My biggest guilty pleasure on television, aside from my all-time favorite show New Girl, has got to be Fox’s Empire. I love this show for several reasons and the easiest way to explain is with a list. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, but be warned; if you have never watched and want to be surprised, you might want to read with caution.
First, and most importantly, I love the diversity of the cast. You have this powerful African American family, which is fantastic. Then, one of the sons, Andre, is married to a white woman (Kaitlin Doubleday) and the main character, Lucious, was going to marry a mixed race woman (Grace Gealey). The supporting cast is also diverse with Cookie’s Hispanic love interest (Adam Rodriguez) and Marisa Tomei plays Lucious’ high-powered business partner, Mimi. In the first part of season two, Hakeem’s love interest is also Hispanic. I really feel that the writers are trying their best to accurately portray the diverse world that we live in today. I think it’s fantastic and makes for very entertaining television because it seems so real.
The show also deals with a variety of really tough issues that also make it incredibly relatable. One of Lucious’ sons is gay and homophobia is a big issue in the African American community. I love that the writers take the time to play out the dynamic between Lucious and Jamal and that they show their past struggles. The writers also bring in the issue of mental illness with Andre’s huge breakdown and I think it is incredibly important for audiences to see. In my opinion, mental illness isn’t dealt with very well in this country and I really appreciate when mainstream shows use their characters to showcase just how damaging it can be and how it can happen to anyone.
Despite some of it’s cheesy, over-the-top drama, the show is highly entertaining. I am not usually one to continually watch shows every week, but this one I can’t stop watching. I always want to know what is going to happen to the Lyon family!
The music is pretty great and I’ve even found myself listening to the soundtrack on Pandora. Jussie Smollett can sing!!
And lastly, Cookie Lyon. She is, hands down, my favorite character. She is brave, outspoken and fiercely loyal. She is also strong, confident and passionate, but always goes out of her way to help others. I love her colorful outfits and that she just doesn’t take shit from anyone. She always has a plan that usually revolves around making sure that her sons become the artists and people that they want to be. The writers wrote an incredible character and Taraji P. Henson, does an amazing job bringing her to life.
Without sounding as though Fox paid me to write this (which they did not), I have to say that it really is a great show. The writers and producers have crafted a unique story and done a great job with casting a diverse set of talented actors and actresses.