It can be a bit daunting to review an entire television series, but I have elected to undertake the task for you, o gentle reader. I have chosen the show Titus. I was a fairly devoted viewer while the show was on the air a few years back (it ran for 3 seasons) and have recently re-viewed most of the episodes through Netflix (great invention). So without having re-watched the final handful of episodes of the series here is your review!
Let’s start with some background on the show. Titus is the semi-autobiographical look at comedian Christopher Titus’ life. Hence the name. In fact, if one were to watch the pilot episode (or almost any episode from the first 2 seasons) one would find solid connections between the show and Titus’ stage show “Norman Rockwell is Bleeding.”One could then go here to view Norman for themselves.
Titus stars Christopher Titus as an early to mid-thirties man who owns a custom detailing shop. His half brother (Dave) and best friend (Tommy) also assist him in his shop. Dave is a bit of a pothead, while there is a running gag throughout the series that Tommy is gay, though he really is not. Simply Metro. The show’s cast is rounded out by Christopher’s fiancée Erin and his hard-drinking womanizing father, Ken, who is lovingly referred to as Papa Titus. There are also frequent visits form Titus’ mother, Juanita. Juanita has to visit because Juanita has been diagnosed as a manic-depressive-schizophrenic.
The plots in Titus are more often than not zany and off the wall. Dave misinterpreting a Dear John letter from his girlfriend and running away to enlist in the army. Erin wanting to host a civil Thanksgiving dinner between two completely dysfunctional families. Juanita getting out of the institution and drugging the family in order to try to kill Ken. You get the gist.
The show also leans heavily on Titus’ inner thoughts. There is much of each episode which is filmed in black and white negative space that is Titus speaking directly to the audience. He serves almost as the narrator for his life.
There is a lot of bad that you will find in Titus. Christopher and Erin live and sleep together without being married. Dave is a severe pothead. Drunkenness, womanizing, sex looked at as less than it should be looked upon as. There is much fallenness and brokenness to be seen in Titus, true. But there is a lot of good as well.
Where Titus is proud of his dad and his drunken womanizing ways, he states more than once that he wants to be nothing like his father. He wants to be with one woman and one woman only. He sees that even though some of his father’s hardness caused pain, it was intended to teach, not harm. He looks for the best in his father no matter what. He wants his dad to be proud of him.
Titus and Erin are living in sin. Yet they are in the process of getting married (in real life, Christopher and Erin did get married). They are putting the cart before the horse, but they are trying to redeem the relationship.
Tommy’s perceived homosexuality took center stage in an episode where his father revealed that he was gay. The rest of the episode spoke of the need for tolerance of differences, no matter what they are. It even ended on a realistic note of Tommy not wanting anything to do with his father, not because he is gay, but because of what this revelation did to Tommy’s mom.
There was a Christmas episode that dealt with a former girlfriend of Titus’ that abused him, and it put a very real and genuine face on domestic abuse, especially for men.
Titus wound up in a coma on one episode, and the entire show was shot from Ken’s perspective, and we finally get a look into Ken’s head, and why he acts the way he does with his son.
Throughout the series there were many ups and downs. Titus and Erin eventually welcomed Erin’s cousin into their home taking her from an abusive home environment and giving her better. And through all the mess, they sought to find the best in each part of their family. They were fallen characters living in a fallen world. Some of their actions were redemptive, others weren’t. But on the whole, the show strove to redeem the screwed up family dynamic that Christopher Titus was raised in. This is why I recommend this series for viewing.