Editor’s Note: This is the second of a planned three reviews of Comedy Central’s Legends of Chamberlain Heights. These are not an episode by episode review but more of a capsule of Season 2. Part 1 can be found here.
July 23rd marked the sixth episode of Season Two of “Legends of Chamberlain Heights” and just maybe it’s making the turn back towards what I admired about the first two episodes of the season — social commentary.
After the fifth episode, ‘Hurricane Jermaine,’ it was getting iffy. Although I did admire the creators’ nod to Myrtle Beach, the family friendly summer destination in South Carolina that is famous, or infamous, for its annual Black Bike Week.
For those who care, this writer is slightly more than an hour away from Myrtle and it is like a home away from home so I enjoyed the fictionalization of a place that is so familiar. Even the hurricane (which should have been named Hurricane Chris) was a nice touch because folks in this part of the country know our relationship with tropical cyclones. (Some of us are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew’s devastation nine months later.) But as a whole, the episode was a dud.
Women’s empowerment was the theme in ‘Just Say No to Cracky,’ Episode No. 4. The creative team continued showing their love for Samuel L. Jackson by including his most famous character — Gator from Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever.” (Coach Bundy is of course a parody of Jackson’s portrayal of Coach Carter.)
‘Just Say No to Cracky’ didn’t resonate with me. The creative team missed a prime opportunity to deal with domestic violence. Milk’s new big booty boo Griselda, voiced by Erykah Badu, abused him throughout the episode, having Milk at one point saying after arriving late to a game black eyed, “I deserved it. I shouldn’t have asked Siri for directions in front of her. I should’ve stayed lost.”
The episode ended with no real resolution to the domestic abuse except the girls as a whole deciding that enough was enough in trying to please men. “Do you girls want to be remembered as a THOT or a woman with THOUGHT?”
‘Confederate Flags of our Father’ explored America’s relationship with its past, cleverly doing so through the prism of re-enactments. What seemed to be a harmless Civil War re-enactment (even down to runaway slaves in Grover and Jamal) became a looking glass into how America, the Confederacy in particular, feel about itself. Even though the South lost, the re-enactments, and the Confederate Flag, are still PROUD symbols of what was wrong with America. But when another group exercised their freedom of speech to re-enact 9/11, the Civil War re-enactors were furious, resulting in a fight.
That thread of the episode was so great in of itself that the side story of the exploration of police gunning down innocent black men was more of an add on to give Grover’s brother Montrel some shine.
Is ‘Confederate Flags of our Father’ the turning point episode that re-directs the season back to its brilliance as a social conscious season or just a detour to more comedic shenanigans? (What was Milk’s rape scene about anyway?)
“Legends of Chamberlain Heights” airs Sundays at 11:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.