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Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon on Why ‘The Morning Show’ Tackles Cancel Culture

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The critically acclaimed Apple TV series The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, is coming soon with a second season. The first season of the show dealt with the #MeToo movement and the power dynamics in a news media company which enabled sexual harassment and silenced women. The Morning Show season one ended with a bang, with the lead characters Alexy Levy and Bradley Jackson, exposing the company’s CEO for silencing the victim of their former star host’s sexual assault. Season two promises to pick up where it left off, and will also see many new celebrated actors, including Holland Taylor, Will Arnett and Hassan Minhaj join the cast. Steve Carell will also be reprising his role, after a period of uncertainty as he had only signed on for one season.

In a recent press conference, Aniston and Witherspoon sat down with journalists to talk about the expectations from season 2. Aniston, who won a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award for playing Alex Levy, said, “We are tuning into season 2 just moments after the season 1 finale. So we have an energised entrance into season 2. Then it takes a lot of twists and turns as we are dealing with the repercussions of what season 1 handed us. So we see the struggles, the outcasts, the cancel culture, and characters walking around with the guilt of what they allowed to happen. There is a lot of self reckoning. But it definitely gets spicy.”

Witherspoon, whose character Bradley Jackson has a different arc in season 2 said, “Season one was a lot about #MeToo. This season is exploring the time right before the world shut down [due to Covid]. So it is January to March. We are dealing with systemic racism, homophobia, ageism, and our new-found relationship with power as women inside of a news media organisation.”

In the season two trailers, we will see Alex and Bradley deal with some personal roadblocks. When asked if they as actors also felt ‘replaceable’ as their characters in their careers, Witherspoon said, “All the time. I think in our culture, there has never been a bigger time for change. And a more unforgivable time to live in. I think we are all humans trying our best. We are all capable of terrible things but we are all capable of great things. None of us are the one horrible thing that we did. I think that the show really beautifully addresses Cancel culture and there is a human cost of exiling people and condemning them for one thing that they did in their lives. Because no one is perfect.”

In the trailer of season two we hear the characters discussing the price to pay for fame. When asked if they thought the same as two of the most successful women in Hollywood, Aniston said, “I agree with it a hundred percent. There is a cost to pay [for fame]. But there is also so much beauty and joy and creativity. There is a cost, but you can be the conductor of what that cost is, eventually. But you put yourself out there as an artist. I keep saying that it has become a sport for people to decide how they feel about a different person this week or the following week. It is a lot more than ‘We are going to perform for you or create a show so you can be entertained.’ Now there is an ability to attack all parts of you.”

Witherspoon also chimed in, saying, “Success without purpose or meaning can be very difficult. It can all be very empty. There are a lot of people who have achieved a lot, but they are unhappy. Sometimes you run a race and get to a place and then think, ‘What am I doing here?’ There is a lot of that going on in the world. So it is great that the show could explore those kinds of things and dig in.”

The actors, who are also Executive Producers of the series said that they are glad that they can say something about the events happening in real time with the show. “I have to say it was nice to shoot this kind of a show during the pandemic. I’m glad we weren’t shooting a sci-fi or a Western where we were completely out of the reality of what is happening. We were able to at least be making a stand about something and making a difference,” Aniston signed off.

The Morning Show season 2, created by Jay Carson will premiere on September 17 on Apple TV+.

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