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Survivor's Remorse recap: A Time to Punch

When a fight between Cam and M-Chuck goes too far, the media and the law descend on the Calloway family.

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Richard A. DuCree/Starz

Survivor's Remorse

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
RonReaco Lee, Jessie Usher, Erica Ash

Domestic violence is no laughing matter.

Underneath all of the jokes about trigger warnings, “starting the conversation,” and cornball public-service announcements, Survivor’s Remorse knows this, and that’s the beauty of this series: Just when you think that they’ve gone too far and made a punch line out of a serious issue—and we feel our own sense of guilt for laughing at the show’s brazen humor—they pop out from behind the curtain to assure us they were in on it all along.

This week’s episode satirized both the media’s and lawmakers’ tendency to engage in a feeding frenzy around a celebrity’s misfortune. “A Time to Punch” took swipes at opportunistic, sanctimonious (Cam: “What’s ‘sanctimonious’ mean?”) district attorneys, smug journalists (NPR is skewered), and overblown PSAs that only seek to benefit the company sponsoring them and the famous figures in need of spin doctoring.

But it’s only at the very end of the episode that we learn despite all of the cringe-worthy humor, Survivor’s Remorse doesn’t find anything funny about domestic violence at all. After watching the embarrassing awareness-raising PSA about violence against men featuring Cam, M-Chuck and Jimmy Flaherty, it’s Missy who drops the mic on all of the brands and celebrities out there using serious subjects to further their exposure.

“When people use a false equivalency to make light of domestic violence against women, it makes me want to punch someone in their f—ing face.”

So how did Cam and M-Chuck end up spokespeople for domestic violence against men? Well, it all started over a pile of Coke…

M-Chuck discovers her brother is charging the Calloways 50 cents per can of soda out of the gratis Coca-Cola machine (Cam’s being courted by the soft-drink company), which he plans to donate to charity. Forgetting once again that she’s living in the lap of luxury through no hard work of her own, M-Chuck unleashes her fury by tossing Coke cans at Cam’s head. One of their hardcore brother-sister fights ensues, and M-Chuck, also forgetting that her brother is a public figure now, pops Cam a new one right in his eye, neglecting to remove her humongous, blinged-out ring before throwing her punch.

I could go into an entire paragraph as to why M-Chuck’s actions were really stupid, but I’ll just let Cassie do the talking here, because she breaks the situation down into four words: “You punched the money!”

The team doctor makes a house call, benching Cam for six games. But that’s the least of the family’s problems. Team owner Jimmy Flaherty is already onto Cam’s sketchy story about how he just “slipped and fell onto my eye in a pile of Coke” (Flaherty: “Let’s keep the phrase ‘a pile of coke’ out of this”), and the basketball star doesn’t even make it halfway through his news conference before the truth spills out. Just as it looks like the press is buying Cam’s story about slipping on a Coke-splattered marble floor, incriminating footage of M-Chuck decking her brother appears on a TV screen above Cam’s head.

Immediately, Cam becomes an assault victim, thanks to a security-camera tape presumably leaked by Todd, the new butler who kicked off the episode feeding Reggie a bogus-sounding story about his injured mother and requesting an advance of $11,000. RonReaco Lee’s solid delivery of Todd’s over-the-phone firing is so funny it bears re-watching. And re-watching. And re-watching again. Because the only thing wrong with this episode is we don’t get to see Reggie’s fantasy of Todd’s mother motor-scooting off a cliff.

Next on the Calloways’ agenda is to meet with the district attorney, who wants to make an example of M-Chuck. The D.A. is played by Tamara Tunie, who doubles the hilarity just by being in the room when Flaherty berates Cassie, Cam, and M-Chuck for not shutting their traps during the mediations: “You ever see Law & Order? This is the order part.” (Tunie portrayed medical examiner Melinda Warner on Law & Order: SVU.) Tunie’s D.A. is a self-righteous lawyer who spews exhortations like, “This is a time to sit still and to steep in regret and shame.” She also drives the phrase “start the conversation” into the ground with her unbending, empty-sounding insistence that Cam and M-Chuck raise awareness over the “in-the-shadows” issue of violence against men.

NEXT: Men Bruise Too