Friday Night In, Bottomless Brunch offer authenticity in entertainment

Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for New York Magazine
Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for New York Magazine /

AMC Networks’ pushes the boundaries with Friday Night In, Bottomless Brunch

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to create new ways to do things. These changes have permeated our everyday lives, but as the resilient creatures we are, we have found ways to persevere. One area that has seen big changes during quarantine is television, where networks have had to get creative for interviews and creating new content. Friday Night In with the Morgans and Bottomless Brunch at Colman’s are two shining examples of how talk shows are even more authentic when filmed from stars’ homes.

Instead of having crews of people on hand for in-person interviews, celebrities are broadcasting from their own homes. This not only gives fans a look into their favorite stars’ lives, but it offers an increased authenticity that has never been seen before.

Case in point, AMC’s two “quarantine” shows, Friday Night In with the Morgans and Bottomless Brunch at Colman’s, both offer entertaining shows with very few bells and whistles. There are no special effects, and it is entirely incumbent upon the shows’ respective hosts – Hilarie Burton Morgan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Colman Domingo – to create the atmosphere.

The Morgans “host” their friends from their couch. Their kids get involved. Domingo hosts from his fabulous bar. They rely upon their charisma and personal hosting skills to not only keep their shows moving, but to entertain viewers at home.

And they do. They do it well.

The authenticity in these shows is inescapable. It’s impossible not to see that Domingo and the Morgans are coming to us, the viewers, as they would as if we knocked on their doors as invited guests to their homes.

Unlike Talking Dead, which is filmed on a set with hair and makeup people waiting in the wings (literally – I’ve been to the show and you can see the stylists through a door located right beyond the stage), Friday Night In and Bottomless Brunch offer a peek at what our favorite stars are like when they’re at home. Their special guests are relaxed, and laughs are shared by all. It’s incredibly refreshing to see everyone so relaxed, which is not something seen onstage in the middle of a SDCC panel in Hall H.

In fact, the atmosphere on these shows is so much more relaxed that it’s easier for everyone to have serious conversations – both with each other and with fans – as we saw on the powerful episode of Friday Night In featuring Domingo and Yvette Nicole Brown. That was one of the most powerful episodes of television because it was so authentic. Every word came from their hearts, amplifying the power of their message and moving the conversation about Black Lives Matter forward.

At some point, novel coronavirus will be under control enough for things to return to normal, or what will become our new normal, and production will resume on our favorite television shows and movies. However, it is my biggest hope that we remember the connections that came from shows like Friday Night In and Bottomless Brunch in hopes that we can make these kinds of shows a new form of entertainment. Authenticity is so much better than the glitz and glamour. While a little glitz is a good thing, being authentic will win every day of the week.

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Friday Night In with the Morgans airs Fridays at 10pm ET on AMC, and you can find past episodes of Bottomless Brunch at Colman’s on YouTube. (And hopefully new episodes will be coming soon!)