‘Morning Show’ Star Nicole Beharie Gave the TV Performance of the Week

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Apple+
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Apple+

This week:

Nicole Beharie Is the Performer of the Week

I wouldn’t call the way The Morning Show tackles anything “nuanced.” The Apple TV+ show tends to rile up its impressive cast—Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Julianna Margulies, Jon Hamm, Greta Lee, Billy Crudup, and Karen Pittman—and has them charge at various ripped-from-headlines issues like a prestige television running of the bulls.

Don’t get me wrong. That’s what I love about this fascinatingly bonkers show. But while this unapologetic wrecking ball approach to topicality has worked (mostly), exploding subtle real-world conversations into loud soap-opera plots, the subject of this week’s episode—racial injustice in the workplace—begged for some hesitation. It’s a conversation not exactly suited for the OMG-they’re-going-there big dramatic swings The Morning Show is known for; “America’s Race Problem,” filtered through the Morning Show lens, could be fodder for cringe. The issue needs subtlety. It needs, it turns out, brilliant actress Nicole Beharie.

Beharie (who should be an Oscar nominee for her work in the film Miss Juneteenth) plays Chris Hunter, a Black woman who is the newest anchor of the network’s morning program. When a cyberattack leads to the leaks of internal emails, it comes to light that the network’s board member, Holland Taylor’s Cybil Richards, referred to Chris off-handedly as “Aunt Jemima” in an email exchange about undercutting her salary. Race- and gender-based pay disparity across the entire company then surfaces, as Cybil frets over being canceled over a flippant remark she doesn’t even remember making.

Beharie’s performance carries all the complexity that the episode needs. You see her embarrassment and hurt over the slur, and being thought of as underqualified; her mortification over being made the face—and victim—of the scandal; her fury at the systemic inevitability of it all. They’re all little earthquakes that dance across her face, even in the moments when she’s quietly processing. It’s sensational acting, especially when Chris recognizes that the unfair responsibility to expose how problematic all of this is—and save the company at the same time—will become her de facto responsibility.

For all the silliness there is to talk about when it comes to The Morning Show, the acting is the real reason to watch—a case Beharie certainly makes this week.

New Relationship Alert!

The Swifties were in a tizzy (that made me groan, but then giggle—so I’m keeping it) this week at the reports that Taylor Swift was hanging out with and maybe even dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. I don't really care about who Taylor Swift is dating, and I absolutely do not care that the alleged suitor is a football player. But I am obsessed with the manner in which this news was confirmed and then spread across the internet this week.

gif of Taylor Swift giving an eye roll.

Jason Kelce, football man’s brother, gave an interview in which he said the dating rumors were “100 percent” true. He also said—which for some reason didn’t make it into all the gossip reports—“No, I’m joking. I don’t know what’s happening.”

I love this as a way of putting it out into the world that two people are in a relationship, even if they’re not. Just say it’s true, be obviously kidding, and hope that everyone ignores that kidding part. And that is why I’m so excited to announce that Jonathan Bailey, Jonathan Groff, and I are in a throuple and so happy together. It’s 100 percent true. No, I’m joking. You decide what to believe.

What Is Happening Here?

Two celebrity photos made their way onto my timeline this week, immediately imprinted on my brain, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them since.

The first is this photo of Ina Garten.

The second is this photo of Nicole Scherzinger.

I want to know everything there is to know about what is going on in these photos. I also want to know nothing. Let them live as they are: perfect, quizzical pieces of art for us to ponder forever.

Kim Kardashian, Thespian

My colleague wrote about this in his review for The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, and the internet’s been buzzing about it. But it bears repeating that this is the first line of dialogue that Kim Kardashian delivered in her series regular acting debut on American Horror Story: Delicate.

Screenshot highlighting text of article referenced on The Daily Beast

Sorry mom.

What to watch this week:

The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar: Turns out Wes Anderson’s pretty good at making films. (Now in theaters)

The Golden Bachelor: A senior citizen season of The Bachelor: Finally, a dating show I can relate to. (Thurs. on ABC)

Starstruck: Be on high alert for potentially dangerous amounts of swooning. (Thurs. on Max)

What to skip this week:

Expend4bles: I have a rage fit every time I have to type out that movie title. (Now in theaters)

The Continental: From the World of John Wick: A new series featuring none of what makes John Wick work, and with Mel Gibson starring, as a treat! (Now on Peacock)

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