‘Pearson’ 1×08 Review: Why Representation Matters

I’ve talked about this subject plenty of times before. Some of you might say I’ve talked about this subject too many times, that I need to find a new soapbox, and if you’re one of those, then I’m sorry, because I’m about to go into it again, and I don’t even care if you’re tired of it. “The Political Wife” is the perfect episode to go on this rant once again.

Oh, yeah, something also happens with Stephanie Novak and Keri and ZOMG Bobby’s wife is about to get more complicated, except I still don’t care because there’s only one topic I want to talk about this week and it’s this one:

Representation matters.

And latinx representation, in particular, feels like it’s lacking these days. Sure, we see more latinx characters on TV, we have actual shows about latinx families (that then get cancelled, while Netflix claims they care and our stories are important, but that’s neither here nor there), but its only in the past few years that shows have made an effort to actually cast latinx actors to play those characters, and let’s not even talk about how so many of our story-lines are rooted in the stereotypes: gangs, drugs and danger.

Plus, we’re homogeneous. Every latinx in Hollywood is required the portray the whole of the latinx experience, because there just isn’t enough of them for people to understand that the latinx experience cannot be homogenized at all. I wasn’t born in Mexico, and have never lived there, and what I can tell you about Mexican culture, though probably a little more nuanced than someone without latinx origins, isn’t that much.

Why do I go into this again, you ask?

Because “The Political Wife” establishes Jessica Pearson as canonly Cuban, and that matters.

Sure, the show had hinted at this before, and Jessica hasn’t exactly been shy with her perfect Spanish. Plus, the show has established Yoli as Latina and proud, and gone full speed ahead with a story-line about a DACA recipient and her undocumented family, which I didn’t see coming either, so all the kudos. But that’s a secondary character, and as much as I love Yoli and have enjoyed her story-line, it means a hell of a lot to have Jessica Pearson, THE Jessica Pearson, be one of us.

Especially because, in Hollywood, Gina Torres is not always recognized as a Latina, in the same way most people who don’t look like Sofia Vergara aren’t. The latinx community has been stereotyped and pigeon-holed into a box that most of us can’t ever fit into, and that’s made the stories being told about latinx characters much poorer.

To see an Afro-latinx woman like Gina Torres, like Jessica Pearson, get to top of her profession, and fall, and be recognized, and be the biggest, baddest operator around? That means something. No, that means everything.

And it opens the door for other kind of representation. Maybe in a few years I can get an Asian-latinx character on TV, with all that entails. Please, let it be so. Jessica Pearson opened a door, after all, and she will keep opening doors with every second she gets to be on screen and just be herself.

Now let’s hope this is just the beginning.

Things I think I think:

  • Stephanie Novak seems much more than “The Political Wife.” Just saying.
  • Yoli talking to Jessica added like 5 years back to my life.
  • That’s it, Jessica is gonna adopt her. FAMILY. BYE.
  • But, to be honest, I feel like I’ve spent about 83% of Yoli’s storyline lately tearing up.
  • This isn’t drama, Yoli. This is just life.
  • I care even less about the stupid love triangle with Bobby Novak than I did before, and I didn’t even care about it.
  • Though the fact that Stephanie Novak is going with Keri is amusing.
  • But amusing in a why do I have to sit through this kinda way, not amusing in a omg this is going to be enjoyable way, if you know what I mean.
  • Louis is forever Louis, and I kinda love him for it. It’s taken a while, but yes, I’m there. I love Louis Litt.
  • Oh, Derrick, you’re so cute. You’re like the only one who doesn’t know.
  • This is all I ever wanted.
  • From like, episode 2, I swear. I figured it was coming, but to get here …ah, this feels so good.
  • “My mother immigrated from Cuba when she was a teenager.”
  • Jessica Pearson, latinx woman.
  • This is literally what I wanted the show to do and wasn’t sure they would. Commit. Make her latinx roots part of her story.
  • Awww, the food thing kinda made my heart grow three sizes.
  • How much is this episode gonna make me cry?
  • “What’s wrong with you?”
  • Damn good question. I ask that of Keri every week.
  • “You must think very little of yourself.”
  • MIC
  • DROP
  • Though Keri makes a few good points back, because yes, leave him, Stephanie.
  • Derrick is too pure for this world.
  • Will Angela ever stop being so hard on Jessica? Like, I get it, but girl, take a chill pill. Jessica is on your side, and she IS trying.
  • She’s not just a “family friend.”
  • Yoli’s mother is a fucking hero, that’s what she is.
  • A HUG.
  • “I guess everyone’s calling me Jessica now.”
  • Aw, you got a new family. That’s what’s happening.
  • It is a choice, Keri. One you make.
  • Angela, you idiot. You took your kids?
  • I’m sorry, but no. Even if you get sometimes in the end, no.
  • Just no.

Agree? Disagree? What did you think about “The Political Wife”? Share with us in the comments below!

Pearson airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on USA Network.

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