The Morning Show May Have 99 Problems, But Jennifer Aniston is NOT One

Jennifer Aniston has returned to television and the internet’s excitement is palpable. Starring as Alex Levy in the AppleTV+ centerpiece series, The Morning Show, Aniston gives the best performance of her career. Seriously, who is Rachel Green? We don’t know her.

The Morning Show presents an insider’s look at a broadcast morning show, aptly titled, The Morning Show. In the wake of a sexual misconduct scandal, Alex Levy’s co-anchor of fifteen years, Mitch Kessler (Steve Carrell), is fired and she is left to pick up the pieces. After a series of improbable circumstances, a West Virginian conservative-turned-libertarian news correspondent, Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) fills the empty co-anchor chair. 

In the era of #MeToo, this piece had all the potential to strike a cord with America. But due to lazy writing (it feels as though the word “fuck” is said at least once every three minutes) and contrived characters (the done-again role of passtionate Southern underdog is a let down after Whitherspoon’s dynamic work as Madeline Mackenzie), The Morning Show missed the mark. At its worst, this show is pure cringe. But in its best moments, and there are several of them, this show tells the captivating story of a woman struggling to claim her worth. When The Morning Show is good, its Alex Levy’s show and boy, does Alex Levy make her mark.  

A powerhouse of a business woman, Alex is never afraid to make her opinions known. From the moment she enters the studio and learns of the scandal that will forever taint the reputation of her show, Alex is fuming. She’s furious with Mitch for what he did to so many women, and she’s enraged that her all-male executive team still refuses to recognize her importance. Alex yells because she can’t cry. She won’t let the network snobs see her vulnerable because if they did, they would scream woman. Seconds after Alex’s condemnation of Mitch to viewers of the show-within-the-show, she takes a deep breath. She most definitely will not let America see her shed a tear because if she does, they all will. Like Jennifer Aniston, Alex Levy is America’s sweetheart. She’s holding everyone together. During a rare moment of solitude, Alex stands in Mitch’s dressing room, taking in all the pictures and mementos that captured their years together. She’s finally alone and she can’t take it anymore. Her world is collapsing and no one is giving her a second to catch it. Alex falls to the ground and just sobs. This woman needs a hug! But also a cup of coffee. And also a better contract. Because business is waiting for no one!

“Guess what? America loves me,” Alex says to a boardroom of men in black. Her fiery red suit speaks to her confidence. Alex Levy is unapologetically herself; she knows her worth and she knows her influence.

In one scene, just two minutes before her show is about to go live, a cool and composed Alex walks off stage. Everyone’s heads turn. She’s just gotten off the phone with her agent who told her that the network is still pushing off her contract renegotiation. She stops at her executive producer.

“Why does no one get this?” she says firmly. “The Mitch days...they’re over. I would like hands on control from this point on. I want cohost approval. Otherwise, I’m not going on the air.” 

*Takes out earpiece to the tune of drops mic.* 

Alex means business. She gives suggestions of correspondents who are ready to replace her in an instant, but the EP knows better. Only Alex can be Alex. In the eleventh hour, he agrees and without missing a beat, Alex is back in her chair and the show begins. 

“Good Morning, I’m Alex Levy.” Boom. As if nothing happened. 

Have I mentioned that I love this woman?

The Morning Show has its issues, but they got it right in creating Alex Levy. Television certainly has a number of powerful female leads (see The Handmaid's Tale, Dead to Me, Reese Whitherspoon’s better work on Big Little Lies…) but this character presents a new woman. The female lead that thrives at work. The Morning Show is its best when it shows Alex in her element. She sits in her anchor chair, coffee in hand, and she knows that’s where she belongs. Here’s hoping the rest of this series doesn’t pull Alex Levy down with it.