SURVIVOR’S REMORSE Season 3 has a problem, and it’s a textbook problem – there’s not much conflict. Though the show is and probably always will be one of the funniest and most undervalued series on television, the fact remains, there’s not a whole lot going on.
Exhibit A, “The Age of Umbrage” starts with a brooding scene of Cam and Allison in bed, that suggests Julius’ death continues to hang over the couple. Cam can’t sleep and there’s a hint of trouble in paradise, but it is quickly swept aside as Cam decides to start a charitable foundation in Julius’ name.
Reggie finds a crisis to manage when Ricky Sheldon, former classmate and current reporter, arrives in Atlanta to interview Cam for a public radio show. Reggie wants to show him the door, but Cam is more than happy to give Ricky some time on his off day. The discussion starts with Cam’s connection to New Hampshire and soon turns to his feelings about Julius’ death. “It’s messed me up. It woke me up. Death makes you think about life,” Cam admits.
The emotional interview causes some eyerolls among the Calloways, but also stirs up some genuine controversy when Cam’s description of children with “frozen nostril syndrome” is taken out of context. The scandal goes all the way up to team owner Jimmy Flaherty, who steps in to brainstorm a solution with Reggie and Cam. “People won’t pay to watch an asshole play basketball,” Jimmy tells Cam and insists that he has to apologize. Cam isn’t having it.
Enter Monique Roosevelt, professional fixer, a master at “turning shit into less shitty shit.” Roosevelt counsels Cam to put out the fire with a humble apology, even if he didn’t actually do anything wrong. The conflict here is not just about Cam’s pride, but about the larger idea of our culture of “umbrage.” As Roosevelt puts it, “offense will be found where offense is sought.” While the show takes on a very realistic situation, a sports celebrity called to task over his choice of words, it sometimes feels as if the characters are in a morality play, walking us through social scenarios one lesson at a time. The Calloways are always enjoyable to watch, the scenes are engaging and the dialogue is funny, but each episode feels like a disjointed “story of the day.” So far, even after the death of Julius, there’s never a sense that these individual crises will change the status quo.
That feeling persists as sports commentator Carnation Stevens continues to stoke the fire, interviewing a mother of a child with frozen nostril syndrome, and as protesters gather in the streets demanding Cam be dropped from the team. Seriously guys, Cam is never getting dropped from the team. Like, never.
Still, Roosevelt is no Olivia Pope, and the statement she releases on Cam’s behalf quickly backfires. A deflated Cam seeks advice from Missie, who as usual proves her worth by giving him the best advice of the week. Cam sees the error of his ways and calls a press conference, this time making a heartfelt apology and donating a whopping $5 million dollars to research for the cure. His generosity is a trap though, as he calls on Carnation Stevens and several of his other detractors to match his pledge, on live television.
With Missie’s help, Cam survived another week on the chopping block that is celebrity life, but he learned a hard lesson – every fan is a potential foe.
Season 3, Episode 4 (S03E04)
Survivor’s Remorse airs Sundays at 10PM on Starz
Heather makes things for TV by day and writes by night (also sometimes by day). She is a fan of all stories that reflect life, but it doesn’t hurt if they’re set on another planet or in another time.
Heather West | Contributor