Hunh. This honestly took us by surprise a little. We’d heard the news that Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston were teaming up for a series about the morning talk show industry for the newly launched AppleTV service. We thought it sounded like an interesting curiosity but never truly gave it much thought. Then the trailer dropped an hour ago.
And suddenly, it all looks way more interesting than we expected. On the one hand, you’ve got a sort of classic “All About Eve” tale set against a more modern and recognizable backdrop. We’ve all seen experienced female hosts and anchors get shoved aside for younger ones on the daytime talk sets. We’ve all read or heard the gossip about what a ruthless and backstabbing world it can be. That’s all here, as expected. And part of the reason we may have dismissed it is because we didn’t expect it to be anything more than that.
What makes this slightly more interesting is that Aniston is playing a much harder sort of character than her norm; a character who is less concerned about being liked than she is about getting her due. It’ll be fun to see her take a crack at ruthlessness. Witherspoon has more of a history of playing the sorts of characters that Aniston is playing but here, she’s kind of playing the classic Aniston part: a brash, likable firebrand and up-and-comer. What makes it all even more interesting is the subtle message underneath this casting. A message so subtle that we wonder if the show is even aware of its implications. This isn’t the story of an aging woman being threatened by a woman half her age, which is how you’d expect a story like this to go. Instead, it’s the story of a 50 year old woman responding to the threat of a 43-year-old woman replacing her. There’s a lot more nuance to a story like this one; an implication that the television news industry requires women to demonstrate the extreme capability that comes with decades of adult experience, but also to remain under a certain age. It implies that women in the industry get about five or six years at the top of their game. Of course, there doesn’t have to be any subtlety about this take, since it plays out in front of our eyes in the real world all the time. But we didn’t expect this show to be the one to make such a savage observation. This trailer definitely did its job. An hour ago, we didn’t have many thoughts about this one and now we’re deeply curious about how it’s going to play out. Plus that’s one killer cast. Oh, AppleTV. What even are you?
[Stills: AppleTV via Tom and Lorenzo – Video Credit: AppleTV via YouTube.com]