Chewing Gum: The Versatility of Michaela Coel

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It’s likely that you would’ve heard of Michaela Coel, following the incredible success of her most recent show I May Destroy You. However, it’s her 2015 sitcom Chewing Gum that demonstrates her hilarious writing skills and versatile acting skills.

Consisting of 2 seasons, both with 6 episodes, this series is short but sweet. Coel’s character Tracey Gordon is instantly lovable as she desperately (and humorously) tries to lose her virginity at age 24. Beyoncé-obsessed and in a devout Christian family, this proves difficult and throughout the series, her attempts simply increase in hilarity.

What’s so great about Chewing Gum is its focus on the ordinary. Though Stormzy makes a brief appearance in one episode (no spoilers as to why, but it’s hilarious), the show focuses on the lives of characters living on one estate. Their relationships and lives are simultaneously relatable and entertaining, and it is so easy to binge-watch.

Through Tracey’s character, we get some impressive narrative techniques which became most popular when they featured in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag. However, Chewing Gum did it first. Throughout the entire two seasons, Tracey addresses the audience directly, often in the middle of conversations with other characters, as she breaks the fourth wall. This is probably one of the most outstanding aspects of this show, being so effective in creating humour and intrigue.

While it’s devastating that the show never got a third season, the ending of season 2 works perfectly as a finale. Left on an extremely humorous note, fulfilling the tone set by the other episodes, the final episode is so entertaining as well as having heart-warming moments. Tracey labels those on the estate as “like chewing gum”, and everything that viewers had witnessed over the past 2 series was entirely satisfied here.

If you liked I May Destroy You, you need to try Chewing Gum. Its content couldn’t be more dissimilar, but Coel’s writing and acting are showcased spectacularly here.

Chewing Gum is available to watch now via Netflix and All 4. 

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Live Editor 2019/20 & second year English student. Can usually be found procrastinating my degree at a gig, or trying (and failing) to complete my Goodreads challenge

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