Tuesday, October 17, 2017

One door closes, another opens...

Ramblings Post #341
I had to write something that wasn't political or about death, as it was getting pretty dark on here. There are so many "you've got to be kidding me" moments happening so fast as of late so often that you almost have to just turn off the news and go read a book or listen to soft classical music. And this would be the lick except I'm one of those people who is unable to put the idea it will all still be right there when I get back out of my head. I keep imagining that it's all a terrible dream, only it seems like I've brought you all with me. Sorry about that. 

I liked Survivor's Remorse, the showtime original series about basketball player Cam Calloway,  played by average sized Jessie T. Usher, getting his first really big NBA payday. It was original, it wasn't about drugs or the music industry, the usually stereotypical gritty black characters that would have infested a show like this stayed on the sidelines for the most part, nobody got murdered, it explored a lot of scenarios and situations not normally covered AND it was shot in Atlanta. All good things. It was television of a type, Black TV, which means every episode had a message or theme we were supposed to see and relate to as African Americans, and while the characters were making us laugh we were supposed to learn a lesson. It's a real thing, google it.
And that was all she wrote
Towards the end though, I began to enjoy Cam's sister M-Chuck (short for Mary Charles) and the his cousin Reggie  stories more. Partially because they seemed more fleshed out and covered more ground than did Cam's stories, but most because along the way Cam had become a bit of a too caught up in himself asshole. When we first met the him, he was happily tagging thots and telling folks he was happy his mom's didn't abort him. He and his cousin/manager slipped and slid out shoe deals, new contracts, setting up their own sports agency, ad campaigns and hilariously trying to give away a gun. But by the time we left him Cam had become a self righteous insufferable crusader for his own personal brand of goodness that included children's charities, retired basketball players and corporate divestment. In the last few episodes my favorite parts were the rants of truth given by side characters and not the star of the show.

But all the aside, because that is a writing issue that can be address, that the show was cancelled at the end of the fourth season unceremoniously leaving so many unanswered questions is the real problem. At the end Cam had just asked his girl Allison to marry him and she'd just found out what it meant to be a basketball wife professionally and personally. Reggie had just invested pretty much his whole nut in a opportunity Cam had expressly told him not to. And M-Chuck kept bringing up old skeletons.  So, did they actually get married after she really saw how he lived? Did Reggie's investment shit the bed? Can lesbian M-Chuck have a platonic relationship with a woman? Does his mom marry the billionaire? But, most importantly, how many lawsuits does Mikey C (played by a very funny DJ Khaled) end up causing?

By the way, I'm still mad they killed off Mike Epps' character.

But, where a door closes, another opens. Out goes Survivor's Remorse and in walks White Famous. Where in this case the lead character starts out a broke self righteous insufferable asshole who keeps trying kick himself down a well. Let's hope he gets better.
We shall see, see indeed.
The show, checking off the stereotypical boxes, is about a standup comedian in Hollywood with a beautiful ex-girlfriend who is the mother of his child trying to make it. He also has a overweight friend he claims is hilarious  but we haven's seen it yet, an smarmy agent he can't seem to fire, and the chance of a lifetime due to chance encounter with a slightly inebriated asshole Hollywood producer. No, not him, another one.

It's a new show so I'm still saying it has potential, but the early writing feels like whoever wrote put together doesn't think about how real people act. The lead, played by SNL alum Jay Pharoah, plays comedian Floyd Mooney not like a person who has a kid he needs to look out for or even possesses a burning hunger for success. He plays him more like a someone willing to starve to prove a point of blackness, which is not how you make it in Hollywood. He's a character with no give in a town that's all compromise. That's bad writing or directing I can't tell which. but what I do know is bad writing is the baby mother, a Cleopatra Coleman who needs no embellishment, who at the end of the first episode tells Floyd to take the opportunity then at the start of the second episode berating him for not seeing his son because he's busy with that same opportunity. That needs to be cleaned up, little things like that. If it can. Like I said, it has potential, it's not there yet. AND the lead character needs to stop acting like getting a shot is like applying at McDonalds or that he's going to make it strictly on his own terms. Talk about unrealistic television. 

I did however like the Black TV point it makes however in how popular media seems to want emasculate Black men by putting them in dresses. (See Martin, Tyler Perry, etc) Jamie Foxx playing himself was funny in what could have been a throwaway scene, Floyd refusing to dance to that tune was a twist for the good for the most part. But for this good we got the ending, which was a bit contrived.

Episode two was also uneven, but as I said, hopefully it gets better. We shall see. This reminds me why I don't watch as much television as I used to.


Barkeep, let me get a summer ale. What do you mean summer's over. Well damn, there goes my heating bill. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Las Vegas - Damn.

I've always meant to go to Las Vegas. I apparently don't travel much, even though as a child I used to dream of it nightly, planning trips to places around the globe, poring over resort layouts, scouring maps for points of interest. As an adult I've never even been to Las Vegas. It's not like they don't have flights, but there was always something else. And now I guess there is a Las Vegas Before...and a Las Vegas After.

What happened was...shocking. I didn't watch TV Sunday night confined myself to a fresh startup of an video strategy game I like - the Cowboys had lost, I was not in the mood for anything - and so I wasn't until Monday morning on the way to work listening to NPR that I heard. And I cursed out loud in shock. Not a quiet sentiment, but actual shock. It's surreal really. 

So when exactly is a good time to talk about gun control?

Normally, on like an average day, there is no urgency. You raise the question and your patriotism is questioned and you find out the Second Amendment is second to nothing and not just because THEY keep trying to punch holes in the first amendment. We're not talking about taking all guns away, just the really dangerous ones, and maybe checking to see whose buying them, but no. The NRA takes it's bag of money out of the trunk, the Congresspeople line up and later we all argue about the same things we've been yelling about for the past 50 years and nothing changes.

So apparently that's not the moment. 

On a day like today, which occurs far too often, where a tragic incident involving firearms designed for warfare is used for NOT warfare, we get admonished for attempting to politicize the event for our own ends. We must tend to the wounded, counsel the grief stricken, figure out what happened. After that we'll lionize the brave, donate blood or time, dramatize the events in the re-telling and then sell the movie rights - we can get Mark Wahlberg. And pray. And send our thoughts.

So apparently it's not now either.

As I understand it, one of the central arguments in favor of the Second Amendment is that limiting it deprives one of the right to defend themselves in case of being attacked. I hear this, but I always wonder do those who espouse this believe that shootouts are like the movies? Like video games? That they'll be able to unlimber their firearms, coolly assess the situation, and then spring into action John Wick style using only head shots? People who describe getting shot at use words like terror, shock and anger. And I'm talking about soldiers who are trained for it, not work day Joes. One of the people on the scene, formerly a major gun rights supporter, realized that night why that argument doesn't work. But had to happen to him. Why can't we learn from his insight. Sigh.

Las Vegas was horrific.

How many dead do we need before we act? We have as many dead from gun violence in the past six months as we've had from all the terrorist attacks ever in this country. I realize an incident like this is probably not the best way to evaluate how guns affect our lives, but when is? We've already figured out it's not when it's not happening. When do we get to defend America from itself?