Review: Everything Is Fair Game in Season Two of 'The Morning Show'

by JC Alvarez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday September 17, 2021

Jennifer Aniston Billy Crudup and Reese Witherspoon in "The Morning Show" premiering September 17 2021 on Apple TV+
Jennifer Aniston Billy Crudup and Reese Witherspoon in "The Morning Show" premiering September 17 2021 on Apple TV+  (Source:Apple TV+)

The Second Season of the AppleTV+ Original Series "The Morning Show" comes out the gate firing on all cylinders. Television talk show icon Alex Levy (award-winning Jennifer Aniston) leaves it all on the set after a season of battling sexual harassment claims, suicide, and any number of unpredictable controversies. In doing so, she leaves Bradley Jackson (the remarkably talented Reese Witherspoon) to fend for herself in the hot seat of UBA's most watched morning show. The inner machinations of daytime television have never been more relevant or intricately interesting, perfectly balancing the drama and comedic elements with beautifully textured characters.

As the new face of the network, Bradley has had to float the boat and keep UBA from going under, but what the recently-promoted network head Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) isn't telling her is that the ratings are just not there. The network is desperate for a stunt, and Cory has a scheme to reunite Alex and Bradley and put The Morning Show back on everyone's radar. Alex, on the other hand, has been taking a deeper look at her life after the sexual misconduct revelations that rocked her world. Alex hasn't come to grips with the actions of Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) that nearly destroyed her career, but as she prepares to release her memoirs a darkness looms in the distance.

With a new team under his purview, including The Morning Show show-runner Mia (Karen Pittman) and Stella Bak (new series regular Greta Lee), the UBA President of News is not entirely convinced that Cory's plan to bring Alex back to the show is a great stunt. Troubles emerge as to what, exactly, it will all mean, and whether or not Bradley will respond to the dynamic — which leaves many of the other The Morning Show co-hosts, including Daniel (Desean Terry) wondering how their roles will be affected by the entire affair, not to mention to shroud of controversy that will undoubtedly eclipse them all. To make matters worse, an upcoming tell-all book may unearth a whole other series of scandals!

"The Morning Show" which was an instant hit in its first season, banking on the star power of its two leads, Aniston and Witherspoon, who also serve as the series' executive producers. The show took a powerful look at gender disparities in the workplace, and the power dynamic behind the scenes of a network, just as many of the same topics were playing out in real life. The show's characters are extremely relatable, and the audience is invited to examine perspectives from all sides, while consequences play out that lead to more consequences.

We're fascinated by the going-ons of network television, and everyone fancies themselves an entertainment insider. What "The Morning Show" gets across so perfectly is how "real" these people are, and especially how textured and flawed, regardless of the "perfect" personas they are determined to present to the camera. Aniston is gripping as Alex Levy, a sharp contrast from her role on "Friends" and an emotionally complicated character that only she can make as likable (or unlikable-liked) with skillful ease. Reese Witherspoon is also at her best, as the ambitious go-getter who is holding on to every bit of her authentic self, while more is revealed.

"The Morning Show" delivers on high expectations, wrapping up (or, in some cases, expanding) storylines let dangling from the Season One cliffhanger, while introducing and elaborating on fresh ones that include new series regular Julianna Margulies in a role that ignites a whole new level of interest (and will undoubtedly set the actor up as a highlight of the upcoming award season). If you were a fan in Season One, hang on tight! Every minute of "The Morning Show" is worth it.

Especially relevant is the series' handling of real life issues like COVID, which it has woven into its narrative, and the interpersonal dynamics of office politics that are all too familiar to many of us, but are even more heightened by the travesties of social media — not to mention the devastating effects of "fake news" that have plagued our politics. Nothing is left off the table, and anything is fair game, in Season Two of "The Morning Show."

"The Morning Show," Season 2, premieres exclusively on AppleTV+ September 17, 2021.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".