So I finished Chewing Gum series 2 in one sitting Sunday afternoon. I sat alone in my house, scream laughing at my television as Tracey seductively danced in a homeless shelter’s bathroom before vomiting all over her now ex-boyfriend. I haven’t laughed that genuinely since Happy Endings. Not only is it HIGHlarious, but the genius that is Michaela Coel writes all of it herself, flexing the totality of her #BlackGirlMagic. The tale of London’s last two virgins and their misadventures is witty, heart-warming and flourishes a spectacular latter 90s and early 2000s soundtrack.
The show picked up right where series one left off: Tracey and Connor leaving their mothers to find love in a hopeless place. Unfortunately, things don’t work there. Heartbroken Tracey returns to her mother’s flat seeking forgiveness, to rekindle her relationship with bestie Candice, and to finally have some man remove the virgin tag holding her chastity belt. Of course her journey to achieve these goals entails comical missteps.
While series one gave us mostly laughs, we received major character development along with the chuckles. Story arcs with Tracey’s mother showed her in a different light, and Candice’s position near the end humanizes her beautifully. You sympathize for the white welfare queens, root for Cynthia although she’s more disturbed than Tracey. And while we’re supposed to hate Connor, we don’t because he’s a nice guy, which Tracey eventually sees.
In addition to fully developed characters, Coel brilliantly addresses social ills left and right better than Insecure. The inclusive cast enables points to attack liberal racism, homophobia, classism, religious bigotry, unfair beauty standards and toxic masculinity, all while never sacrificing the funny or the show’s internal feminist rhythm. Ola and Aaron’s arcs reflect two different kind of black male stories we rarely see. Even Ron’s vindictiveness is refreshing as a black gay character. I even caught slight shade to America’s head of state and the sickening phobia of other that’s risen in his wake.
I hate that it’s over, but I rather have a shortened season that’s great, than a 10-plus series with only six decent episodes. Chewing Gum is available on Netflix now.