Queens: The Recap and Review (10/24/2021)

Alright! I’ve finally gotten the opportunity to sit down and write out my opinions, thoughts, and overall semi-predictions about the premiere episode of Queens and what I would like to see this season! I did manage to watch the show on the night of the premiere. However, because I am a part-time doctoral student and often have to submit papers every week, I didn’t get the opportunity to jot this out earlier. But as I would say, better late than never!

So, it’s safe to say that the premiere episode of Queens started with high expectations and eagerness to convey the story of these uniquely talented and equally fiery personalities amongst the four women that were once called the Nasty B**ches but are now rightfully queens. This show’s promotional material and efforts have been attention-grabbing and excellent in establishing positive connections with the audience. This past summer, the four actresses that share space within the group Queens have provided behind-the-scenes features, videos, and interactions with their antics and overall world.

This leads me to my first observation: The Queens exhibit like an honest group! Between the 90’s flashback music videos, MTV Cribs episode, fallout at Awards Shows, and television talk-show appearances, it’s easy to find yourself entrapped in the spell that this could have been an actual group from the 90s. Perhaps what makes it seem highly plausible is that actresses and 90s teen stars Brandy, Eve, and Naturi Naughton were collectively a part of that world and most of our pasts. Having taken the music world and cross genres by storm and influencing millions of young girls and teens since the mid to late 90s, the visual of these phenomenal women in these roles fits.

Courtesy of Queens TV Show YouTube Channel

In my opinion, that was very effective and brilliant casting. And even though actress Nadine Velazquez, who portrays Butter Pecan within the group, has no prior experience in music and performance, she finds and executes her role seamlessly next to these musical heavyweights. And I also believe that casting a non-singer/performer in this role served as the perfect balance because this naturally creates an outsider point-of-view and reference.

However, let’s get into the meat of the show and discuss some of the top moments and possible character arcs I see happening or would like to see happening this season. Since we have four dynamic women to discuss, I will highlight each character separately. Let’s start with the character I see having the most difficulty adjusting to the resurgence of fame: Brianna, a.k.a Professor Sex.

We meet Brianna at the center of the only world she has been privileged and comfortable with for 16+ years. Brianna leads a very domestic-driven life. She is out shopping for groceries and running various errands around town while juggling the chaotic role of being a mother and wife.

With basically six people, her five children, and her trifling husband (yes, it’s settled, he defines trifling) all depending on her, she’s been stretched thin almost beyond return to her formative years. Though the character arc is not original, the potential delivery and plot points are exciting. Whether mothers or not, married or not, have or will have a moment in their adult lives when they feel that they no longer know who they are and wonder if they will ever get a glimpse of that old but refined person back.

After hearing her old band’s song on the radio from a current artist that’s sampled their meteoric hit, Brianna soon wonders what new chapter in life she’s about to embark on. But, just as this high enters the chat, a devasting but not so surprising low replies. When Bri caught her husband in an active affair with one of his students, I was beyond annoyed. How often have we seen the scenario of “wife or husband gives their all” only to be disrespected in return?

Before hearing the excuse of being tired and stressed, which we quickly find out is a cancer diagnosis, there was simply no excuse worthy of his behavior. I think showcasing this plotline is essential because although this is a troubled marriage and situation, there are many instances where people have traditionally attempted to rationalize and normalize this behavior. This is simply unhealthy, and I am interested in seeing how Brianna will fair against the pressures of possibly reconciling with what she discovers has been a facade for a long time and how she conforms with her desires to reach herself again.

In real life, actress Eve announced that she is pregnant with her first child and due in February 2022! In a promotional interview, she also mentioned that the writers did not write her pregnancy into the show. Still, we will see creativity at its finest as the season progresses to conceal her awaited bundle. And also, I think if that had been written in, it would have been very complicating to provide a focus for her character’s comeback fully. I believe Brianna will have the most significant metamorphosis regarding both her mental and emotional transformation. As a mother and woman reclaiming and readjusting to life after divorce, I’m rooting for you, Brianna!

Next, we have the character that I can already tell is “fighting temptations” all season long: Jill, a.k.a Jill Da Thrill. Jill’s aura from the beginning seemed timid but powerful if you follow. She’s introduced to the audience, asking for forgiveness due to an affair she’s been involved in. Her husband is visible and active within the ministry, which is not a good look for the first lady of the parish.

At the beginning of the episode, Jill finds it too hard to admit that she is gay. But towards the end of the show, Jill finally finds and utilizes her voice to express who she truly is to her group and partner. Great representation! I can already tell this story will have some exciting layers because Jill is used to suppressing her inner expression, whether her sexuality or desire to experience freedom.

Due to the pressures of the industry and the disbanding of the group, Jill feels hard for unhealthy vices. It is within this dark period that she works diligently to rebuild and repair her life. Jill’s presence is also compelling because she can relate well with others, perhaps to her years within the work of ministry. However, I believe this easily accessible relatability is what will serve as a catch-22 for her character.

In the season preview, there is a point when Jill is seen interviewing with a publication discussing her newfound acceptance and liberation within coming out. But we also see that Jill experiences an advance from that said interviewer. Now, this could have been just a tease, and nothing more might even come from this. Or it could lead down a path of a newfound addiction. After all, Jill appears to quickly lose herself within things and the people she’s passionate for. Since she is passionate about many things that are also positive, I hope this season we see a way for her storyline to support rehabilitation from recreational drug use. Unfortunately, this subject is prevalent throughout the entertainment industry, and I feel this would be a perfect opportunity to provide awareness and an educational outlet for this discussion.

Before continuing with the next character, I would like to add one more observation to this character arc discussion. For some sneaky reason, I don’t believe when her husband finds out about her affair and sexuality; he will be surprised. I’ve got my eye on him because he’s being set up to be too “perfect.” I won’t be surprised if he is also involved in an affair. It would be even juicer if said “affair” was with one of the dignitaries of the ministry. (Grabs popcorn and props feet on pillow) But, either way, I can’t wait to see what’s next for this fireball but inspiring group member, on to the character that I see becoming increasingly humbled throughout the season: Valeria, a.k.a Butter Pecan.

Chile, when Valeria came sashaying across the screen, I was partially living but also in my feelings. Valeria is the wildfire that couldn’t be extinguished before destroying the group. But I’m conflicted in my feelings about her. I’m calling it now. Valeria is going to be the character that you hate to love. Although her on-sight tackle from Naomi was warranted, her foundation is fragile and bruised. This is revealed from her conversation with Naomi, who currently has a broken relationship with her daughter. Valeria fell through the cracks of adoption/fostering. She has become calloused by her desire to be successful and on top of any means necessary. This is evident because she practically drugged her colleague as she attempted to climb to the top of the show spotlight.

But despite giving her the side-eye, I feel that Valeria will be pivotal in getting the group in a new lane given her meteoric presence and skillset for finessing unto the top floor of the competition. Will she still be vindictive? Possibly. Is she still wrong for causing the rift and breakup of the group? Yes. Yet, I believe Valeria is going to get some just desserts this season. Since she has been the most successful member of the newly reformed group, I think her past business and professional transgressions will follow her. In other words, I believe she’s going to be pulled down several pegs for reflection and reassessment of her personal life and professional life. I also hope that the show will explore the importance of positive mentors in children’s lives.

And now, to the character, I believe, will make amends and gains and experience some exciting turns: Naomi, a.k.a Xplicit Lyrics.

Naomi’s story begins where she is singing in a semi-smoke-filled lounge, strumming away on her guitar to a beautiful tune. We learn later that this is a song that she has written for her estranged daughter. I am curious if more of her music will reveal that she’s been subliminally talking to her daughter through music all along due to personal and emotional barriers.

Well, one rowdy patron in the room yells out if she used to be a part of the Nasty B**ches. Being annoyed, she quickly reminds him and other curious onlookers who she is before exiting the stage.  Since Naomi has not had the best opportunities since leaving the group, it will be interesting to see how this second chance will shift her dynamic with her daughter and her endeavors.

I hope that we get the opportunity to see how her relationships will evolve this season, and I also hope that she and her daughter explore therapy. But I will say that I don’t want Naomi to rekindle any of her past relationships. I was a little irritated that she even looked Eric’s way, but I get it. She had feelings for him once, and being placed in this arena again sparked familiar emotions. I’m also curious to see how her career ideas will evolve because her trajectory will be completely different this time. I would say she will probably have the rise Valeria experienced because her platform and exposure will change.

Overall, I’m incredibly proud and happy for Brandy! She’s worked in roles that have shaped television culture throughout the years, and it’s beautiful to see her in this full-circle moment from her start with Thea back in 1993 to Queens in 2021 on ABC.

My final guess for the season with her character is that Eric was her daughter’s father. For some reason, I don’t think it’s a longtime friend from the past. Or it might even be juicer if it is somebody completely different and she chose to move forward, but life is now bringing her back to that moment.

Courtesy of TV Promos YouTube Channel

If you can’t tell, I’m excited about this entire series! Seeing the unity and woman empowerment each week is refreshing for this season! Plus, as I mentioned before, the camaraderie that we see on screen translates beautifully off-screen to the point that they appear to be an honest group. After watching a few promotional interviews this past week, I would say each actress has naturally taken on the persona of their characters within the group, making this show and experience seem more divine than just great casting! I hope everyone continues to watch each week, and if you miss an episode, go back and stream it via Hulu and other digital platforms that have Queens on their line-up. Catch the show each Tuesday 10/9c on ABC! 

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