Jacqueline and Jilly: Season 1/ Episode 1 [Series Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for Jacqueline and Jilly.
24.69% (1)

Watching Jacqueline and Jilly is like checking out a soap opera that is past its prime and on its last season.


Network
UMC
Creator Victoria Rowell
Director(s) Victoria Rowell
Writer(s) Victoria Rowell, Patricia Cuffie-Jones, Joyful Drake
Air Date 12/6/2018
Genre(s) Drama
Good If You Like Black High Society Drama

Rebellious Daughter

Just A Whole Bunch of Messy People

This Isn’t For You If You Like Subtlety

Don’t Like Hearing People Brag Constantly

Aren’t Into Soap Operas

Introduced This Episode
Jacqueline Victoria Rowell
Magnus Richard Brooks
Jilly Nikko Austen Smith
Ruth Christen Roberts

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The Introduction

The Mitchell family are very much well to do. Jacqueline comes from money made up in the New England area and Magnus, a Hampton graduate, is a well to do businessman. Together they have a daughter, Jilly, someone who is currently going to Hampton with a focus on photography. On paper, they may seem perfect, but the family is a hot mess.

For one, Magnus is cheating on Jacqueline, and it is at a point he doesn’t even hide it anymore. His assistant Ruth knows about it, also she is someone he propositions, and Jacqueline is well aware of his affairs. As for Jilly? After a riding accident, it seems she got hooked on opioids — something which, by the end of episode one, may have led to her having a car accident.

On The Fence

Bougie Black Folk

On the one hand, I enjoy seeing these wealthy Black individuals from a historically Black college. Even with them name dropping artists left and right. However, one of the biggest issues with this show is while the background of the characters are interesting, in terms of most, besides Magnus, growing up wealthy, their personalities and possible storylines draw little interest.

Take Magnus being a womanizer. Nothing about the way he is written makes you want to watch this man hook up with some young thing, cheat on his wife, and berate his daughter for not meeting his standards. Then with Jacqueline, taking note of Rowell’s work on The Young and the Restless, it feels like the way this was written was in the same ilk. For while there might not be dramatic pauses and some of the over the top things we get from daytime soap operas, you can see this show leaning more towards that style of drama than primetime drama.

Which negates a lot of the things which could honestly be of interest on this show. The big thing being Jilly. Now, let me state my bias: The only reason I decided to watch this, never mind get a UMC free trial on prime, was Nikko Austen Smith. After her role in Queen Sugar, I wanted to see what was next. Now, even with being a fan, let me say she is a bit rough like the rest of them. Not so bad you can’t see her becoming the silver lining, but for one scene, when she is going off on her parents, Rowell should have pulled the reigns a little bit.

But with Rowell’s career primarily being in soap opera, to not expect her to bring that experience to a production she wrote, directed, performs in, and is the creator of? That would be plain ole ignorant. Yet, I’d argue that same experience is probably what makes Jilly’s character, one dealing with addiction, parental pressure, and more, not living up to its full potential.

First Impression: Negative (Niche Show)

Jilly (Nikko Austen Smith) waiting for her dealer to give her drugs.
Jilly (Nikko Austen Smith)

I wanted to like Jacqueline and Jilly. It is on a network which is not talked about, has Nikko Austen Smith, who I believe big things could happen for, yet it doesn’t give you any real reasons to stick around. Is there the slightest bit of potential? Yes. However, this show is not all about Jilly and her addiction. She is but one character, and sadly the rest make this show something I struggled to finish.

Hence the negative label. While I could make it to the end of the episode, I really can’t bring myself to watch any more of this. Between the writing which meanders around the point to performances that could use a different hand in reigning them in, this show is a low-key mess. The kind which I could not imagine being greenlit anywhere but on a network like UMC which is trying to develop content with fairly recognizable faces and names.


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