Alfred is the sole familiar face here as we are introduced to the BAN network, their commercials, and the political talk show known as “Montague.”
Episode contains Transphobic and Homophobic Conversations
Main Plot (with Commentary)
Topic 1: And Now A Word From Our Sponsors
A commercial for malt liquor, Dodge Chargers, scam artist, Arizona, a children’s cereal, and more. All featuring Black people and the majority of them not making a lick of sense. However, as the Dodge commercial says “Make a statement without saying anything at all.”
I can only fathom the point of these commercials were mostly to parody, but also to note how ridiculous some of the situations are. Like a man giving up everything in a divorce, but wanting to keep his car. But it is the kids’ cereal one which is not only the best but perhaps the most interesting. Part of the reason is its spin on police brutality, for the cereal’s mascot gets treated like a future hashtag by this white cop, which for some reason is escorting these kids into a pyramid. I mean, in general, the commercials range from funny and head turning to wondering how much weed was smoked when some of these were written and was it laced with something?
Topic 2: Trans-Racial Identity
On the show Montague, of which Alfred is a guest, a young man named Antwoine, has come to terms he is a 35-year-old white man named Harrison. As you can imagine, this is a parody of white people and watching this guy who looks like he can be Paper Boi’s little brother talk about the clothes a 35-year-old white man would wear and more, you are just reminded how ridiculous Rachel Dolezal is, was, and always will be. Especially once we see Antwoine in a blond, Ellen DeGeneres styled, wig.
I don’t understand, I just can’t. Which I type while chuckling to myself for this segment was just purely ridiculous. A part of me wants to say brilliant, but only because I really have nothing to compare it to. Though with the segment before, spoken about in Topic 3, dealing with trans identities, of the sexual or gender-based nature, I must admit I was at first uncomfortable with this joke. Granted, I get what it was aimed at, especially in the sense of Antwoine thinking he was a white man for he felt he wasn’t getting the respect he deserved, but any laughter had felt a tinge wrong in a way. Only because you know there is likely some poor soul who feels this may be a legit thing.
Topic 3: Montague (Alfred)
A talk show hosts decides to blame rap music for the majority of the issues within Black culture. Nothing new right? So between Mr. Montague, Dr. Debra Holt, and Paper Boi, naturally the conversation is going to be interesting. Mostly because of Paper Boi, as usual, being on the defensive and continuing to question who is actually going to take his side? For with his transphobic lyrics being called out, Mr. Montague trying to grill him to the point he makes Dr. Holt, someone who is an advocate for the LGBT, uncomfortable, it is very much like the Bieber episode all over again. No one pursues understanding Paper Boi’s side, they are just ready, willing, and excited to, damn him, his opinions, and what rap means and does for him.
It seems the general purpose of this segment, if not the whole Montague show, is partly to jab at media bias, once again, but also the growing expected tolerance for trans people. The trans-racial segment is a joke, but you can see that with the conversation about transgender people opening up the conversation, it seems the joke is that one thing has led to another. But perhaps the biggest takeaway from this was how much people have to walk on eggshells when mentioning trans people, no matter how they feel about them, yet the same consideration isn’t given to Black people. Caitlyn Jenner will get magazine covers, a TV show, and will be protected even as she says problematic things, but what about Paper Boi? Who is coming to protect him? Who is being tolerant of his right to be himself? Leading to him explaining why he doesn’t care about Jenner and that is because she is a rich white person that does as rich white people do: Whatever the hell they want. So why should he care? How does this really affect him?
An answer he uses, to a certain degree, to counter the accusation of being transphobic and the nausea-inducing idea of “Black people should have solidarity with other groups facing discrimination.” For is Paper Boi trying to get out there and vote against trans rights or is even calling them an abomination? No. He thinks it is weird but, like with Jenner, he is largely indifferent. Tolerant, but indifferent.
The commentary of the episode, especially in regards to the topic of trans protection, I thought was interesting. Combined with the few commercials which were actually comical, and I’d say a decent episode was crafted. Another rather weird and random one but, at this point, one of the best things about this show is how it switches it up episode to episode.
On The Fence
While I get the point of most of the commercials, a good portion of them I just didn’t get. I understand they were parodies, but I was lost, dazed, and confused for so many.