Just when you thought The Morning Show couldn’t get more meta, the Apple TV series dove into — once again — stories that many Americans face inside and outside the workplace.
In season 1, the story revolved around how corporate America, specifically a news morning show, had to reckon with the MeToo movement. Beloved co-anchor Mitch Kessler (played by Steve Carell) got ousted after the fictional network received multiple complaints of sexual harassment.
When every work culture was questioning its environment, the Morning Show dug deep into the gender politics that exist behind the scenes of a morning show. By season 2, as a society, we were dealing with a racial reckoning and, on a global scale, the pandemic. Both were topics that the show covered, with the latter seeing Jennifer Aniston‘s Alex reporting her symptoms in real-time after contracting COVID.
The show is mostly backed by women in front of the camera and behind it. For actor Mark Duplass, who plays producer Chip, that makes all the difference in the storytelling and production of the show.
“I liked that our show is run by women essentially.” He continued, pointing to one of the show’s directors Mimi Leder, who has been directing since the 80s, decades before equity and women were uttered in the same sentence. “When you’re under the leadership of the women who run this show, there’s this feeling [that this] feels deeply important to them. You get the sense that not only do we want to tell the stories directly on the screen, [but] I want to run this place the way I wish it had been run when I wasn’t in charge.”
While the stories these women tell on-screen are ripped from the headlines, it’s how these stories are handled with care that makes a difference. “There are a lot of people out there right now who are trying to tell stories that are on the moment, and they have different motivations, to be honest with you,” said Duplass.
“It’s such an important story,” said actor Desean Terry, who plays anchor Daniel. “The conversation in season two shifted because the conversation in the country in the world shifted.”
In season two, Kerry Ehrin (showrunner, writer, and executive producer) dove further into the racial inequity that exists in corporate America. Viewers see producer Mia Jordan (played by Karen Pittman) grapple with getting promoted to executive producer but hitting a ceiling of what that power means when you’re a person of color in the field and the limitations that exist even when you’re at the top.
For Pittman, it was Ehrin’s ability to unpack it in a nuanced way. “Those stories aren’t often tackled,” said Pittman. “You’re trying to break this glass ceiling, and how do I do that? When no one will help me, how do I get there? Those conversations are so important, and they’re had every single day.”
Pittman said of the inclusive writers room, “I knew that they would be bringing stories that were authentic to people of color and that Desean Terry’s character needed an avenue and opening to talk about what he needed to express.”
On the other side of that inequity discussion is Daniel. Daniel’s talent as a co-anchor is consistently undermined in favor of his white colleagues Alex (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley (Reese Witherspoon). Additionally, he’s passed over for a moderating job, and after dealing with not getting his due, he quit to make his own way.
With all the ground The Morning Show covered in season 2, it’s unknown what they’ll explore in the third season, but Terry points to a much bigger picture for the future. “I think it’s navigating between how to function within the system that you believe in and to find that authentic voice within [that system], and shifting the scale towards authenticity.”
The Morning Show is currently available to stream on Apple TV.