I Finally Watched the First 2 Episodes of Empire. Here Are My Thoughts
Fox kicked off its new show Empire starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard on January 7, 2015 and I am just getting a chance to watch it. Directed by Lee Daniels, the show is about the owner of a record label (Lucious Lyon) and his family: ex-wife Cookie and their 3 sons (Andre, Jamal, Hakeem).
Cookie just got out of prison after serving time for 17 years for drug dealing, but the $400,000 she made back then was what started Empire Records. Lucious’ company is now worth millions and she is trying to get what is hers after her return. He’s married now too and Cookie is not fazed. She has a razor-sharp mouth and is no-nonsense.
Lucious started from the bottom now he’s here. His company is so big now that he is taking it public. “From the street to Wall Street.” And he wants to groom the heir to his seat, keeping it all in the family.
Andre (played by Trai Byers) is the oldest Lyon son, and he’s the one who is most responsible out of all three. He is all about the business and he’s married to a white chick. He’s always in a suit and wears his Ivy League degree like a badge. He wants to get the company, and he’s worked for it but doubts that his father will leave it to him.
Jamal (Jussie Smollett) is the middle son and he’s the tender heart, who is also gay. Him and his father are always at odds because of this. He is a musician but he gets no career support from Daddy Dearest because: gay. Although he hasn’t publicly come out to anyone but his family, he lives with his boyfriend in a dope loft and just wants to play the piano and sing ballads at same clubs. Him and Hakeem are really close.
Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) is the baby, and a rapper who loves “bitches and booze.” He wasn’t even 1 yet when Cookie went to prison so he feels no affection towards her. Even though he’s the most successful of all three, he’s also a knucklehead. Dude looks like Soulja Boy and acts like Chief Keef.
Everything I just said was provided to us within the first 30 minutes of the show.
Anywho, I watched the pilot episode and the one right after that and here are my thoughts.
* Terrence Howard cannot NOT be creepy. He always comes across as sleazy in every role and his character’s name is Lucious, afterall. It fits.
* I love me some Taraji Henson and she can do no wrong in my book. Cookie is my favorite character hands down. Yes, she seems like a grown up Yvette from Baby Boy but I don’t even mind it. I am here for her and her shade.
* The wardrobe of this show is interesting but it’s getting better. I’m especially happy that they got rid of the conk Lucious was wearing in the pilot. He was walking around with a damb conk, velvet blazers and ascots. He had Bruno Mars’ hair and Roland Martin’s wardrobe. Where is he going? He used to be a thug and now he’s rocking a pompadour because he got money? And Cookie? Well they just dress her in furry coats, lots of leopard and tiny dresses. TA-DA.
* Hakeem is a menace to society and I thoroughly enjoyed the scene where he called Cookie a bitch and she beat his ass up with a broomstick.
* There were a handful of times when Jamal was referred to using gay slurs. It kinda made sense when Lucious did it (because of the gate, we knew he was homophobic) but it did not feel true to Cookie’s character when she used them. Why? Because she accepts her son and has always defended him to his father. It felt gratuitous instead of necessary.
* So we find out that Lucious got ALS and Andre is bipolar. Will they make Jamal contract HIV? Hakeem might come down with the gout. Speaking of the ALS thing. When Lucious’ doctor broke the news that he had it, and therefore had 3 years of less to live, she was smiling. What type of rudeness? Don’t be giddy telling someone they’re gonna die soon. Chile…
* They mentioned President Obama a couple of times and acted like him and Lucious were BFFs and ace boon goons. I especially cackled after the scene where Hakeem talked sideways about the President and Lucious called his buddy to apologize. Talmbout “Barack, that language…” LMAO! Sir, stand up so you can have a seat.
* Andre’s wife is pulling his puppet strings but I was impressed by her blow job bib, doe. GENIUS! Be dirty but stay clean.
* There’s a singer who is the object of Hakeem’s desire and she didn’t return his crush until she realized how much of a bad boy he was. Her name is Tiana. Is she supposed to be Rihanna? Someone said she might be Teyana Taylor but… IDK.
Yet and still, I enjoyed #Empire. I’ll keep watching it because it’s basically like a soap opera. I don’t expect TV to be perfect and I do admit that I am currently loving that Black people are actually on it. We shall see how Empire goes. It definitely has its problem areas (and that pilot was rough) but if it gets its legs, it can GO.
Now I’ll go watch the 2 more episodes I’ve missed it. I am a fan.
Have y’all been watching?
Edit: ah, Lucious and Anika aren’t married. Got it.