Awards Daily talks to Mark Duplass of Apple TV+’s The Morning Show about Chip’s toxic relationship with Alex (Jennifer Aniston) and how the Season 2 finale mirrors a bit of the start of his career.
When we meet up with Mark Duplass’s Chip Black in Season 2 of The Morning Show, he appears to be blissfully happy working at a local TV station and in a new relationship with girlfriend Madeleine (played by Duplass’s real-life wife Katie Aselton). But something (re: Alex Levy) draws him back into the fold of network television, to a job that left him completely miserable and beyond stressed out before he left it.
“I don’t have all the answers as to why he’s drawn to these dark things in his life,” says Duplass. “There’s clearly something in Chip where he sees a life that could be great for himself, with a girlfriend that doesn’t try to emotionally manipulate him on an hourly basis.”
But as Duplass learned while talking to people who work in network TV, there’s a rush to it, like a drug. Everyone becomes part of a group where only they understand one another. “It’s like being an Olympic athlete and being part of a secret club. There’s an addiction to this.”
Chip’s dependency on working for UBA is a little like his weakness for The Morning Show co-anchor Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston), someone he’s completely in love with, despite her being abusive to him.
“I have so many conflicting thoughts. Personally, I can identify being drawn to things that are bad for me. Kind of like with Olympic athletes understanding each other, Alex is someone who understands Chip. That’s a big part of it. There’s a lot of fake people out there in this world, but Alex is always 100% honest with Chip. I think Jennifer brought a lot of that. She’s a hopelessly honest and real person.”
But could Alex ever love Chip back?
“I don’t know. I’m curious to see what the writers see for that and to dig in to the nature of her fire toward him. There has to be something inside of her. Just as there is something drawing me to her, there is also something drawing her to me.”
Season 2 culminates in Alex contracting COVID and Chip faking being asymptomatic so that the two of them can film an epic COVID special for UBA+ from Alex’s apartment, to let everyone see the first-hand effects of the virus. While the episode might have seemed “too soon” for some viewers, as we all are still in the throes of the pandemic, Duplass said that he received a lot of positive feedback.
“In Season 1, we adjusted for the #MeToo movement, and in Season 2, we had to shut down for COVID. A lot of viewers told me it was weirdly cathartic watching the episode.”
Duplass said that Chip serving as an EP from Alex’s kitchen reminded him of his early days as a filmmaker, like when he made The Puffy Chair with his wife back in 2005.
“I loved that whole portion of the episode, to be on the set of a multi-million-dollar show and Chip and Alex making something scrappy.”
The Morning Show is streaming on Apple TV+.