film / tv / substack / social media / lists / web / celeb / pajiba love / misc / about / cbr
film / tv / substack / web / celeb

The_Morning_Show.jpg

'The Morning Show' Recap: Never Go Full 'Newsroom'

By Dustin Rowles | TV | October 6, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | October 6, 2023 |


The_Morning_Show.jpg

There aren’t many of us willing to admit it, but I liked Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom, even while conceding there were times when the writing made me cringe so hard my organs collapsed in on themselves. Much of the problem with Newsroom was in how serious all the characters took themselves and how, even with hindsight, Sorkin often had terrible takes on current events.

In this week’s The Morning Show, they pulled a Newsroom in order to cover the two-year gap between the events of last season (the arrival of the pandemic) and the current season, which sees Bradley Jackson as the evening news anchor, a role we’re still not certain how she got (I’m assuming it has to do with her January 6th coverage). I hate to admit it, but Newsroom did this better.

During the pandemic, Bradley moves to Montana to work alongside her girlfriend, Laura, while everyone works remotely. During that time, Bradley’s brother Hal is back on the East Coast living with their mother. Their mother and Hal are Trump-y, so it isn’t much of a surprise when Bradley’s mom contracts COVID and dies.

What is surprising is the weird socioeconomic differences that surface while Bradley and Laura are living together, which come to a head after the death of Bradley’s mom. Prior to her death, we were only privy to one snide comment Laura made about Bradley’s mom, to which Bradley takes mild offense. After the death, they have a bizarre exchange, not just because there’s very little context for it, but because it’s also out of character for Laura.

Bradley: You know what I think? I think you like to dress me up and parade me around in front of your fancy fucking New York friends like your white trash pet … you’re actually an elitist snob who hides out at the edge of the world so she doesn’t have to deal with reality.

Laura: Fuck you!

Bradley: Fuck you. You must be filled with so much spite it corrodes your insides. You must be happy when people like my mom die because they had COVID because they’re uneducated or hicks or they’re just not as fucking smart as you.

Laura: You know what I think? I think there’s a little part of you that’s actually relieved. You’re glad she’s gone … stop rewriting history. Your mother was a piece of shit!”

Whoa.

Thereafter, Bradley relocates to D.C. to cover the Presidential transition. Obviously, she is ensnared into the January 6th riot, and obviously, she’s in the Capital filming everything with her iPhone when she captures her brother Hal — played by Sara Bareilles’ real-life husband — beating up a police officer. The footage and reporting raise her profile, but she deletes the portion with her brother.

That’s fine until the FBI asks for the raw footage so that they can use it to identify criminal actors. Bradley goes to Cory, and this is the secret Cory and Bradley have had and what Cory has been holding over Bradley: He agrees not to hand the footage over to the FBI, but he’s not happy about it. “I’d like you to leave now,” Cory says to Bradley after he agrees. “And I don’t want to hear another fucking word about this, ever.”

The writers are laying it on thick this week.

To wit: There’s also a bizarre subplot between Mia and her photojournalist boyfriend, Andre, over the course of the pandemic. After Mitch Kessler dies, Mia admits to Andre that she and Mitch were in a relationship and that Mia was in love with him. I’m not sure why, but Andre is furious. He’s so furious, in fact, that the next time we see him, he’s drunk, having gone to three different bars. Mia is now furious with Andre because he’s getting wasted out in bars during a pandemic. He didn’t cheat. I don’t believe he was an alcoholic who fell off the wagon, so Mia’s reaction to his decision to get drunk os a lot: “If you leave this apartment and risk exposing anyone else to your fucking shit, I swear to God, I will never fucking forgive you, you selfish asshole.”

After a night of sleeping apart, Andre takes a gig in Afghanistan.

I understand that the episode is trying to compress two years into an hour, but everything happens so abruptly! One minute, Bradley and Laura are happy in Montana, and the next, Laura is calling her mom a piece of shit. One minute Mia and Andre happily cohabitate during the pandemic, and the next, their relationship has deteriorated because of Mia’s past relationship. A few times during the episode, I thought I had missed something because it all happened so quickly.

Additional Thoughts

— The two leads, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, continue to alternate episodes. Alex is not in this one.

— Cory meets a woman named Salma, with whom he is romantically linked during the pandemic, and she connects him to Paul Marks. Cory plants a seed in Paul’s mind about buying UBN. The way that the show unveils Sasha suggests to me that we were supposed to know who she was, but IMDb insists that this was her first episode.

— Stella and her Stanford college roommate, Kate, also have a brief exchange. Kate is unhappy working at Hyperion with Paul Marks and is looking for another job. I assume we will see her again because she is played by Natalie Morales.