Tag Archive: lena waithe


 

dear-white-people-season-2

I don’t think Justin Simien will take any offense to me saying each incarnation of ‘Dear White People’ has been an improvement on the one before it.

The latest season (or volume as it were) builds on Season 1’s re-introduction of the characters and settings of Winchester University, and creatively expands on them in so many ways, the few highlights I’m about to list below only scratch the surface…

  • If you feel the need to play the comparison game, I guess ‘Atlanta’ would be the other choice, but the number of strong individual episodes in this season is absurdly high.  The ‘mushrooms’ episode.  The ‘abortion’ episode.  My actor’s bias has strong feelings for episode 8, which is essentially a one act play for the characters of Sam and Gabe; the amount of personal and political material in that half hour alone is obscene.
  • But my favorite episode of this bunch is the ‘Joelle’ episode.  The character is obviously a fan favorite, and the realization/breakdown of ‘the hotep’ was too hilarious and painfully accurate.
  • A ton of good cameos I won’t completely ruin, but I have to say seeing Lena Waithe and Tessa Thompson play against ‘what I was expecting’ was fantastic.  For the USC crowd my old classmate Daheli got more screen time this season as the Iyanla Vanzant doppleganger and she makes the most of it.

So yes, all the applause.  Carve out 10 more half hours of your time for this.

Streaming on Netflix.

 

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‘Master of None’

masterofnone

Do I carry a certain amount of bias for ‘Master of None’ as a minority actor who favors the ‘silly love stories with a heart’?  Sure, I guess I do.  But I still think ‘Master of None’ is fantastic.

As someone on Twitter brilliantly pitched it, this show is ‘a younger, less surreal version of Louie’.  Aziz Ansari plays a version of himself, an Indian-American actor in New York trying to get ahead while also navigating modern love and figuring out if it’s something he genuinely wants.  Like any good pitch though, that just gets you in the door.

The casting is exceptional.  Along with my brother from an intercontinental mother Aziz, Lena Waithe gets to be the friend who most often makes the best advice for ‘Dev.’  H. Jon Benjamin (who for better for worse will never get away from Archer for me) shows up for a few episodes as a costar on a project Dev lands.  Claire Danes gets to turn up to 15 as one of Dev’s love interests.

And the episode themes! Feminism from a ‘good guy’ point of view. The sacrifices our parents made for us (from a first generation immigrant point of view). Playing the stereotype (to make a living) vs. fighting the good fight (and maybe not getting ahead) as a minority in the Business.  And true to the style of Aziz Ansari, it’s all entertaining and funny.

Netflix does it again.  Carve out those 10 half hours and watch it.