Everyone’s favorite odd Black girl Tracy is back in Chewing Gum and in this season, prepare for more of the weirdest sex situations you have perhaps ever seen and some attempt to mature and grow.
Tracy (Michaela Coel) is still very much in pursuit of losing her virginity, but with her and Connor (Robert Lonsdale) breaking up [note]in episode 1[/note], her meeting this weird dude with a Black girl kink [note]in episode 2[/note], and being too uncomfortable to just have sex with anyone, [note]as seen in episode 3[/note], the journey is an uphill one. Yet, despite Cynthia (Susan Wokoma) being more prudish and arguably weird, she beats Tracy to it [note]in episode 5[/note].
But, for those who have watched the first season, you know it isn’t just about Tracy, Cynthia, and their very religious mom Joy (Shola Adewusi), who tries to start her own church this season. It is really about the members of their estate. Of which, the mains ones worth noting is Ola (Olisa Odele), the flamboyantly gay and always reliable, friend of Tracy [note]who consistently is either bailing out Tracy or showing us his own odd sexual journey[/note] and then Candice (Danielle Isaie) and Aaron (Kadiff Kirwan).
In many ways, those two are what #RelationshipGoals are to Tracy. Yet, in episode 5 something rocks their relationship to the point you aren’t sure if they may make it to the next season. Though, through it all, it is clear that no matter what they go through, Tracy and Candice will be friends through sickness, health, and getting on each other’s last nerves.[note]Boy Tracy (Jonathan Livingstone) is in Episode 3[/note] [note]We meet Tracy’s dad, Alex (Jude Akuwudike), briefly, in episode 6[/note] [note]Roland (John MacMillan) appears in episode 4[/note]
My body is like a phone in a silicon case. No matter what I do, I cannot smash.
– Episode 6
It Is So Awkwardly Funny
Arguably, one of the main reasons people know about Chewing Gum is because while it uses awkward comedy like you’d see from any comedian, there is a bit of heart there we don’t often get. For whether we are dealing with Cynthia or Tracy’s pursuit of losing their virginity, Tracy trying to handle her religious mom, Candice’s grandma Esther (Maggie Steed) [note]in Episode 4[/note], going on a date and looking like she is in black face, and so much more, there is something you will connect with nearly every episode. Now, I’ll admit, you may not laugh like this is a Dave Chappelle comedy special, but you will get Ellen DeGeneres level chuckles.
It’s Never That Deep
There isn’t so much a universal negative as it is just something I personally would like. For Tracy, even with her out there situations, there is something very identifiable about her. Be it her insecurities about her looks or questioning why she can’t find a relationship, the complexity of her friendships which only make sense if you are similar to her, or this idea that even when someone may be into you, they aren’t into you the person but just want access to your body. There are various interesting things Tracy, and even Ola when it comes to the queer perspective, touch on which sadly is treated in a joking manner and not allowed to get that deep.[note]To the point it made watching this from week to week kind of excruciating vs. binge watching it.[/note]
On The Fence
The Show Doesn’t Really Have Characters That Seem To Evolve
Eh, not really
Chewing Gum isn’t necessarily a show which desires to be taken seriously. It brings up things which are problematic like fetishizing Black women and the unfortunate promotion of toxic masculinity, but it isn’t trying to be socially conscious. Also, it doesn’t necessarily feature characters who evolve over the course of the season. Simply put, things happen, they react, and they move on. The show takes things from a more natural perspective and what could, if you’re adventurous and willing, happen to a real person day by day, week by week, without making a statement or really trying to say anything besides “It may not always be great, my life, but I am trying innit?”
Overall: Positive (Watch This)
It has almost been two years since the first season was released in the UK and you will still be hard-pressed to find a character like Tracy. Especially a Black woman or girl like Tracy. For Coel, similar to Issa Rae with Insecure, gives a voice to Black girls, perhaps women of color in general, who don’t necessarily see themselves in the Olivia Popes, Mary Janes, or Cookie Lyons. They are still trying to figure things out and while they are moving forward, there is a lot of stumbling on the way there. Of which, where exactly is “there” is still anyone’s guess.