‘The Morning Show’ Offers Empty On-Air Moment That Could Take Pointers From Amber Ruffin

“‘The Morning Show’ is broken.”

These are not my words. Producer Mia Jordan (Karen Pittman) says this to Daniel Henderson (Desean Terry), the weekend anchor who was told he doesn’t have enough “it” factor to be a star.

Regardless, when news broke that UBA Network sweetheart Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) has tested positive for COVID-19, Network President Stella Bak (Greta Lee) takes Daniel aside. She needs him because Alex is a sweaty and feverish mess. Family issues have sidelined her co-host Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon), whose brother is an addict who went missing from rehab and is missing somewhere in New York City.

This leaves Stella with Daniel, and she informs him that he will be anchoring “TMS” for the next few weeks.

She expects this news to please Daniel. Instead, he resigns. He’s not going to pick up the pieces for her this time, he said. Daniel’s reasons are not entirely the product of a bruised ego. His grandfather is in an assisted living facility and he has to make sure he’s okay.

But since it is not safe to fly, he must drive. The hotels are not safe either. Nowhere is safe, especially not for him. “Good luck to me, a black man sleeping in his car,” Daniel said to Stella. “But I have to do it.”

RELATED: “The Morning Show” Examines How Consequences Catch Some People Sooner Than Others

Terry’s second season subplot was by far the weakest of the season, and that hasn’t fundamentally changed by his decision in the “Fever” season finale. What changed were the actual circumstances the episode fell into, the same day a jury returned with a not guilty verdict for a teenager who crossed state lines with an AR-15. last year and opened fire on unarmed protesters, killing two men in the process.

Everything about the trial was played as a cruel joke in the live coverage, leading everyone to expect this killer, who is now an adult, to break free and face no consequences. But a tragic and horrific injustice defies preparation. Arm yourself as much as you want – news like this will always remind you of your vulnerability and the system’s low regard for your safety. Good luck to you.

If you’ve watched “Fever” with this knowledge dancing through your brain, the finer points of Alex’s flop and vomit through his COVID symptoms may have been lost on you. The insane decision of devoted producer Chip (Mark Duplass) to voluntarily expose himself to his illness, only to be by his side and produce Alex’s stream of consciousness live as his brain melts – it all seems unnecessary.

This is not the reaction you would expect from a plot A designed to actualize the consequences for a selfish woman who has soared to the epicenter of a global pandemic and possibly brought her home to all his colleagues. And maybe, in another timeline, it would make sense to ruminate on the karmic justice of Alex’s state and wonder if showrunner Kerry Ehrin, who wrote this episode, is making a compelling case for the redemption of Alex. ‘Alex through his “judge no fear of being judged”.

Ditto for Bradley’s frenzied walks through the streets of Manhattan with Cory (Billy Crudup), brought down by a massive career miscalculation that ensured his UBA + streaming service died on arrival, except for the rants. marathon of his mad queen of the pandemic. Stripped of his optimistic delusions, he turns to Bradley, the woman he hired and championed, and says out loud what we already know, which is to say he loves her.

It’s superficial and manipulative, even by the lowest end-of-season standards, leading one to wonder if Ehrin was placing an admission about his show in Pittman’s mouth instead of just giving Mia some thing to frankly admit to Daniel while talking to him on the phone.

Mia surprises Daniel with his admission while he is arrested in Cincinnati and shares that she needs him to come back. He insists he must create his own opportunities instead of waiting for a seat that will never open.

“No matter where you go as a Negro, you’re going to face ** t bulls,” she said. “It’s fucked up, but it’s true.” He could leave, she said, but by sitting in the chair Alex takes for granted, so many people will benefit. We can keep pushing, she continues, “Please don’t give up.”

To all this he can only resolve to answer, exhausted: “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow will come a day,” she says, but even she doesn’t seem to believe it.

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“The Morning Show,” like the Apple TV + series, isn’t entirely broken. But it’s signed up in a state that makes us wonder why we would want another season of it, and whether the central rationale for Aniston and Witherspoon’s chemistry matters if neither of the characters represent or do anything substantial.

This is the problem when you set up scenarios in the near past with the idea of ​​making statements on barely relevant issues. Alex’s cancellation story and the introduction of Paola Lambruschini (Valeria Golino) as a documentary filmmaker sympathetic to Steve Carell’s sexual predator revolved around an exploration of the possibility of redemption and forgiveness. But since it is established that we live in a time without consequences for the men on the good side of the power, what does it matter?

Alex’s story mimics CNN’s Chris Cuomo’s television about his experience with COVID after testing positive in March 2020 and continued to take hold from home as his symptoms increased, losing 13 pounds in three days at the beginning of his efforts to continue working. Twenty months later, and in the wake of his brother Andrew’s fall from grace following multiple scandals, the presenter’s workaholic matters less than the revelation that he advised the governor and senior executives on how to respond to the multiple allegations of sexual harassment that the politician has faced over time.

So when Alex looks into the camera and admits that she looks inside and asks who she wants to be, it’s hard to worry about her disease-driven journey to satori. Who is it for? Not the show. Not the viewer. Only her. Daniel points out as he leaves. If he never comes back, good for him.

When a show spins and misses, it’s helpful to come up with an example of what it would look like if it worked properly. Once again, the circumstances of our ugly present provided a gem in this release of Friday’s episode of “The Amber Ruffin Show,” which airs on Peacock, a real-world version of UBA +.

Ruffin is not a news anchor. But on Friday, she took on an even bigger role as a broker of truth and hope as Friday’s news from Wisconsin broke and threatened to shatter so many. On the show, in a clip also posted to social media, Ruffin looks into the camera, holding back tears and speak clearly.

“Guys, because I have my own show, I have a responsibility to say things that people need to know that aren’t being said.” Ruffin goes on to explain that the verdict was announced a few minutes before the recording of the show began. “So I can’t believe I have to say this but…”

She stops to hold back her tears, then continues. “It’s not right for a man to grab a gun, cross state borders and shoot three people and then walk freely.

“It’s not right that there is a completely different set of rules for whites,” she said. “But I don’t care about Kyle Rittenhouse. I don’t care about that racist judge. And I don’t care how screwed up this jury is to be. White people have gotten away with murder since the beginning of time. don’t care. I care about you. “

Ruffin continues, “And I can’t believe I have to say this, but you matter. You matter. Anytime one of these verdicts comes out. It’s easy to feel like you don’t, but I’m here to tell you that you do. You matter. You matter so much that the second you start to feel like you do, a man will grab a gun that he shouldn’t have had in the first place. take place and travel to another state just to shut up. “

She ends with: “This is the power you have. So remember.”

Ruffin is an artist who understands the power of her platform and when and how to use her personal influence for the greatest good she can do in the moment. “The Morning Show” is entertainment that is meant to tell a side of the truth about the news industry, and unless that happens, use its characters to say something sincere even though it’s scripted.

Ruffin had a few moments to figure out what she had to say to offer solace at a disheartening time when the pandemic of racism in the United States peaked and reminded us that she had no intention of subside. “The Morning Show” has had two seasons and still hasn’t got its message.

At the end of the finale, after Alex hesitantly improvises about whether she deserves all the terrible things that have happened to her and ponders the possibility of an afterlife, she shrugs. “I’ll see you later,” she offers with a smile.

Not unless the show finds something interesting to say about this moment instead of believing that we’ll keep hanging on for tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

All episodes of “The Morning Show” are currently airing on Apple TV +.

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