The new season of Starz’ hit comedy “Survivor’s Remorse” finds Cam Calloway (Jessie T. Usher) and family moving into a grand new home. All seems to be in a good place which can only mean one thing: that good place won’t last.
Don’t worry, the fame and money that befell Cam with his pro basketball career isn’t going anywhere, but the comedy comes from his family and the situations showrunner Mike O’Malley puts them in.
Case in point, a domestic violence story that kicks off with episode 2 between Cam and his sister, M-Chuck (Erica Ash). Yes, a brother-sister domestic violence story that starts out with laughs, but because of how well the show layers its subtle messages, becomes much bigger than anyone expected.
But, besides hitting her brother, M-Chuck will be getting some love in her life this season, and when I sat down recently with Ash, she gave me a preview into that and more of what we’ll see when new episodes kick off this Saturday. (And if you need a season 1 catch-up, watch the episodes right here on XFINITYTV.)
If there’s one thing I learned in these new episodes it’s that M-Chuck can throw a punch!
Erica Ash: I think I was a boxer in a former life.
How choreographed do you have to get? Because you also were wearing that huge ring when you hit Jessie.
EA: Are you ready for a little insider scoop right now?
Tell me. Tell me. Tell me.
EA: So, they had this brilliant woman who duplicated the real ring and then they forgot to give it to me and I forgot that I still had the real ring on. So that scene is shot with the real ring on. Her real metal ring on. And so much could have gone wrong on that day. But luckily nothing crazy happened.
We did have a stunt coordinator who came in. We actually had two stunt coordinators. We did it once and then they realized that they didn’t get the shot that they needed, the sort of overhead shot. And then we had another stunt coordinator to do the overhead angle, and the rest of it was just this good old muscle and power.
It looked so good, though.
EA: I’m so happy that you mentioned that because I was like, I need to let somebody know that we did this with the real metal ring on, and I really could have f’ed him up.
Now I hear that M-Chuck is going to get a little romance this year…
EA: She’s going to get a skosh. She’s going to get a little skosh. You know.
I said this to you last season, but I want to see M-Chuck really thrown off her game because she falls head over heels. I don't know if that's going to happen that much.
EA: You will see some interaction this year whereas last year there really wasn’t any. You saw the day after kind of thing…you do see a little more of her than you did last year.
And, getting back to M-Chuck hitting Cam, the domestic violence part of it starts as a joke at first, but there is an underlying message there, and I’m guessing maybe M-Chuck is going to have to look at herself a little bit.
EA: You know what it was for me? First of all, I have to say, huge kudos to the writers for coming up with such a creative way to show the domestic violence. Because here’s the thing, when you have an issue that’s that big that’s addressed by so many different mediums it’s hard to portray it in a way that will make people understand.
But having a brother and sister have a domestic violence situation, that's something that will get my attention because I've never seen that before. I've never seen that anywhere.
So for them to do that was amazing, but then what I think was eye-opening for me is in playing the character you realize how removed from the action the person who's inflicting the domestic violence is. Like, M-Chuck really didn't understand what the big deal was…it's like children who grow up being spanked, right? When another parent who doesn't ever put their hands on their child sees that it's horrifying. But then the children who've grown up that way, they don't know any different. When you don't know any better and you don't know any different then it's like, 'well yeah, it sucks and it's painful when I'm going through it, but she asked for it. Yeah. I asked for it.' And to hear Cam be the victim and say, 'I asked for it. So why are you…? This is what we do all the time.'
Is there stuff that comes out in therapy about M-Chuck and her mother’s relationship?
EA: We played with a lot of different scenarios and we certainly do have a very poignant moment between M-Chuck and her mother. It’s very charged, but not like high drama. It’ll be a really killer scene between M-Chuck and Cassie surrounding the whole therapy situation.
If you could, is there anything you would want to change about M-Chuck?
EA: I’ll say no, not because I think that she’s the perfect character because by no stretch of the imagination is she, but anything that I would change about her I would want the audience to see the transition. So as I grow and as I get a handle on say, my anger, as I maybe grow into a love situation, as I deal with issues with my mother or issues with my past, I want to be able to share that with the audience and have that sort of be a public thing, and not make that immediate shift.
That’s always a great story when you see somebody actually change over time.
EA: Exactly. Exactly. And it’s going to help me sort of get to know the nuances of a character like that as well. I think it’ll help a lot of people. So to kind of figure out, you know, what led her to the place she is now mentally, emotionally, spiritually and to see where she can go from here. I think it’s a great journey to take with the audience.
“Survivor’s Remorse” airs Saturdays at 9:30pm on Starz. You can watch Season 1 of the series for free on the Starz website.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.