Played by actor Jacob Lattimore, Emmett of “The Chi” is easily the dumbest brother on TV at first glance.
The Chi is back in full effect, and it was very difficult for me to have foreseen just how much I’ve missed this show before new episodes began airing on Showtime a week ago.
The younger characters are literally and figuratively growing up before our eyes as Kevin, Papa and Jake are still learning to navigate their environment while learning the true definition of brotherhood in the hood.
While that may seem somewhat superficial to individuals who didn’t grow up in similar circumstances, learning to navigate interpersonal relationships is a critical life skill for black boys. There’s also the growing attraction that Kevin has for Maisia that was only alluded to in season 1.
We also see that Brandon and Jerrika are trying to get on with life as she continuously and instinctively supports him through one tumultuous circumstance after another.
In the peripheral, we see how Jake’s older brother Reg isn’t really the “O.G.” that his followers believe him to be.
Instead, he more like an entry level manager at a Fortune 500 company. Then, there’s Ronnie’s ongoing battle with guilt as the result of the shooting of Coogie early in season 1.
However, the character that I’m most interested in, and most annoyed with, at this point his Emmett, played by actor Jacob Lattimore.
In season 1, we saw Emmett appear to take steps toward manhood that don’t involve him laying down to create another baby that he clearly can’t afford.
During season 1, he did take major strides that I believed the creators would immediately build upon in season 2. However, after only two episodes, I’m thoroughly convinced he’s about the dumbest mofo on television! Boy, he gets on my very last nerve with the things he does.
First, we see that he’s on the verge of being homeless. Then, we see how his overwhelming sense of entitlement leads him to butt heads with his third baby mother, who has had enough of his shenanigans and charm.
Emmett, with his penchant for the finest sneakers, his ability to simultaneously mooch off his mother and maintain his “fly” demeanor, and his absolute refusal to wear a condom despite three children by three different children before, rubs me awkwardly.
Not because this is not an accurate depiction of an African-American young man, but because it is all too accurate. Now, I’m not going to sit here and throw around terms like “all”, “most” or “many” when it comes to describing negative traits associated with African-American men.
But what I will say is that I’ve seen his behavior before and part of the reason the character irks me so is the gnawing familiarity that pains me when I watch the show. Because where I’ve seen him most was in the mirror in my pre-marital days.
Fly, entitled, and somewhat coddled, though not economically, Emmett’s plight is of his own making, and that’s where the frustration with this character comes from. But that is also where his redemption lies. He is industrious and has a hustlers brain for fund-raising and problem solving, something else that many brothers are familiar with.
After episode 2, we see that Emmett and Brandon have formed an alliance of sorts that might be mutually beneficial to both parties.
However, the way Brandon’s life tends to take hard left turns every episode, and the way Emmett can’t even seem to screw in a light bulb some days, leaves me on edge as to what could possibly go right given their respective histories.
The Chi airs on Sunday at 9 pm eastern time on Showtime.