Mika’s Grumpy, Meta Morning

Morning Joe host Mika Brzesinski channeled the Greek chorus this morning as she juggled MSNBC’s morning madness without usual desk buddy Joe Scarborough.

Not feeling the headline stories she had to bat around with the BBC’s Katty Kay, Politico’s Mike Allen, and MSNBC’s own Mark Halperin, Brzesinski let loose, voicing the thoughts running through many of our heads at home.

Brzesinksi rolled her eyes and sighed with us when the conversation turned to whether Sarah Palin—hot on the news that her PAC had raised an impressive $865,815 in the second quarter—was setting up for a presidential run in 2012.

“Yeah, um, okay Mark Halperin,” Brzesinski began, drawing out the “okay” as an irritated high schooler might. “Are we going to go through months and months of ‘will she or won’t she, oh my gosh, might she?’ I mean, come on, can we please cut to the chase on this? Cut the crap.”

That caught our attention.

When Halperin chuckled, seemingly pleased that “it’s going to be months and months” of speculation, Brzesinski nearly whined, “Why?” beating us to it. “It’s just silly. Are we really going to do this fake build-up like LeBron?”

As Kay contended that she wasn’t as convinced as Brzesinski of Palin’s run, the host let out an, “Ugh, please.” Later, she told her pundits, “You all are making me tired.”

Closing the segment while betting $1,000 that Palin would be running, Brzesinski leveled a charge at the panel that could on other days have ricocheted back at her. “You guys have all been in TV too long and you’re so used to the fake build-up you don’t even know when you’ve been sucked into it. That’s all I’m going to say, move on.”

It wasn’t just Palin testing Brzesinski’s nerves. The unhappy hostess was none too pleased with having to cover the Swiss government’s decision on Roman Polanski’s possible extradition to the U.S., either. In a teaser to the then upcoming news—which, she noted, would break at 8 a.m. Eastern—Brzesinski went “meta” in a way that would please a Stoppard fan.

“Do you think we ought to do one of those countdown clocks?” she asked, mockingly. “You know a cable countdown clock? Roman Polanski! Extradition! Tic tock, tic tock.”

When she learned the filmmaker would be staying in Europe, she asked with nearly zero interest, “Anyone want to comment on the breaking news? Because that’s what they do when breaking news breaks?”

Mika’s brand of self-aware morning TV is something we could get used to. We’ve always suspected she was a good egg, a smart cookie, and whatever other approving food metaphor you’d like to add—and this morning she proved it.

But if she is feeling a little unchallenged or frustrated at MSNBC, perhaps she should start making overtures to Fox. There, Brzesinski’s rival morning host Gretchen Carlson once described an anchor’s job as so challenging, “It’s the same thing as being the President of the United States.”

Ugh, please.

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Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.