Recently I got a free trial of Apple TV so I started trying some of the shows. Because of the misogyny so embedded in Hollywood and entertainment culture, I usually don’t watch many shows on my own and prefer books. I do, however, enjoy TV as a social activity with my loved ones or my S.O. The content we found on apple tv was surprising and I haven’t stopped raving since.
To me and my partner, many of the shows on Apple TV give you this feeling that the directors and founders wanted to create content that serves a larger objective, education and social equality maybe. The first show we watched was The Morning Show because of its cast of Hollywood A-listers including Jennifer Anniston and Reese Witherspoon and one of my least favorite but still famous Steve Carrell.
(Image of the morning show promotional poster with the three stars)
Without giving any spoilers (because you NEED to see this show), the show follows a morning news program that is in hot water and struggling with ratings as one of the stars faces sexual abuse and misconduct allegations. Co-star Jennifer Anniston then picks a new co-host Reese Witherspoon and the story unravels. The truth comes out, workplace toxicity including sexual misconduct, misogyny and racism on set and in executive offices ensues. Many scenes were incredibly moving, upsetting, and even triggering because they were telling the truth about what is going on in the entertainment industries and many workplaces today. Additionally, the show addresses racial inequality and white privilege by the way the network functions and chooses its stars.
One of the most clever or dare I say – genius - ideas from the writers for this show is how the story progresses and shows us getting closer and closer to real time with the news events mirroring reality. On the final episode a pandemic and the princess cruise line are mentioned in the newscasting. This clever writing reveals that this workplace misconduct and horrific toxicity at work is current as well as prevalent across workplaces across America, especially in the entertainment industry. It isn’t only something we struggled to fix in the past; but that people are still experiencing worldwide and on a broader scale than many- especially those with privilege- might guess.
I do have concerns about the filming style of the most traumatic scenes in the show as I feel it may potentially be fetishizing the trauma experienced by the individuals in the cast but I understand that this could be in some clever way trying to make a point about the disgust we should feel. Please let me know what you think when you watch it in the comments section.
Strangely enough, mere months passed and allegations of workplace toxicity, discrimination and harassment on The Ellen Show surfaced from ex-employees and anonymous employees working for the show. I don’t think this is a coincidence.
(The logo for the ellen show)
When we write shows and books and op-ed’s about the misconduct and abuse of power of the “elite” and we expose the injustice that occurs on a daily basis; we open the floodgates for the truth. People who are experiencing this trauma at their jobs, especially in entertainment feel compelled to share their story, they believe that now, perhaps they will be heard; perhaps now, they will see justice for the brutality they have faced from executives at the companies they work for. The more we share our truth and be vulnerable, the more we expose injustice and horrific acts of people who feel entitled to harm others, the more we will be able to help set the story straight and lift each other out of the pain and suffering we are facing.