Empire, You’re Starting To Suck.

EMPIRE: Cast Pictured L-R: (Bottom Row) Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon, Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon, Trai Byers as Andre Lyon (Middle Row) Grace Gealey as Anika, Kaitlin Doubleday as Rhonda Lyon (Back Row) Gabourey Sidibe as Becky, Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon, Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon and Ta'Rhonda Jones as Porsha on EMPIRE Season 2 premiering Wednesday, September 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: James Dimmock/FOX.


Lee Daniels.

What the fuck?

When Empire debuted earlier this year I was blown away by how it surpassed my expectations. For starters I thought it would be Power‘s simple-minded short bus cousin but it turned out to be something completely different. It was a campy, meaty drama with over-the-top characters and enough plot twists to propel a nighttime soap opera. The characters were somewhat believable with room to grow and it seemed like Empire could do no wrong.

Two weeks ago, after the powerhouse Season 2 debut (which I watched twice) Empire’s second episode made me tilt my head to the left and say ‘Ruh Roh’.

And the third and fourth episodes didn’t necessarily make my nipples dance either. So far, this second season doesn’t make me feel like I need to watch the show like earlier this year when I literally ran home from the train station near my crib to catch the last 30 minutes of an episode. Or when I began live tweeting (@benrotten) during Empire, which was something I had never done with any other show before.

Methinks Empire is either about to jump the shark or they already have jumped the shark, especially last night when (Spoiler if you haven’t seen it yet) Andre and Rhonda went to go dig up Vernon’s body and they were discovered by Lucious and his new lawyer Thirsty Rawlings (eye roll please). Vernon’s murder was one of the biggest secrets of the series, and now that it’s been exposed it ties up that loose end just a little too pretty for me. Especially when you take into account that Thirsty just so happened to have a corpse detector in the trunk of his car to help locate Vernon’s body.

A fucking corpse detector.

You ever heard of that before?

Granted, there is technology you can use to detect where bodies are in the ground, but it’s not used like a metal detector looking for loose change on the beach.

Therefore, I’ma need Empire to get better immediately because the way this season is traipsing about makes my soul cry.

First, let’s start with Becky. Lee Daniels must go to the stylist on set and say ‘I’ve hated Gabby since we did Precious, how can you make her look real real fucked up today??’


The hair, the clothes, the shade of it all.

And Cookie’s wardrobe budget must have taken a huge hit as well because her wigs and outfits sometimes look like costumes a drag queen on welfare would purchase from Party City. Aside from that it seems like she has become the main focus of the show with her one-liners and typical Cookie antics. But that’s not going to be enough to keep this show afloat in the long run.

Where Cookie’s character rests on her wit and cunning, Lucious is becoming more sinister and egotistical with each episode. He has referred to himself as a God on more than one occasion and each time he says it I just look at my television screen like ‘Really mutha fucka?’

Then, when he was locked up in prison and just so happened to have access to a producer and engineer so he could record that wack ass track I once again looked at the television screen like ‘Really mutha fucka?’

Jamal was so cocky and confident to take over Empire last season I believed ‘Yeah! Get it Mally!’ Now, this season, watching him kinda run the company while Marisa Tomei is also kinda running the company it’s kinda becoming a bit annoying. What is her purpose other than being another in a long list of guests stars that have made me look at the television screen like ‘Really mutha fucka?’

Chris Rock as a gangsta? Ludacris as a bad cop? Ricky’s mom as a lawyer who looks like a damn dominatrix? Kelly Rowland as the Flashback Queen?

All of it is some fuckery. You don’t need all those guests stars.

But I digress, back to the rest of the Lyon’s (and sidebar, really? You name your company Lyon Dynasty? if Aaron Spelling was alive he’d sue your ass)


Hakeem has no depth. Originally his character was so spoiled and arrogant that you just knew his storyline would open up in more ways during season 2.

But, there’s nothing.

Damn, give him a drinking problem or something! Make him a sex addict. WE DEMAND DRAMA!

Andre is crazy, but not in a hot way like he was in season one. At least last year I was like ‘Yeah, he’s a good looking brotha. Crazy as shit, but when has that ever stopped me before?’

This season I’m like ‘Someone 302 this mutha fucka right now!’

And poor BooBoo Kitty has been relegated to a verbal punching bag for all of the other characters when, before, she had the makings of being a formidable opponent against Cookie. I honestly liked Anika because she had some balls. Over the summer, she must have been castrated because she has no fight, no fire, no purpose.

Lee Daniels, fix this shit now.

Because I want to believe that a show created by a gay brotha who has unapologetically brought another gay brotha into the homes of millions of viewers on a weekly basis can last at least another few seasons before its shine begins to wear off. It’s too soon for this to be happening now and I want to let you know that I’ma rock out with you until it becomes too much for me to bear.

There is a resurgence of black television shows on networks and cable right now so the time is right to be one show amongst many. But if you stay comfortable with having Empire remain where it was when it began the people who fell in love with it will turn away from it, and then it will be gone.

I don’t want that to happen.

I have faith that you can still have a great season. But please….PLEASE….do better.


  6 comments for “Empire, You’re Starting To Suck.

  1. Ren
    October 15, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    I could not have said I better. These last few episodes have had moments of brilliance among a very dark sky. I, like you, don’t know how much longer I can stay loyal to the television version of The Titan. An iceberg is coming up ahead and I may have to jump ship before the collision.

  2. NorthsideRasta
    November 30, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    You millenials are funny!!!! Don’t know much about history you young folks well a lot of older folks are the same too. Not too long ago not enough bruthas & sistas on tv was cry.

    • December 3, 2015 at 9:18 am

      What gave you the impression that I’m a millennial? I’m Gen X all day baby!

  3. VStinson
    May 4, 2016 at 10:29 am

    I’m a bit late reading your piece but thank you young Gen-X brother, this needed to be said. Well done. Although skeptical because it was on Fox, I fell in love with S1 Empire with the rest of the world. I prayed that its success would never create a need to ‘create’ parts for Europeans to join the cast so the show would appeal to a ‘broader demographic’, code for mpre white viewers. It didn’t need that because everybody already loved the show and it broke all sorts of records for TV. In S!, I would watch AND DVR Empire. S2 scripts have lost the die hard attraction for me and I want that same S! quality and it needs to be fixed quick. I’m hoping I can enjoy the same quality scripts but can’t help but wonder if Fox has lost interest because the ‘negroes’ have made them enough cash. Lastly, I’m with you: what the hell is a corpse detector? Ridiculous

    • May 4, 2016 at 11:22 am

      Lol! Right?
      I’ve continued covering the show for two reasons;
      1) I like to finish what I start
      2) I love to talk my trash

      And I am still a fan of the show, I just need it to get better.

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