The Breezy Content of "Survivor's Remorse" Doesn't Fit its Somber Title Review

With Straight Outta Compton fresh on everybody’s minds and further stuffing Hollywood’s happily filled wallets, it will be interesting to see what becomes of Survivor’s Remorse’s growing fanbase when it returns for a recently announced third season on Starz. An unapologetic mashup of HBO’s Ballers and Entourage (someone at Starz really wants Starz to be HBO), the show from Executive Producer LeBron James, doesn’t offer anything fresh, but the viewing audience seems to like the repackaging.

Cam Calloway (Jessie T. Usher) is a young baller from the tough part of Boston who signs a lucrative contract to play for Atlanta. The show picks up as he relocates his *ahem* entourage to a swanky new penthouse, sharing his meteoric rise with his crass mother, Cassie (Tichina Arnold), his wheeling-and-dealing manager/cousin Reggie (RonReaco Lee), his groupie uncle Julius (Mike Epps), and his manipulative sister Mary Charles (Erica Ash). With the same pornographic depiction of wealth customary to Vince, Drama, E, and Turtle, the show makes no effort to live up to its title, which seems to suggest a more dramatic undertone, instead reveling in the debauchery and misdeeds of a family from modest beginnings thrust into the extravagant spotlight.

With a pilot that has Cam’s reputation on the line for racist home videos from his childhood that fall into the wrong hands of an old neighborhood heavy, to his mother proudly proclaiming she used to beat him for punishment in a red-carpet interview, the jokes rely heavily on a collision of two worlds; an unrefined, immoral bounty of excess trying to disguise itself from the public eye. There are undoubtedly humorous moments, but in the same way that Straight Outta Compton was held accountable for allegedly skirting issues of abuse against women, it’s hard to swallow Survivor’s Remorse as the airy sitcom Starz insists it is.

The title alone makes one wonder if the creators hoped to deal with deeper issues of personal and socioeconomic responsibility--of the adverse effects of fame and fortune on the impressionable or the greater significance of choice and integrity in living a good, purposeful life--but ultimately gave in to a brasher, lewder, and simpler narrative, fitting a mold HBO milked for eight seasons and one lackluster movie. It’s not exactly the same, but Survivor’s Remorse isn’t exactly more of the different either. Then again, Entourage was about the most embarrassingly white-washed depiction of Los Angeles in recent memory, so maybe Survivor’s Remorse’s real significance is as simple as the casting.

DVD Bonus Features

Just a brief meet-the-team promo running in at just over five minutes, including cast and creative interviews about the show.

"Survivor's Remorse: Season 1" is on sale June 16, 2015 and is not rated. Comedy, Sports. Written by Mike O'Malley. Starring Erica Ash, Mike Epps, Tichina Arnold.

Kyle North • Staff Writer


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