Sunday, September 10, 2017

REVIEW: 'One Mississippi' - Tig, Bill and Remy Confront Their Own Ignorances in 'Who Do You Think You Are?'

Amazon's One Mississippi - Episode 2.04 "Who Do You Think You Are?"

Kate pulls back but might be jealous of Tig's chemistry with a sexy musician. Bill and Remy separately attempt to rise to challenges presented by dating Felicia and Desiree.

What are the audience expectations suppose to be for this season of One Mississippi? That's the question I found myself continually asking following "Who Do You Think You Are?" In the first season, it was easy to want Tig to find peace and acceptance regarding her mother's death and realizing she feels more love in Mississippi than Hollywood. This season there is the desire for everyone in the family to find love and be happy in their personal lives. But if the audience is annoyed by one of the new love interests, does that inherently make them a bad character or someone that the person doesn't deserve? Or does it just highlight that main character's own shortcomings? It's fascinating to think about. Is it better for Tig, Remy and Bill if they are with people who challenge them emotionally and are asking them to grow and become better people? Or can it be just as satisfying to watch to see them have everything they have always wanted no matter what the circumstances are? Remy wanted a family. He now has that. Tig wanted a place to do her show with creative control and for things to become romantic with Kate. She got that. Bill has find a kindred spirit who sees the world the same way he does. He has a companion that can force him to have a new perspective on things he previously thought he knew about. This has been a season of growth and relationships. Everyone is striving for their own personal happiness. But should the audience be content with where all of them are in their lives? Or should we still be wishing and hoping for them to be even better as people?

Desiree isn't someone who questions or challenges Remy's ignorance. This season started with him being called out by Vicky for refusing to stand against things that are morally wrong and unjust in society. He saw nothing wrong because he saw the world as he has always seen it. He tried to change in a physical way. He was on a diet in order to improve himself in the one way he thought he could. But then, he met Desiree who sees him as perfect. It's sweet. He has found someone who isn't asking him to change at all. But is that healthy? Is Remy already the best possible version of himself? Or is he still a problematic person in society and within this family because of his refusal to accept his own ignorance? He's happy. Desiree makes him happy. He is willing to start this whole new life with her. He isn't afraid to be a family with her. He's still unsure of what to do with a baby. But he's learning. He's learning how to be a good and present father. That's the influence that he wants to make. He is smiling in the end when he's holding the baby in his arms. That's a good sight that can't be bad. But it's slightly complicated because it seems to be the show saying that he's already good enough to have everything he always wanted. That happened without him having to do a whole lot to address his own issues. Of course, that's a strong commentary on how the world can often be easy for people who look like Remy and who encourage him to stay exactly the same. So, this may actually be something perfectly fine for Remy.

And yet, Desiree is making her presence known and is disruptive to the rest of the family. Her idea of being courteous and appreciative is making a big, Southern breakfast for everyone in the house. She does it thinking that it's the norm and everyone who doesn't do that is broken or wrong in some way. But she's a very big and blunt personality. She is used to things a certain ways and doesn't see how her actions could be perceived as wrong. Instead, it's the other person's fault for having a problem with it. She's making something of her life by selling her breast milk. But she's invading Bill's refrigerator space. No one asked him if it was okay. Remy should know better. He saw just how specific Bill was about his space in just the previous episode. He has to be aware of the situation in order to adjust to it. He can't comprehend it when someone is disruptive to his system. Again, Desiree doesn't think it's a big deal when she is constantly adjusting the heat up. She does it because of her own ignorance that has been casually accepted. She believes that women naturally run colder than men. It's the only explanation she gives thinking it will be enough. But it's a disruption to this environment. It's causing Bill to spin out. She wants to label that as weird and crazy. She doesn't make the effort to get to know him. She only knows Bill and Tig through Remy's perception of them. And that changes on a momentary basis based on his feelings for Desiree. So, this relationship doesn't seem healthy for the household at all. That could suggest Remy moving out soon. But would that be any better or more stable for him? It's unclear.

It's then fascinating to see Bill confronted with his own ignorance and doing something to change that. He regards himself as a very precise and well-informed man. He appreciates that Felicia is the same way. This entire season has built the two of them as kindred spirits. Felicia is a female version of Bill. But it's important to highlight their differences as well. It can't just be that Bill is widowed and Felicia is divorced. Felicia is a black woman. That inherently changes her perspective of the world. They can both agree on the importance of insurance and frozen food in modern society. They work very well from a business-minded perspective. But when Bill makes a comment saying it was good that a woman in the past paid her slaves well and thus it's fine to memorialize her now, he needed to be told differently. He was faced with a new perspective on the issue. He didn't have the typical white male responses either of trying to tell someone who obviously knows better than him that she is wrong. Instead, he listens to what she has to say and changes his perspective accordingly. Sure, he probably overcompensates by reading a number of books in order to get caught up on the subject. He's talking to Tig as if he's the first person to notice how modern-day mass incarceration is the new form of racism in this country. He's not and it's a significant problem in this country that he is now completely aware of. That makes things the most optimistic version of having a political disagreement. Bill is challenged by someone with a different perspective and changes once he investigates further. It's refreshing to see. And again, it makes it seem like things will continue to be good for Bill and Felicia moving forward.

And finally, things are still so uncertain between Tig and Kate regarding whether they will actually become more than really good friends. The previous episode was a pivotal one for their dynamic. Kate kissed Tig but then made the decision to just be friends. She didn't want the kiss to ruin the relationship they already had together. She wanted to be clear that she still sees herself as straight. But now, it's not clear if Kate actually believes that. She's afraid to act on these feelings while it being abundantly clear that they do exist. Both Tig and Kate are given new love interests. One of their new bosses seems very open to everything Kate is suggesting for the show. He seems really into her. But she isn't because he's a man. That's a curious thing to say. It makes it seem like Kate is continuing to doubt herself despite what she just told Tig. It's a fascinating exploration of one's sexuality. This is seemingly what Kate wants. She wants to be with a good guy. She wants to break her cycle of dating narcissists. And yet, she just isn't interested. Instead, she would rather pine after Tig as she seems more intrigued by musician Cassandra Night. Tig always marvels at the fact that she has celebrity fans. She's been a fan of Cassandra's for a long time and is open to dating her. That connection is real and intimate. But Tig doesn't completely forget about Kate. She sees that this is affecting her. No one is willing to really talk about it though. And more importantly, Cassandra doesn't seem to be someone Tig wants to date because she is a little elitist too. She views herself and her friends as above the local crowd when it comes to romantic options. Tig doesn't feel the same way. She wants to just connect with people as they genuinely are. That's nice to see. But it still leaves things in a curious space with Tig and Kate.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Who Do You Think You Are?" was written by Zoe Jarman and directed by Wendey Stanzler.
  • The new studio for Tig and Kate is a vast improvement over the old one. It's a modern facility with equipment that is working properly. Of course, they were able to record the show in the previous location with no problem. The building around them was falling apart. And now, things are better but they have annoying neighbors who have their own show.
  • Tig and Kate are constantly running into the dude-bro hosts of another show on their network. Their office is right next door and their humor is just horrendous. Tig disagrees with everything about them. And yet, Desiree is obsessed with them. She laughs at everything during their show. Remy doesn't but loves how much she enjoys it.
  • Of course, things are more complicated with the other radio hosts than Tig initially sees them. Their female producer, Bec, also happens to be gay. Tig runs into her during this elaborate and exclusive party that is constantly changing locations. It's there when she actually sees her for the first time as something more than the show she works for.
  • Tig is right to have some concerns about what Remy is doing. The last time they spoke about Desiree he was voicing some doubts about being with a woman with that kind of big personality. And now, he's starting a family with her. It's all happening very quickly and she is concerned about her brother. But she still ultimately gets an autograph for Desiree because it's the right thing to do.
  • The show might be hitting it a little too on-the-nose with the reveal that Kate is now watching The L Word. That basically confirms her own questions and uncertainty about her sexuality. But that was already apparent in the story. This is just a broad way of making it absolutely clear to the audience.

As noted in previous reviews from this show, every episodic review was written without having seen any succeeding episodes. Similarly, it would be much appreciated if in the comments, the conversation would only revolve around the show up to this point in its run.