Power Struggles and the Strong Woman

Katherine Hui RAYMOND WATERS CWL320 30 November 2011 POWER STRUGGLES AND THE STRONG WOMAN “Morning Glory”, directed by Roger Mitchell, is a romantic comedy and a reification of morning television. It is heavily coated in a formula base plot – the female protagonist is faced with obstacles in which she must overcome to prove her worth to those who have doubted her wrong; while simultaneously balancing her love interest. One of the most prominent archetypes in comedy is the strong woman archetype. The strong woman plays an outstanding role portraying power struggles, especially in the workplace.
Becky Fuller, 28, is a high-energy and wide-eyed assistant producer. She quickly becomes a likable character in which the audience cannot help but root for. Through her struggles with pursuing her dreams of becoming an executive producer at the Today Show, Becky finds herself hired to revitalize a morning show in turmoil. Throughout the movie she experiences struggles with herself, her network, and the male alazon – Mike Pomeroy, a former news anchor acclaimed for his experience in covering “real” news.
There is a parallel growth between all the characters in the movie as well as the morning show itself. The movie begins with a date, visually framing Becky’s obvious social ineptness and her overt dedication to work. Because of her job in early morning news, the audience sees her on a “3p. m. dinner” date with a marketing executive, whose job adds into the irony of the duo. Becky is chained to her phone and unable to talk about anything other than her work. She stumbles over her words and acts as if she were still a pubescent teenager on her first date.

The marketing executive immediately realizes her awkwardness and incapacity to remove herself from her job and quickly asks for the check. Here the audience sympathizes for Becky, seeing her struggle in trying to fulfill one of life’s basic needs: companionship. The date is followed by a montage of her daily routine in which we see Becky in her comfort zone; in complete control of what she is passionate about: work. The audience sees the contrast between her dedication with work and struggles ith men; and is able to feel a sense of admiration and respect for the character. Although she lacks in being able to make social connections she makes up for in her devotion to her work. Becky is a highly dedicated to her job at Good Morning New Jersey. She is the “first one in, last one out and knows a shitload more about news than someone’s whose daddy paid them to smoke bongs and talk semiotics at Harvard. ” Becky is tipped off that she would be promoted to executive producer, something that she has pursued since she was 18.
Instead she is laid off and expectantly replaced by a male who has more experience with an education from Harvard. This is a constant struggle in society today; women are underrated and easily replaced in the work place. The strong women archetype serves to prove society wrong through the comic spirit theme. Although Becky is consistently faced with others doubt in her – including her own mother – she perseveres through the negativity as the strong woman and is given the opportunity as an executive producer on Daybreak, a “perpetually fourth rated morning show” at IBS.
On Becky’s first day she is already confronted with multiple complications: her boss’s lack of faith, the show’s low morale, and its semi-talented staff. Quickly she proves that she posses the type of assertiveness and ardent attitude that Daybreak desperately needs, making the executive decision to fire a long running co-anchor Paul McVee, the epitome of the conceitedness and one of the main reasons for the show’s low morale. Becky again faces another challenge: finding the perfect replacement. Daybreak’s low budget forces Becky to find an unconventional way to hire a new anchor.
Through her wit and ability to think on her feet she finds a loophole in one of IBS’s contracted and retired news anchors. Mike Pomeroy, the braggart male, is a world-renowned and respected television journalist. His opinion of morning television is far from low and is highly reluctant in having to co-anchor Daybreak, finally he is forced to accept the position due to his six million dollar contract with IBS. Pomeroy refuses to cover anything “un-newsworthy” and becomes a constant struggle in Becky’s effort to improve the show.
Pomeroy disregards all of Becky’s requests, even getting drunk before his first day at work, further conveying his role as the braggart male. Becky withstands anything that Pomeroy throws at her, paralleling her strength to his experience. Pomeroy compares morning entertainment to a worthless sugary “donut”, in which Becky counters by comparing hard news to a boring “bran muffin. ” Both characters finally come to reconciliation when they collaborate on their first breaking news story, covering the live arrest of New Jersey’s governor on charges of racketeering.
Becky is elated and compares their breakthrough to a “bran donut. ” She is faced with yet another challenge: improving Daybreaks ratings or having to face cancellation. One challenge that television faces today is the quality of entertainment. Often time’s ratings are based on controversy and popular culture and the dumb-ing down of information to appease the commercial audience. Becky fully understands what viewers want and overlooks this issue, completely devoting herself into doing absolutely anything to increase ratings.
Through the strong woman archetype Becky shows that she has a clear vision and proves to her co-workers that she has a concrete strategy and ability to meet the audiences needs. Her dedication rally’s morale and like Lysistrata she is able to persuade her crew to be just as committed as she is. Becky performs miracles, introducing new segments and changing everything from the weather broadcast to their interviews. This progression is farced paced, paralleling the show’s increasing success.
As Daybreak’s ratings go up they’re able to gain access to more famous celebrities, which in turn increases ratings even more. The show’s breaking point comes with Becky’s and Pomeroy’s “bran donut,” signifying her achievement at Daybreak and her ability to overcome the tribulations of the male alazon through her strong will and perseverance. Throughout the plot Becky becomes romantically involved with Adam Bennett, another producer at IBS. Although “Morning Glory” is a romantic comedy, it touches lightly on Becky’s relationship with Adam, focusing more on her exchanges with Pomeroy.
Expectantly, Becky struggles with removing herself from work while trying to build a relationship with her love interest. Her dedication to work is her Achilles’ heal as well as her inimitable strength. Adam is able to overlook her awkwardness, even to the point adoration. The show’s successes and downfalls parallel with Becky’s growth in her ability to sustain a relationship. Towards the end of the movie, like with all romantic comedies, she is finally able to overlook her obsessions and succeed in overcoming her disability to make a romantic connection.
The comic spirit seeks to exhibit strength in those who deserve a chance to exhibit greatness; those who are overlooked by society’s standards. In “Morning Glory,” Becky’ Fuller’s enduring strength, forceful determination, and self-belief transcends beyond any high profiled work experience or degree from Harvard. Daybreak’s growth parallels with Becky’s relationship with Mike Pomeroy as well the crew’s morale. Becky is a prime example of the strong woman archetype and she triumphs over her inner struggles as well as struggles with the higher forces of society.

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