Thoughts on “Vikings”

I think we were separated at birth…


I’m black and I watch “Vikings”. And I love it. Can’t get enough of it. But I can’t stand “Empire.”

Is that wrong?

OK, let me get myself adjusted on the couch, because this could be painful. Introspection and other forms of mirror-watching always are. It’s not easy to beat yourself up, but I have learned that there are ways for the truly dedicated to accomplish this horribly twisted goal. Anyway, here we go…

So, like, here’s the thing; When I first saw the trailer for “Empire”, I got the uneasy feeling that this was a show I was supposed to like. The ads practically screamed, “Black folks, we’re doing this for YOU. And you will LOVE IT. Because there are LOTS and LOTS of BLACK FOLKS in this show doing BLACK FOLKS kinda things and talking in that really special way that BLACK FOLKS do. ENJOY! Especially if you’re black. Oh, and don’t worry about the bad acting, or the simple-minded dialogue, or the lack of character development, or any of that. Because we want you to ENJOY being BLACK when you watch this EMPIRE we built for YOU. Oh, and all those white folks who get off on this too. ‘Fess up. You know who you are.”

And so I’m guessing this is what happened: after the Hollywood Powers-That-Be ran the script of “Empire” through the Negrotron 5000, the gears sputtered, spat, and steamed. The gears groaned. But then, after about an hour of this, the data had been crunched and the verdict had been pronounced. In a deep and rumbling voice, designed to sound like an authentic James Earl Jones, the Negrotron 5000 spake (I think that’s a word, but don’t hold me to it):

Meets all pre-ordained criteria, manufactured and otherwise, guaranteed to delight black audiences everywhere. And also be pleasing to multitudes of white folk. You have built your very own golden calf. Go forth and worship. Congratulations. May the force be with you. Later.

And so, I mean, if the Negrotron 5000 actually prophesied that Empire would be THE black show to watch, and now that the subsequent ratings bonanza seems to have borne that out, I’m forced to lie here on the couch and wonder where oh where have I gone wrong that I am not black enough to love this show? Is it because I was raised in Denver?

I look at myself in the mirror and the mirror tells me I oughta be craving me some Cookie and Lyon, but when it comes time to punch thumb to remote, Ragnar and Lagertha always wind up on my screen. Don’t ask me how this happens. Vikings are fierce, man. They just show up unannounced wherever they damned well please and do what they wanna. Just ’cause they’re Vikings. And if you wanna be the one to tell the Vikings what not to do, or change channels to watch something else, I suggest you research the term, “Blood Eagle”. These folks do not play nice.

Oh wait. You say “Empire” and Vikings” aren’t showing at the same time? Or even on the same night? OK, just give me a minute. There’s gotta be a reason for this.

Maybe it’s just a better show.

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Writer and musician.

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