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Armen Teterin
Armen Teterin

The Morning Show 2x10



Well, we have reached the end of the second season of The Morning Show, which skids to a stop this week amid a lot of COVID and cancel-culture foofaraw. And ultimately, it's a moment to ask yourself the one question that probably defines your reaction to this season: Are you buying what the show is selling when it tells you Alex and Bradley are worth rooting for?




The Morning Show 2x10



Alex has COVID, of course, and ... you know, it's interesting. It used to be that shows that wanted to "humanize" women would have them stalked, beaten up, or sexually assaulted. There were two problems with that, of course: first, that it's offensive to use violence as a device in that way; second, that it doesn't actually make a woman any more likable, as violence happens to pleasant and unpleasant people alike. Using that device thoughtlessly inspires at best sympathy and at worst pity. I'm very glad they didn't go that route.


The show, nevertheless, is building to a climactic redemption for Alex, so Chip decides to take care of her while lying that he's already tested positive and isn't vulnerable. This is a generous thing for a friend to do in theory; it's a foolish and insensitive thing for an engaged guy to do without talking to the person he's engaged to. It should also be remembered that despite their close friendship, Alex probably makes ... I don't know, 20 times what Chip makes? More? She will always have more power than he does, and she will always have more options than he does. And yet: He's been cleaning up an awful lot of her messes, even before she starts throwing up.


At any rate, Chip comes up with the idea for Alex to host a show about having COVID, Cory puts it on the streaming service, and before long, Alex has a captive audience to listen to her descriptions of her illness as well as everything else that's on her mind. She goes on a long rant about how unfair everyone is to her as a famous person and how it shouldn't really matter whether she's a good person, because why isn't she just like a tailor? (Of course, one answer is that morning television is not a job for people who are trying to keep their personalities out of it and she wouldn't have her job in the first place if people hadn't liked her, so it's a little late now to want to be treated like a tailor.)


And the whole time, they keep cutting back to Chip nodding with satisfaction, which is a hint that they know Alex's position here might not be convincing. It reminds me of the pilot of the musical Smash, where rather than relying on a great performance to make the story point that someone was talented, they would cut to people watching that performance who were practically muttering, "Oh, she's so very talented!" Just in case you didn't get it from seeing for yourself. Chip serves the same purpose here, because in case you think Alex is full of it, they keep showing Chip nodding in order to create the sense that maybe Alex is right?


At the end, Alex says this: "I am done apologizing for myself. Either get on the Alex Levy train or just stay at the station." This is where, as a writer, I really wish "LOL" were a good English word, because it's all I have. I mean, what unwarranted apologizing has Alex done as a character to make this air of defiance feel earned? I'm hard-pressed to remember very many times when she has honestly apologized for herself except to people she personally likes who she thinks can help her. Even while reading a teleprompter apology for putting her co-workers at risk with her sojourn to Italy, she kind of undercuts it and rolls her eyes. "Alex Levy, serial over-apologizer" is not a characterization I think tracks with the show we've been watching.


Fortunately, these problems don't stop Cory from still delivering some of the best stuff in the finale, including his plastic partitions and his grinning admission that nobody is subscribing to the streaming service, so he might as well program, as he puts it, "Cory Plus." I'm not sure why Paola is still around shopping her Mitch documentary, given that more Sad Mitch is the last thing this show needs right now, but Cory seems interested in airing it. So I guess if there's a season 3, there's going to be ... a lot of that.


I set out to examine these episodes to try to figure out why this very watchable show, which features a lot of very likable actors, has never worked for me for more than a few scenes at a time. Why, despite the obviously abundant talent involved, it wasn't actually good. And I think it's just ... I don't like Alex and Bradley, and if you don't like them, the stories about them are unsatisfying. That's not because you can't care about flawed characters; it's because their flaws are never really addressed. I mean, maybe they'll come back at the beginning of a theoretical season 3 and Bradley will be apologizing for breathing all over an ER full of people like a selfish goober. But I seriously doubt it.


On the last show day before Mitch's 50th birthday, Alex sent him the same birthday song she sent him every year. She then arrived at work to find that she was being assigned to something that conflicted with an event she was already planning to do. Alex went to Chip to ask about it and found that it had been assigned to Mitch. Alex was upset because she said people expected her to do the playoffs. She felt that them giving them to Mitch was a sign they were edging her out. Their conversation was cut short when Alex was called to get her makeup done for the show.


Later, on Mitch's actual birthday, Alex joined the rest of the cast and crew of TMS to celebrate him. At the party, she gave a speech about him. After the party, they learned that there was an active shooting in Las Vegas, so Alex and Mitch were sent along with a team to do a special show from there.


Alex had been hosting The Morning Show with Mitch Kessler for fifteen years when she came in one morning to find that there were multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Mitch, who was promptly fired. Alex was concerned about this because she didn't feel they could replace the chemistry she had with Mitch.


On the next show, Alex and Yanko interviewed a PTSD expert, who explained that being harassed early in your career can cause long-term damage. During the interview, Yanko was visibly uncomfortable. After the interview, Alex talked to Chip and said they needed to get it together before the network executives arrived. She wanted to have a say in her new co-host and wanted to know every candidate they were considering.


Sarah then told Alex she'd committed a fireable offense and wouldn't be surprised if the network wouldn't continue negotiations. She advised Alex to apologize to Fred immediately, but Alex refused to do that and said she'd handle it. Alex met with Fred and told him that her show was keeping the network afloat. People love her and the network had to do things her way now.


Alex then brought treats for the writers and began talking to them about where the show would be going. She had her assistant make a schedule for them for the weekend. Part of the plan was that Alex would do the interview with Ashley Brown, one of Mitch's victims. She felt it was step on the way to making up for the fact that she never noticed the kind of man Mitch was.


As the show started, Alex introduced Bradley and welcomed her. They both said how excited they were to be working with each other. They then surprised Bradley with a call from her mother, who was reading from cue cards as she talked about Bradley's childhood. When they cut to a video of Bradley as a child, Bradley confronted Alex about how they'd changed her backstory. Alex told her it was flat and to go with it. Instead, Bradley went off-script and talked about how she struggled and made bad choices as a child and teen. She also admitted to having had an abortion at age fifteen, shocking her mother and brother.


The next day, Alex told Bradley she had to get back on the horse and do the show like the previous day had never happened. They had to make it work because Alex picked her. Bradley said that the audience didn't know that and she could escape, But Alex said people on the inside knew and she would rather die than let them win, so Bradley agreed to try.


On Thursday, Kelly Clarkson came to the show and pulled Bradley onstage with her to sing together. After the show, Chip came to see Alex, who assured him she was fine with Kelly Clarkson liking Bradley better and was enjoying the buzz surrounding Bradley. It was taking the focus off Mitch.


After the show was over, Alex warned Bradley never to question her integrity in her house again. Everyone was then shocked when Mitch came into the studio and gave a grand speech asking for his former co-workers to speak up and defend him. When no one did, he appealed to Alex directly, but she remained silent.


Alex left the party and met up with Mitch. They talked about the show and Bradley. Then Mitch asked her out on a date as they were both finally single, but she said she couldn't do that. They agreed that they missed each other. Mitch leaned in to kiss her and as they pulled back, they both got notified about the New York Times article about Mitch and the show being posted and they stopped to read it.


Alex woke up the next morning to a call from Chip, who told her they were going to California to cover the wildfires. Alex said she didn't want to go and wanted Chip to send Bradley instead. Their conversation was interupted when Jason came in and hung Alex's phone up. He then said he wanted a divorce. He'd been up all night after being left to host her party for her and had decided he couldn't do it anymore. She tried to refuse, but he said it was happening and he was going to tell Lizzy that day. Alex said she had to go to California and got him to agree to wait until she got back to tell Lizzy together. Alex then called Chip back and said she'd go to California, but she didn't want Bradley to go. Chip said Fred wanted them both to go, so they were going. 041b061a72


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