Friday, August 30, 2019

REVIEW: 'A Black Lady Sketch Show' - Chris and Lachel Cause Stress for a Flight Attendant in 'Why Are Her Pies Wet, Lord?'

HBO's A Black Lady Sketch Show - Episode 1.05 "Why Are Her Pies Wet, Lord?"

Four friends on a camping trip disprove a stereotype. A pastor tries to take back control of his church potluck. A flight attendant struggles to get compliance from newlyweds Chris and Lachel. Elementary school students notice a change in their teacher Ms. Miller. Jackie receives a less-than-warm welcome when she returns to her hometown high school. Robin, Quinta, Ashley and Gabrielle discuss their weird turn-ons and stage an intervention.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's A Black Lady Sketch Show.

"Why Are Her Pies Wet, Lord?" was written by Lauren Ashley Smith, Robin Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, Akilah Green, Brittani Nichols, Amber Ruffin, Rae Sanni & Holly Walker and directed by Dime Davis

This show is so revolutionary in so many ways because it depicts black women experiencing a full array of emotions. They can't be defined as one thing. They shouldn't be seen as monolithic in the slightest. That also happens to be the extent of the premise for the first sketch here. It's all about the joy that black women can experience. Anger shouldn't be the first emotion people think black women will exhibit in any given situation. It doesn't matter that things continue to go wrong on this camping trip for the four women. They are still allowed to have a good time where they are able to relax and laugh at each other's expense. There is no reason to be concerned about any of them either. Sure, one of them eventually rolls down the hill. That is scary. But there is also the calming voice saying that everything will be okay in the end. That too is clarifying because it showcases how joy can define these women just as strongly as any other emotion. That is a very profound statement. Meanwhile, other sketches are all about the hilarity of their premises. Newlyweds Chris and Lachel return here. Now, the hook of their characters could grow tiring after awhile. The show hasn't crossed that point yet though. The same goes for the church setup. Both of those sketches are repeats of a formula that already worked earlier this season. Chris and Lachel struggle to verbalize their commitments. Meanwhile, a congregation is eager to get their hands on the church mic to promote their own lives and projects. Both are delightful ideas that still have some fun things to say about these characters and the worlds they exist in. Chris and Lachel are frustrating to the people around them. Sure, they are celebrated with the news that they have just gotten married. But it's also hard to blame the flight attendant for latching onto an innocuous yes from Lachel and pulling another passenger to the exit row just so the flight can then take off. She doesn't want to deal with this any longer even though Chris is still essentially yelling from the back of the plane. Nor can anyone really be upset with the pastor for wanting the blessing of the food at the potluck to be done already. He wants to enjoy the meal that his parish has put together. He doesn't want to deal with the demands of his parishioners simply because it's not worth the effort and attention. He knows that some of them aren't going to make it as singers or stand-up comics. Nor does he care to know about the intimate lives of a married couple. But he also loses his temper when a rival preacher tries to poach from his flock. That is ultimately the moment that goes too far. He takes it all back but it means this entire potluck is ruined. That's a very effective closing beat. One that signals how he may potentially be the problem simply because he doesn't know how to be in on the joke in a way that actually works out for anyone. But that's always a reliable setup for a sketch idea. Elsewhere, the show extends its examination of emotions felt by black women to include immense sadness in the sketch with Ms. Miller. In that one, she is very desperate to hold onto the signature handshakes she has with all of her students. And yet, they call her out for not fulfilling her duties as a teacher because she is too consumed with sadness over her divorce. She isn't listening to the advice that she tells each and every one of them. When she is reminded of that, then the handshake has a new meaning altogether. It allows her to feel uplifted and empowered once more. And finally, the show produces a searing take on social media influencers and how large communities of people don't wish to put up with them in the real world. It's all just a stunt for Jackie. She sees herself as famous because she has followers online. But she doesn't have true connections in her hometown. No one there wants to remember her. They want her to leave and never come back. Now, that may be incredibly harsh. But the show also offers reassurance because it notes that social media influencers often hold harmful and dangerous views that can be quite destructive to society. No one should be lifting Denise up because she is an anti-vaxxer. That should be the sole thing that rids her of her popularity. It isn't but it is enough for her whole hometown to turn against her in a way that manages to be quite effective despite how upset she gets by not being noticed and appreciated simply for existing and broadcasting.