The Morning Show is coming to Apple TV + this fall and it is packed to the rafters with the amazing acting talent of Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Billy Crudup in what Apple describes as a one hour continuing drama that “explores the high-stakes world of morning news and the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning.”
Beyond that description, a new trailer dropped today that looks to be one part Sunset Boulevard mixed with the DNA and pulse of America in 2019: Carell plays a beloved co-host (alongside Jennifer Aniston) whose world does the rhumba when certain allegations are made against him that force him off The Morning Show. What sort of allegations? The new trailer for The Morning Show doesn’t go into too many details, but in the era of #MeToo and TIME’S UP our collective and jaded minds don’t have to put together too many dots to ascertain that it isn’t anything good.
As Jennifer Aniston’s news host tearfully announces to the world that her partner’s career is effectively over (which leads to a great scene of an irate Carell attacking the big screen television broadcasting the news) it becomes clear early on that, with a now vacant seat to fill for the popular morning news show, this is a story – played for laughter and tears, a dramedy – about the ageing guard being pushed out of the way by the fresh and younger up and coming force which is Reese Witherspoon. Within thirty seconds the show perfectly seems to capture the zeitgeist of our own loud and rancorous times.
But is it too soon for anything too incisive about our times?
Ageism has been tackled before in Hollywood from the aforementioned Sunset Boulevard to Rod Serling’s Patterns, but it is an issue that sadly never seems to leave us and this forever makes the subject timely. Watching Aniston – who, by the way, looks to deliver the best work of her career since The Good Girl – sitting at the head of a table staring down her primarily male dominated and youth driven network and confronting them head on is exciting to watch and it’s almost impossible to not draw parallels with today’s headlines. Not only is ageism being addressed by her suddenly out in the cold newscaster, but also the very real issue of sexism.
The trailer for The Morning Show can even be transposed and imagined as a western: An ageing sheriff (Aniston) must fight off an invasion of her town from the new up-and-coming gunslinger (Witherspoon) after the area’s trusted mayor (Carell) is shamed out of town. This summation shows that some of the problems that are just now receiving major (and sometimes skewered) media coverage have, at the very heart of it all, been with us for centuries and will probably take more than a screaming op-ed in the New York Times or a foaming at the mouth rant on Fox News to remedy. “I have just three things to teach,” said the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. “Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” Salient words for our times and watching this early look at The Morning Show it looks as if the writers are intent on delivering a dramedy that examine that philosophy of those words for all of the good and bad it may have to offer.
There is a lot of noise going on in our present day world and I wonder if The Morning Show is up for tackling it all in a way that doesn’t come across as preachy and one-sided, but rather in a manner that exposes the many different hues of both sides and comments on it from neither camp but somewhere in the neutral ground where the best political and world satire springs from. Oh, and it must remain irreverent. If viewers want to be chronically depressed and have all laughter ripped away from them then there are various news agencies – both far right and far left – that will more than happily take their business. If this new show can pull off that particular high-wire act of remaining above the fray in the environment we exist in now then I predict a long and healthy life for this Apple TV + show.