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Merecedes on… TV Shows

While the “Netflix and Chillers” ran to the couch for the second part of “The Get Down,” I chose to kick my weekend off binge watching the second season of Michaela Coel’s “Chewing Gum,” which was just released this month.

It is the best TV show not on regular TV.

The original Netflix series can easily be compared to HBO and Issa Rae’s “Insecure.” “Chewing Gum” is basically the U.K. version of “Insecure,” but not quite. Both shows hold the same quality of comedy, cleverness and Black Girl Magic. However, I’m slightly more intrigued by the awkwardness of lead character Tracey Gordon, played by Coel.

Coel, who serves as writer and creator for the show, is brilliant. She’s a strange sensation in her quest to find herself as Tracey. Her idea of comedy is advanced and much appreciated.

Coel, 29, wrote all six episodes of this season and it’s evident. In each episode, there’s a huge catastrophic problem that she manages to make entertaining. She transforms into Tracey, who is awkward, quirky, and naive. From being homeless to exploring sexuality, Coel tackles the issues of all young women and makes humor the scapegoat.

The cast includes more unfamiliar thespians like Robert Lonsdale, Susie Wokoma, Danielle Isaie, and Shola Adewusi. But, each actor is hilarious in their own way.

The math is simple. For second season attempts, “Chewing Gum” is greater than “The Get Down.”

“The Get Down” broke the Internet when Netflix released part one in August 2016. But, months later, part two was released, and I was not impressed. Questions were answered and closure was imminent, but the series, which has a Hip-Hop base, failed to keep the thrill alive.

As the number of songs lessened, consequently, so did the value of the storyline. It was no longer about The Get Down Brothers and the origin of Hip-Hop, rather it was a compilation of politics and drugs.

“The Get Down” got super weird and lost focus of the initial attraction, Hip Hop. The worst part of it all was the cartoons. I’ve never been a fan of any TV show or movie that switched from real life to cartoons. “Space Jam” (1996) and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988), although classics in some respects, are clear examples of the distorted transition in technology with live action and animation.

The recent explosion of Black culture in TV has been phenomenal. Five years ago, I struggled to find something to watch consistently. Times have changed. There’s “Chewing Gum,” “Insecure,” “Black-ish,” “Underground,” “The Carmichael Show,” and Power.” I’m here for all of it! But for starters, check out “Chewing Gum.” It’s a must-watch.

(Follow Pittsburgh’s own Merecedes J. Howze on Facebook… Merecedes J. Howze – and on Instagram, @moviescenequeen)

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