‘One Mississippi’ Is a Darkly Comedic Southern Treasure

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Season 2 of the semi-autobiographical dark comedy based on lesbian comic Tig Notaro’s life was released in all its glory on Amazon Prime this month. If you missed the premiere season of this special, sharply written show last year, fear not, as both seasons can be binged in just under six hours. Each season contains six 25-minute episodes that follow Tig back to Bay Saint Lucille in Mississippi after her mother falls ill and passes way.

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Tig struggles with coming to terms with her mother’s death and realizes Caroline wasn’t always who her family thought, all while Tig navigates a unique relationship with her stepfather and brother and takes steps to recover from a double mastectomy and C-Diff. Tig works through all of these issues and more on her radio show, where she and her producer Kate discuss issues of sexual molestation and LGBT rights in between hand-picked songs that are relevant to each story.

If the premise sounds devastating, well, it is, but with Tig injecting her dry humor at every turn, it’s also pitch black and morbidly funny. While the first season focuses largely on Tig’s journey of grief and the uphill health battles she faces, season two takes a drastically different turn, largely due to the results of the 2016 presidential election. Politics is injected into every episode, from early in the premier of the season when the citizens of the town have decided to rename Martin Luther King, Jr. Day “Great Americans Day.” (The reasoning behind this change is to also recognize Robert E. Lee’s birthday, whom they all revere as a great man in his own right.) You would almost think this episode was created in response to the events of Charlottesville rather than before it even happened.

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Tig’s brother Remy is a high school teacher who also spends his free time as part of a group that reenacts the events of the Civil War, because as we all know, history would just erase itself if we didn’t celebrate the losing side of a war fought around the right to treat people of color as personal property. Remy tries to start a relationship with Vicki, a Vietnamese woman who also participates in Civil War club. However, Vicki has zero tolerance for the misogynistic rhetoric between Remy and his friends, the former of whom claims he didn’t vote in the election.

When Remy claims not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, Vicki calls him ignorant, so he recovers by dating a woman from his church who thinks it’s a compliment for a man to make an unsolicited, crude comment about her ass. Remy’s new live-in girlfriend sells her breast milk online. In Bay Saint Lucille, Robert E. Lee is a hero, pigs are slaughtered in hair salons, homophobia runs rampant, and everyone is trying to survive instead of thrive.

In Bay Saint Lucille, Robert E. Lee is a hero, pigs are slaughtered in hair salons, homophobia runs rampant, and everyone is trying to survive instead of thrive.

The second episode of season two contains some of the most powerful political moments in any series I’ve seen, as Tig’s stepfather is rushed to the emergency room after an accident, and the hospital happens to be one of private, Christian ownership. As Tig rushes to the hospital in the middle of a first date to visit her stepfather Bill, the receptionist refuses to let her pass through and instead orders her to leave because of her sexuality. In the middle of the altercation, Tig abruptly insists that she’s straight, and in the face of the receptionist’s stubborn perplexity, Tig reminds her that her Christian beliefs are founded on the premise of homosexuality as a choice before scampering through the doors in victory.

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One Mississippi doesn’t shy away from controversy, but weaves it effortlessly into the narrative of Tig’s life. She was molested as a child, so the series resurfaces issues of molestation and sexual harassment throughout the series. Where Season 1 culminates in Tig’s revelation of the details of her childhood molestation, Season 2 focuses more heavily on current forms of harassment that might be more subtle, but are still just as damaging.

Her coworker (and “will they or won’t they” love interest), Kate faces a troubling sexual harassment incident within their workplace, and the way it’s handled is startlingly typical for a male-driven industry.

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Speaking of “will they or won’t they,” come to One Mississippi for the woke handling of current events, and stay for the blossoming of the romance between Tig and Kate. As we watch Tig navigate through the minuscule pond that is the lesbian dating pool in Bay Saint Lucille, we see her fall in with the stereotypical power lesbian, the fiercely anti-label lesbian, and many more, all while the real apple of her eye is watching The L Word while peeking out from under the covers alone in her bedroom. Tig is the mature, self-assured, veteran lesbian, and Kate is the open, fluid friend who is realizing she might have feelings she’s never experienced before. Their budding relationship is nuanced, sometimes frustrating, and the shining beacon of the season.

Tig is the mature, self-assured, veteran lesbian, and Kate is the open, fluid friend who is realizing she might have feelings she’s never experienced before. Their budding relationship is nuanced, sometimes frustrating, and the shining beacon of the season.

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