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The Morning Show is a series I have been dying to watch for years. I'm a huge fan of Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Anniston, not to mention Steve Carell. I always enjoyed his comedic acting, but now he's a master at playing disturbed, yet seemingly charming characters.
A Critique of Workplace Discrimination
Although The Morning Show is fictional, it's cathartic to watch because it exposes the "casual," "informal," and "accidental" sexism and racism that frequently occurs in the American workplace.
Finally, people are able to empathize with female characters and black characters trying to survive in an office filled with a bunch of white men who simply can't understand their frustrations—even if they are desperately trying! They're just so far removed from oppression that it's sometimes laughable how unintentionally prejudiced these dudes are.
It made me want to cry sometimes.
The Two Faces of Mitch Kessler
Mitch Kessler is a deeply complicated character who seems to be an advocate for women's rights in the beginning of the show, yet his shadow side reveals itself later on, and he disappoints everyone on his team at a very deep level, including himself.
Steve Carell is brilliant at portraying a conflicted, ashamed, entitled, confused, and angry sexual predator. Similar scenarios have often occurred in high-end offices across New York City and America at large, so it's a poignant part of the series to see the way the women feel about their interactions with him in contrast to the way he feels about his interactions with them.
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It's sad, really. He lacks self-control and ultimately hurts many women who could have been his friends. These are women who looked up to him professionally and had a deep amount of respect for him as a news anchor. He brazenly wielded his power and charisma until a woman found herself behind closed doors with him. That's when the monster came out.
Bradley Jackson vs Alex Levy: Female Rivalry at Its...Finest?
These two are rivals, then friends, then rivals again.
The show does a brilliant job of portraying the complicated, competitive relationship between two professional women at the top of their game. The "accidental" condescension, the extreme one-upping of each other, the fake niceties until one says something too real, etc. It's funny, but also a bit too real at times, and I mean that in a good way.
I've always liked Reese Witherspoon because she portrays the complexities of the female psyche in a way few other actresses can, and somehow manages to be funny in the process.
I'll forever picture Jennifer Aniston as Rachel from Friends—for better or for worse!—but I think she does an excellent job as Alex Levy. Strong, professional women struggle because they can be seen as "bossy," when a man would be seen as "authoritative," "conniving," when a man would be seen as "having good business sense," and "cold," when a man would be seen as "realistic" or "pragmatic."
The Morning Show is a darkly humorous satire that drives home a strong message about workplace equality, racial discrimination, and sexual harassment. It's sort of like a serious version of The Office, with two powerful women as lead characters and Steve Carell playing a sexual predator masquerading as an empathetic news anchor, instead of a well-meaning jerk of a boss.
I give it 5/5 stars. It's masterfully crafted, discusses important issues in a poignant and sometimes clever way—often both simultaneously—and features woefully complicated characters.
Mitch Kessler is in denial about his actions for most of the sordid tale. His story is so real, I'm sure it's similar to many other male predators. The women's stories truly struck a chord with me because I have no doubt that they reflect the experiences of many strong women who have been taken advantage of by men in powerful positions.
© 2022 Daniella Cressman