“Empire” is known for its entertaining theatrics. The hip-hop musical drama gives us a 42-minute escape from real life, with its ceiling-less level of ridiculous drama and catchy performances.
However, on Wednesday (Nov. 16) episode, Angelo Dubois (Taye Diggs) stole the show — nearly impossible to do with the unwavering sass Cookie (Taraji. P Henson) delivers each week. And “Empire” did something with its storyline that for some reason, no other show thought to do: Create a political candidate we wish was real.
Written before our real life presidential race became a full blown nightmare, shows like “Veep,” “Scandal,” and “House of Cards” all featured people gunning for the most powerful job in the United States. And each series showed in detail all the various levels of catastrophe that would take place if the most despicable candidates ran for office.
However, by the time these episodes aired, none of these corrupted fictitious characters, or the awful things they did and inspired, could have possibly mirrored what we were seeing on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News. Storylines similar to the Trump/Clinton American horror story could not be less entertaining to watch: Audiences tune in these shows to briefly escape such madness. No one wants or needs to see this story unfold in more media than we’re already forced to watch. While the creators probably figured such insane events could not ever possibly happen in real life when writing these episodes… Well, here we are!
Then like a cool breeze of fresh air, “Empire” comes along with “Chimes at Midnight,” in which city councilman Angelo refuses to choose between giving up his political run and his relationship with Cookie. Even though Cookie temporarily broke up things off in fear she was bringing him down, she’s in love with Angelo — and so are audiences. He’s the opposite of Lucious (Terrence Howard): A Harvard-schooled activist passionate about cleaning up the community, education, and as we all saw in his bold shirtless demonstration, feminism.
It’s so much fun to watch TV and fist pump with excitement over a politician. Not since the Bartlets of Sorkin’s “West Wing” has there been a fictitious politico we yearned so much to be real. Now, more than ever, audiences wish he was real; for his entire staff to somehow be the actual people working inside the White House. We think people would get in line to vote right now for the 2020 election, if someone like Angelo Dubois was running for President.
Time and again, Angelo has turned down high-paying opportunities in his dedication to public service. On “Empire,” he’s started an anti-gun campaign called Woke, and is in the midst of an intense run for mayor. And fingers crossed he wins. It’s time to see good people be triumphant — to have some hope, and faith, in the future. No matter where it comes from.
“Empire” airs on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.