'The Morning Show' Desean Terry: White Characters Make Mistakes And Keep Integrity, So Should We
Warning: Spoilers Are Ahead
If you did not watch the second season of The Morning Show as of yet, go binge and come back and read this interview.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Okay, carry on.
Everyone's favorite newsroom drama, The Morning Show returned for its second season on AppleTV+ and it definitely took us on a roller coaster ride. One character in particular, who had a larger story arc this season, was Daniel, played by Desean Terry. Daniel fought tooth and nail to become one of the lead anchors on UBA's morning program, with the spots currently being held by Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) and newcomer Eric Nomani (Hasan Minhaj), who took the place of Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) after she quit.
Your Voice Media correspondent Ty Cole chatted with Terry about Daniel, the character's progression, the tough conversations and situations the show explored, and more.
Q: What are your thoughts on your character for season two?
A: I think Daniel is in a place of transition. We've had conversations about what happens to Daniel at the end of season two. I feel for Daniel and was proud of him. One of the things he says to Stella while quitting is how he mentions his family - he never talks about his family. It was really cool to see him put his career on pause in order to take care of some other things. It's interesting because, in the end, he gets the position he's been yearning for -not in the way he wanted- and chooses family over career. A little self-care.
Q: How do you feel about your character's progression in the season?
A: First of all, there should be more Daniel (haha). I also think Daniel's character and what he represents in the show are so important. It's hopefully important to the audience and it's important to me to see a Black, gay man who feels marginalized and put down while having the credentials and skillsets to participate yet he keeps hitting a glass single. He is an underdog in the TMS world. I also think we forget the majority of the world is actually folks of color. This whole sort of white space and how the system is built in America, the majority of the world isn't in that position. It's an important storyline within the show and I hope we can see more if picked up for a season three.
Q: The show explored many situations including tough conversations about growth in the workplace for People of Color. In Episode 4, Mia fought for Daniel to moderate a big store and was hit with Stella telling her that Daniel doesn’t have the “It Factor..” Popular publication NPR shared an op-ed on The Morning Show being “markedly different than the real-life network TV morning shows this program is supposed to be based on.” With all of that being said, do you feel the storylines for this season as a way to set up the change that we can possibly see in season three or how can we progress moving forward?
A: That is an excellent question (laughs) and I don't have the answers. Honestly, it's above my pay rate. I can tell you what I hope for. We do have mindful storytellers who've been guiding this story and have intentions from the very beginning as to why Daniel is placed in the position he's in. The conversation that's been happening with Daniel and Mia, played by Karen Pittman, was intentional with the show on what it is to be a person of color within a white space. What it's like to see a dual conscience of what we see. I do believe and hope the intentionality we have to take it further as I see the seeds planted in both seasons as there should be more folks of color on the other networks.
Q: Did you pull from a real place when filming that scene?
A: I don't relate to so much the "it factor" comment, but what I can relate to is having some sort of insecurity at the workplace. It doesn't matter if it's true or not - what matters is if you allow yourself to receive it or not. It's really, especially if you're encountering a glass ceiling and it naturally creates doubts within you. Specifically for people of color, when we get into the situation, we talk about suffering from imposter syndrome. When we get into the room, even though we're educated and done the work, one of the agents, where we keep ourselves down, is the imposter syndrome. That is 100% relatable to me.
Q: What feelings do you want fans to have for your character Daniel?
A: I want people to care for his story and understand the arc of him as he's integral. I also want people to at times be frustrated with Daniel and wonder why he made certain frustrations. I want people to be frustrated with Daniel because one of the glorious things about The Morning Show is all of the characters are flawed. At times, you may really love Alex Levy and sometimes you may not. I want people to find Daniel humorous and laugh at him - the mix of emotions that comes with him as the other characters are allowed to do so. Sometimes we fall into the trope that the Black character should be completely integrated and that's not reality. If I feel I need to be perfect to be the Black person in the space, we fall into stereotypes and trope that doesn't serve us as people of color. We should be able to make mistakes - the other characters are making mistakes and they shouldn't lose any integrity about i