“Survivor’s Remorse” recap (1.1): Movin’ on Up

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Survivor’s Remorse is a six-episode series that follows young basketball phenom Cam Calloway as he navigates sudden fame and fortune after signing a multi-million dollar contract with a professional basketball team in Atlanta. Along for the ride is his cousin and manager, Reggie, his mother Cassie, his uncle Julius and his sister, Mary Charles aka M-Chuck.

Cast Selfie

Cast Selfie

M-Chuck is an out and proud lesbian played by Erica Ash, a former cast member of The Big Gay Sketch Show. As Cam’s older sister, life-long defender and biggest fan, she is suspicious of the traps of fame that threaten to ensnare her younger brother. Ash describes her character as a “no-nonsense, tell it like it is, brass tacks, tough as nails lesbian who is unapologetic about who she is.” Indeed, we get a taste of her blunt and bold personality in the very the first episode of the season.

Erica Ash as M-Chuck

Erica Ash as M-Chuck

The episode opens with Cam and his best friend and advisor, Reggie touring a high-rise luxury apartment in Atlanta with a real estate agent. As they walk out onto the massive rooftop deck, Cam says he wants the apartment. Reggie cautions him to sleep on it, after all Cam doesn’t even know how much they are asking for the place. But Cam knows what he wants and he knows he can afford it. Cam breaks out into some classic Michael Jackson moves to celebrate his new found success.

In Boston, Cassie Calloway is supervising a moving crew while drinking a Fresca and waiting for her son Cam’s press conference to begin on television. The journalist on screen gives us the backstory:

Cam went pro last year as an undrafted free agent, but was only earning the league minimum on his Memphis-based team. Even so, he was able to move his mother out of the projects and into a house and move his sister, M-chuck out to Tennessee to be with him. Now, after an amazing rookie year, Cam has signed a contract with a new team, which makes him a multi-millionaire, and his new team a championship contender for the first time in years. A lot is riding on his success.

Cam takes the stage at the press conference and begins his speech by acknowledging his humble beginnings. In the audience M-Chuck sits next to cousin Reggie making jabs about how canned the speech he wrote for Cam sounds. Yet, they both shut up when Cam moves on to talk about his supportive family and his desire to make Atlanta home for himself and the four people who mean the most to him. He thanks his mother for not aborting him and thanks his sister for making him the shooter that he is during their many one-on-one games growing up. He thanks his Uncle Julius for giving him “uncommon” sense and thanks his cousin Reggie for being his best friend. As Cam begins to tear up, M-Chuck looks appalled, “He’s gonna blubber like a little bitch! Watch!”

M-Chuck with Reggie
M-Chuck with Reggie

I expected Cam to bust out with Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” at any moment:

Started from the bottom, now we’re here
Started from the bottom, now my whole team’s fucking here.
Started from the bottom, now we’re here
Started from the bottom, now my whole team’s fucking here.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), that never happens.

Instead, Cam heads off stage amid applause and immediately boards a private jet with his family to Los Angeles in order to attend the Espy’s award show. Cam and his family seem to be adjusting to their new lifestyle well. M-Chuck and Uncle Julius take a nap in the comfortable, reclining chairs while Cam and Reggie debate whether or not to put rims on his Astin Martin. The debate escalates to a full on fight and all the yelling wakes up Julius and M-Chuck.

“Yo, shut the fuck up!” says M-Chuck. “Listen you’re not the Fresh Prince,” Uncle Julius tells Cam. To Reggie he says, “And you’re not Carlton!” M-Chuck laughs. “Yes, he is!”

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