At the end of the first season of Showtime’s comedic satire Black Monday, the Bangles’ classic ‘Manic Monday‘ soundtracks the chaos surrounding the epic stock market collapse of 1987. It’s a perfect song for that moment of the show but watching Season 2 of this dysfunctional cocaine-fueled hysteria, it’s not as fitting.
The lyric “Just another Manic Monday/ Wish it was Sunday/ Cause that’s my fun day” would imply that the mania before and after don’t exist. For these amoral stock brokers, the mania never ends. Season 2 picks up right where we left Maurice Monroe (Don Cheadle) after Dawn (Regina Hall) and Blair (Andrew Rannels) have stolen all of his money.
Before we go any further, let’s acknowledge the bear in the room: In a world where we can’t go outside and last thing we can depend on for stability is the stock market, why would you want to watch this suddenly topical Showtime comedy? Maybe it’s the same reason that, in this unprecedented time of COVID-19, the number one trending movie on Netflix is ‘Contagion’: It’s an escape from reality while also highly relatable.
Truthfully, you’re unlikely to relate to in the characters in this black comedy (the main character rides around in a stretch Lamborghini, for crying out loud). But we can relate to the anxiety and insecurity these people operate with at their jobs. None of these characters are true to who they really are, let alone who they were at their best selves. It’s hard to think what’s more relatable than that.
But at the end of the day, this show doesn’t have to dig that deep, and it’s not trying to. In a scene representative of the season as a whole, there’s a shootout over a drug deal that makes Scarface look like a kid’s after-school special. For that reason, it seems fitting that this season we find our anti-heroes in Miami. Mo has fled to to escape the FBI while Dawn is left to fill the the void he left on Wall Street. Watching Mo get back to any semblance of his former life is a welcome escape, especially when getting back to our pre-quarantine lives is all any of us are thinking about.
So watch this show for the blatant absurdity of it all. Lean into the skid. It’s very funny, an escape from reality with some brilliant actors navigating the absurd. If we’ve learned anything from the betrayal and chaos of the real Black Monday, the longing for another day in “Manic Monday,” or just sitting at home, it’s better to be content with what we have now. If you’re looking to fill that time, this ensemble is better than most.
Watch Black Monday Sundays on Showtime, at 10pm ET. All episodes are also available On Demand.