Film & TVReviews

BET’s “Boomerang”: Young, Black, And Successful

Executive produced by Lena Waithe and Halle Berry, the new BET series Boomerang, inspired by Eddie Murphy’s 1992 rom com classic, puts a modern spin on navigating professional pursuits and romantic interests.  The series centers on Simone (Tetona Jackson), daughter of Marcus Graham, Eddie’s original character. The pilot starts with a frustrated Simone leaving her father’s company and striking out on her own while still maintaining the friendships she has made with her co-workers, namely Crystal (Brittany Inge), and her not-so-secret admirer Bryson (Tequan Richmond).  We watch as Simone attempts to stand on her own feet, borrowing resources from her father’s firm to manage her friend, Tia’s (Lala Milan) budding career in entertainment. Using Bryson’s affection for her, Simone stops at nothing to prove to herself and her father that she doesn’t need the Graham name to make it.

Besides taking place in our current time, one of the most apparent differences between the film and the series is the age of the characters.  In Murphy’s Boomerang, the characters are in their early 30s.  In Waithe and Berry’s tv series, the characters are much younger.  I am personally curious as to why they decided to make this change; my initial thought is that they are trying to capture a specific audience.  However, I realize that for me as a viewer, their age bothered me. My discomfort could very well be attributed to the fact that I am in my early 30s and as such I wanted to watch people my age and understand how they balance their work and personal lives.  However, if I am being completely honest, it could also be due to the fact that as a seemingly perpetual student, living on a student budget, it is hard for me to watch people significantly younger than me have such successful careers. On the other hand I wondered if this is actually my insecurity or do their levels of success (I mean look at Bryson’s impeccably decorated apartment) feel inauthentic?  I have decided that it is probably a both/and scenario instead of either/or.

As a person who has been in school for many years, I have been surrounded by and befriended people who have been living the student life with hopes that financial success awaits on the other side of the advanced degree, if only we can keep pressing.  Thus I have limited knowledge about the potential for people who have opted to start working in more lucrative fields; so it could very well be possible that there are young twenty-somethings out here living lives like the ones portrayed in Boomerang.  Then again, television has a way of normalizing the fantasy as my good friend would say.  Whatever the case may be, though I am personally having a hard time connecting to the characters, I am excited to see the narrative progress and I am even more happy that the show’s creators have gotten the opportunity to manifest a dream.

MJ VanDevere

MJ VanDevere is a doctoral candidate at a predominately white elite institution in the South who uses humor to combat racism, sexism, and all the other –isms that seek to diminish her greatness. She is a self-proclaimed “stand-up snob” who does not have a favorite comedian, so please don't ask unless you have several hours to spare. Some of her favorite movies include, Life, Dead Presidents, and Happy Feet. If, she could only do one thing for the rest of her life, it would definitely be laugh, and maybe write. Adulting is her greatest work in progress.

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