Words by Nicole Lovett
Chewing Gum is a British comedy sitcom that I, a once oblivious American, raved about some months ago when the first season appeared on Netflix. Why wouldn’t I? The show revolves around the quirky and child-like Tracey Gordon, a 24 year old who has begun to navigate the world of sex and relationships.
When I heard that the second season was available, I immediately inwardly groaned and laughed all at once. What kinds of hilarious problems would Tracey Gordon face now?
Themes from season one still run through the second one: sexuality, religion, promiscuity, and colorism–just to name a few. The second season starts off a few months after the end of the first–Tracey and her boyfriend have broken up, and she tries to make him jealous by pretending to date famous rapper, Stormzy. The flashbacks in that first episode, “WTF Happened?” show Tracey begging Connor for sex in the homeless shelter they lived in, setting up the other five episodes.
And while the first season focused mainly on Tracey learning about sex and figuring out how she felt about it, the second season makes it very clear how positively she feels about it. So naturally, Chewing Gum presents a lot of awkward yet hilarious language around the expectations of sexiness–and sex itself.
So, while this season might not be for the faint of heart, I felt almost comforted by Tracey and Cynthia’s experiences around sex. They are awkward and quirky characters who don’t view their potentially strange flaws as a problem when it comes to sexual interaction, and their confidence, while hilarious and maybe off-putting, was also inspiring to me.
Another thing I appreciated about the season was when Tracey was placed in awkward situations with white men who objectified her. She saw what was happening, recognized her worth, stood up for herself, and left.
Chewing Gum is a hilarious comedy. The characters are hilarious, the dialogue is awkward, and the story can be unbelievable. Yet is succeeds yet again in balancing a good laugh with story lines that pull at your heartstrings and important social commentary that can’t be ignored.
Watching Tracey grow more confident in herself just affirmed that I, an awkward black girl, can be just as confident too.
Nicole Lovett is a writer from Oakland, CA. She is the editor in chief of marginsmagazine.com. You can find her on Instagram and on Twitter: @mynameislovett