The second season of Starz comedy series Survivor’s Remorse opens with Cam Calloway (Jessie T. Usher) and his family moving into his gigantic, gaudy new mansion with glee. The intent is clear: Remorse is back and it’s bigger, brighter and better than it was during its inaugural season.
The opening ten minutes of the new season is overtly comedic, including everything from poop jokes to a Minecraft gag, and those scenes greatly highlight what was the best quality of the series’ first season. The comedy is where Mike Epps as Cam’s uncle Julius and Erica Ash as his sister M-Chuck often shine brightest for the show, offering both hilarity and sincerity to the issues at hand.
From there, the action immediately shifts to more headier material, including strong racial conflicts both internally and between characters that show Remorse has it’s eyes on growth this year. It’s hit and miss on that front, as Missy’s (Teyonah Parris) struggles with white ideals for America’s black women are poignant, well written and powerfully performed all at once. However, Cam’s constant slave/slave-master innuendo and conflict with his owner Mr. Flaherty (Chris Bauer) come off as annoying and unnecessary. The plight of the privileged and gifted doesn’t resonate, something Entourage never quite learned, even when it’s clear that the supporting cast around Adrien Grenier’s Vinny Chase were the heart and stars of the show.
As Remorse looks to find its balance between dramatic turns and the laughs Epps and Ash bring at ease it will continue to takes its lumps, especially with its main character. Even with the continued growing pains though, the season hits the ground running with a clear intent to grow beyond its modest first season. Missy being given more prominence is encouraging as is her performance and the more weighty material the show is bringing to the forefront. That type of ambition shows that Starz intend for Remorse to be more than an Entourage rehash, and the execution shows that it can be.
The second season of the show that touts LeBron James as an inspiration and executive producer is off to a promising start and it has nine more episodes to either build on it or screw it all up. Only time will tell.
Survivor’s Remorse returns August 22 9:30 p.m. on Starz and you can catch up on the first season for free now here.