In “Call A Spade”, Boomerang proves it understands the most important aspect of a half-hour dramedy: It’s genuinely funny without losing character.
This recap of Boomerang Episode 4, “Call a Spade”, contains spoilers.
Despite all the things Boomerang is and would probably like to be — a next-generation sequel to the 1992 Eddie Murphy film, a cracked window into contemporary black life, a progressive female-empowerment story, and so on and so forth — what makes the show work is that it understands the most fundamental component of a half-hour weekly dramedy: It’s funny. Like genuinely, laugh-out-loud funny, almost all the time. “Call a Spade” puts the gags above almost everything else in a diversionary episode designed mostly to encourage those laughs, but it includes some sneaky character development all the same.
And the men are nowhere to be seen. The premise of “Call a Spade” sees Simone (Tetona Jackson) called out of nowhere by her wild god-sister, Tay-Tay, who has been locked up for boyfriend-related reasons and needs bailing out. Trouble is she’s 90 minutes away, so Simone enlists Crystal (Brittany Inge) and Tia (Lala Milan) for a mini road trip. Also present is Tia’s genuinely hilarious new girlfriend, whose role seems to be embracing and subverting every lesbian stereotype all at once.
You could make a checklist of expected beats that this episode hits; car troubles, singalongs, home truths, a change of destination, you name it. Upon arrival, the girls discover that Tay has already been sprung by her abusive boyfriend Devante (Darrick Watkins Jr.), which leads to a house-party diversion and a welcome punch in the face for the latter.
The emotional undercurrent of “Call a Spade” is that this is all happening on the first anniversary of Crystal’s divorce from David (RJ Walker), which Simone feels guilty about since she never intervened when she realized that Crystal was unsure about the marriage in the first place. I’m not sure framing everything from Simone’s perspective is necessarily the best approach for Boomerang (Brittany Inge’s performance sold the angle better), but she is the legacy character, so it’s to be expected. But this maudlin subplot clearly wasn’t the focus of “Call a Spade” anyway, and what the episode wanted to do it succeeded at impressively.