THE MORNING SHOW — When Apple TV’s The Morning Show debuted in November, somehow I missed it. Missed it, basically because I preferred not to trigger another pay channel. That said, I have paid (along with a HULU subscription) and watched the first two episodes and was simply blown away.
First off, the production is top-notch -with its own theme song and marvelous graphics, often bringing to mind the graphic work of Maurice Binder of the early-James Bond movies- second, the cast, Jennifer Aniston, Billy Crudup, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, Mark Duplas is just sensational, Crudup, whose been around for years is just mind-blowing; chewing up the scenery whenever he’s on screen. I’ve been a huge fan of his since the Zack Snyder Watchmen (the best presentation of that graphic novel IMO) and here he’s simply off the charts. Chewing the scenery with terrific dialogue. An career wining performance for sure.
The plot, which is eerily similar to the entire NBC/Today Show/Matt Lauer-episode (right down to the office-button that automatically closes his dressing room door), is about what happens when the male-host of a morning TV show (Steve Carell) is fired overnight due to several sexual activities that have come to light. Carell’s character admits them, but says they were fully consensual. Aniston, as his 15-year partner (and sometime romantic partner) is infuriated, as now her career, is in jeopardy.
Crudup plays the network chieftain whose job it is to massage this grievous situation and Witherspoon comes on board as the new co-host; but, with a sensational back-story to her character. I loved her in HBO’s Big little Lies, but this performance is breathtakingly good. Best work of her career IMO.
Last year several producers daily followed the exploits of the various AM talk fetes, including The Today Show, GMA, and Live with Ryan and Kelly and, by God, they got mostly everything right.
Also, just for the record, the original name of the Regis Philbin/Kathie Lee chatfest was The Morning Show.
When Reese Witherspoon’s character meets with the show’s EP (Duplas), for a possible job, it’s totally on point. The EP barely listens, then hustle her out of his office moments later. Yes, folks … that the way it goes.
At these morning shows, now more than ever, there’s a fine line of absurdity and fear. One day you’re in … another, you’re out.
Carell is typically brilliant in his portrayal as the fired Mitch Kessler. Admitting his guilt, but denying that it was anything not consensual. Also, Martin Short as a director who has been already accused and in a conversation with Carell about a possible solution, is just excellent.
You can sense that this entire production wants to be another Mad Men and its comes pretty damn close. The writing is just sensational and the production stellar.
Ever since the MeToo movement reared its head, it’s been a battle: a kiss is not just a kiss anymore and after this pandemic, neither will a handshake.
Some of the best work I’ve seen on TV in years. Superlative!
T. REX — An all-star group of musicians is gathering to pay tribute to the music of Marc Bolan and T. Rex.
T. Rex is part of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2020 with Bolan being inducted posthumously. To celebrate their induction, a tribute album called AngelHeaded Hipster will be released on September 4 containing Bolan and T. Rex classics.
A star-studded list of artists appear on the record including U2, Elton John, Joan Jett, Nick Cave, Father John Misty, Kesha, Perry Farrell, and more.
Highlights of the album include Nick Cave performing “Cosmic Dancer,” U2 and Elton John teaming up for the T. Rex classic “Bang A Gong (Get It On),” and Kesha’s take on “Children Of The Revolution.
Those wanting to see T. Rex inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will be able to do so as the ceremony will air live on HBO on November 7th.
Marc Bolan and T. Rex (along with bassist Micki Finn) were the premieer glam-rock band of the 70’s. He was also quite the outspoken rock-star; handing withg Elton and Ringo Starr shooting a documentary on him. Also, for those in the know, he had the star-producer of the moment, Tony Visconti. ASlso, for me, David Johansen doing “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” … does it get any better?
AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T.Rex Tracklist:
1. “Children Of The Revolution” – Kesha
2. “Cosmic Dancer” – Nick Cave
3. “Jeepster” – Joan Jett
4. “Scenescof” – Devendra Banhart
5. “Life’s A Gas” – Lucinda Williams
6. “Solid Gold, Easy Action” – Peaches
7. “Dawn Storm” – BØRNS
8. “Hippy Gumbo” – Beth Orton
9. “I Love To Boogie” – King Khan
10. “Beltane Walk” – Gaby Moreno
11. “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” – U2 feat. Elton John
12. “Diamond Meadows” – John Cameron Mitchell
13. “Ballrooms Of Mars” – Emily Haines
1. “Main Man” – Father John Misty
2. “Rock On” – Perry Farrell
3. “The Street and Babe Shadow” – Elysian Fields
4. “The Leopards” – Gavin Friday
5. “Metal Guru” – Nena
6. “Teenage Dream” – Marc Almond
7. “Organ Blues” – Helga Davis
8. “Planet Queen” – Todd Rundgren
9. “Great Horse” – Jessie Harris
10. “Mambo Sun” – Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl
11. “Pilgrim’s Tale” – Victoria Williams with Julian Lennon
12. “Bang A Gong (Get It On) Reprise” – David Johansen
13. “She Was Born To Be My Unicorn / Ride A White Swan” – Maria McKee
SHORT TAKES — Great Scott Shannon/Micky Dolenz interview on CBS FM Friday. Thanks Louis Pulice … The All Together Now online-telethon last weekend, with Micky Dolenz; Jeff Bridges; Rob Morrow; Lisa Loeb; Venice; and Jesse Colin Young, raised over 100K … congrats …
And, Via Ultimate Classic Rock: Steve Howe reflected on the sudden success of Asia’s first single, “Heat of the Moment,” saying that front man John Wetton struggled with the demands that it placed on the supergroup. It was the last song they’d written for their 1982 self-titled debut album, and while Yes guitarist Howe and former Emerson, Lake & Palmer drummer Carl Palmer had experienced large-scale success, former King Crimson singer and bassist Wetton hadn’t to the same extent. “It was wonderful, of course,” Howe told Classic Rock. “It felt like vindication after the way Yes had fallen apart, really. But I’d already experienced highs like headlining sold-out arena tours of the States in Yes. As had Carl. But for John it was something else, I think. The pressure was really on, and I think the sheer scale of the success had an effect on him that made him quite introverted in a way. Very cut off.” Asked about the breakdown in the relationship between himself and Wetton – who passed in 2017 – Howe said, “I don’t like the stories you hear about us falling out. It was never that simple. The whole thing just got out of control. None of us were happy with the mix of the second album, Alpha. … The tour was crazy – too many champagne breakfasts, you might say. That’s when I started driving myself to shows rather than fly with the band. But we ended up pulling the final dates. It was a mess. People started forgetting parts, or running orders, or whether it was the single version or the album version we were playing.” The problems led to a backstage discussion. “That’s when we spoke to John,” Howe recalled. “He said, ‘It’s not all me.’ Yes, but if you’re singing and playing and you go somewhere we don’t know, we’re going to have problems. At that point it started to fizzle out.” Still, Howe has positive feelings about Asia’s debut LP. “The production was a bit Journey-esque,” he noted. “That was down to Mike Stone, who’d co-produced Escape, which was a huge album for Journey. But ‘Heat of the Moment’ was the last song we recorded for the Asia album. By then we’d already done stuff like ‘Time Again’ and ‘Wildest Dreams,’ which were very progressive. There was also this sweetness in ‘[Only] Time Will Tell.’ But as soon as I stacked up the guitar and John started singing, we knew we had something special in ‘Heat of the Moment’.”
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Rick Eberle; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; August Darnell; Alan Rothstein; Graydon Carter; Robert Evans; Peter Abraham; Hilary Gerrard; Fred Goodman; Samantha Ryan; Gil Friesen; Michael Leon; Jerry Love; Larry Yasgur; Marcel Albers; Mark Stein; and, CHIP!