Tuesday, October 3, 2017

'The Mayor" Might be a Better Role Model Than Comedy

Review of "The Mayor"
The Mayor stars Lea Michele, Brandon Micheal Hall, Marcel Spears, 
Bernard David Jones and Yvette Nicole Brown. (ABC/Bob D’Amico)

 TV SERIES REVIEW 

After years of creating new comedies based on families, ABC breaks tradition this fall with the addition of The Mayor, which after watching the pilot, it turns out that it is actually another family comedy albeit an nontraditional one. Courtney Rose (Brandon Michael Hall) is a young rapper who lives with his mother Dina (Yvette Nicole Brown) and is tired of waiting to become famous. As a publicity stunt, he runs for mayor for Fort Grey, California against Ed Gunt (David Spade) and to everyone’s surprise, he wins. Why? Mostly because Courtney doesn’t speak like a politician. The trouble is, he also doesn’t have any political experience let alone any real work experience. His biggest fan is also his biggest critic: his mother. Just as Courtney is ready to admit that the stunt was just a charade, she convinces him that he has what it takes to make a difference for their city.

Helping Courtney with his new gig is his best friends Jermaine (Bernard David Jones) and T.K. Clifton (Marcel Spears) who are well-meaning, but even less qualified for the job. Fortunately, he has Valentina Barella (Lea Michele) on his side who was the campaign manager for Gunt, but decides she can be more of service working as Courtney’s chief of staff – whether he wants her help or not. As ABC puts it, “He’ll have to learn what it means to be responsible for others while learning what it means to be responsible for himself,” which is not a bad message at all.

Initially, there is a lot to like in the pilot episode of The Mayor despite the fact that the creators had to rush tons of story into a just over 20 minutes of air time. (Every scene feels like it was cut extra short in order to get everything to fit in.) The show features characters that are neither rich nor perfect (except for maybe Valentina) and stars young black men in a positive light. The show just might inspire young people to go out a make a difference rather than just sitting back.


The Mayor has received a lot of positive reviews, but for me, it was “just okay.” While I appreciate the show a lot more than I thought I would since I was not impressed with the previews for it, I didn’t find it to be all that funny. As much as I like Lea Michele, I found Valentina to be more annoying than charming. On the other hand, I love Yvette Nicole Brown who is in her element here and David Spade was uncharacteristically underplayed. In fact, I liked all of the smaller role characters better than the main stars. Hopefully, when the show will be able to slow down a bit for the next episodes and build on Courtney and his friends’ characters. I look forward to that.

The Mayor airs on Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.

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