Season 1, Episode 1
This is a First Look Review of ABC’s The Mayor starring Brandon Michael Hall, Lea Michelle, Yvette Nicole Brown, Bernard David Jones and Marcel Spears.
Come and see me where I live, mane.
Pilots are very hard to make without alienating or overloading the viewer with extraneous information. Exposition is important to get a grasp of what the audience can expect. However, it could come at a cost to proper story elements and dialogue. The Mayor’s initial pilot script presents loads of clunky exposition yet it ultimately reveals itself to a sweet tale of a kid trying to make it in the entertainment industry while trying to make his neighborhood a better place to live.
Brandon Michael Hall stars as Courtney Rose, a blossoming local rapper who uses his new mayoral campaign to promote his latest mixtape. He’s from the other side of the tracks in a town whose citizens don’t realize there is an “other side.” The short of it is Cortney wins the election and is joined by his political rival turned friend Valentina Barella (Lea Michelle), mother (Yvette Nicole Brown) and friends (Bernard David Jones and Marcel Spears). This cast is beyond exceptional. Each line is delivered with care and devotion; the jokes are sold in such a way that is believable to their character. The way Brown sits Hall down (TWICE) for pep talks is beautiful. He’s going to need a real adult in his life that can help guide him in the right direction.
Script work is important here too. As stated before, the pilot is exposition heavy. That’s to be expected but The Mayor – along with several other new pilots this season – is especially so. During some points, the characters literally say lines describing stuff that should have/be happing on screen. Distraction doesn’t begin to describe the feeling of hearing these words fly out of their mouths. Show creator Jeremy Bronson also wrote this episode. Points won’t be knocked off for him wanting action to happen quickly because the show is special but this is a big no-no.
Speaking of the sequence of events, hats off to Bronson for allowing Courtney to win the election early on. Now, episodes can focus on his non-political prowess and want of being a rapper. One element Bronson tackles early on is giving Courtney a Sophie’s Choice of a decision to make by having him throw a park cleanup party during a coveted 8 PM stage spot on the other side of town. He makes the wrong choice and the disappointment among his team is very well captured.
Should you watch The Mayor?
It has a great cast and a solid start. Watch this show.