Pomme belongs on TV – this show is too good not to show it to the world!
The distinctive humour of Awkward Black Girl is echoed in the work of Toronto’s Liza Paul and Bahia Watson, the actor/writers behind the Fringe Festival play Pomme is French for Apple. The show invokes the dialects, societal nuances and sexual stigmas of the West Indies and its diaspora, with Watson and Paul assuming a range of personas, from oral-phobic church lady to clueless, fellatio-obsessed dude.
Pomme is sex-positive and queer-friendly without being polarizing or, worse, pedantic. (There is a Ryan Gosling scene.) Confronting the idea that across cultures and ages, the vagina endures as an object of fear and control, it manages to be disorientingly funny. The braveness of the humour is evident in the playwrights’ online rap spoof about menstruation called I Flow Heavy
Will The Mindy Project step up to that level of self-awareness? There’s a scene in the first episode where Mindy fields a potential patient who’s nine months pregnant and Muslim, afterward reprimanding her receptionist with the line, “This office isn’t an inflatable raft.” Like Dunham’s Hannah Horvath, maybe Mindy (character and writer) can’t see beyond herself. Anyone can be myopic, after all.
But a more satisfying antidote is J, the bumbling, misanthropic lead on The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl – a popular, YouTube-based web show. Played by series creator Issa Rae, J is a black nerd: She has a shaved head, can’t dance, loves rap, wears frumpy separates to a mundane office job, and is clueless about men. (“What do white people listen to when they have sex? What would ’90s Nia Long do?” J muses, while mustering the nerve to seduce a new white boyfriend.)