Thanks to these heady times of Peak TV, weekends have taken on a new form of stress: What to watch?!
With only 48 hours to yourself before real life sets back in, choosing the perfect show to binge takes on significant new meaning. Are you going to play it safe and re-watch a classic you’ve already seen? Do you have the time and stamina to plow through all 6 seasons of “Game of Thrones” so Shelly can finally talk to you about it at lunch on Monday? Do you venture out on your own and try and discover something… new?
These are the questions you are dealing with in 2017, and we get it. First of all, Breath. Second, allow us to make a recommendation: Plop down on your couch, get horizontal, and fire up your Netflix account, ‘cause you’re about to watch “Chewing Gum,” the delightfully weird, grotesquely hilarious British comedy about Tracey Gordon — a 24-year-old, religious, Beyoncé-obsessed virgin growing up in a low-income estate in London.
“Chewing Gum” is an original creation by actress/writer Michela Coel. For those who have yet to discover the wonders of the modern British sense of humor, here’s what to expect: Witty, fast-paced dialogue, a lot of awkward situations, supremely dry jokes that you won’t always understand entirely, and often a cleverness or insight you never saw coming.
“Chewing Gum” is a welcome entry into this hallowed tradition, and then some. Here are five specific reasons you need to make this show your weekend binge:
1. It’s a lampoon on sex, religion, poverty, and family
Young Tracey Gordon is having an awakening of the sexual kind. But, thanks to her religious upbringing she knows very little about what to do about it. Luckily she has an equally misguided community of friends, neighbors, and co-workers to help her out with some serious questions: How do you go in for the perfect kiss? When are you supposed to take your clothes off? What exactly does a man’s genitalia look like, anyway?
2. Michela Coel is a hilarious and fearless comedic voice
The 30-year old actress and writer doesn’t have a very long resume yet, but we expect that to change very quickly. She played Lilyhot in the 2016 British series “The Alien,” about a British border guard caught up in the underbelly of a fictional town 40 years after actual aliens touch down in the U.K., and was in what was arguably one of the top 3 episodes of “Black Mirror’s” season 2, “Nosedive.”
Coel first created a short play “Chewing Gum Dreams” while she was in college, and then later adapted the show for Britain’s Channel 4. It’s loosely based on her experience growing up in London with her mother — a devout member of the Pentecostal church.
3. You might learn a new language
Tracey Gordon and her friends talk much like any American millennial talks: fast and in total code. There’s a lot of British slang in there, but honestly, half the fun is trying to figure out what everyone’s saying. Captions help!
4. There’s plenty of Beyoncé worship
… Oh, did you need us to elaborate?
5. There are only 6 episodes in Season 1
If there’s one thing the British excel at, it’s a really efficient season order. Typical series only run 3-6 episodes, and are contained stories from season to season. Season one of “Chewing Gum” is only six half-hour episodes, and while by the time you get to that last one you’ve finally hit a groove and are ready for more, it really is the ideal binge. You’ll still have time to see some actual daylight this weekend!
Plus, Season 2 makes its debut on Apr. 4, which means you won’t have to wait very long for more awkward hijinks.
Season 1 of “Chewing Gum” is on Netflix now; Season 2 premieres April 4.