'Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens' Episode 1 Review: Awkwafina ably steers a clunky show forward
Awkwardness never looked this good.
It's a world where being a stable adult is a herculean task and 'Awkwafina is Nora From Queens' lays this on thick, to the point that it can get rather clunky and uneven at times. But nevertheless, the Comedy Central show delivers most of the laughs it promised. The first episode released on January 22, and for the most part, is deliciously wacky and upbeat, with Golden Globe winner Awkwafina steering the show forward. The pattern of the show is not exactly a novelty, a 20-something stumbling through life and going through the normal hurdles of adulthood.
It's the actors who make this show watchable, and enjoyable. It is told from the Asian-American point of view, (a diversity that is mostly neglected on television) and the fact that Nora lives at home with her family is what adds to the fun factor of the show.
Awkwafina IS Nora from Queens. Like any laidback and slacking millennial, she is prone to absurd dreams, has an overtly messy room and lives with her family. Nothing goes well for Nora, because she has no intention of fixing things for herself. She's a part-time Uber driver and is more of an annoyance to her passengers than anything else. Not just this, she has a tendency to be wholly self-absorbed as well. But hell, she's determined to make the most of her life--- get a good-paying job and an apartment of her own. Will she manage this? That time will tell. Awkwafina is brilliant and her body language speaks, even when she doesn't. Her facial expressions are remarkable and her wise-cracking dialogue delivery is pertinent.
Her grandmother, with whom she shares a close bond, ticks her off for this slovenliness. Let's take a second to appreciate her granny, played by the fabulous Lori Tan Chinn. Nora's grandma isn't a regular grandma, she's a cool granny. She wears wise-cracking T-shirts, one that reads 'Crazy, not so-rich Asian'. She has her maternal instincts in place but is all about the fun. Yet, this comedy element wears thin at points, because to be honest, the idea of an old lady swearing and cussing is a theme that has been done to death. Chinn is doing her best to make this grandma stand out, but she might have to think of something new in a while. Into this already topsy-turvy household, you have a rather irritable and crabby father played by BD Wong. His quiet performance balancing out all the noise and the dynamics between these three unusual family members acts as a strong comedic force.
'Awkwafina is Nora From Queens' is entertaining, going by its first episode. But it can be better. Considering that its themes and ideas are not entirely new, it has to make a mark in the endless stream of comedy shows that are filling up the digital space. Can it cut through the clutter?
The show airs on Comedy Central at 10:30 pm on Wednesdays.