A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show has a realistic and nuance view of journalism, gender politics, sexual activities, and other topics. Messages can be mixed, like when Alex is shown as a strong woman yet opposed by others because of her age. But courage and perseverance are visible as the camera watches characters struggle, and often triumph.
Positive Role Models
Alex is a powerful woman who has worked very hard to get where she is and uses her savvy and power to stay there. She's also a loving mother, but has difficult relationships with everyone else in her life. Bradley is volatile but strong, and takes chances which frequently pay off. Her background is fraught, with a brother who's an addict and a mom who enables him. Mitch is a complex and difficult character -- a man who has made mistakes, but defends himself vigorously. The show contains interesting gender messages, with women fighting back against systemic discrimination.
Violence & Scariness
Sexual misconduct is at the heart of this drama, but we don't see any of the activity, we just hear about it. As Mitch says "I didn't rape anybody!" He also says he didn't fire anybody but he "f--ked a couple of PAs and assistants." He also complains that "Everything's changed -- from the dawn of time men have used their power to attract women." The role of power and coercion in Mitch's activities is explored sensitively, with sympathy for women caught in difficult positions.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters kiss, flirt, and talk about sex, like when Alex tells Mitch that surely there would women who would have "s--ked his dick" because he's on TV. Sexual misconduct is one of the main plotlines of this show.
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Cursing and language is frequent and colorful. Expect to hear "f--," "motherf--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," and "hell." A man calls a woman a "bitch." Characters also exclaim "Jesus!" and "For Christ's sake!"
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink at tense moments, clearly using alcohol to cope and sometimes imbibing to the point when they seem sloppy and clumsy. Alex smokes a cigarette prominently at one point. A side character is "an addict" who "needs help."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Morning Show is a drama about a morning television talk show that's shaken up when one of the hosts is accused of sexual misconduct and fired, leaving his former co-host to sink or swim. We don't see the sexual misconduct, but we do hear about it, with the accused defending his actions as simple extramarital affairs with consenting adults, and others characterizing his actions as coercion and abuse of power. The issue is explored in a nuanced way, with sympathetic characters on each side. Characters also flirt, kiss, and talk about sex, sometimes in a vulgar way. They also drink during or after difficult situations, clearly using alcohol to cope, and get sloppy and clumsy after imbibing. One character smokes a cigarette. Language is frequent: "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," and "hell." Characters are complex and imperfect, and the subject matter is mature, with storylines taking on sexism, politics, fame, the obligations of a public position, and the nature of journalism in general and televised journalism in particular. Characters show courage and perseverance, but messages can be mixed, like when a strong woman is discounted because of her age.
Is It Any Good?
With its propulsive energy and a ripped-from-the-headlines premise that gives viewers the sense that they're getting a peek behind closed doors, this glossy drama demands attention. Though The Morning Show insiders are on the record as saying the show is not the Matt Lauer story, it's hard not to read into the storyline and wonder just what parts are inspired by real-life situations. It certainly doesn't hurt to have such five-star talent both in front of the camera. Jennifer Anniston is steely and relatable as a venerable anchor who feels her crown starting to slip, Reese Witherspoon is fiery as a colleague on the rise, and perhaps only an actor as lovable as Steve Carell could make the errant Mitch appealing and sympathetic. These characters click, with us and with each other, and they make you care about the people who are caught in a maelstrom of competing interests.
The Morning Show also has interesting things to say about the changing nature of network news and journalism in a time and place when, as duplicitous network chief Cory Ellison (a shark-eyed Crudup) has it, "People get their horrible news in the palm of their hands, colored the way they like it." What people need, Ellison goes on to say, is not news, it's entertainment. And they want it delivered by a host with a sexual frisson, something Ellison and the network has started to think Aniston's Alex is too old to attract. Watching Alex twist and maneuver in an effort to turn the situation to her favor is fascinating -- and great, meaty television.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.