Or Nah? is a feature where we watch and review the first episode of a new TV show. We’ll let you know if it’s worth checking out. As always, these reviews are the opinion of the reviewer, but we’ll try to adequately explain why you should or shouldn’t give the show a chance and provide shows for comparison.
What’s it about?
Desna is the owner and operator of Nail Artisans of Manatee County, a dated nail salon in a slowly dying shopping plaza. She has a crew of her best ladies working at the salon along with a new girl who has questionable motives and poor fashion sense. Desna has her eyes set on something bigger and better than her currently dated space. She just has to make one more run for the Dixie Mafia and she’ll finally have the deposit for her dream salon.
Because all bad deeds go don’t go unpunished, this last run earns her a tenth of what she was promised; a promise made between her and her boyfriend Roller, a young white boy channeling everything that was wrong with white rappers in the ’90s. Roller isn’t worth a damn, because anyone named after a hair appliance can’t be trusted and he’s also the son of the Dixie Mafia boss. While Desna gets $3k for her troubles, Roller earned a multi-million dollar Oceanside home. This does not sit well with Desna and by the end of the episode Roller is dead… not by the hands of our leading lady, but not for lack of trying.
Niecy Nash (Reno 911, Scream Queens) brings Desna to life in a way only she can. Desna is a smart, gorgeous, sexy, bold leader of this motley crew made up of: Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Carrie Preston (True Blood), Jenn Lyon (Justified), and newcomer Karrueche Tran.
The characters, all of them, even the ones you hate. I cannot say enough about Niecy Nash, but I’ve also been a fan since her days on Clean House. Desna could easily be a one-note character, but with a muddy past and present paired with a complicated home life (she cares for her adult brother who may have different learning abilities) that’s not the case. Niecy takes Desna from beguiling to vulnerable in a few quick scenes. Judy Reyes utters less than 10 words in the entire episode, but her portrayal of Quiet Ann is a standout. Reyes plays a lesbian nail technician, and the muscle for Desna’s salon, who is armed with tightly braided hair, freckles, a baseball bat, and a penchant for starting the day with some bachata. Carrie Preston always gives a solid performance even if this character seems very similar to Arlene from True Blood.
Karrueche Tran has few acting credits on her IMDB so I didn’t know what to expect. Her portrayal of the quick-tempered and problematic Virginia was a pleasant surprise.
The interactions between the ladies feel real. You may even have a friend like these women; one of them may install your weave.
Costuming – each character has a specific style that matches their personality. Niecy Nash’s cleavage, butt, legs, everything. I mean look at her.
The murder plotline has a short life unless they manage to get rid of the Dixie Mafia mob boss (Dean Norris). The deceit required to maintain the secret surrounding Roller’s death isn’t going to hold up.
I referred to this as guilty pleasure TV after watching the first 10 minutes of the show, but it is more than that; it is a well-acted crime dramedy. It’s a good summer show that didn’t feel like filler.
Watch This If You Like
True Blood, Orange is the New Black, Weeds