My thoughts on episode 5 after the jump.
As always, reviews of previous episodes can be found here.
Coby Bell's ability to charm his way through this season's very silly story about Jason Pitts reconnecting with his blackness ("blackness" defined almost solely as – *sigh* – the most stereotypical signifiers, of course) is astonishing.
He carries Brandy through every scene and manages to make you care about Jason in that last scene where he begs Brandy's Chardonnay to give him a chance. And the silliness of the story provides lots of opportunities for Bell to nail line readings of stuff like "Aww, look at you! Black beauty! Is that Hennessey in your hand?" and "YES! That's what I'm here for. Plight me!"
But, in truth, very little that's happening on a story level makes any sense because it requires the writers to make Jason Pitts almost unbelievably, pathetically naive. I can't believe for a second that Jason is this naive and clueless about black women even though the comedy of it is funny in spots. And coupled with his naivete in last week's episode about racism, it is clear that the writers are relying just a bit too much on Bell's charm, which allows them to underwrite the story Bell is asked to play.
There is a very interesting story to be told about a guy like Jason Pitts who has spent his entire adult life ignoring the realities of race, using his wealth and fame as a buffer; a man who married a white woman because of his issues with black women.
That story isn't being told. That story is actually trivialized when the writers only occasionally suggest that there might actually be some hurt that underlies Jason Pitts' persona and instead spend lots of time on the humor of Jason Pitts' random sojourns into stereotypical blackness.
Dig into that hurt and the story could really work.
Some other thoughts:
- The Derwin/Melanie church storyline made no sense to me and was incredibly flat. I don't really know what it connects to other than Derwin's infrequent religious qualities, which have always been the most underdeveloped aspect of the show going all the way back to Season 1. Also – bougie Melanie not wanting to be in the back of the church is just irritating. Poor Tia Mowry Hardrict, she's getting awful material this season. She deserves better.
- I really loved the scene with Tasha Mack and Jason because it gives us an opportunity to enjoy the show's two strongest comic actors hitting every single comedic beat flawlessly.
- Tasha loving Steve Harvey's book, though? Yet another example of neutering Tasha Mack. The CW Tasha Mack would have clowned the presumptuousness of Steve Harvey.
- Love the guys' scene because Pooch Hall and Hosea Chanchez do their best work in scenes where the three men all work together.
- Having your character shouting out your film, Jumping The Broom, is tacky, Salim Akil. Tsk tsk.
- Always nice to see Irma P. Hall, but having her do something would have been better.
What did y'all think about episode 5? What do you think about Jason Pitts' story this season?