted corridors, hushed meetings inside pristine glass-window offices, tarot card readers in plush libraries and long monologues about the rickety condition of their network - but none of this amount to anything substantial to write home about. Certain developments are so contrived that you know where the episode is headed by the second act. And for the hopeful, Steve Carrell does not make an entry.

poster

Verdict: Season 2 of The Morning Show is perhaps fit to be binge-watched rather than consumed episodically. There is just too little dynamism in the first episode to keep you on the tenterhooks, like the first season so effectively did.

0