This weekend, two new series have arrived on the BBC iPlayer. One American, the other Welsh; Both lead strong women to tell unknown stories. Other than that, they have nothing in common
Nora from Aukwafina Queens (Published Sunday, ☆☆) The rapper, comedian and actress Aukwafina is starring in a semi-fictional version of growing up in New York when she was still a simple old Nora Lam.
Preliminary details of the show are true of her original upbringing: Nora lives with her sparky grandmother (Laurie Tan Chin) and lonely father (BD Wang) in an apartment in Queens District, where she is trying to figure out what to do with her life.
The 2-year-old fictional Nora has a lazy mentality associated with the expectation of the confusing work imagined through the weeds and the shaking of the Red Bull. When his father started studying to use Savage Valley to play on his computer all night while he was sleeping at his desk, he calmly expressed his feelings:
Dad: I hate it when you use my computer.
Nora: Dad! We discussed it, you know what I’m using for it.
Dad: To play a successful tutti game.
Nora: No! For sending emails and applying for jobs.
Dad: Oh, what job?
Nora: Editor-in-Chief of the Miami Herald, music supervisor of Stranger Things, attorney for the City of Trenton.
Dad [with a delivery as dry as the Arizona desert]: These are not effective jobs.
When non-PC grandma isn’t involved, the show makes everything more fun than fun. The scene in which he fights with an elderly, Snooty Korean woman in Atlantic City is a classic.
Insults are traded, racist stereotypes are exchanged, and iPads are forcibly unplugged as two older women confront each other in support of their respective OP crews. Grandma dies by security, just to meet Nora, who has also been expelled.
Nora: Grandma, what happened?
Grandma: After I picked up a fight with some Koreans … I was kicked.
Nora: Did you try to start an inter-Asian war there?
Grandma: Oh yes, they make good soap operas I will give them.
Nora: You know I’m half Korean, don’t you?
Grandma: Well, yes girl, yes.
Anyone who has seen the 2012 hit song My Wag on YouTube knows that Aukwafina is a genius. Or, at the very least, extremely talented. She was great at Crazy Rich Asians (2018) and exceptional at The Farewell (2019) for which she became the first woman of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress. He has a screen presence like Keith Richards ’new teeth, which is to say that he really stands out.
These make his new sitcom a bit disappointing. While his extended-reality life as an Asian American in New York has extended his life, the whole show seems stagnant and traditionally theatrical.
The jokes hit a simple target rather than revealing the truth of the house in a script written by an actress who runs a zone that equates to watching a bunch of Lewis Hamilton horse racing kids – she still looks great but didn’t get your pulse racing right. The show has seemed a bit unfocused in recent episodes, but Aukwafina is much better.
Hell on Wheels (Released earlier this week, ☆ ☆) Lead is also proud of a charismatic woman who, like Nora’s grandmother, doesn’t mind going to two-two trying to score an over with someone. In fact, this kid kid spends most of his time in this great documentary series about the rise and fall of the roller derby as his international time.
We are told that Kid has achieved some of the gifts that sports give, including representing England in two World Cups. We see him play with the Tigers Bay Brawlers in Wales to get fit, he is a team he has rejoined as captain and coach after a successful match with the country’s top London roller derby.
Kidd is the top from the bottom of his roller-skate to his crash-hat He easily admits that not all teams are betis, they are a family in a bond of love and loyalty. And they have work to do, which is to become the champion of Europe from the champion of Wales. It’s great to ask a group that suffered some crash damage, but nothing is possible in Kid’s responsibility.
And so we follow his band of 5th 11 Roller Derby stars and colorful women for glory. Whatever it is, Mill is a run sports documentary.
Other than that, the run-off-match is nothing about Kid or his team. They are billed as “misfits” in their opening credits, but as the cut-off mini-portraits of the main players make clear, they are not outsiders at all, they are just trying to find a way through the complexities of modern human life.
The players, not the game, are the real story, the growing popularity of the roller derby as a big sport and created by women, which is a dramatic tool for exploring the lives of Kid, Jane, Kim et al.
The balance between the coverage of the mill and the personal profiles has been well struck by matching the pitch-side interview with the internal momentum of the team through the filmed training sessions.
The game sometimes looks cruel and confusing but the basic rules are reinterpreted by explaining each episode. From what I understand the roller derby matches are held indoors, on a wooden floor court, and it is held in a wide oval tramline.
A nominee from two of the five on-court players whose job it is to stop his opponent as quickly as possible (somewhat like a rounder), the other four try to block the attacker’s progress. Body slam, broken bones and rapid crushes occur. This is the very definition of the game of complete communication.
Off court is a different matter. The Roller Derby has nurtured an apparently inclusive, supportive environment, where everyone is welcome. When the self-styled Nitro-Jane suffered a mental breakdown a few years after becoming a successful chef, she emailed him to join Tiger Bay Brawler and asked if “trans was the problem.” The response was “absolutely no problem … you want more than welcome”. It changed his life.
In reality, the roller derby seems to have come at the right time for all the players as the Tiger Bay Brewers move on to their dream of winning the glory of the tournament. I’m not sure I’ll be a season ticket holder, but if they do another series of Hell on Wheels, I’ll take the front row seat.
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