Last week, Survivor’s Remorse covered “The Age of Umbrage” – umbrage being a fancy word for offense. Cam, played by Jessie T. Usher, makes a comment about kids with “frozen nostril syndrome” and says that their noses are “f***ed up.” Carnation Stevens, a mouthpiece for the manipulative media, blows the comment out of proportion, naming Cam her “scumbag of the week” and eventually her “scumbag of the month” after she feels that his first apology isn’t genuine. During Cam’s second apology, he calls on Carnation and a Georgia politician, both of whom are capitalizing on Cam’s mistake, to encourage their audiences to speak for the same kids they were defending on social media.
In a way, Cam was “clapping back” at people who are so ready for celebrities to make mistakes that they watch and read into everything. This is the first reason I think “Survivor’s Remorse” is a bad a show. It’s bad that we have a celebrity say something so out of turn that a news anchor, who clearly wanted to exploit Cam’s misstep, had respond. Yes, what Cam did is so bad – although we as a society are the ones truly struggling.
We are so caught in trying to be politically correct that we misconstrue what’s politically incorrect. Although we should filter out hatred, Cam’s message wasn’t indicative of malice. He was mentioning the kids because he was starting a foundation in his late Uncle’s name to help the “f***ed up” kids. It was just that his words got misinterpreted to satisfy someone else’s slant. Mike O’Malley, a show runner, spoke about why he chose that angle for the episode:
“[E]ven if we say something that’s unkind and then we apologize for it, [p]eople just don’t want to ever let anybody forget it. What does that say about us?”
Based on this episode, along with the others, I see that LeBron James, who had the idea for the show, wanted to give average people a peek into the life of an NBA player and this is bad. It’s bad that James is giving us so much access to the exclusive lives of those superstars. It’s bad that he’s starting conversations that Americans don’t think to have, such as, “Are celebrities actually people too?”
This episode highlights the phenomenon where we place celebrities on higher pedestals and rightfully so. Their special skills lead to special restrictions on what they can do and, in Cam’s case, what they can say. What’s actually bad is not that celebrities have fumbles, as we all do, but that their fumbles are broadcast across the internet then across the world so that they’ll know never to make that completely thoughtless mistake again. We take the tiniest of slip-ups and turn them into news. While some celebrities, better yet, some people, do need to be checked for their insolence, we generalize and, because of one celebrities huge mistake, other celebrities are expected to be perfect. Honestly, we could lay off sometimes.
However, the stars themselves aren’t the only ones with standards. The people associated with the stars are held to same standards. Ayesha Curry, wife of Golden State superstar Stephen Curry and mother of their two adorable daughters, has caught heat for her tweets about women’s clothing and about the NBA being rigged. After Curry’s tweets during Game 6, Stephen A. Smith, ESPN commentator, compared her to Savannah James, LeBron’s wife who is more so seen than heard. It’s bad that Mrs. James expresses her opinions in private whereas Ayesha chooses to use Twitter to voice hers. It’s bad that Ayesha Curry has an opinion and brands herself as a person – not just a trophy wife or loving mother but a person who agrees with some things and disagrees with others.
Ayesha’s comments on women’s clothing didn’t rub me the right way, due to the misogyny she inadvertently invoked/endorsed, but I respect that she has established herself as a woman who’s complex enough to have opinions (contrary to misogynistic ideology). Even still, she represents a brand, i.e. Stephen Curry, and, unfortunately for her, she has to be mindful of everything she does and says because, as I said, someone’s always twatching (Tweet watching) and lurking.
James and fellow show runners successfully display the life of an NBA player in a mostly positive, yet still realistic, way, which makes “Survivor’s Remorse” a bad show. It’s bad that they are taking something that we consume so much, celebrity lives and the NBA, and turning it into television for even more consumption. It’s bad that they are showing us what it’s really like to be LeBron James or Stephen Curry.
In all seriousness now, “Survivor’s Remorse” is actually a really great show that breaks down what it’s like to be a professional baller. Really, it’s like “NBA For Dummies.” From the way it showcases overcoming poverty to the way it breaks certain stereotypes by portraying intelligent Black characters, “Survivor’s Remorse” keeps me wanting more. I could list all the ways the show runners give us peeks of NBA life and Cam’s come up but then there would be no motivation for new viewers to tune in! Catch “Survivor’s Remorse” on Starz every Sunday after “Power.”