Harlem on Amazon Prime Video, where four friends find love and life in their 30s
If it’s like the title we used to describe Harlem sounds familiar, that’s because we’ve used similar titles for shows about four friends who are tight and contented with each other about their sex lives and other topics. . But only because Harlem Just because it’s similar to other shows we’ve watched over the past few decades doesn’t mean it can’t stand on its own.
HARLEM: LEARN IT OR FORGET IT?
Opening scene: A castle in the Himalayas. A voice said, “In the Himalayas, there is a tribe of people called the Mosuo, who live in a place called the Kingdom of Women.”
Gist: The voiceover is Camille (Meagan Good), an adjunct professor at Columbia, giving a presentation about a tribe where women call relationships within relationships, shifting from man to man. when they feel bored. She gives her class a mission to live like Mosuo for a few days and write about the experience. In other words, men let women take the lead in their lives and women take the reins in their relationships. One of her students, Malik (Ashlee Brian) wants her to take over, but she makes it clear to him that she can’t date students.
Her boss, Robin Goodman (Andrea Martin), has been lobbying for her to get a full-time position. When she meets up with friends from college – Quinn (Grace Byers), Angie (Shoniqua Shandai) and Tye (Jerrie Johnson) – they are just drawn to the schoolboy who is hitting her. It’s been four years since she broke up with Ian (Tyler Lepley) when he went to cooking school, and she’s been thinking about him a lot lately. As it stands, she hasn’t dated since.
Of course, the other three were dealing with their own affairs. Forever single Quinn, who has a large apartment and a struggling clothing design company, who donates revenue to programs for the homeless, was excited to find a date Tinder with an attorney… on Long Island. Angie is clashing with Quinn; she has no problem with getting cock, but her problem is that she doesn’t have a job trying to find a better singing gig than the Sheraton lounge. Quinn loses patience with her friend, who ends up calling her “bougie” before Quinn goes on a Long Island date.
Tye, on the other hand, is very successful at work, turning down a low-level offer for her weird dating app from an old white guy who in a vest screams 1987. But she does. Get tired of dating young Instagram influencers who are all flashy and not. matter. She meets an investment banker named Shayla (Claudia Logan), another “mascot,” and she quickly discovers how it is when she’s not the one in charge.
Camille is knocked down when she meets Ian in her neighborhood. Now that he’s back, she needs to hide him so she doesn’t have “that conversation” with him, because she doesn’t know where it’s going. She decided to call Malik over to call for the spoils, but his first move didn’t go her way. Meanwhile, Quinn is stranded on Long Island when her date is due and her wallet is stolen. Who was the first person she called to take her home? Angie, of course.
What shows will it remind you of? Sex and the city, Girlfriend, Not safe, Twenty, Run The World and perhaps a half dozen other shows about women’s strong friendships and their struggle for power in their relationships.
Our Take: Harlem, created by Tracy Oliver (Girl’s trip) with Amy Poehler and Pharrell Williams among the executive producers, not particularly entering the new platform. Four friends, all successful, in their late 20s to mid-30s, are all trying to figure out how to stay single in a big city where it seems so hard to find a good day, done. appear many times (see above).
So where? Harlem Success or failure depends on the screenwriter and the cast. And it certainly succeeds on both counts. The four main characters are all veteran actors, and they fit each character’s skin perfectly. Byers and Good are particularly compelling as Grace and Camille; both are confident but also show their insecurities up their sleeves, especially when looking for that special relationship.
While we liked Shandai and Johnson’s performance as Angie and Tye, both characters were drawn more shallowly, at least at first. Both are more interested in sex than relationships, as long as one is straight and the other gay. All is well and good, but we’re more concerned with Angie pushing her singing career in the right direction and Tye being confident she can grow her own business.
But the writing is actually very funny, even if we get some clichés like Camille pining after a story has disappeared. At some point, you have to drop the notion that you’ve seen all of this before and just enjoy the characters and situations.
Gender and Skin: The series isn’t shy about showing off both nudity and light sex; for example, we don’t have an implied view of Tye’s head between Shayla’s legs, we actually see it.
Farewell shot: Camille saw Ian in the evening turning on Angie’s mic, approaching him as he turned his back and reached out to pat him on the shoulder.
Sleeper Star: This is a good point to mention the great guest stars the show will feature, like Jasmine Guy playing Quinn’s tough mother and Whoopi Goldberg as Camille’s department head at Columbia.
Most Pilot-y routes: Angie talking about butthole as “adjacent dick” is a bit much.
Our call: INSTRUCTIONS IT. Harlem It might feel like a show you’ve seen before, but the four stars are more than charming enough, and the writing is slick enough to make the show stand out.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting, and technology, but he’s not kidding: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and others.
https://decider.com/2021/12/03/harlem-prime-video-review/ Stream or skip?