Part 2 of Morning disappointed many fans. After a successful first season, the bar has been set high for Apple TV+ series and many people await its return – including critics, because even though the reviews for season 1 are polarizing, everyone can agree that for better or worse, Morning It’s a hell of a ride. Until recently (Friday) when season 2 ended, it seemed like this was the worst Morning Can do. Being chaotic to the worst, that’s good. But as it turns out, it could be much worse; it can be boring.
Season 1 focuses on disgraced news anchor, Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell), who, in the first episode, is fired from his job at the fictional film Morning program for adultery. Playing Mitch’s anchor co-worker, Alex Levy, is Jennifer Aniston, who spends season 1 calculating the truth about her longtime friend, and past being a sexual predator. Replacing Mitch in Alex’s co-anchor role is Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon), who is, in many ways, the antithesis of Alex.
While Alex is judged to be impeccable, professional, and careful, Bradley is a self-confessed snob who, despite his inexperience, still broke into UBA’s Morning like a storm and cause all kinds of trouble. An accuser by nature, she encourages Alex to acknowledge the network’s damned complacency and look inside: she, Alex, is not as innocent as she thinks she is. This revelation equates to a climactic online exhibit for Alex, prompted by the death of one of Mitch’s victims, Hannah (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) in the finale. Season 1’s mission is ambitious, but simple enough: show off the intricacies of the #MeToo movement. And it succeeds in doing so, making some enlightening comments on Racism in the workplace and sexism along the way. Sometimes it’s part fun/funny – thank you, Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) – and part emotional. Unfortunately, season 2 isn’t quite the same. Probably suffered in the first place (how could it come back to life?) This is where the latest installment has gone wrong.
One harsh criticism from season 2 is that it tries to say too much and ends up saying very little. To their detriment, the producers aim high this season as they want to tackle a plethora of themes: sexual misconduct, racism, sexism, homophobia love, cancel culture, and Covid-19 to name a few. With only ten episodes to play with and so much focus on the characters’ personal issues (frankly, white), commentary on the above is sporadic. Episode 1 begins with a 2020 New Year’s Eve party filled with an ominous cough, setting the scene for pandemic exploration. For a while after that, Covid was mentioned in whispers around the office, and then, like most topics in the end, it disappeared in the background until the finale.
Episode 4 looks to be going in an interesting direction as naive weatherman Yanko (Nestor Carbonell) is called out and suspended for making insensitive comments about broadcast culture. “Oh, so it’s about canceling the culture?” inquiring viewers; “Incorrect,” TMS answered. After telling her boss, Stella (Greta Lee), Yanko, along with her backstory, is removed to allow TMS to turn attention to the broader issue of racism. To its credit, season 2 explored the topic a little better than the first, exploring racism in and out of the workplace. One particularly effective scene made Stella the victim of a crimes against hate by Asians. It was sudden and terrifying, yes, but forgotten so quickly. On top of actually saying something, TMS has shifted its focus. Again.
Season 1 stands out for its nuanced portrayal of Mitch Kessler. As an ambiguous character for most of the first season, viewers are encouraged to make their own decisions about the accused sexual predator. Of course, they expected him to be guilty (the alternative would be hugely controversial) but the question of “what if?” stay for a while. Mitch himself, adamantly denied the allegations and appeared genuinely confused by the allegations. For that, it is not enough to believe the defendant. But that combined with the fact that Mitch looks like the lovable Steve Carell and is talked about by the main character, Alex (whom the audience identifies), leads to suspicion; a doubt that teaches the viewer an invaluable lesson: never judge a book by its cover.
As the movie goes on, it becomes clear that Mitch is actually a villain. It is clear that he must be held accountable for all his bad deeds and must be held accountable for his actions. At least, that’s the message season 1 gives. Season 2 brings something very different. Now living in Italy, Mitch has found refuge in this country, and has a crush on Paola (Valeria Golino).
Over time with this character, he has become somewhat epiphany, and gone from being the most hated character, to being (disturbing) one of the most empathetic. Considering his redemption arc is the focus of the entire episode, it appears TMS Screenwriters want viewers to forgive Mitch, and so many people question why? Doesn’t this counter exactly what season 1 is trying to say? TMS’ Moral positioning is the most questionable, and further complicated by the character’s eventual suicide in episode 7.
Season 2 also suffered because of its characters; are not newcomers, however – in fact, Laura (Julianna Margulies), Paola and Stella are all welcome additions to TMS. It was the returning characters that brought the season down. Alex shined in season 1 as the leader woman who both love and hate. She has her flaws – selfish, argumentative and such – but behind that is a very likable, overworked and easily misunderstood person.
This season, however, Alex has been nearly unresponsive, and too many scenes have been wasted for her to complain. Even if these complaints are legitimate, it’s hard to sympathize with her for how poorly she’s written this season. And the same goes for Bradley Jackson; Season 1’s Bradley was a much-needed breath of fresh air, but in season 2 she’s just another, standout Alex Levy and all. Attempts to make Bradley close – she struggles with her addicted brother and her sexual identity in season 2 – commendable, but not enough to make up for the damage done. She’s not as firecracker as she used to be anymore, and the series is worse for it.
A fan favorite, Cory is also a changed man in season 2, turning from anti-hero to mere villain after he (presumably) overcame Bradley as bi/pan . Optimistic fans hope that he’s not the one who spread Bradley’s relationship with Laura, and TMS It would be wise to follow through with this story because if there’s one thing that will save the series, it’s the spoiler, Cory Ellison. Or the striking Bradley sans.
Morning available to stream on Apple TV+.
It doesn’t seem like Amazon’s series will be able to capture the same magic that the movies have, and it certainly feels more like a buck.
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https://gamerant.com/the-morning-show-season-2-where-it-went-wrong/ The Morning Show season 2: Where’s the mistake