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I'm Dying Up Here - Sugar and Spice - Review

Now that everyone has had a good laugh about Sully's new haircut, the I'm Dying Up Here crew delved this week into the beginnings of feminism and the question of what woman can do in a man's world.

If I'm Dying Up Here is STILL struggling to find its marks, this weeks episode revolved around a theme that at least gave the show a little bit more depth. Several females characters were featured in "Sugar and Spice," showing different female behaviors. On one end, we have Cassie, who wants to be treated like the male comics by Goldie. The latter, however, reminds her that just because she hangs out with the guys does not make Cassie one of them. Cassie soon realizes that the men are treating her less and less as a desirable woman and decides to try to be the object of sexual desire again. But guys like Bill are not very observant and do not get what the issue is. He treats Cassie like one of the "bros" and farts in front of her, enhancing her feeling of lost sexuality.

Later one in the episode, Bill offers to take Cassie to a party. Excited to go, she visits to a tailor to get one of her dresses worked on. Praising her beauty, the tailor warns her about the party but she goes anyway. There, she finds a woman, naked, tied to a bed. The girl is tripping on acid and tells Cassie how she is a sacrifice to the men and that it's pretty much all she is good for. Cassie tries to help her but the woman refuses, leaving Cassie unsettled by such a behavior. She ends up leaving the party upset and confused. She returns to the tailor's at the end of the episode, checking herself in the mirror first, as if this man is the only one to see her as a sexual being.

I'm Dying Up Here is slowly dabbling into the rise of feminism in the 70s by exploring the question of the place of women in a man's world, such as comedy. Cassie wants to prove herself so she keeps confronting Goldie, demanding to be treated like the male comics and to have the same opportunity as them, but on the other end we get to see Goldie's views on the matter and the reasoning behind her actions. In this week's episode, Goldie's ex-husband Sid shows up to her club, asking her for a favor. We quickly get a good grasp of the tensions between the two, man v. woman confrontations being at the forefront of their storyline.

But here is the thing: it still feels like I'm Dying Up Here scratches issues on the surface, never fully committing to something. We have almost reached the end of the first half of this season and the show continues to struggle with its characters. The trick with an ensemble cast is always to manage to develop the characters fully and give them all time to shine. The problem with I'm Dying Up Here, is that it does not manage to do that. Many characters are very shallow and lack development, while other ones with true potentials are still under-explored. This week, Adam got to hang out with a Black, successful comic, and was advised to switch manager. Nice things, but Adam's story still needs more work. On the other end, Eddie participated in the whole "women" theme of "Sugar and Spice" with a storyline where he slept with a girl who seemed to only sleep with comedians, and is into real weird sex. That was the "fun" storyline of the week, but it did not do much to advance Eddie's character development, and it only participated lightly in the overall arc of the episode.

This show is well made, its cast is good, but its stories are starting to get a bit redundant and weak, and it is going to need to pick up its pace if I'm Dying Up Here wants to make it through the second half of its first season.

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