Stream or skip? +2023

south side (HBO Max), by series creators Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle (Sherman’s showcase), returns for its third season with more laughter and frenzy, set and filmed in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, where Sultan Salahuddin and Kareme Young encounter all sorts of personalities and mishaps around town as furniture buyers for Rent-T-Own . south side debuted on Comedy Central in 2019 but has made her home on HBO Max since season two.


opening shot: “Just relax,” says Officer Sandy Goodnight (Bashir Salahuddin). “I want everyone to go home from this OK, right?” The situation he faces, we soon learn, is not everyday. It’s not even something the neighborhood kids have seen before. But don’t ask her about the culprit. “Oh, we don’t know her. This is Kanika’s cousin from Olympia Fields.”

The essentials: Goodnight thinks the situation with their police cruiser might not have happened in the first place if his partner Sergeant Turner (Chandra Russell) didn’t want to stop for a snow cone. And elsewhere in the neighborhood, Simon James (Sultan Salahuddin) and Kareme “K” Odom (Kareme Young) still work for the Rent-T-Own shop run by K’s brother Quincy (played by Kareme Young’s real-life brother Quincy Young ). . But with their arrival in the business of another repo, a new problem emerges. Her colleague “Greg the Marine” (Landre Idewu) lied about his past. He’s actually AWOL from the Army. And the MPs who want him back are knocking on Rent-T-Own’s door.

What follows is a hustle built from the original hustle. While “Greg” searches for allies among the staff, a group that also includes Stacy (Zuri Salahuddin) and Keisha (Nefetari Spencer), Simon concocts a story about a bed bug infestation so Quincy can keep the army boys out. But now they actually have to find some bed bugs, an adventure that involves a motel that makes false promises about cleanliness, its breakfast buffet is of questionable quality, and a discussion of the technicalities of polyamorous partnerships.

Turner and Goodnight have arrived at the Public Confinement Grounds, an infamous location with a depressing trailer waiting area and a walk-in window guard. And Simon and K might have saved the day at Rent-T-Own, even if it meant eating a ripe and soupy clam chowder. All in one day’s work, right?

South side S3 HBO max
Photo: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./HBO Max

What shows will it remind you of? Speaking of shows with a certain civic pride and shows that once aired Comedy Central, south side shares his manic jokes-per-second rate Detroiters, Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson’s brilliant comedy, available now on Paramount+. And as for sitcoms that are set in Chicago and get the details of location, language and food right, south side and FX The bear earn medals.

Our opinion: It can be disorienting and euphoric to laugh at your own laugh, and that seems to happen a lot whenever south side is on. From Turner and Goodnight’s hectic lives to the beat, where their opposing styles create situations that escalate in all directions, to the situation at Rent-T-Own, where an employee’s decision to seek unlawful protection creates a hilarious array of propositions where he should have been hiding, not to mention his list of well-known aliases (“Michael C. Jordan”, “Scottie Pippen of the Shire”, Dennis Rodman Clinton…”), south side always sets the table for the next spread of bits.

What works the most south side, however, is also the underlying current of sweetness. There are entire conversations between Simon and K that we never hear as they drive around in the Rent-T-Own truck given the limited run time. But what we’re privy to turns into an encouraging essay about their friendship, like a repo job coming home for Simon (“Damn, broke-ass Gustav really got you in your feelings, bro”), or the two friends their discussions continue efforts to rise and improve. It’s the kind of central relationship that gives a sitcom not only an engine but also a heart.

gender and skin: There’s nothing here but “Greg the Marine” doing some theatrical simulations with the help of a sawhorse.

farewell shot: “Hold for me so I can get out.” Turner, calm now having managed to retrieve her police cruiser despite Goodnight’s bluster, doesn’t listen to her partner’s protests about being let out of the secured rear seating area. “It’s good.” She doesn’t stop. “Turner, stop right there. gymnast Gymnasts!”

sleeping star: Local and Chicago cop Ayo Dosunmu makes a charming cameo here as himself, but also just another customer in the confiscation area who is forced to wait his turn to gain access to the walk-in window. (Celebrities associated with Chicago make regular appearances south side – previous cameos were Rhymefest, Jeff Tweedy, Dreezy and Chance the Rapper.)

Most pilot line: “Damn, I’m hungry,” Sergeant Turner says to the guy in the impoundment’s walk-in window. “I only ate half a cucumber today. Wait, does Portillo’s deliver down here?” And the guy says the Chicago street food favorite does, but with a caveat. “Just make sure you order from Portillo’s in Ontario. The one on Taylor Street skimps on peppers.”

Our appeal: Stream it. south side is the kind of second-by-second hilarious where seemingly every line tells its own joke. And with a breezy 30 minutes, you can fill the hour with a laugh.

Johnny Loftus is an independent writer and editor living at large in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @Glenganges

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