Posted on April 17 2017
Michaela Coel is BAE
I finished the second season of Chewing Gum in a night. I was sad that it ended honestly. And now I need another hit! Season 3 can’t come fast enough because there are so many questions left unanswered. Don’t worry- I won’t spoil it for you. Just know that characters grow and things are changing. The dynamic of the characters maybe my favorite element of this show. People get to be their full problematic selves. There are jokes about racism, colorism, bestiality and even incest. Very few things are off limits. And all these jokes are written by a girl, a black British Ghanaian one at that. Chewing Gum is like a balm in a world where very few shows are getting multicultural interactions very right. The British just do TV better anyway. It’s also featuring meta levels of humor. The song that closes the 3rd episode of season 2, “Chill Out” by Ray BLK samples Ashlee Simpsons “Pieces of Me”. Her infamous one hit wonder that she got caught lip syncing on SNL thus killing her career. It was as cringe worthy as the really nausea inducing bits on Coel’s show. But it’s a good nausea, the kind that relieving cause you know you’ll throw up and be less drunk soon. The intricacy and commitment Micheala Coel gives to her character Tracey’s quirks is hilarious. The timing, the references, its pulls from all the best parts of different cultures and makes something that actually works in a world where EVERYTHING is problematic. This season is full of jokes and bits that make you cringe and question yourself, but when Coel does it, for some reason it works.
This season Tracey becomes a hero in her own right, and it seems like Micheala Coel is on her way to becoming a cultural icon as well. A recent article written about her for Rolling Stone refrences her acceptance speech for her BAFTA win “If there’s anybody out there that looks like me or feels a little bit out of place, you are beautiful. Embrace it. You are intelligent. Embrace it. You are powerful. Embrace it.” Dare I say that a show as crude and sometimes down right nasty as Chewing Gum makes me feel…beautiful? Maybe it’s the fact that this season Tracey actually gets chosen! Albeit by strange men at times, but it satiates my inner teenage/early 20’s virgin self who never saw dark women like myself be the funny romantic interest. And more than anything, that’s why Michela Coel is Bae. And she knows it. In her recent interview with VIBE, she had this to say on the matter, “I’m black, I’m dark and I’m f**king beautiful. My skin is gorgeous, I love myself, people with good eyesight love me too, and the rest of the world can f**k themselves.” Season 2 of Chewing Gum is now on Netflix.
Graphic By Sophia Gach-Rasool