It’s a bold move for a show in part produced by LeBron James to have its fourth episode titled “The Decisions.”*
*To anyone who may not get the reference, congratulations: you’re not from Cleveland and you probably have a much happier life than I do.
“The Decisions” has to be quite good to make up for its frankly distasteful title (Ok, ok, I’ll stop. He’s back now. Everything’s going to alright.). Thankfully, “The Decisions” is…save for one aspect.
I’ve always suspected that one of the reasons comedies seem to be “graded” much differently from dramas is the former’s “throw it all the wall and see what sticks mentality.” Generally speaking, comedies are much more invested in the A, B and C storyline model. Rarely will all three storylines succeed and rarely will all three fail, meaning that watching a full season of a half hour comedy can be a smooth trip of generally good but never great or generally mediocre but never awful entertainment.
“The Decisions” ancillary plotlines of Reggie finding a country club and Reggie and Cam deciding not to sign with Under Armour* are entertaining to stellar. It’s the “A” plot of Cam’s “decision” on selecting a church that’s a complete misfire.
*File this under: “The writers of Survivor’s Remorse are Pop and Sports Culture Wizards.” Under Armour really did swing for the fences this summer in trying to sign their first NBA superstar, Kevin Durant. Much like Cam Calloway, Durant wasn’t feeling it.
That’s start with what works: Ernie Johnson. Oh my God, Ernie Johnson. Reggie’s delighted, tipsy delivery of “Ernie?!?!?” says it all. The NBA, more than any other sports league in North America has an inordinate amount of personalities who upon seeing them, make you chuckle and say “Wow, I can’t believe they got Ernie Johnson/Nick Young/Damian Lillard/Detlef Schrepf/etc.” The NBA is also a charming inversion of America’s racial demographics which, when handled correctly like how Survivor’s Remorse does, can lead to truly funny observations about race and not the usual eye-rolling or uncomfortable.
Reggie’s delight at finding a historically black country club is downright infectious, plus the “oldest black-owned country club in America being 11 years old” fake out is undoubtedly one of the funniest things on TV this week. And the country clubbers turning down Reggie’s application for being a little too excited about Ernie as a novelty is perfect.
The episode also ends in an interesting, emotionally truthful place with Cam and Reggie deciding to turn down the Under Armour contract, based on their days’ experiences.
The only issue is it’s not fully clear how Cam learned his lesson of trust from his “A” plot because it’s such a baffling mess.
Cam is making the rounds of Atlanta’s local churches to find the right one. This starts solidly enough with the implication that even as something as personal as this is yet another political decision. Cam has to find the church that he both likes the best and will also reflect well on him.
Problem is, the church that Cam likes is decidedly homophobic, and Cam is not…plus he loves his sister.*
*As we all do. If Survivor’s Remorse is to be canceled, as seems likely due to poor ratings, I hope Erica Ash finds something else where she can speak very loudly and be just as athletically imposing.
With this knowledge in mind, it’s just hard to imagine Cam sticking around to convince the priest to change his ways for any reason other than the show having Cam learn a Very Important Lesson. To the show’s credit, he ultimately does and it makes the Under Armour plot slightly stronger but at the cost of 5 or so minutes of bad farcical physical comedy.
Still for as disastrous as Cam’s misadventures are, they can’t sink a watchable episode of a decent comedy, even if it is called “The Decisions.”