Tig Notaro has landed a recurring role on Apple TV+’s The Morning Show, a series about the anchors behind morning TV, starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. Notaro will play Amanda Robinson, chief of staff to corporate chief Paul Marks.
“The Morning Show follows the professional and personal lives of employees of media conglomerate UBA, focusing on the group that puts together the network’s morning show,” according to Deadline. “Season 2 found the team emerging from the wreckage of hosts Alex (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley’s (Reese Witherspoon) actions, to a new UBA and a world in flux, where identity is everything and the chasm between who we present as and who we really are comes into play.”
The Morning Show has already dabbled in a little lesbian representation, with Julianna Margulies playing an out news reporter who dates co-anchor Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) in season 2.
When Juliana Margulies was asked “if she had any reservations about playing gay on The Morning Show,” on the Just for Variety podcast, she said: “Who’s to say I haven’t had my own gay experiences? We’re making assumptions.”
While being gay isn’t a few same-sex sexual experiences, or bisexuality, but a description for only finding the same sex attractive, we get what she means. She isn’t necessarily straight.
Casting Tig Notaro–probably as a lesbian character?–might be repenting for a bit of blowback. When Margulies was cast to play a lesbian on the show, she acknowledged that actual lesbian actresses want to play lesbian characters… but could not understand why.
“I know there was some trepidation of, ‘Will lesbian actresses be angry?’ and I can tell you I would never, ever be angry if a lesbian played a straight woman,” Margulies said.
There are a few problems with her response. First of all, television shows casting real-life lesbian actresses for every single lesbian character is not a hill most lesbians would ever die on. The lesbians went wild for Cate Blanchett in Carol, and impatiently await her depiction of a lesbian composer in TÁR. So it feels like a non-issue blown up into the “lesbians are so angry” stereotype.
Secondly, her response provides context as to why she mentioned her “gay experiences.” She was supplying her so-called lesbian accreditation. Lesbians want to play lesbian characters because lesbianism is not that threesome you had in 2005. It’s a nuanced experience that is so often depicted at extreme ends of the desexualized-to-fetishized dichotomy. Straight actress portrayals of lesbianism can feed into the one-dimensional understanding of female homosexuality. But not Cate Blanchett. Angel.
Thirdly, if you can’t understand the difference in complexity, between a lesbian (disempowered) playing a straight person (empowered) and a straight person playing a lesbian, then that reveals you haven’t done enough acting research on what lesbians experience. Specifically, how that experience differs to straight men and women. Which is part of the reason why some lesbian actresses would be shitty that you landed the role instead of them. Authentic, knowledgeable representation makes all the difference in the limited quality lesbian roles media makes available.
All the more reason to celebrate that a lesbian actress is joining The Morning Show cast.
Julianna Margulies will also be returning in season 3.
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