Random Acts Of Flyness Is A Gem That Mirrors Grim Issues In the Black Community.
As we continue to see more black people dominate the television industry with shows like Atlanta and Insecure , it’s pretty fair to say that these kind of shows help create a conversation within our community whether on Twitter or by a water cooler. However, never in this world would I have expected how deep and dark this generation of television could go.
About six weeks ago from the day that I write this piece (September 14th), I managed to stumble upon a gem that not only managed to keep me watching but also made my stomach churn due to its shear complexity and relativity to my community (i.e. black). Through its desolate nature was a show that manages to identify several obstacles and internal issues we sometimes don’t talk about, but still kept me chuckling through its shear oddness. When the episode ended, I was still trying to decode what the fuck I just watched. Sure, I was entertained by the comedic undertone and idea of a oil to eliminate the nightmare“badussy,” but still…what the fuck did I just watch? This show was Random Acts of Flyness, a new series on HBO directed by Terence Nance. Though the season finale was just last week, I went back to really dig deep into its content and realized this often surreal TV shows goes off the rails into common territory a lot in a way that many other shows of this caliber can’t.
Each episode tackles problems that’s completely relatable to someone like myself or any one of us, from police brutality to sexual harassment. For me it was the fourth episode “Items Outside the Shelter But Within Reach.” There’s been way too many stories and personal situations that I’ve heard about or been through similar to these scenes, and it made me want to throw hands like the grandmother in the episode. They recreated moments that was severally similar those in my life, so much so that some parts of the episode gave me goosebumps.
Instead of being a preachy narrative that could be more easily approached by everyone, Random Acts literally throws your ass into its abyss of chaos. There’s very few shows that could start on a recorded clip of police brutality, and if this beginning makes you uncomfortable, give up, because things only get weirder from this point. “Ripa the Reaper” has an insanely creepy TV show that she deeply hates to be on, you witness a nightmare in the mind of a young Martin Luther King, and don’t get me started about that “Kardashionnaise” commercial. The sketches are all provided with short cuts of social clips and “Blackface” breaks, but are all connected and there for a reason. It’s dark tone seems to play kin a lot to Flying Lotus’ 2017 horror film “Kuso,” but instead of seeing horrifying stories of life after an apocalyptic earthquake and alien invasion in LA, these stories are happening now. It’s our story, only grimly recreated by Nance and his outstanding actors and production crew.
And yet, even with its overall dark tone of its nature, there’s still beauty in Random Acts. The intense topics may be dismal for some, but there’s still comedy in the show. There was nothing more fucked up and hilarious than seeing the white kid showing up on “Everybody Dies” or seeing Jesse Williams reject a janky film director who made a “white angel” Blockbuster film. There’s also plethora of manifold characters that will keep you laughing and terrified throughout this journey, with both acclaimed and young actors shining in their roles and actual interviews from everyday people of color. You may have an appearance by Whoopi Golberg, but rapper JunglePussy has a rather haunting addition to her acting resume as a demon. Grits & Biscuits co-founder Alzo Slade is also out here trying to finesse an Emmy by being broccoli. The actors only reinforce the idea of the show’s characters being a part of a circle that mirrors our reality. None of these people were made to standout in Random Acts, they’re just all parts of a system that’s present to provide the message.
With season ending last week, I was able to really sit back and recollect what the fuck I’ve just watched for the past six weeks. This is still just a TV show that I watch occasionally for entertainment, but it’s a gem that many of us need to see in this political climate. This show could get anyone’s attention with its multiple perspectives and diverse characters, even white people (if they get far, don’t really care though). But, Random Acts of Flyness is for us, by us, and rarely shies away from that perspective. Unlike most shows, it unravels dark issues in our community that magnifies people or topics we sometimes ignore. However, Random Act’s hypnotizing cinematography and overall messages show that even in the bleakest of times as a black person, there’s always space for development, rest, and beauty in ways we can see and others can’t.