Thanksgiving Binge Watching: ‘The Punisher’ and ‘She’s Gotta Have It’

Frank and NolaWhat’s up, y’all?  Happy very belated Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!  I hope y’all had a great holiday.  Mine was wonderful, if I do say so myself. I had a glorious five day weekend away from the aggravation of my day job, and enjoyed some great food and even better company.  Other than that, I pretty much just sat on my lazy behind and did the same thing half the country did during Thanksgiving break:  binge-watched Netflix movies and shows.  The two original shows I crammed in right before and during the holiday were The Punisher and She’s Gotta Have It.  Both series have gained a very decent amount of publicity, especially The Punisher, and they each made a very serious impact on me.  With that being said, I decided to give my two cents on each show.

The PunisherThe Punisher

I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to see The Punisher at first.  When the film was originally released, it didn’t really grab me.  I heard all the hoopla for The Punisher before the series premiere, but I figured that it’d probably be an overhyped show just like The Defenders (sorry y’all, the show was good, but not great).  However, my mom wouldn’t let me forget that the show was set to premiere on Nov. 17, and when I sat down to watch it with her, I wasn’t disappointed.

The show begins with Frank Castle completing his quest for revenge against the people that murdered his family…or so he thinks.  As the show progresses, we the viewers learn that the conspiracy behind the Castle family’s massacre is much deeper than Frank initially believed, and it all revolves around Frank’s time in the Marines.  That’s all I can really say without giving away crucial plot points.

The fact of the matter is that this show had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Truth be told, it took me from the 17th up until the start of my Thanksgiving vacation to watch all thirteen episodes, thanks to my day job, but you best believe that every day I went to work during the week leading up to the holiday, all I could think about was getting home to watch the next episode of The Punisher.  This show was well acted, action-packed, and is full of twists and turns you wouldn’t believe.  What could’ve easily been made into a strictly revenge series ends up being the Bourne trilogy on steriods.  Plus, the men in the show are pretty damn good looking (namely Frank, Billy and Curtis)!  Check it out if you haven’t already.  Also, if you haven’t seen Luke Cage, definitely give that show a shot.  That’s another Marvel show I really enjoyed.

She’s Gotta Have ItShe's Gotta Have It

The day after I finished watching all the episodes of The Punisher, She’s Gotta Have It premiered on Netflix, and I knew I had to see the pilot episode, at the very least.  I was always a fan of the original film, which I first viewed at the slightly innocent age of 12. Yes, you read that correctly.  12.  As you may have already guessed, Nola Darling’s character perplexed me.  She had three lovers that all knew about each other—which was pretty much unheard of during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s—but I never thought of Nola as a ho or a nymphomaniac.  I remember Nola stating that she wanted to have “five rusty butt boys” one day, but I couldn’t even see her settling down or being a domestic.

Fast forward 23 years since the fateful night I first watched the movie (and 31 years since the movie was released), and Ms. Nola Darling has returned with a reboot for the new millennium.  In 2017, a woman having three lovers at one time isn’t as shocking as it was circa 1986, but you have to admit, there’s still a bit of a taboo there, especially if you compare Nola having multiple men to a man having multiple women all at once.  Even when the iconic Thanksgiving scene with Nola and all her men was recreated, there’s a point in time when Greer (the narcissistic one) asks her, “Why are you acting like such a…” and Nola finishes the sentence by asking, “…a man?”

Despite Nola’s life choices being frowned upon, yet not exactly stroke inducing, the show was still very entertaining, and translates flawlessly to the 2010s (although not everyone agrees with that ).  The cinematography was gorgeous, and I loved the soundtrack.  I especially loved how Spike made sure to showcase what album the song that was played actually came from so you could possibly download the track for yourself (whether you decide to do that legally or illegally is up to you; no judgment).  On top of everything, the show was just beautiful to watch.  I love positive portrayals of my people living their lives.  Before I knew it, just checking out the pilot episode turned into me binging the entire series in a record-breaking two days.

What I really adored about She’s Gotta Have It is it delved deeper into the characters than the movie did, much like the beloved Soul Food series did over a decade earlier.  Mars was a big softie.  Jamie was flawed.  Opal was human.  Greer tried to be a loving boyfriend.  Clorinda was more than just the rejected roommate.  Nola’s parents were cool and opinionated (of course).  The only character that didn’t really change was Nola herself, which isn’t a bad thing at all.  Aside from her sexuality changing from strictly dickly to bisexual (and the fact that she kept all her lovers secret until the last episode of the season), she’s the same Nola Darling that loves life and loves people, and won’t tolerate disrespect.  Once again, this was a show that was well acted, and full of enough drama to keep you glued to the screen.  All the pretty people (Greer!) and hot sex scenes provide eye candy, and the soundtrack is hittin’.  Give this series a try.

—-Written by Nadiya

Have y’all seen The Punisher and/or She’s Gotta Have It?  If so, what did y’all think of the series?  Was The Punisher great, or was it too violent?  Was She’s Gotta Have It insightful, or did it contain way too much sexual imagery?  Are you a fan of Stan Lee or Spike Lee or both?  Who would you rather be friends with:  Frank Castle or Nola Darling? Let me know in the comments section!


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