Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every week, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.
The Overlooked: Black Monday
A colleague turned us on to this show, and we have to wonder: why oh why is this show not more popular?
Black Monday, the Showtime series that just finished out its third season earlier this month, doesn’t get enough credit as a scathing indictment of excess, and an enthralling story of anti-heroes. The show stars Don Cheadle–one of the great actors of our time–as Maurice, a flamboyant stockbroker thriving on Wall Street in 1987. In the pilot episode, Maurice joins forces with the nerdy Blair (Andrew Rannells), another aspiring broker hoping to stack paper in the bank and live the glamorous life of 80s yuppiedom. The two men plot and trade alongside Dawn (the ever-underrated Regina Hall), an ambitious broker who happens to be the only woman among her co-workers, and Keith (Paul Scheer) an over-aggressive nerd and closet case.
That’s the setup. The first season of Black Monday deals with Maurice and company as they inch closer to the notorious market crash of October 1987, while the subsequent seasons trace the group as they emerge from the fallout. The show borrows from other classic evil-of-Wall-Street-excess stories such as The Bonfire of the Vanities, Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street to skewer the greedy mentalities that drive finance culture, often right off a cliff. As created by Jordan Cahan and David Caspe, the show never quite reaches that level of perceptiveness or satire…possibly because it actually loves its characters, and doesn’t want to see them as awful people. To their credit, Caspe & Cahan do supply plenty of gayness where the characters are concerned, and don’t shy away from examining the state of the queer community in the 1980s (Spoiler Alert: it really sucked to be LGBTQ back then).
Black Monday isn’t a perfect show, but then, how many series really are? We recommend it for its glimpse of LGBTQ life in 1980s New York, and for a stellar cast. In addition to Cheadle, Hall, Rannells and Scheer, screen gems Tuc Watkins (Rannells’ real-life boyfriend), Bruce Dern, and Julie Haggerty all have recurring roles. With a fourth season already brewing, we think it’s time to get in on the trade.
Streams on Showtime.