Awards Daily talks to actor Nestor Carbonell about why AppleTV+’s The Morning Show is the only television show that isn’t afraid to “go there” when it comes to tackling taboo issues.
In Season 1 of The Morning Show on AppleTV+, they tackled #MeToo. In Season 2, cancel culture. Is there another show on TV as ballsy as this sophomore drama when covering topical issues?
“I don’t know of another scripted series that’s doing it to the extent that this show is doing it,” says Carbonell. “I love that. It explores all the gray areas. We know all the black and white issues. The gray areas are the interesting ones.”
Nestor Carbonell’s character, Yanko Flores, is having a rough time in Season 2, six months after a break-up with Claire (Bel Powley) that has him feeling a bit rudderless.
“He’s deeply affected by it. It’s been some months, and he still hasn’t gotten over her. He’s lost this true soulmate he thought he found in Claire. He’s now wading in waters that don’t feel as exciting to him. He always feels he has to prove himself at work.”
As prominent LA weatherman Fritz Coleman told him, meteorologists are essentially “an accordion of time” on air, as they are asked to stretch or contract to fill the space. This plays into Yanko’s feelings within his personal life and role on the morning program.
“He feels that his position is deemed archaic now, when you can get the 10-day forecast on your phone—although Yanko would argue that it’s not as factual as the weather service. He’s fighting for relevance.”
Then he really steps in it.
After he uses the phrase “spirit animal” on Groundhog Day, the weatherman is pretty much canceled online for using the offensive term.
“I love what Kerry Ehrin and the writers did there. They took something seemingly innocuous to drive home the dangers of cancel culture. It’s fair game, it’s free speech. If you want to criticize someone, of course, have at it. That’s what our country was founded on. But it’s one thing to be offended and another thing to launch a campaign to destroy someone. I loved that they wanted to drive the point home by delineating the fact that the person offended isn’t even Native American. It takes one person to find offense and the goal posts keep moving in terms of apologies.”
Yanko apologizes on air, but Stella (Greta Lee) and Mia (Karen Pitman) deem it not sincere enough and ask him to go to Florida to talk to the Seminole tribe, to be filmed as a part of a larger conversation. Yanko of course does not want to be filmed.
“I think the only reason he says he doesn’t want to be filmed is that it’s all about optics. It has nothing to do with racism. With Yanko, he feels completely misunderstood. Some person says something online and you’re going to jump through hoops for them? He’s basically saying, I’m not out here to fulfill some kind of agenda for the sake of PR.”
Then, in the irony of ironies, Yanko defends Stella from a racist in the street, punching him, and is suspended for it. Can he ever win?
“There’s no winning for Yanko with Stella. He sees her become a victim, comes to her defense, beats the guy up, but she still suspends him. In his mind, this is infuriating. Clearly, it’s never enough. I think a lot of this boils down to this perception, and the whole season was about the theme of perception. She’s put him in a box and refuses to see him outside of any kind of box.”
Carbonell credits Season 2 showrunner Kerry Ehrin with this fearlessness of taking on controversial subjects and laying them out for people to debate over. Even though talking about cancel culture online gets people canceled all the time (go figure), he welcomes the conversation.
“A lot of people are scared to talk about it. If we’re too afraid to talk about this, I fear for our future. I welcome the stuff. We’re all at risk of being canceled, but you can’t live your life in fear.”
Seasons 1 and 2 of The Morning Show are streaming on AppleTV+.