“Being young, gifted and black is cool, but it’s exhausting.” So says Bryson (Tequan Richmond), one of the many young, gifted and black millennials at the center of BET’s sharp new dramedy Boomerang (premiering Feb. 12 at 10 p.m.) — a sequel of sorts to the hit 1992 romantic comedy starring Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, and Halle Berry.
About 25 years after Marcus Graham (Murphy) and Angela Lewis (Berry) strolled arm-and-arm into the end credits, their daughter Simone (Tetona Jackson) decides to quit her job at the family’s Atlanta-based ad agency and build her own business. Like her dad in his youth, Simone’s confidence often tips into arrogance, and she takes a Postmates approach to men and relationships, preferring booty calls to commitment. She’s good friends with Bryson, who has his own family legacy to contend with: He’s the son of Jacqueline Broyer (Givens’ man-eater character from the movie). That also means Bryson’s mom dated Simone’s dad — which complicates his hopes for a romantic future with Simone. His overbearing boss Victoria (the always-excellent Paula Newsome), meanwhile, thinks Bryson is a “young buck” who needs to learn his place.
Much like its big-screen counterpart, Boomerang has a laid-back charm and is at its best when Simone and Bryson are just hanging out with their friends, including exotic dancer/performance artist Tia (Lala Milan, emanating swagger), devout young pastor David (RJ Walker), and the sexually fluid filmmaker-in-theory Ari (Leland Martin, whose fast-talking bravado recalls a young Martin Lawrence). An episode titled “Game Night” unfolds entirely over a long evening at Bryson’s apartment, as complicated relationship dynamics — including lingering feelings between David and Simone’s no-nonsense best friend, Crystal (Brittany Inge) — vibrate beneath every round of Celebrity.
Created by Ben Cory Jones (Insecure) and Lena Waithe (The Chi), Boomerang does a solid job establishing its own universe, while peppering in enough Easter eggs — including a sly nod to Grace Jones’s memorable “steel vagina” moment — to keep fans of the original happy. It’s always nice when kids show respect for their elders. Grade: B+