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Dear Daphne: why Meghann Fahy was the real star of The White Lotus

The actor’s performance as the deceptively cynical, perennially zen housewife was the standout of the dark comedy’s second season The second season of The White Lotus, HBO’s acidic limited turned anthology series, will probably be remembered for several things: it was a rare monoculture-ish moment that got people to tune into scripted television at the same time each week, a triumph for returning star Jennifer Coolidge, and one of the best (and horniest) examinations of sexual politics on TV. The season finale, which aired this week (spoilers ahead), stuck the landing and confirmed creator, writer and director Mike White’s vision of “a bedroom farce with teeth”. Much will be made of the finale’s reveals, the slapstick demise of Coolidge’s Tanya and the show’s icily cynical core, but I would like to submit for recognition one of the second season’s chief delights: Meghann Fahy’s performance as deceptively layered, nouveau-riche housewife Daphne Sullivan. Fahy, a Broadway and soap opera veteran best known as striving fashion assistant Sutton Brady on the Freeform series The Bold Type, has been rightfully hailed as the breakout star of a stacked ensemble that includes more established names as Coolidge, Michael Imperioli, F Murray Abraham, Aubrey Plaza and Theo James. It’s not just because her incantation of Daphne is fascinating to watch – bubbly and seemingly aloof, inner calculations briefly rippling beneath her smooth-brained surface. It’s that Fahy’s Daphne is so much more interesting than the character, the blissfully apolitical wife to a skeevy finance bro, could be. Continue reading...

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