Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Television Tuesday: "The Vince Staples," Show is Short but Superb

"The Vince Staples Show," is a Netflix production starring a semi-fictionalized version of rapper/actor/entrepreneur, Vince Staples. At only five episodes which are as brief as 18 minutes or a little under a half hour, you can binge the whole show in the time it would take to watch most movies. That's okay, although some glowing reviews observed with a little disappointment how the show, "...feels like an appetizer that only scratches the surface." As for what, "The Vince Staples Show," could be categorized as, it features episodes that mostly stand-alone but with little callbacks as Vince navigates life as someone somewhat famous and somewhat wealthy in a vaguely absurdist and off-kilter Los Angeles.

"The Vince Staples Show," takes place in reality, but not. Things happen that are a bit surreal and just plain off. Whether its a theme park mascot taking offense to Vince bumping into him while he tries to find an open restaurant within the park or a bank robbery that takes a humorous turn when the robbers recognize Vince as a friend, weird shit just kind of happens around Vince and he does his best to attempt to roll with it. I've heard comparisons to, "Atlanta," and its sometimes fantastical elements, but I think a lot of folks are bringing that show up as both it and, "The Vince Staples Show," involve rappers who are also actors. If anything, "The Vince Staples Show," reminds me of, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," a comparison my wife, Samii, stated too when we were watching the show. Just like the characters on that show, Vince often has an idea or goal, and has to go through a bunch of people or obstacles in an attempt to achieve what he's after (Vince is at the aforementioned bank trying to get a loan for a cereal idea, for example). 

Vince ends up knowing the robbers at the bank he's trying to get a loan from.

On, "Sunny," it is often a scheme that the gang of characters is trying to enact to the detriment of others, but Vince is less of a malignant force than anyone on, "Sunny," even if he clearly is by no means a hero as his show makes clear. He's just kind of there, putting up with weird shit happening the best he can. Sometimes that means assisting his mother at a family reunion as she attempts to find out who else brought Mac & Cheese in an attempt to show her up. Sometimes that means running for his life when an old schoolmate with a relatively unexplained grudge tries to hunt him down around town. "The Vince Staples Show," and, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," share some formatting, and both are darkly hilarious, but Vince's show is also its own unique and weird beast.

You don't need to watch every episode of, "The Vince Staples Show," in one sitting. You can, but I watched it in pieces over a chunk of days and enjoyed it just as much as if I'd binged the program. It is a fantastic show with the third and fourth episodes being my favorite (the family reunion and trip to the theme park). The first episode is actually the weakest, in my opinion, meandering a bit with Vince locked up briefly with some odd characters after getting pulled over for speeding. It's not a bad start to the show by any means, it is just that everything else fires on all cylinders after that slightly awkward kick-off. Overall, however, this short debut season I'd rate 5 out of 5 stars. I hope we get more (and possibly longer) seasons!

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