And you thought your family was dysfunctional.
I love this show.
Wait. What? *head thunk*
That wasn’t supposed to happen. Last spring we did a Popmatic Podcast episode about Empire, even though none of us had ever watched it. I figured I take the bullet and binged all 12 episodes of Season One in a weekend (thanks for the Free Viewing Weekend, Comcast), so that someone would know what we were talking about. I liked it, but it made me VERY thankful that I no longer work in the music business. At that point, I wasn’t in love with the show, but when Season Two came out on DVD, I at least wanted to check back in on the Lyon family and see how they were doing.
And that’s how they got me. Now I’m hooked.
I think Season Two got better because it embraced its soap opera-ness. I have watched soap operas (on CBS, thank you) with my mom since I was old enough to know what they were. And Empire tries to be cool, but at its heart it is a soap opera. In one episode, the oldest brother moves his pregnant wife into a big, new mansion with a very grand staircase. As I was watching this, I thought to myself, “Yep…someone’s gonna fall down those stairs.” And then sure enough, about an episode and a half later, they did. I can’t even say SPOILER ALERT, because, come on. You knew it was gonna happen. I’m waiting for the evil Russian cloned twin to really make my Empire life complete.
My favorite part about the show is the dynamo that is Cookie Lyon. Played by Taraji P. Henson, Cookie is my new, modern day Scarlett O’Hara. Without standing in a turnip patch and shaking her fist at the sky, Cookie seems to have adopted Scarlett’s raison d’etre: “As God as my witness, they’re not gonna to lick me. If I have to lie, steal, cheat, or kill, as God as my witness, I’ll never be hungry [or without a record label] again.” She is rowdy and I like her. I don’t want to be her, but I appreciate her chutzpah.
That was for co-creator and executive producer, Danny Strong. Who knew that Paris Gellar’s* boyfriend would create and write a show like Empire?
If you haven’t watched, be warned: once you start you won’t want to stop. Oh, and the music’s good too.
*Yep, that's a Gilmore Girls reference. You're welcome.