There are television shows that make us laugh and make us cry. Some shows keep us on the edge of our seats.
There are shows that we can’t wait to tell our friends and family about, and that make us think more deeply about human existence.
There are shows that force us to look in the mirror. Some shows demand us to take a closer look at our lives, and the lives of people around us.
Some shows challenge our preconceived notions and biases and expose our dysfunctions.
And once in a while, there is a television show that does all of the above and shifts something in our collective consciousness as a nation, and as citizens of the world.
Apple TV’s hit original series The Morning Show is more than just another television show. It is a masterfully written story that captures the complexity and sensitivity of the “Me Too” movement in a real, and at times uncomfortably raw way.
Starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carrell. the show follows a sexual misconduct scandal in a morning news room
In a lot of ways, the show’s characters are relatable. They aren’t saints, but they aren’t monsters either. They exist somewhere in between.
In the show, broadcast superstar Alex Levy (Aniston), and small-town journalist Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon), unexpectedly become leading co-anchors on America’s favorite morning news program, The Morning Show, after Mitch Kessler (Carrell) is fired for sexual misconduct.
As if sexual misconduct is not enough, the show also tackles issues relating to race, gender bias, general toxic work culture, mental health, divorce, drugs, and dysfunctional family relationships.
Admittedly, I watched all 10 hour-long episodes in just 24 hours (although I must warn you that Apple TV makes it a lot harder to binge-watch shows on the platform since it doesn’t automatically switch to the next episode).
I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen. The characters felt so real — almost too real. I saw myself in Alex, Bradley, and the other female characters on the show.
I even saw dark pieces of myself in Mitch — the person who makes reckless decisions without fully considering the future implications those decisions will have on himself or the people he loves.
While there are a lot of things I loved about the series, I mostly loved that the characters were given space to honestly process and express their emotions without coming off as weak or incapable.
If anything, their willingness to cry and emote made them appear even more courageous.
At one point in Morning Show, the show’s shinning star Alex has a full-on breakdown on the bathroom floor of a trailer after she finally accepts that she and her long-time husband are getting a divorce.
In an unforgettable, emotional scene, her co-worker Bradley holds Alex’s hair back as she throws up following an on-air panic attack. Bradley gently hugs Alex as she sobs uncontrollably.
While the women spend much of the show at odds with one another, they routinely connect over one thing — pain.
Too often in our culture, sensitive, emotional people are characterized as being weak, passive, and unfit for leadership.
I was once told that I could never become the president of the United States not because I am a woman, but because I “cry way too much.”
From a young age, we are taught to conceal our sad and negative emotions. Many little boys are taught never to cry at all. The truth is, though, crying is a healthy, emotional expression that should not be shamed or relegated to private spaces.
Ironically studies show that crying makes you feel better when you have emotional support (such as a close friend near by).
On the other side, crying can make you feel worse if you are made to feel embarrassed or ashamed of crying.
Emotional tears help us release stress hormones.
Some societies embrace crying as a form of self care. Some cities in Japan now havve “crying clubs” called rui-katsu (meaning “tear seeking”), where people come toghther to cry in community.
It’s important that we all have safe-spaces where we can cry and emote free from judgment.
Morning Show provided a much-needed example of what it means to be a strong leader who does not run from or hide their emotions.
Many people shamed former president Barack Obama for crying on camera.
As we move into a new decade, it is my hope that we redefine what it means to be a good leader.
Good leaders are good listeners. They are empathetic, trustworthy, and reliable, but most importantly, they are human.
Sometimes they’ll have bad days. Sometimes they’ll cry. Sometimes, they’ll have full on breakdowns on the their bathroom floors.
That doesn’t make them weak, and it doesn’t make them unfit for leadership. It makes them real people trying to navigate through the grief, trauma, and pain brought on by every-day life, just like you and me.
Kiara Imani is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.