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  • Writer's pictureSarah McDonald

Pop Culture Check-in: Episode 3

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

What I'm Watching: The Morning Show

Created by: Jay Carson

Starring: Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carrell, Billy Crudup and Mark Duplass

Run time: Season one and two are streaming now

Date released: November 1, 2019

Where to watch: Apple+


30-second summary:

The Morning Show follows two female television news anchors, Alex Levy (Jennifer Anniston) and Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon), who work for UBA, a network not unlike NBC, in the wake of sexual assault allegations made against the head male news anchor Mitch Kessler (Steve Carrell). The show is based on the book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV by Brian Stelter and is very reminiscent of the Matt Lauer scandal, which broke in 2014.


Why I think you should watch it:


The biggest draw of this show, for me, was the cast. The three big A-list Hollywood actors who lead the cast (Anniston, Witherspoon and Carrell) are incredible. Jennifer Anniston and Steve Carrell in particular are transformed in these roles where they are playing characters who are complex, conniving, manipulative, and morally grey. The first season singularly focuses on the #metoo movement through the lens of a sexual harassment scandal at a workplace. What I love most about this show is that it does not pander to the audience while tackling such an important and complicated topic. They did a great job at demonstrating the nuances of sexual assault and gender politics from different angles without ever being an apologist of this behaviour. There's a scene in season one, episode three between Steve Carrell and Martin Short where the characters discuss the different "waves" of the #metoo movement. This scene is so unsettling and uncomfortable that I still think about it. The second season moves away from the #metoo movement slightly and explores some different but equally complex issues like; racism, particularly in the workplace, COVID, addiction and mental health. I also have to mention Billy Crudup's award winning performance as the slick network exec, who is so captivating and hilarious he is my favourite character on the show.


What you should watch next:

  • Bombshell (2019) - If you liked season one of The Morning Show in particular you have to watch Bombshell. This true account of a group of women who took on Roger Ailes at FOX News is engrossing. Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly is one of the most uncanny portrayals I've ever seen.

  • Working Girl (1988) - This movie is worth a watch just to see Melanie Griffiths in amazing 80s fashion. If you want to watch something a bit lighter than The Morning Show but still tackles the complicated gender politics of being a woman in the workplace you have to give this a watch!

  • Friends (1994) - If you're like me and you started watching The Morning Show because of the dynamic duo of Anniston and Witherspoon you have to watch the episodes of Friends when Reese Witherspoon guest stars as Rachel's sister. Reese is in two episodes; season six, episode thirteen The One With Rachel's Sister and season six, episode fourteen The One Where Chandler Can't Cry.


Written by: Kevin Wilson

Date published: September 1, 2020

Published by: Ecco

Where you can find it: Anywhere that you buy books or check out your local library


30-second summary:


Nothing to See Here follows Lillian, a woman who is lost in the world without any real direction or purpose, after she is asked by her former childhood bestfriend to move into her palatial estate to become her live in nanny to take care of her twin step kids while her political husband runs for office. The only catch? The kids spontaneously combust into flames every now and then.


Why I think you should read it:


I recommended this book to a friend last year who recently told me they LOVED it and it made me realize that this was absolutely one of my favourite books that I read in 2021! Nothing to See Here is such a weird and quirky book with a humongous heart beating at the centre of it. The novel uses the device of spontaneous combustion to explore mental health and in particular anxiety. Lillian quickly learns that the combustion often happens when the kids are in distress and anxious. Together they all learn ways to cope and deal with their emotions. Lillian is the voice of the novel and she captures you right from the start with her foul-mouth and spot on hilarious reflections of the world around her. The bond that is developed between Lillian and her charges is so surprisingly heartwarming and the book explores parenting in an incredibly unique way. This is an oddball of a book but I highly recommend you give it a try and I promise you won't be disappointed!

What you should read next:


  • All Families are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland - Douglas Coupland writes with the same kind of dark humour as Wilson. This novel follows another complicated and dysfunctional family as they head to Orlando to watch NASA launch a space shuttle.

  • Class Mom by Laurie Gelman - If you're looking for something a bit more PG than Nothing to See Here but still explores parenting in a different and quirky way you should try Class Mom by Laurie Gelman. The novel follows a second time around mom who is forced into the role of class mom of her son's kindergarten class. This is the first book in the Class Mom series.


What I'm Ordering: Plant Collective

I am slowly becoming a plant lady! I do not claim to have a green thumb and I'll be the first to admit that I have failed at keeping more than one houseplant alive but I do love being surrounded by living things throughout our house. There are so many benefits to having houseplants in our homes: they help clean the air we breath, reduce our stress and generally make the environment more pleasant which puts us in a more positive headspace. I've been keeping a handful of plants alive and well for the past couple of years and I wanted to add more green into our space. Since it's February in Canada and I never want to leave my house I decided to place an order on Plant Collective. I don't know about you but I've seen so many ads for this company all over social media. Out of convenience and curiousity I decided to give them a try and place an order. I ordered a Calathea Ornata along with a bundle of succulents. I had a great experience ordering plants from Plant Collective. The plants came wrapped in brown paper which was easy to recycle. There was a heated back included in the box so the plants survive the journey. The only downside that I experienced was the length of time it takes for the plants to arrive. It took about four weeks from when I placed the order till the plants arrived but I think that just speaks more too the insane expectations Amazon Prime delivery have established.


Let me know in the comments below what you are currently watching, reading, playing, listening to or just generally obsessed with at the moment!? Seriously I want to know!


Cheers!


xox Sarah

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