In light of the political moment, a little bit of escapism is just what the doctor ordered. You’ll find that and more in the delightful 2013 UK comedy Chewing Gum, released on Netflix this October. Led by the endearing Michaela Coel, the show is a fun opportunity to engage with a young woman inexperienced in life and love but determined to make her way.
Chewing Gum centers on 24 -year-old Tracey and her misadventures after she decides to lose her virginity and embrace her sexuality. In episode 1, she tries to convince her boyfriend, Ronald, to sleep with her since, although they have been together for five years, they have remained chaste. Tracey, with the assistance of her more worldly best friend Candice, as well as the other characters around her housing complex, decides to convince him to do the deed, and more than a few issues arise.
Chewing Gum gets the nerves and excitement around navigating sex just right. Although much in Tracey’s life attempts to shut down or curb her sexuality—an uninterested boyfriend, a family that is oppressively (and, at times, hilariously) religious—she just goes for it and ultimately finds a willing partner in her goofy neighbor Connor, who likes Tracey just the way she is and has no qualms about exploring sex with her.
Chewing Gum is such a pleasure to watch and also listen to, with great British slang sprinkled in with cockney accents and crazy situations. The fast paced dialogue enhances the watching experience, as viewers try to keep up with the jokes and commentary.
Tracey is funny and Tracey is black, and, although the show has moments of anti-blackness (especially when Tracey’s lighter skinned boyfriend makes fun of her dark skin tone), Tracey is just allowed to be herself. She’s not saving the world, holding it all together or trying to spread some social justice message. She’s just a young woman who wants to do her thing.
Photo Credits: E4