Ok, so, the thing about THE GET DOWN is that it’s really, really corny. I could buy into the corniness if it was done well. But it’s not. Re-introducing it as a never-written comic book was a great re-packaging idea. But even the execution of that is corny. This season also reminded me of the Fat Albert cartoon from the 70s. Did the animation try to mimic that cartoon? If so, it still failed. The animation looked like a hybrid of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, adding to the confusion of what this series is supposed to be.
The rest of the “Fat Albert” title includes “And the Cosby Kids”. Yes, Bill Cosby is behind the genius of that series. And like Cosby, there is a pioneer of the hip-hop movement highlighted in this series who has his own sexual allegations following him – Afrika Bambaataa.
“The Get Down” divides the hip hop territory among three fathers – DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa. The latter has the greatest legacy as his Zulu Nation, to this day, has many chapters, domestic and international, that promote the knowledge of oneself.
Shaolin Fantastic unites the three fathers to fight against Clarence strong-arming him deeper into a flawed record contract and a drug industry bound to swallow him up and spit him out. It is during this scene that the message of unity that hip-hop stands on is manifested. Clarence is affected and leaves. (AK-47s also influenced his decision to skidaddle). Afrika Bambaataa was the key to uniting them all. With his message of consciousness, Black men and women were able to stand with one another, allowing them the strongest wall against any evil attempting to destroy them – including Clarence, a fellow Black man. It is this idea of Black strength that makes the sexual allegations against Afrika Bambaataa ironic.
Last year, several Black men alleged that Afrika Bambaataa molested them. A few gave interviews to share their stories. It is true that Bambaataa has publicly stated that he is innocent. I believe that a person has to be proven guilty, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t still have an opinion. I wonder if these allegations had anything to do with cutting the series short. Having only 5 episodes in this series is questionable. I believe that Bambaataa was one of the hearts of the hip-hop movement, but these allegations, in a social media age, can do damage, not only to him, but to “The Get Down”. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if these allegations had something to with abrupt series wrap-up.
Switching gears, Zeke is admitted to Yale. Despite him cussing out the white hot-shot, he still gets in. Isn’t it so great to learn that when you’re yourself, you will reap rewards? He seems to be really happy about it, which I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, great! A poor kid of color is given access to innumerable resources and opportunities at an ivy league school. On the other hand, this may, again, be a “Get Out” situation. The hot-shot tried to separate Zeke from his people. This tactic has worked many times on some people of color who begin to believe that they are the exception. When Zeke attends, I hope his awareness of the bs remains.
Although Zeke has a lot on his plate, he’s still very supportive of Mylene. She has had a tough road. Her father, devastated by his wife being poked by his brother and knowing that Myele is not his biological child, commits suicide in the church. Errr…where they do that at? This is an example of the show going too far in its corniness. No pastor of color is committing suicide because of some family drama. And they’re definitely not doing it in their church. There’s only one reason for this: Giancarlo Esposito wanted no part of the potential season 3. He was like, “I’m out”. I don’t blame him.
And the lack of empathy for Pastor Ramon’s suicide by his wife and brother were cold as ice. They can’t even cry? Was he that bad of a person? Ramon has smacked his daughter many times, but she is devastated. She loved her father, and she believed that he was doing the best that he could. I can’t claim to judge how anyone deals with grief but wifey and bro seem to be OK with the loss.
However, their lack of empathy is how I feel about this series overall.
I care about no one except Boo, who, by the way, is locked up! I called it. He’s now in the system as a drug dealer. The most talented MC of them all is in juvie. Wth? Shao’s desire to have a brother close to him while he deals is what nails Boo’s coffin. It was destiny for the little guy to get caught up. I just find it surprising that the cops haven’t locked up Shao yet. Everyone knows that Les Inferno is front for drugs, but maybe Fat Annie is paying off a bunch of cops to look the other (I wouldn’t be surprised). With Boo gone, no one else seems to have a pulse for me to care.
Mylene is still irritating. She smiles way too much for a troubled teen. Dizzee is dizzying (ha). The guy who is in love with the pretty girl is aiight. Like, everyone, except Boo, is replaceable. If they come back for a Season 3, just get rid of everybody. Replace them with better actors, please. “Black Dynamite”, on one of the greatest films of all time (no sarcasm), shows us how you can replace 70s actors and no one notices. Do that, Netflix. Otherwise, I will once again, loathe watching this mess, and I will also wonder why a network would waste another $100 million on something that just doesn’t work.
Season 1, Episodes 10-11 (SO2E10-11)
The Get Down currently streaming on Netflix
Jennifer spends her nights writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog.
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Jennifer Ford | Contributor