Where we start: I don't know how Dave Grohl became the go-to Gamest Person In Show Business, but here's to you, Dave Grohl. Here's to you, Foo Fighters, playing Alex's comeback show.
Look ... a certain lack of realism is to be expected on a show like this, but making it seem like one person who had been in her job for three weeks would have the power to force the board of her network to do what she said kind of trivializes how much risk there actually is in standing up to your bosses. Three weeks on the air, when you were not previously famous, is not really going to imbue you with the power to topple a CEO and replace them with someone who just got fired by yelling at the board.
Anyway, Laura tells Bradley that Cory may be fired anyway now, because the company is losing so much money on the streaming service they're trying to launch. (There are some yuk-yuk \"another streaming service\" jokes here that are supposed to be funny because this is airing on Apple TV+, and they would land better if the service were doing better or the show were better.) Laura's bizarre piece of imagery: \"The company's balance sheet looks like a hemophiliac's used Band-Aid.\" That is ... a sweaty, sweaty line, right there, wowza. Anyway, Laura tells her to make nice with Cory and the network for the time being.
And because Cory, who's her boss, wants Alex to moderate, Stella has to go and try to sell Alex on doing it, even though she herself didn't even want Alex to come back at all. Alex responds by calling Stella a \"punk\" behind her back to Chip, who tries to oh so very gently let Alex know that Stella is the president of news So maybe don't call her a punk It's impossible to tell whether the show is consciously writing Alex as someone who dismisses younger women of color in a way she would probably not dismiss anybody else, but there you have it. (Again, these people! Are villains! Let them be villains!)
And then ... the show is sort of not clear about whether he's trying to blow up his career or show off his charisma, but Daniel takes advantage of a sudden opening in the show to sing Neil Diamond's \"America.\" Everyone is gobsmacked, and I don't know whether we're supposed to believe that a live show has no plan in place if they need to fade out a person singing a song and vamp to fill some time, nor do I think a live show would just let you sing an unplanned song on a live broadcast without ... you know, securing the music rights These people sometimes feel like Martians. Martians who have never done television before.
Well, we have reached the end of the second season of The Morning Show, which skids to a stop this week amid a lot of COVID and cancel-culture foofaraw. And ultimately, it's a moment to ask yourself the one question that probably defines your reaction to this season: Are you buying what the show is selling when it tells you Alex and Bradley are worth rooting for
Alex has COVID, of course, and ... you know, it's interesting. It used to be that shows that wanted to \"humanize\" women would have them stalked, beaten up, or sexually assaulted. There were two problems with that, of course: first, that it's offensive to use violence as a device in that way; second, that it doesn't actually make a woman any more likable, as violence happens to pleasant and unpleasant people alike. Using that device thoughtlessly inspires at best sympathy and at worst pity. I'm very glad they didn't go that route.
The show, nevertheless, is building to a climactic redemption for Alex, so Chip decides to take care of her while lying that he's already tested positive and isn't vulnerable. This is a generous thing for a friend to do in theory; it's a foolish and insensitive thing for an engaged guy to do without talking to the person he's engaged to. It should also be remembered that despite their close friendship, Alex probably makes ... I don't know, 20 times what Chip makes More She will always have more power than he does, and she will always have more options than he does. And yet: He's been cleaning up an awful lot of her messes, even before she starts throwing up.
At any rate, Chip comes up with the idea for Alex to host a show about having COVID, Cory puts it on the streaming service, and before long, Alex has a captive audience to listen to her descriptions of her illness as well as everything else that's on her mind. She goes on a long rant about how unfair everyone is to her as a famous person and how it shouldn't really matter whether she's a good person, because why isn't she just like a tailor (Of course, one answer is that morning television is not a job for people who are trying to keep their personalities out of it and she wouldn't have her job in the first place if people hadn't liked her, so it's a little late now to want to be treated like a tailor.)
And the whole time, they keep cutting back to Chip nodding with satisfaction, which is a hint that they know Alex's position here might not be convincing. It reminds me of the pilot of the musical Smash, where rather than relying on a great performance to make the story point that someone was talented, they would cut to people watching that performance who were practically muttering, \"Oh, she's so very talented!\" Just in case you didn't get it from seeing for yourself. Chip serves the same purpose here, because in case you think Alex is full of it, they keep showing Chip nodding in order to create the sense that maybe Alex is right
At the end, Alex says this: \"I am done apologizing for myself. Either get on the Alex Levy train or just stay at the station.\" This is where, as a writer, I really wish \"LOL\" were a good English word, because it's all I have. I mean, what unwarranted apologizing has Alex done as a character to make this air of defiance feel earned I'm hard-pressed to remember very many times when she has honestly apologized for herself except to people she personally likes who she thinks can help her. Even while reading a teleprompter apology for putting her co-workers at risk with her sojourn to Italy, she kind of undercuts it and rolls her eyes. \"Alex Levy, serial over-apologizer\" is not a characterization I think tracks with the show we've been watching.
Fortunately, these problems don't stop Cory from still delivering some of the best stuff in the finale, including his plastic partitions and his grinning admission that nobody is subscribing to the streaming service, so he might as well program, as he puts it, \"Cory Plus.\" I'm not sure why Paola is still around shopping her Mitch documentary, given that more Sad Mitch is the last thing this show needs right now, but Cory seems interested in airing it. So I guess if there's a season 3, there's going to be ... a lot of that.
I set out to examine these episodes to try to figure out why this very watchable show, which features a lot of very likable actors, has never worked for me for more than a few scenes at a time. Why, despite the obviously abundant talent involved, it wasn't actually good. And I think it's just ... I don't like Alex and Bradley, and if you don't like them, the stories about them are unsatisfying. That's not because you can't care about flawed characters; it's because their flaws are never really addressed. I mean, maybe they'll come back at the beginning of a theoretical season 3 and Bradley will be apologizing for breathing all over an ER full of people like a selfish goober. But I seriously doubt it.
Let's step back: The first season, which aired a decade or so ago in late 2019, was the prestige drama project that Apple wanted to use to launch its streaming service: Big names! Current events! Finger on the pulse! Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston played a newbie and a veteran morning show host, respectively, who are thrown together after Aniston's former on-air partner, played by Steve Carell, is fired following a sexual harassment scandal.
But a funny thing happened on the way to acclaim: The show was of decidedly middling quality. (And by \"the show,\" I mean The Morning Show, not the show-within-the-show also called The Morning Show, which we shall call TMS here so we don't all lose our collective bearings.) Some elements, like Billy Crudup's gleefully weaselly executive Cory, worked. Other parts, like the plentiful scenes in which Mitch (Carell) felt sorry for himself, did not. The uneven season ended when Alex (Aniston) and Bradley (Witherspoon) blew the lid off of a culture of cover-ups at UBA, called out their big bosses on air with the help of Cory and show executive producer Chip (Mark Duplass), and ... fade to black.
And so, Season 2 presents a curious question for The Morning Show: What do you do when your show has all the talent and money in the world, but the first season just didn't work You can't just move on, because you're a tentpole for the streaming service you're working for, which might as well be called We Print Money TV+, and all they want is to make you a success.
The season-two premiere opens with a couple of scenes showing the immediate aftermath of Alex and Bradley's big rebellion, which the show now seems to place sometime in early 2019. This sequence goes about the way you would expect, in that Alex's team is frantic to protect her and The Suits are furious. (\"You're a dead man,\" says disgraced network boss Fred \"Angela Chase's father from My So-Called Life\" Micklen to Cory, to which Cory flatly responds, \"Said the corpse.\")
A Memo From The Department Of Author Veracity: It's a shame that nobody ever really shows what it looks like when you're writing a book, but I guess Jennifer Aniston probably wants to be seen with her hair washed and even Apple doesn't have the budget for that many Diet Coke cans.
When Cory shows up to beg Alex to return temporarily to TMS as part of a big deal with the network that would ultimately lead to a lot of other ... feminist icon projects ... she says no. She doesn't want to come back.