I love Pride Fest. Everything about it, how it came to be, the struggles and trials the event has overcome, and the hope it gives young LGBT people now. Pride is an event, when it’s shown on tv it deserves to depicted vibrantly. And what better way to do that than have two of the most vibrant characters be the core focus of Boomerang’s newest episode?
Last night, we attended Pride with our Boomerang favorites and it was definitely an event in more ways than one. Tia, who we haven’t seen much of lately, is filming the music video for her breakout single. Since she’s openly gay, why not have her first hit be loud and proud? And since Ari is bisexual, Simone figures it would be a good idea to have him direct the video. However, since he has no real experience Ari struggles at first and Bryson swoops in to convince Simone to give the job to someone who knows what they’re doing. Simone gives in but talks Ari into shadowing the new director. It’s upsetting and a little demeaning to Ari but he decides to do it anyways. If he wants to make it, he can’t turn stuff like this down.
On the side, Simone and Bryson are having a mini-crisis. Newly dating, the couple is in for a shock when Bryson’s mom phoned him and tells him that Marcus Graham might be his father. Making him and Simone half-siblings. They rush to get a DNA test but the results will take two days. Probably the longest two days of their lives. Simone tries to distract herself with Tia’s video but it’s slowly turning into a flaming mess. Bryson’s director is very white and assumedly very straight, he doesn’t get it at all.
Across the event, literally, David preaches an LGBT friendly sermon as he walks around. He hands out fliers for his church and does his best to seem welcoming to the LGBT people around him. He comes across Crystal and she while she helps him pass out his fliers, they talk. It seems fine at first but when Crystal pushes David to drop his God Talk when he’s with her, the awkward tension returns between them.
Boomerang might be the first all Black show that I’ve seen to cover Pride like this. Pretty much the entire episode was spent in the event. And it’s a good, vibrant and happy affair; despite the drama of the characters. We were given beautiful shots and stills of LGBT people while shedding light on one of the biggest stereotypes in the community. The claim that men can’t be bisexual.
Ari is bisexual. He likes both men and women and he doesn’t hide it. Which is both relieving and a little terrifying. I’m constantly worried that something bad is going to happen to Ari because of the harmful stigma that surrounds bisexual men. Bisexuality still isn’t as widely accepted as being gay is. People who are bi are often fetishized, mocked, not believed and even violently assaulted because of their attraction to both sexes. And when it comes to men, toxic masculinity runs so rampantly that the pressure on bi men can be suffocating. Ari is constantly tested, from seemingly harmless comments his friends make to downright homophobic language from people who barely know him.
While he’s shadowing Bryson’s director, an ex of Ari’s spots him and comes over to talk. What starts out as a pleasant conversation soon turns ugly when she snidely tells him that because he likes both men and women it makes him gay. Ari stands up for himself and claps back in a truly wonderful fashion. It’s something we don’t see on the screen, Black bisexual men who aren’t on the DL and who are proud to be what they are. Ari being an openly bi black man is something to be celebrated and talked about. Also, Simone’s constant support of Ari is a breath of fresh air. This episode made me realize that Ari and Simone’s friendship is something I’d love to see more of. How they got to be as close as they are. Where it all started.
It’s also not lost on me the way Bryson seems to constantly have something negative to say about Ari’s attempts to become a filmmaker. There’s been a little tension between the two since the first episode and I wonder if maybe Bryson resents Ari for his close relationship with Simone, or resents him for his openness about liking dick. Since Bryson did have the sex dream of Simone using the strap on with him. It miffs me just a bit the way Bryson only now, at the end of Family, gives Ari praise.
One thing I didn’t like about the episode was the time jump. Or the sense that we had time jumped when we really haven’t. In the last episode, Back in the Day, it was a flashback to their college days, and it ended with Simone and Bryson in his bed but her leaving to go have brunch with her next boyfriend Camden. And the episode before that was The Let Out where Bryson and Simone only got to kiss once. So to jump into this episode and have Bryson and Simone suddenly together threw me for a bit of a loop. I felt as if I had truly missed a whole episode. Perhaps at the end of Back in the Day, it would have been helpful if we had a five-second scene of the present where Simone and Bryson declare that they were going to try and date. Then it wouldn’t have been so confusing to see them being such a couple in Family. I hope at some point we get a bit of a clearer indication of what happened between The Let Out and Family.
I’m also really hoping that David and Crystal’s relationship is explored more. In tonight’s episode, we were given a glimpse of why they didn’t work out. Crystal is under the impression that there’s another side to David, a regular side that doesn’t spend his entire time talking about and praising Jesus. David is firm in his belief that this is who he is. Crystal wants David to be himself with her, but I’m starting to think she wants the David that hadn’t been saved yet. If she knew him then.
All in all, though, I think Boomerang’s “Family” episode is easily Top 3 of the season so far. To have so much of Pride filling my screen for the entire episode really resonated in my chest. I can’t think back to a tv show that had these many Black people at Pride. The timeline confusion is a first season speed bump that doesn’t ruin the show nor does it imply that the rest of the season will turn sour. Our characters are being given such in-depth development, little by little that I can’t help but not care about small holes. I love character development over all other parts of storytelling.
There are only three episodes left in the first season of Boomerang and they have given no signs of slowing down yet. It’s so exciting and refreshing to be excited about a Black tv show each week. I love it.