Environmental activism was on the forefront of Apple’s product announcement occasion on September 12, as the corporate boasted about numerous levels of carbon neutrality, in addition to numerous parts made out of recycled supplies, together with the band for the newest iteration of the Apple Watch, which is seemingly 82 % recycled yarn.
The third season of Apple TV+’s Emmy-winning The Morning Present might be nearer to 90 % recycled yarn, because the star-studded media-centric cleaning soap transitions from its established place as a second-rate The Newsroom — all of the smug 20/20 hindsight, none of that pesky Sorkin dialogue — to a recent method that’s half Community (acknowledged) and half Billions (unacknowledged). (This was not going to be my lede earlier than the Apple presentation. Thanks, Tim Cook dinner!)
The Morning Present
The Backside Line
Extra completely lit, often infuriating hijinks.
On this occasion, narrative recycling works out pretty effectively for The Morning Present. If my commonplace is the variety of occasions I visibly cringed or rolled my eyes watching my screeners, this could possibly be the perfect, or at the least the least overtly painful, Morning Present season but. It’s, in fact, all relative. I needed to cease watching the second season of The Morning Present after eight episodes — don’t fear, I finally caught up — as a result of the COVID-laced Italian rehabilitation of Mitch Kessler, after which his subsequent martyring, was too misguided for phrases. I watched all 10 episodes of the third season and by no means felt like an prolonged hiatus was required. Aside from one episode — the flashback-laden fifth hour — and one key storyline that sprang from it, my show-directed anger was finite.
My fundament opinion of The Morning Present remains to be equivalent, apart from a matter of levels, to what it was in every of the primary two seasons: It’s an ostensibly clever present that’s unable or unwilling to cease doing silly issues, however possibly there are fewer of these silly issues this season? Will that imply that the present’s many devoted followers are going to search out it much less compulsively entertaining, although? Perhaps!
Season three picks up in March of 2022 and I can’t let you know the sigh of reduction I let loose after I noticed that we weren’t going to get the present’s smug, 20/20-hindsight tackle the January 6, 2021, revolt. Ha. Silly me.
I’m not going to spoil even the fundamentals on the place the characters discover themselves besides to say that Alex (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley (Reese Witherspoon) are on secure skilled footing and, at the least on the floor, it seems that all is effectively at UBA.
Spoiler: All shouldn’t be effectively at UBA.
CEO Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) is frightened that the corporate is over-leveraged or hemorrhaging capital, or another jargon that you just’re by no means actually satisfied the present understands (I wouldn’t perceive it both). The disaster has one thing to do with the introduction of the UBA+ streaming platform, which was briefly saved by Alex’s live-streamed bout with COVID and cancel tradition that closed final season, however solely briefly.
Cory’s resolution is to execute a significant sale of the corporate to Paul Marks (Jon Hamm), a space-loving, NDA-obsessed billionaire whose character is cobbled collectively — extra recycling! — from the biographies of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and others. Will it’s a sale? A merger? A hostile takeover? Keep tuned! An enormous piece of this new partnership will likely be sealed by having Alex be a part of Paul on a launch into suborbital house, however Alex is getting chilly toes as a result of she’s feeling typically under-appreciated at UBA — although given what we’ve seen of Alex’s insane house and lavish life-style, it’s difficult to empathize.
Lots of the new season’s key threads contain girls at UBA who’re extra genuinely under-appreciated. Greta Lee’s Stella is uninterested in being condescended to by Cory. Karen Pittman’s Mia is uninterested in being so dedicated to her job that she’s actually sleeping within the workplace. New addition Christine (Nicole Beharie), a former Olympic athlete now wedged uncomfortably alongside Yanko (Nestor Carbonell because the friendliest, worst particular person you recognize) on the Morning Present desk, will get to be a sounding board for hot-button racial and political points.
Beharie, each successfully fiery and too often forgotten; supporting MVP Pittman, weathering a ridiculous love story reverse Clive Standen; and particularly Lee, usually including grace notes of comedy that the collection desperately wants, are all distinctive and profit from this additional degree of focus. That a number of scenes in season three happen in areas featured in Lee’s indie summer season hit Previous Lives isn’t a comparability that advantages The Morning Present, however at the least any person on the artistic staff acknowledged that Lee is an absolute star and gave her some materials.
However when the present isn’t carrying the banner for ladies — particularly girls of coloration — being underused and mistreated within the office, it’s underusing a lot of its girls, particularly girls of coloration. Positive, Witherspoon and Aniston are the present’s centerpieces and each have heightened drama to play, however they’re additionally caught in acquainted The Morning Present tropes. Bradley’s totally reactive plot relies round an inexplicably dumb alternative shoehorned right into a ripped-from-the-headlines occasion, and Alex continues a collection development during which, throughout three seasons, no person has slept with anyone personally or professionally acceptable for them.
Nonetheless, the season’s actual throughline is pushed utterly by Cory and Paul, two white, male antiheroes doing acquainted white, male antihero issues, with none of the crackling dialogue or precise, tangible enterprise savvy that Billions would carry to the same conflict of titans.
Luckily, Crudup stays the piece of the present that I discover to be most persistently compelling, even when the writers are wildly inconsistent in remembering if he’s speculated to be a hero or a villain. When Cory is handled as an eccentric sociopath, Crudup borders on sensible as a person whose excessively enabled sense of confidence is being examined maybe for the primary time; just like the borderline enterprise Terminator he’s, he begins to glitch. Crudup’s scenes with the good Lindsay Duncan, in a one-episode cameo as Cory’s mom, are my favourite of the season, a theater-trained duo sparring magically.
And if Crudup performs Cory as a robotic programmed to be a media mogul, Hamm counters him effectively as a robotic programmed to be a billionaire. He’s so chilly and exact you possibly can’t perceive why anyone would belief Paul Marks, however Hamm pulls you into his gravity — house pun meant. When Hamm and Aniston are circling one another, there’s an outdated Hollywood glamour and chemistry to it. They appear like stars who must be featured in a superbly lit two-shot, and nothing in The Morning Present is something aside from completely lit ever. Hair. Vogue. Actual property. Alarm clocks flashing at 3:30 a.m. This can be a present stuffed with awfulness that makes awfulness look awfully horny.
What retains me watching The Morning Present, aside from the intrigue of which overqualified co-stars it’s going to waste subsequent (Tig Notaro will get the S3 crown), is that the present is nothing if not prepared to have massive conversations — or at the least to have conversations concerning the massive conversations actual folks had been having a yr in the past. From cancel tradition to the overturning of Roe v. Wade to numerous points in fashionable media to the aforementioned horrible storyline tied to January 6, watching a Morning Present episode is like spending an hour in a Reddit discussion board, solely with prettier folks.
Solely restricted judgment from me if you happen to suppose that seems like a great factor.