In its favor, it has two of my favorite HBO staples–terrible accents and Idris Elba (though I could just be imagining a striking difference between the locals and the out of towners)–and Jill Scott, whose got this way of wiggling her butt that gives me such great pause I about can’t bother to continue typing.
Going against it is the ongoing references to how fat Jill Scott is. Is Jill Scott fat? Yes. Can I believe that, being that beautiful, with the ability to wiggle her butt like that, that that’s the first and only thing people notice about her character? No. And if it is, their loss.
Maybe it’s not just the HBO adaptation, after all, the books say quite a lot about “traditional Botswana figures”–which is to say large. I just wish I had HBO to see it. (the college professor…in case this comes through as “anonymous”)
You did come through as anonymous! I’m sad you don’t have HBO to see it, though, because as I was watching it, I thought you would be the perfect person to discuss it with. I haven’t been to Botswana, obviously, but my sense is that it’s very much like “True Blood” in that it probably gets enough right to seem authentic to people who don’t know better and the music is fantastic (that would be the show, not the country).
But I remember from the book that she was fat and that it was discussed as her having a traditional Botswanan figure. That’s not the sense I get from the show. To me, it seems like it’s being used as an unusual trait she has, which some see as a negative. It’s been a while since I read the few books in the series I read, but I don’t recall it being anything other than descriptive in the books. I will say, though, that I may be reading more into it than is here.
There’s a lot of songs from that part of Africa about fat women and their attributes. (Sassy, bossy, too independent…) Maybe they’re trying to capture some of that, but the book was more explicit about her trying to reinterpret what her “fat” meant. She says she has a traditional Botswana figure — making her body a source of nationalist pride — against the people who have absorbed European attitudes about “fat”. I read that as part of the character’s way of positioning herself as not so unusual, even though what she’s doing for a living is not typical for a woman in Botswana.
I love Jill Scott.
In the scenes where Jill Scott and Idris Elba were on-screen together I was hoping they would drop character and just make out. My TV is just not used to holding two such intensely charismatic and attractive people on it at the same time.
I haven’t seen the show yet but I’m looking forward to it. I don’t know much about Jill Scott’s music, the one thing that makes me like her above all else is that scene in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party where the director asks her if she’s nervous about taking the stage after Erykah Badu and she laughs the laugh of a queen and asks, “Have you ever heard me sing?”
As far as her size goes, my dad’s maternal relatives are from Valdosta, and they describe women built like Jill Scott as Formidable From Any Angle. All the Mullis women are Formidable From Any Angle, and it’s a sight to behold.