Admittedly, when BET dropped the news that a Boomerang reboot, of sorts, was in the works, I was absolutely against it. Why go trying to reinvent a wheel that worked just fine in the era in which it was crafted? And on BET no less. No shade, but all of the shots fired. And while I saw that Lena Waithe was attached to it, I didn’t and don’t love The Chi at all, so that wasn’t a selling point, either. Even the Spelhouse (portmanteau of Morehouse College and Spelman College, both in Atlanta) connection—showrunner and executive producer Ben Cory Jones is a Morehouse grad and Brittany Inge, who plays the character Crystal, graduated from Spelman—didn’t help sway me. I think I made my point. I was out.
But one sweet day while bored at home and trying to find something On Demand, I saw Boomerang had two episodes available. And like that time I bought a Mountain Dew when water wasn’t enough, I said “fuck it” and hit play.
Here’s the show premise: The daughter of Marcus Graham and Angela Lewis (Eddie Murphy and Halle Berry in the 1992 movie, Boomerang), Simone Graham (played by Tetona Jackson) and the son of Jacqueline Broyer (Robin Givens), Bryson Broyer (played by Tequan Richmond), are homies who reconnect in college in Atlanta, and bring their respective crews together. Simone and Bryson, along with Simone’s best friend (the aforementioned Crystal) work at the agency Marcus Graham started, but they’re millenials and fuck it, Simone quits her father’s firm. From there, she’s trying to make it in America. That is effectively what the show becomes about, Simone Graham trying to make it out of her father’s shadow and the rest of the crew comes along for the ride in various fashion.
The first few episodes (there are seven total so far) aren’t all that interesting, if I’m being honest. They are standard issue establishing the crew stuff. In fact, toss the third episode in there as well. In more fact, right now, I literally cannot remember what happened in the third episode to save my life, and I know I’ve watched it at least three times. The magic, though? The magic starts in episode four.
I don’t know how else to explain it than to do it like this: It’s almost as if the writers abandoned the story arc from the first three episodes, decided they wanted the show to be something else, and leveled that shit all the way up. The show went from feeling like a run-of-the-mill show about the kids of successful characters from a movie we love and hold in high esteem to being a show about nothing and everything at the same time. I don’t want to unnecessarily draw a comparison, but it’s impossible not to. From episode 4 on, it feels like they took their cues from another show shot in the A, Atlanta.
The episodes are so detailed and specific, and as opposed to telling a linear story, tell individual parts of a story that all come together. Like Atlanta, it focuses on the moments as opposed to going straight from point A to B. And within the episodes are random easter eggs and callbacks to the movie, as several scenes are direct recreations with new twists of shit from the movie. Make no mistake, this is a whole new series, but the show absolutely honors the source material.
Even the ways the episodes are intro’d are reminiscent of Atlanta, and I actually like that. And like Atlanta, the focus is very much on the quest to make it, and Simone (playing a role similar to Earn) is trying to get her artist to blow up. And her artist, Tia, played by Lala Milan, is a no-nonsense, keep it all the way real, super-down to earth and funny character, not unlike Paperboi. And to keep that connection even more realer, the character David, who found Jesus and is now a pastor and sometimes annoying to his homies with his zealotry, is played by RJ Walker, who plays the hilariously unstable artist Clark County, on Atlanta.
I’m not saying that you need to watch the show as an Atlanta-lite, nor do I want the comparisons to drown out the quality show that exists in its own right. I think the show is good and compelling on its own merits. Natural comparisons are going to arise, though, given the way the show is written and shot in certain episodes, and it is set in the city of Atlanta. But it is a good show and one that I actively look forward to each week at this point, largely because I have no idea what or where this show is going. It started out one way, and now it’s like an entirely different show where those jobs at the marketing firm are an afterthought and it’s all about the hustle.
I don’t know what changed or how they decided to switch the focus. Maybe they’re coming right back to that original storyline, which I suppose is the narrative thread of the relationship between Simone and Bryson. But moving from the corporate job setting to the hustlin’ in the streets of Atlanta and putting it all under a microscope was all win.
I’m curious to see where this show goes and what they do with the characters. Halle is an executive producer on the show, so maybe she’ll even revive her character. But for now, Boomerang has won me over.
And it just might get you, too.