Words by by Nicole Lovett
I’d seen some clips of Chewing Gum floating about the internet, but I never sat down to watch it on Netflix. The British comedy sitcom debuted in the UK back in 2015, and came to Netflix October 2016.
I’m not a huge fan of raunchy, outlandish TV shows–which is exactly what Chewing Gum is–but within five minutes into the first episode, I knew I’d love it.
The show stars Michaela Coal (who is also the mastermind behind the show) as Tracey Gordon, a 24 year old shop assistant–and virgin. During the first episode, you quickly understand that Tracey is from deeply religious family, knows close to nothing about sex, but desperately wants to have it with her arguably more religious boyfriend.
Throughout the first episode, you get a feel for the bold main character–Tracey is weird and ridiculous in her antics to get what she wants, she breaks the third wall often to joke and converse to the audience, and she unabashedly loves sex. You laugh with her through her trials and childish yet relentless nature.
Those who love Atlanta’s quirkiness and strange scenes will love Chewing Gum for the same reason. Chewing Gum also give commentary to social issues that aren’t always brought to light in the mainstream such as consent, sex education, and the balancing act people from religious communities manage with the rest of the world.
It is also important to note that there are not many dark-skinned black women in comedy–more often than not, black women are mocked as the joke. Tracey Gordon is the joke, sure, but you find yourself cheering with her and urging her to make the best decision in her life. She’s a mess, she’s childish, but she is still written as a complex character.
Can black women be strong, capable, and independent women? Of course they can. But Chewing Gum shows that they can also be vulnerable, strange and weird as fuck–and that’s important to remember too.
Nicole Lovett is a writer from Oakland, CA. She is the editor in chief of marginsmagazine.com. You can find her on Instagram @thebosseditor and on Twitter @mynameislovett