Chewing Gum – Season 1

All episodes directed by: Tom Marshall
All episodes written by: Michaela Coel

I was at the gym yesterday and now that the election is over all my podcasts that I listen to are not coming out with as many episodes as I am used to, which left me for the first time in the position of having nothing to listen to while on the treadmill. I prefer not to listen to music at the gym because working out is not my favorite thing in the world and I would rather be captivated by something to distract me from the horrors of sweating while walking on an endless hamster wheel of fitness. Music just doesn’t hit the spot in the same way that my hatred for Donald Trump motivates me to keep on keeping on.

Anywho… I opened the Netflix app on my phone and found a recommendation for a British comedy whose first season (all that is available right now) is only six episodes long. The show is called Chewing Gum and it’s amazing! Like, holy cow so funny, how do more people not know about it?

Tracey is a 24 year old virgin. The series opens on her speaking directly to camera about her beliefs, her religion, and her purity – and how all these things are very important to her – all the while praying next to her boyfriend, thanking God for the purity and chastity they share and their choice to save themselves for marriage. The problem? She keeps glancing at his crotch and her boyfriend, Ronald, is… er… not so straight acting? Tracey clearly is beginning to wonder about sex, sexuality, adulthood, and is questioning her beliefs and the rigid upbringing imposed upon her by her immigrant ultra-religious mother.

Tracey first tries to seduce her boyfriend Ronald, even going so far as getting a Beyoncé-inspired makeover that doesn’t quite work for her. When all fails, a new guy enters her life. Connor is a white boy wannabe rapper. He is the straight man to all the craziness that happens on screen. Whether it’s someone getting hit by a car while asking God to strike them down, a dildo party where the goods are second hand and of questionable origin, a bizarre threesome attempt, or the most bizarre chatroulette conversation ever filmed.

The show, even though single-camera and without a live audience or laugh-track, owes a lot to Miranda Hart’s eponymous television show from a few years ago. A slightly odd protagonist with a penchant for physical comedy, embarrassment, and lots of heart and earnestness in their simplicity and good-hearted nature. Tracey is a little different, very naive, and not entirely comfortable yet with herself, but she is getting there. We are along for the ride because we end up liking her almost immediately, laugh with and sometimes at her (the laughs are constant and unrelenting), and slightly horrified but with a macabre desire to see how raunchy and grotesque things can get from here.

Cannot wait for season 2!

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