The Ms. Pat Show, while raunchy, is also one of the funniest new shows to come out in years; while having a heart most shows struggle to make feel authentic.
|Season Premiere||August 12, 2021|
|Season Finale||August 12, 2021|
|Created By||Patricia “Ms. Pat” Williams, Jordan E. Cooper|
|Genre(s)||Comedy, Drama, Romance, Young Adult, Stand Up Comedy, Family|
|Ms. Pat||Patricia Williams|
|Terry||J. Bernard Calloway|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
The Carson, Ford, and James families have to adjust with just moving to Plainfield, Indiana, from Atlanta, Georgia. For one, they are now in a predominately white neighborhood where they are one of, if not the sole Black family. With this comes multiple difficult moments and conversations. Ms. Pat, the matriarch, has to deal with political correctness beyond what she is used to from her kids’ new friends, her oldest child, Ashley, and while annoying, it’s also a valued learning experience. Her husband, Terry, is trying to figure out what he provides the family when he isn’t a financial provider, since his stability is often touted as his best asset.
From there, we have the kids, Ashley, Brandon, Janelle, and Junebug. Ashley doesn’t live with her momma or step-dad Terry, but she does come to visit towards the middle of the season. Brandon is the proverbial 28-year-old who mostly spends time in his mother’s basement playing video games and not getting a W9 type of job. Those two are from Ms. Pat’s first baby daddy, Lloyd.
Following those two are the kids Ms. Pat had with Terry, Janelle, and Junebug, who are polar opposites. Janelle is somewhere between being an activist and someone just looking to rile up whoever she can, as long as she can get away with it. As for Junebug? Honestly, it seems he is just riding the wave of the assumption he is cool because he is from the ATL and Black.
However, one person you can’t sidestep talking about is Ms. Pat’s older sister Denise. She is a former drug addict on the mend who can’t hold a job down but does have her sister’s back whenever an enforcer is needed. But, that might not be enough in that household.
You may not be broke, but you bending.
— Denise (1.1)
You know brown liquor get you ready for one of two things — either to fuck or to fight.
— Denise (1.3)
You can’t change who they are, but you can always support who they become.
— Ms. Pat (1.3)
- Episode 1: Janelle talking about how much easier it is for Black boys to integrate into predominately white areas than Black girls.
- Episode 3: Terry and Ashley’s conversation dealing with his faith and her sexuality.
- Episode 4: Following up on Episode 1 comment about Black boys integrating more easily, but showing the difference between being the token Black friend vs. a true member of the group.
- The Non-binary conversations
- Episode 6: The beginning of Terry furlough storyline, and watching Denise beat a man with her wig.
Appreciating How Ms. Pat & Denise Talk
Family comedy series often can seem very tame and formulaic. The Ms. Pat Show is anything but that, and it starts off with how Ms. Pat talks. She curses in nearly every other sentence, and while we note the show is raunchy, it is only if you aren’t familiar with people like Ms. Pat. Her cursing is just how she talks and isn’t meant to cause offense. If anything, it is to add some passion into what she is saying, have a cathartic release, or make a situation a bit more casual.
Now, this isn’t to say it is just the cursing that you note, but also that Ms. Pat isn’t made to be “woke” or politically correct. So when it comes to gay people, non-binary, people of different ethnicities, and what have you, she says some very ignorant things. Mind you, not to be mean or snarky, but because she is a woman of a certain age, and from where she is, a lot of the words she is introduced to either didn’t exist, had a different meaning, or weren’t considered a big deal.
And by having a character who talks like this, you are reminded what people talk like when the show isn’t trying to show what could be but what is.
What matters most when watching a comedy is that it’s funny. Now, I’ll admit, as you get used to Ms. Pat’s way of talking, alongside Denise, the luster does wear off. Also, I wouldn’t say any of the jokes are to the level you’ll feel like you have bronchitis. However, compared to many other comedies, no matter what ethnic makeup the show has, this is sure as hell funnier than them.
How? Well, let’s start with Ms. Pat bringing her persona to a white area, and dealing with Janelle’s teachers, principal, and the PTO, with her not adjusting herself one bit. Rather, often with Denise, she tries to keep it to inside jokes that will remind you what certain members of the Black community say about and around white folk.
This isn’t to say the show is racist since some may think that. More so, the comedy is often based on being uncomfortable with a situation or honest about what has happened or might if someone continues to act like a fool. Denise and Ms. Pat, many times, threaten the kids, each other, and other people with violence, but as serious as they can appear, since they were about that life, it is just a warning.
Now, speaking of Denise, Tami Roman may not be a scene-stealer, but she makes sure she is only second to Ms. Pat when it comes to this show. For while Janelle, Junebug, and the rest have their moments, often Denise plays off Ms. Pat, and I’d even say they get each other to break every now and then, which the show only cuts from once it’s established. Though I should note, while Janelle, Junebug, Brandon, and Ashley aren’t consistently making you laugh, usually joke they make, at Ms. Pat’s expense, get a chuckle out of you.
When It Goes Deep
One of the ways co-creator Jordan E. Cooper has tried to sell this show is by making Ms. Pat the new, Black, and female version of Archie Bunker. I wouldn’t say that, and I think the comparison is weak, but you can see it. Throughout the season, Ms. Pat is dealing with Janelle’s activism at school, her having a non-binary friend, Ashley coming out, Junebug dealing with being a token Black friend, and sometimes a pick me, and other teachable moments, which can translate into comedy.
However, there is also what Terry goes through towards the end of the season when he gets furloughed. There is also Lloyd, the man who abused Ms. Pat and is the basis for a handful of her jokes coming to the show. The combination of these two stories helps you understand why Black people have avoided therapy. For if it isn’t prayer and God, it is laughing to keep from crying, which has been the solace during tumultuous times.
So as much as this is a comedy that can get silly to downright ignorant, you’re reminded that each joke has a story behind it, and often times that story, told verbatim, without inflection, is not funny.
The Relationship Dynamics
The chemistry between the main cast is ace. Beyond Ms. Pat, who naturally molds well with everyone, there is Terry, who represents every good Black man, good dad, and the kind soul who you should only be scared of when he is mad, hungry, or disappointed. Early on, seeing him with Ms. Pat and the kids provides a means for the show to help you not grow tired of Ms. Pat and Denise’s antics too quickly.
I’d even say while the kids don’t shine much on their own, like Denise, when interacting with Ms. Pat, Denise, or Terry? It leads to comedic or emotional moments. One example being, when Lloyd rolls around, Brandon and Ashley have a different take on how Terry should be seen since he raised them, but they aren’t biologically his. With how each one talks, or even how Terry comforts Ashley when she comes out, you get to see a soft side with Terry, the kind that, in a show some may think doesn’t make Black people look good, shows that divide is man-made. People like Terry and Ms. Pat can not only get along but be in love and have wonderful families. You just got to get your head out of your ass.
Switching to the comedic side, while Junebug is ignorant and Brandon outright dumb, you know, your usual brother archetype, they get their jokes in. Mainly by making fun of Ms. Pat, which does raise an eyebrow, but when she claps back at them, it is always hilarious. The same goes when Junebug has scenes with Denise. He may not try to bring up her former crack addition, but he does test her, and she whips his ass, verbally, whenever he tries.
In terms of Janelle and Ashley, for the comedic side? I think you’ll find the show tries to make a balance here. Terry being dependable, comical, and nice, makes up for his and Pat’s two sons being dumb. The same can be said about Janelle and Ashley. Because of the lack of education Ms. Pat and Denise have, Ashley is a certified doctor, and Janelle is on the debate team and is considered “the good one.” Which isn’t to say they are boring, but more so they push the deeper topics than the comedic moments. Thus pushing Ms. Pat and Denise to think beyond the limited scope they grew up with.
On The Fence
- Episode 7: While Denise says she wants a man throughout the season, her talking about wanting her own thing like Pat, both a good man and a career, while also questioning the point of being clean if there is nothing to look forward to, that could have been dived into deeper earlier on in the season.
- Episode 8: Showing Black people in therapy is always good to see, but after episode 8 of David Makes Man, I think it’s time to show therapy to be more than paying someone to vent to.
- Episode 5 & 10: Fully recognizing this is a comedy, it would have been nice either with the potential of seeing Lloyd face to face or when Ms. Pat ends up in therapy with Terry, we got to see behind the curtain a bit. Though, according to her recent Breakfast Club interview, it seems getting too deep wasn’t something Ms. Pat wanted to do in front of a live studio audience. So while affected by the storylines, as noted below, this isn’t a dramedy.
It Gets Slow Towards The End
Like damn near all shows which drop all of their episodes at once, this is not a show to binge-watch. The luster of Ms. Pat and Denise’s way of speaking is gone almost halfway through the show, and even the show trying to get deep? It can veer towards after-school special. Now, we will give it to The Ms. Pat Show for rarely, if ever, making something episodic or having Ms. Pat get checked once, and that’s it. The show definitely portrays her as human and while she knows better, doing better is a process.
But, with that said, the trouble with The Ms. Pat Show is that, after the initial pop, everything you love about the show dies down and isn’t as funny or touching. After a certain point, it sort of feels like what you’re used to, just with a Black cast and far more cursing.
Heck, I’d even add Terry having issues in his marriage. While there was initial interest, like many things on this show, the topic gets mismanaged because this isn’t a dramedy but a comedy with dramatic moments. Making it so, the situation gets diluted to setup levity.
Rating: Positive (Watch This) – Recommended
The Ms. Pat Show is good, it just has to work on its formula a bit. It should continue pursuing topics like school shootings, gender, and sexuality but perhaps stretch them out more. For currently, it gets one conversation in one episode, doesn’t change everything. We see that with Ashley’s coming-out story, which takes place over two episodes, alongside Terry dealing with being furloughed. However, it would be nice if the topics, in general, didn’t veer towards how The Carmichael Show did things, in terms of trying to hit every topic it could and damn giving the severity of any of them room to breathe. Particularly when it doesn’t affect a main character.
With that criticism aside, The Ms. Pat Show is probably the first shows I binge-watched in a long time and stuck with despite knowing few, if any shows, are truly made to be binged. And while The Ms. Pat Show loses its luster towards the end, the strength of its characters and their relationships get you to the credits of episode ten and hoping for more.
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