This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by editor Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
There are TV series that have wild twists, and then there is The Morning Show. It’s just on a different level, like saying there are good actors, and then there is Meryl Streep—or there are things that are hot, and then there is the sun. The Morning Show is my sun. And my moon, my stars—my everything. I am so glad it is back.
(Warning: Spoilers for The Morning Show ahead!)
We should all be grateful to exist at the same time as a TV show that, to resolve its storyline in which Steve Carell plays a Matt Lauer-esque news anchor who is disgraced following a sex scandal, had him drive off a cliff in Italy and die. It was then revealed that Jennifer Aniston’s character, Alex, also had an affair with him at one point. This wasn’t even a finale cliffhanger (heh); these things happened during random episodes midway through the season.
There’s a certain gusto with which The Morning Show employs these twists, an unapologetic confidence that allows a character to do something that they never have given even the slightest indication that they would ever do and you just go “sure, make sense” without questioning it. Case in point: the decision to have Reese Witherspoon’s Bradley Jackson and Julianna Margulies’ Laura Peterson start a romance with each other. There are moments in my life that were so packed with emotion that I’ll never forget a single detail about them: my high school graduation, the birth of my twin nephews, being in the same room as Oprah Winfrey, and when Reese Witherspoon and Julianna Margulies, completely out of nowhere, started making out in the back of a company car.
I am thrilled to report that the new season of The Morning Show, which began this week on Apple TV+, is every bit as twisty as its two previous outings, in all of its ludicrous, enthralling glory. In the first two episodes alone, Jon Hamm is introduced as a billionaire named Paul Marks who is not so loosely inspired by Elon Musk; Alex makes a Kelly Ripa-esque stand for the money and stake in the network she deserves; Billy Crudup’s Cory Ellison secretly tries to sell the company to Paul; we learn that Bradley was not just at the Capitol for the insurrection, but in it; she, Cory, and Paul are launched in a rocket to outer space; there is a cyberattack that exposes everyone in the company’s texts and emails; and there is an equal-pay race reckoning.
When a show is doing so much like this, you’d think it would be head-spinning. But there’s something almost comforting and calming about the cadence and wildness of these twists. One of the biggest surprises of The Morning Show was the revelation, over the course of its first season, that the series really was more of a soap opera than anything else. I think because of the pedigree of its star cast and the topics it was tackling amid the #MeToo movement, there was an expectation for pompousness or pretention. Instead, the show entertainingly leaned into salaciousness. At times, sure, that can be goofy. But it’s also really fun.
There’s even a relatability to all the outlandishness. Chronicling #MeToo, COVID, the collapse of the news media, racial tensions, political polarization, and cyber warfare, all while romantic trysts, family issues, and petty office drama affect the characters’ lives: It’s not trying to do too much. “Too much” is exactly what our lives have been like these last few years. There’s a delirium to everything The Morning Show is doing that is treated as normalcy—kind of like “being alive in the year 2023” is for all of us.
The Morning Show is a spiritual sister to the other TV series to which I have a ferocious devotion: And Just Like That. Whether they are of the same quality is debatable, but there is a certain preposterousness to characters’ behaviors that audiences are asked not only to forgive, but simply go along with in order to enjoy. Considering the decades of history behind the And Just Like That characters from the Sex and the City show and films, that’s more difficult to do with the sequel series. But celebrating rather than questioning the plot twists can lead to a highly enjoyable viewing experience. A person doesn’t spend a significant percentage of his life watching Grey’s Anatomy and dozens of TV series created by Ryan Murphy without learning how fun it is when you don’t take a show’s nonsensical choices and silliness too seriously.
So what do I think will happen on this season of The Morning Show? There is literally no way for a human to predict, no matter how closely they watch the series. And that’s why I love it.
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