As someone in their late twenties, trying to make it in the entertainment industry BET’s newest show Twenties caught my eye the moment it was announced. And I don’t mean when this network announced it, I mean back when Lena Waithe was still talking about it being a web series and shopping it around to different places trying to get it a stable home. Twenties has been a long time coming and I’m so very glad that it’s finally here.
To start, on premiere night we were treated to the first two episodes of Twenties which lets the new show have an entire hour to shine. And shine it did. Fast-paced and looking for laughs at nearly every turn, Twenties has all the makings to be a disaster. It could be one giant ball of mess that never goes anywhere and never gives its audience any depth. Those concerns are dealt with right away, the pace is fast but the music is so good the speed of the episodes makes sense. The characters give themselves depth when Marie drags Hattie for filth in the most mom friend way possible while Nia asks her to be nice from the backseat within the first 10 minutes. We’re given a very clear picture of who these ladies are and how the dynamic of their friendship works.
Hattie wants to make it, period point blank. All she cares about is being able to write for tv, she wants it but she also wants the opportunity to fall at her feet with minimum work possible. Which is, without a doubt, going to cause major problems later down the road. Marie wants to happy with her life. She’s got the dream job, the dream boyfriend and pretty much the dream life. But clearly, something is missing and just underneath her smile, something closer to rage waits to be unleashed. Then there’s Nia, a child actress who now teaches yoga and is desperately looking for the love of her life. Three very different women but with one common goal: they want to be successful. How they get to their own personal success throughout the show promises to be a wild journey.
The first episode of Twenties sets the stage but it’s the second episode that really gives the show the push it needs to showcase its greatness. Hattie starts her first day of work as Ida B’s writer’s room PA. It’s not the job she wants but it’s a foot in the door nonetheless. Her first challenge of the day is making a coffee run, which is one of the most important things for Writer’s Rooms. If the writers don’t have their coffee they can’t write; Hattie manages the run but not without complications. She declares herself already having a nemesis in the other Black girl she shares a desk with named Courtney who seems to be a hater from the start, and she makes sure to express that she’s just happy to be allowed in the space of creation period. Ida wants more from her though and gives Hattie challenges just to see if she can do them. Not to mention Hattie’s kinda-sorta girlfriend Lorraine seems to only want to be around Hattie when she wants to have sex, making Marie’s statement about Hattie dating women who only use her as a pit stop to their boyfriend seem more like a fact than just an observation. Meanwhile, Nia meets a new man at her yoga class, but he doesn’t own a cellphone. He’s too cute to turn down but him not having a phone unsettles her. How is she supposed to communicate with him? She goes on the date anyway and has the deep conversation she’s been looking for. Maybe she’ll have to learn to work around him being device-less. On the third side of things, Marie struggles to deal with her mother’s gambling problem while continuing her stagnant relationship with her boyfriend Chuck. The two seem to have created an ideal bond with each other, but their sly jabs at each other threaten to break open the glass bottle they’ve stuffed themselves in to.
My favorite thing about Twenties is Jonica “Jojo” T. Gibbs. She’s a star in the making and with Twenties being her first acting project ever, I’m thoroughly impressed with her. Her personification of Lena is something to behold, but she’s not just trying to act like Lena Waithe, Ms. Gibbs takes the character of Hattie and turns her into a person of her own. While Lena may be the blueprint for Hattie, it’s Jonica that gives her life and wings to make her soar above everyone else. With her perfect comedic timing and expressive face, it’s easy to root for Jojo. I want to see her shine, not only in Twenties but in everything she chooses to do with her now budding career.
In just an hour, Twenties has established itself as the best new scripted show of 2020. In making history by being the first masculine lesbian led show on BET, Twenties not only gives us something we’ve never seen before but it also supplies the kind of laid back, funny and easy vision many of us have been asking for. Not all Black content needs to be struggle, despair, and happiness that only comes from suffering. We deserve to be able to laugh and relate to the simple things, like how many of us are lactose intolerant and how our friends can check us but not in front of random outside the friend group company. Marie’s constant dragging of Hattie because she wants her to be the best she can be, shows up in a lot of Black women’s friends. We all have that one friend that is dedicated to speaking nothing but light and love like Nia. Many of us are Hattie, just trying to chase after a dream that we want so badly we’re willing to do anything for it. Twenties has the potential to be a show that’s long talked about after it ends, in five seasons or so.
Tune in to Twenties on BET every Wednesday night at 10pm
P.S- Danyi is an up and coming author, chasing their own dreams like Hattie. They’re trying to publish some books and need help making that happen. Please donate to their Cashapp or Venmo! CashApp: $danyi13 || Venmo: itsjustdanyi