Hidden Gem: Survivor’s Remorse + Black Love
As some know, the LeBron James produced Survivor’s Remorse has not been renewed for another season on Starz. For four seasons the show followed a family who hit it big with the success of Cam Calloway, a young basketball star. His success led to moving the immediate family to his team town and chronicled their ups and downs with new money in a hilarious yet realistic way. Not a ratings champion like Power or Scandal, Survivor’s Remorse was more of a hidden gem, a superbly done comedy that will be missed by those that loyally tuned in. But, before we bid a final farewell let’s take a moment to appreciate the portrayal of black love between the characters Missy and Reggie Vaughn, cousin-in-law and cousin, respectively, to Cam Calloway.
I loved watching the relationship between Missy and Reggie unfold. Yes, Survivor’s Remorse was a comedy but it managed to bring in tender moments of drama and touch social issues. Missy was brought to life by Teyonah Parris, known for Mad Men, Dear White People (the film) and being the one good thing in Chiraq, while Reggie was played by RonReaco Lee probably most known for his role as Tyreke in Sister, Sister. Together Parris and Lee make up the young married couple and offered a beautiful look at an all-encompassing black love.
Missy and Reggie encountered strained familial relationships, making major financial and career decisions, and even Missy doing the infamous big chop. Through it all the relationship between the two was portrayed beautifully, not as a perfect couple with no flaws, but instead as one that was amazing to watch because of their flaws. They argued and disagreed but they had a solid foundation and faith in each other that kept them balanced. Below are just some highlights from the show but there are so many more to choose from.
Episode 201: Grown-Ass Man
Missy decided to go natural and do the big-chop- without warning. Upon cutting her hair she goes through a bevy of emotions from excitement to regret. Though shocked Reggie gives love and encouragement to his wife as she adjusts to her new look. Also, it must be noted that throughout the show Missy is seen wearing hair wraps, satin bonnets and shower caps all of which endeared me to the show further and allowed for excellent banter between Reggie and Missy.
Episode 303: The Thank You Note
The Thank You Note was a hilarious episode that covered extreme social etiquette. Missy and Reggie are on opposing ends of how to best show their appreciation to a black upper-class couple- one that could undoubtedly be an important relationship for their future success. They eventually write a thank you card and go through a series of failed mishaps and deliveries to get it to the destination that make it laugh-out-loud funny to watch.
Episode 305: The PhotoShoot
In the episode Missy organized a photo shoot for Cam. The original model she chose was unavailable and was replaced by a model with light-skin and green eyes, the opposite of the original model choice. Missy arrives late, sees the change and immediately objects. She says, “Do you know what every dark-skin girl thinks when she sees only light-skin girls in magazines? They think their dark skin has made them invisible.” In this short yet poignant scene, Missy brings to light the history of colorism in the black community, touching on the paper bag test, and the damage that taking a stance can have on individuals. Later in the episode we see Reggie and Missy discuss the importance of the message she wanted to deliver, however disagree on how the matter was handled. Reggie adores his wife, and finds her beautiful, of this the audience has no doubt.
Episode 310: Father’s Day
Reggie’s estranged father tries to reconnect with him in the Father’s Day episode. Missy worries about Reggie and encourages him to meet with his dad while Reggie is adamant about avoiding him. We see Reggie at one his most vulnerable moments of the entire series when it comes to his relationship, or lack thereof, with his father as well as see how him and his wife handle disagreeing while also emotionally supporting one another. Missy works to comfort, reassure and support Reggie throughout the episode.
Watching Reggie and Missy every week was a highlight for me, despite not being the focal point of the show, and I will miss seeing them on the screen. Though Survivor’s Remorse will no longer be on air it is still accessible and as this black renaissance (hey Insecure, Blackish, Atlanta, etc.) continues I look forward to seeing more portrayals of black love on screen.