I Have Questions About The Morning Show
Thinking too hard about the best bad show on streaming
I Have Questions About The Morning Show
The third season of The Morning Show premiered this week and once again I was glued to the screen/completely disengaged from and confused by what was happening on screen. That’s the Morning Show experience!
Does this show know it’s camp?
Someone coughs ominously at the network’s New Year’s Eve 2020 broadcast. Steve Carell drives off a cliff in Italy. Reese Witherspoon, network head Billy Crudup, and a Musk-like billionaire played by Jon Hamm broadcast live from the very first near-space launch by Hamm’s character’s (referred to as Elon Hamm by the Prestige TV podcast and henceforth here as well) new space venture. And it’s all done so seriously I still can’t tell whether this show knows that it’s bad. Billy Crudup seems to know what kind of show he’s on and gives a fantastically chewy performance to match, and Jon Hamm had the good sense to leave his Don Draper gravitas at home. But everyone else in this stacked cast seems to be gunning for an Emmy they absolutely will not win. Someone should tell them this is a soap opera, not the Aaron Sorkin drama it aspires to be.
Why did they hire all our best comedic actors with no intention of letting them be funny even once?
In the first episode of the third season, Tig Notaro shows up to deliver two completely forgettable lines as Elon Hamm’s assistant, never to be seen again. This might be the most egregious example of how this show hordes and wastes comedic talent. The cast has included: Steve Carrell, Jennifer Aniston, Stephen Fry, Greta Lee, Mark Duplass, Mindy Kaling, Will Arnett, Martin Short and many many more comedic talents and no one has ever been allowed to be funny even once. MAKE IT MAKE SENSE. Also, Elon Musk does not deserve the compliment of being played by Jon Hamm.
Why are they tracking to current events?
The Morning Show is hardly the first to attempt to rip the headlines from the news as it’s happening, but the news of the past few years has been so dire, and this show has been so heavy-handed about recreating every real-life plot line, that it just becomes laughably unserious. Brandy Jackson wins a “First Amendment” award for broadcasting live from inside Capitol on January 6th with only her cell phone? I laughed out loud.
Why does this show think morning shows matter?
When was the last time you turned on the morning news for hard-hitting journalism that shapes the national discourse? Exactly. And yet this show seems to think the morning news is the most important 3 hours of television this country produces, and its anchors are literally holding the union together with their charm and trustworthiness. Jennifer Aniston healed the nation by live vlogging her Covid symptoms! Which leads me to ask:
Where are the fluff segments?
What is morning news without cooking demos and seasonal shopping highlights and feel-good news stories about dogs greeting soldiers returning home? This show acts like the marshmallow fluff that constitutes 80% of any morning news broadcast doesn’t exist. At least we see the weather report.
How much are they paying for this incredible cast?
Obviously this show has money to burn, but this cast is just absurd. They have huge names in tiny roles, which seems imprudent at best. Are they just trying to tie up the schedules of all the best on-screen talent to make it impossible for other streamers and networks to hire great performers? It feels like a power move, not a creative decision.
Do Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon hate each other?
They’re rarely on screen together anymore, which leads the viewer to believe they either hate each other, or have schedules that are impossible to coordinate. Every I’ve heard about Jennifer Aniston is that she’s so nice, she comes across as naive, so either Reese is causing the trouble, or the gloves come off at work.
What happened to the original premise?
Apparently the original premise of the show was warring Morning Shows competing for ratings and clout, and that’s the show I actually want to see. Post #MeToo, they pivoted to a Steve Carrell-as-Matt Lauer premise that already felt stale. I want to see the battle of the Fourth of July cookout segments! I want to see warring on-air book clubs!
Who watches this show?
Do you watch this show? Is this show successful enough to justify its budget? All I know is that I will continue to watch this terrible show until the last frame.
Cut + Paste is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.