by Nora Hogan
Trying to operate like normal in today’s current climate is almost too much to bear. If you too are also seeking an escape from the fresh hell that is today, I have the perfect show for you. “Awkwafina is Nora from Queens” is the perfect remedy to watch when you are perpetually down bad like I am these days.
The story centers around the adventures of the show’s protagonist, Nora Lim (Nora Lum, otherwise known as her stage name Awkwafina), who is a 20-something living with her Dad (BD Wong) and Grandma (Lori Tan Chinn) in Queens, New York. Each episode in the 10-part series encapsulates a different adventure that forces Nora into attempting to operate like society’s standard of a functioning adult. Awkwafina succeeds in making light of the realities that many 20-year-olds experience, including navigating post-college life and the struggle of finding and maintaining various romantic, sexual and platonic relationships. What’s more is that it’s absolutely hilarious. I caught myself laughing out loud at most of the jokes and plotlines in the show (my roommate can attest to this fact). This fact is especially significant considering that I don’t find most sitcoms laugh-out-loud funny (i.e. “The Office” – don’t hate me y’all). The absurdism that Awkwafina weaves into the various plots and characters’ relationships is just the right kind of funny that I’ve been needing for far too long.
If you are a fan of Broad City or SNL, this show is definitely for you. The show follows a similar formula to Comedy Central’s former television hit, “Broad City.” The show takes place in Queens instead of Brooklyn, but the themes pertaining to the realities of being a female in one’s twenties remain the same. In fact, “Broad City’s” own Lucia Aniello serves as an executive producer for the show. Additionally, several SNL cast members make appearances throughout the series. For instance, Melissa Villaseñor makes a cameo appearance in one of the episodes and Bowen Yang stars as Nora’s cousin.
Critics aren’t too hot about this show, unfortunately. One of the biggest issues that they have is with the fact that Nora’s character doesn’t experience any true development. She never successfully moves out of her family home and she more or less maintains the same sardonic outlook about life at the end of the series as she had at the beginning. However, I feel that what critics miss about “Nora from Queens” is its comfort value that the show has for viewers. In my opinion this lack of development is exactly the kind of comfort I need right now. Seeing how Nora struggles to accept the challenges and realities of adulthood makes me feel like I’m not alone in my own struggles with becoming an adult in the midst of a global pandemic. Now I am not a 29-year-old living with no stable job living in my family home, but I can relate to the show’s messaging: Everyone is really just trying to figure it out. Existing is hard for everyone, even if you don’t make the definition of what society considers is “successful.”
Watching this show is equivalent to hiding under the bedsheets with a flashlight from my current reality. I highly recommend watching this show on your preferred streaming platform (I watched it on HBO Max) if you are also feeling similar feelings about your existence. As the semester draws to a close and the light at the end of the COVID tunnel draws nearer, we all need a little hiding-under-the-bedsheets action while we wait out the rest of the maelstrom that is Spring 2021.