Words by CineMasai
Premium cable channel Starz has a hit on its hands with “Survivor’s Remorse,” the new dramedy about a basketball player named Cam Calloway (Jessie T. Usher) who moves his extended family to the city of Atlanta on the heels of a multi-million dollar contract with an unnamed NBA team. In just three episodes, the show has transcended its “Entourage, but with athletes” status and covered a lot of ground, proving to be both a gritty deconstruction of celebrity culture behind closed doors and a boldly irreverent family-focused comedy in its own right. We’re officially halfway through the season and Starz recently ordered a 10-episode second season, so now’s as good a time as any to go over some reasons why you should be watching “Survivor’s Remorse.”
1) It’s executive produced by LeBron James
The basketball giant’s seal of approval is definitely enough for me. He’s been involved with the show from day one and his life served as partial inspiration for the show in the first place. The show allegedly doesn’t make any direct parallels with James’ life, but truth does tend to be stranger than fiction.
2)The cast has great chemistry
Usher’s great as the naive but confidant Cam, but the rest of the family is even more entertaining together. Tichnia Arnold as no-nonsense mother Cassie, Mike Epps as Julius, the uncle with a taste for the high life, Erica Ash as the flippantly shameless M-Chuck, RonReaco Lee as cousin/manager Reggie, and Teyonah Parris as Reggie’s big-money wife Missy wring a lot out of the celebrity family experience, whether they’re fawning over allowance checks or beating each other with Hot Wheels race tracks.
3) The comedy’s not afraid to get pitch-black
This show is primarily a comedy, but it’s not afraid to use comedy as a vehicle to travel some dark patches of road. The show isn’t called “Survivor’s Remorse” for nothing, as we’re treated to watching Cam and Reggie be blackmailed with sensitive video from their past, or how Cam’s severe reluctance to visit a comatose boy in the hospital comes back to bite him when he awakens and asks for more than Cam and the Make-A-Wish-like company are selling. It’s not afraid to go dark to prove its points.
4) Characters are layered and flawed
The Calloways are our main focus, but that doesn’t mean that any of them are angels. All six of them are brought down to Earth by their various issues and hang-ups, and more often than not their respective neuroses drive the plot; Cassie’s red carpet blunder where she shamelessly brags about beating Cam with Hot Wheels tracks as a kid leading to a hasty PR cleanup in the second episode or Cam and Reggie dealing with the fallout from a blatantly racist videotape from their past falling into the wrong hands are two highlights so far.
5) It’s about way more than just basketball
The show may revolve around a basketball player and be executive produced by one, but if ball’s not your thing, have no fear. The show itself is more about the life celebrities and their respective families lead behind closed doors, a young superstar of the court and his family constantly being reminded that even with millions of dollars, they’re still human after all.