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The Best TV Show of 2020: P-Valley

Written by Tashi from the blog Tashi's TV on 11 Dec 2020
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WOW. What a series!

P-Valley absolutely and most definitely gets my vote for Best TV Show of the Year.

It premiered on 1Magic in November, it's on Showmax too and every element is perfect.

The story, the characters, the script, design, wardrobe, make-up, acting, dancing, cinematography and themes combine into an evocative, theatrical, confronting, funny and deeply moving exposé.
 
 

  


It's based on the stage play Pussy Valley by Katori Hall, a playwright, activist, actress and now TV creator who hails from Memphis, Tennessee.

In P-Valley she uses her experiences and knowledge of the Deep South to put the spotlight on black strip club culture by telling stories of women who live and work within it.

Her stage play was based on interviews with over 40 strip dancers and it's this perspective that she brings to her characters who dance for their survival at the strip club called The Pynk.  


Run by Uncle Clifford (Nicco Annan), who champions for his girls and wears such imaginative outfits even the setting changes style to suit what he wears.

This is how much attention there is to detail in the design and style of the series e.g. in one episode the colour blue permeates through characters' outfits, moods, setting and props.

He's a wonderfully written, sensitive character who delivers gem after gem of classic lines in what Katori describes as slangauge - slang language, which injects humour throughout the script.

The action begins when a mysterious new stripper called Autumn Night (Elarica Johnson) arrives looking for work at The Pynk. What follows is the story of a battle to save the club and the livelihoods of the souls in it.


One of these is Mercedes (Brandee Evans), my fave character. She's lost custody of her daughter and has to suffer her evil, hypocritical, religious zealot mother but she's got a plan to start a new life with her daughter. 

She's The Pynk's star dancer who headlines Mercedes Sundayz, where people come from far and wide to see her show stopping pole dance.

The dancing is incredible, nerve-wracking and dangerous! - full of tension both within the dynamics of each surrounding situation and without. The dancers drop down the pole in wild, dramatic exclamation marks that leave your heart racing.

It's also very steamy, with lots of nudity and sexual moments, which Katori addresses in many of the interviews I've seen with her. There are only women directors on the show to ensure the women are seen through a woman's gaze, with empathy and without being objectified. 

In an interview with Bustle, Katori has this to say about the characters:
 

“A lot of people see these women as objects. I wanted to humanize them and show what these women and men have experienced in their lives as queer folk, as black folk, as poor folk.”


The show is literally one thesis after another waiting to happen. There's so much to each aspect of it, it's impossible to go into it all here.

It's a work of art that keeps you thinking and feeling, you can't forget it once it's over and it's brilliantly entertaining. 

There are eight episodes in Season 1 and it's been renewed for Season 2.

If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you do.

This is the poignant opening sequence:


 

Channels in this post: 1Magic



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