The Morning Show: The Interview
December 21, 2019 9:09 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

TMS faces a fateful day as a plan to shake up UBA is set in motion.
posted by ellieBOA (10 comments total)
Ending the season with some drama.

Bradley owning a room with Mitch and Cory in it, and Alex's heel turn are entirely unpersuasive, but I don't watch this program for its realism.

I'm almost always wrong guessing plot turns. Almost, dammit.

I'd watch the Hell out of a Cory Ellison spin-off.
posted by mojohand at 10:03 AM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Also: cutting the feed in mid-broadcast is like trying to silence an M-80 by putting a pail over it. You get the same bang you tried to suppress, and you get clonked on the head with the pail for your trouble. But I don't watch this program for its realism
posted by mojohand at 10:12 AM on December 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yeah this was as wacky as usual, with plenty of drama, and it wasn't the most satisfying outcome, but it was the only outcome that lets us keep all our protagonists, well, all except Chip but even he can make a comeback now.

I wasn't as entertained as I wanted to be, but I was at least somewhat entertained and I watch this show because it entertains the shit out of me.

I also don't watch this program for its realism
posted by KTamas at 11:27 AM on December 22, 2019

And with this they have at least some stuff to build upon in Season 2. I bet it would work best if they wouldn't do a time-jump but pick up the second the first season ended.
posted by KTamas at 11:29 AM on December 22, 2019

Something about the pacing or the editing of this show seems more like you're watching a movie than a TV show, and not in a good way. Like there will be a big scene with dramatic dialog, but then that always has to be followed by a two-minute dialog-free montage accompanied by some stupid pop song. It's like they had a quota of bad pop songs that they needed to use up to fulfill their contract. I found myself wanting to fast-forward in a way I almost never do when watching other TV shows.
posted by Umami Dearest at 10:21 PM on December 22, 2019

I dig it. Hannah’s turn didn’t make a ton of sense to me (other than being dramatic), but I like this kind of corporate intrigue in general.

A bit surreal to see the news story Bradley is doing near the end is about an outbreak on a cruise ship. (In general, watching things during COVID is strange, because I’m constantly thinking about social distancing, but these people on my screen aren’t??!?!)
posted by itesser at 8:25 AM on March 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

So, I finally watched this season/series and absolutely loved it. I went in expecting a show-off-our-high-budget AppleTV launch title that wants to be a Sorkin show but without Aaron Sorkin, which is what it is, but it turns out that they spent the money in the right places, Sorkin's been around and influential for long enough that his tone and style is no longer inimitable, and that they were handling material that would have been an utter trainwreck in his hands anyway.

One key tenet to that, which might not be unique to this series but is close enough, is that loyalty is a negative value in this universe. Sorkin's shows tend to center on Loyalty almost always being a positive, selfless attribute of good people coming together as a team, and on meritocracy being a basic fact of nature. The Morning Show completely subverts both of those themes in ways fascinating to me, and I feel like that subversion works all the better by aping the Sorkin/Schlamme stylebook.

With the Meritocracy question, it's not that talent doesn't rise to the top. It still does here, simply because you have to be hardworking and smart and talented to be playing at that level. You don't survive in that environment otherwise, and the show doesn't pretend that you can. (See also: Cory's cruel, cutting, beautifully underplayed baseball metaphor from Episode 6.) But in a Sorkin show, that's expressed as "maybe ten people in the world are capable of doing this job" and here it's "the world is full of smart, talented, hardworking people, enough that the powerful feel extremely comfortable running through them like Kleenex." Everyone's busting their asses to do the best job they can, and everyone's keenly aware of how replaceable they are.

With the Loyalty question, well, I think you'd have to go to The Wire or another organized crime series to find loyalty to an organization treated so villainously, and even in mob series it's generally used as a way to differentiate "good" bad guys from "bad" bad guys. Here, Bradley and Cory emerge as the closest thing the show has to heroic protagonists specifically because they're the ones who don't feel any particular loyalty to the institutions they've just joined. Chip feels redeemable, like a mostly good dude who got caught up maintaining a toxic culture in a maddeningly fast-paced day-to-day environment, but he still doesn't quite get it at the end: his motives for leaking the Mitch story to the Times were out of loyalty to Alex rather than because Mitch needed to go, and his motives in this episode were about spite-fucking Fred and it's just gravy that he gets to be righteous while doing so. Alex has so tied up her own narcissism and her loyalty to the show that she can only come around at the end by self-immolating (and it's absolutely clear that Bradley has a better chance of surviving this than Alex does, though that's partially because Bradley wasn't ever a part of the old guard.)

Bradley is obviously fueled by self-destructive instincts that she knowingly justifies by aligning them with moral superiority, and in that way she's still acting selfishly, even if not always in her own best interests. Cory, the most electric character on the show and the man who "lives in the implications," outwardly seems to be doing what he does because he sees chaos as a ladder and one that he's good at climbing, and that even doing that is purely for his own amusement. But the results of those actions hew suspiciously close to actual moral clarity, like that despite his above-it-all, give-a-shit demeanor he actually cares about what's right. (Also, I might have missed something, but is Cory the only non-drinker on the show? Everybody else is shown getting drunk or at least partaking at different points, but I don't think we ever see Cory take a drink throughout the season. Very subtle if intentional.)

I'm still not certain that Hannah needed to die, and I somehow didn't see it coming until Claire showed up with the coffee, even though it was being telegraphed since at least Episode 6. I don't know if it was intentional suicide or accidental over-self-medication, and based on interviews the creators want that to be ambiguous by design, but I lean towards accidental. She is a survivor, and tough, but she was already feeling alienated before Mitch picked her out, and wasn't seeing that she didn't need to be as lonely as she felt by her end, and it makes sense to me that she simply overdid it at the end of that particularly rough day.

And as for Claire, who hopefully will have more to do in Season 2, she actually chooses to break things off with the man she loves (and who genuinely seems to love her) because she knows she'd be sacrificing her own future prospects on that altar if she doesn't. That's a minor subplot in the grand scheme of things but it matters that the show knows this was the right decision on her part, even as it shows Yanko being a decent enough guy to respect it through the heartbreak. As soon as Bradley hired Claire for bringing her the Firefighter story, I was expecting Fred to fire Claire as a way to punish Bradley, and to blow up her relationship with Yanko as a pretext for it. I'm still kind of surprised that they didn't go that way with it, but if it means more Claire in season 2 then I'm game.

Finally, I feel like this show was made for bingeing, and that a week-to-week schedule couldn't have helped its reviews. Getting an hour-long flashback to the Mitch era ending with a sexual assault works very, very well if the context for it is fresh in your mind and you can jump right back into the present day immediately afterwards. I think it would be much more frustrating and tempting to pick apart if that was all you got for the week. But watching it a year and a half later, over the course of two days, this hit me with incredible power, and I'm so glad it's out there.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:36 AM on July 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

You’re absolutely right about the comparison to The Wire - on the directors commentary for the first season David Simon says something about wanting to make a show about the corrupting effects of institutions on individuals.
posted by bq at 12:37 PM on December 22, 2022

And I want to call out that last shot of Steve Carnell sitting at the table with his image reflected perfectly in the mirrored surface - really genius composition.
posted by bq at 4:28 PM on December 22, 2022

Navelgazer: "I'm still not certain that Hannah needed to die, and I somehow didn't see it coming until Claire showed up with the coffee"

Hannah's previous scene ended with a fade-to-white, which I somehow read as "she's going to die." And my wife said "I see her as a suicide risk."

I didn't want her to die because she's a sympathetic character, but I don't think anything short of a death would have justified the on-air explosion at the end (also, first character to die is black, what are the odds?). And they were clearly going for a boffo season finale. I had incorrectly predicted a redemptive character arc for Mitch around ep 4; instead they doubled down on his sleaze. Maybe this is the literal and figurative punch in the face he needs for that.
posted by adamrice at 9:02 AM on August 17, 2023

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