[There was a video here]
Knowing how to make an entrance is a crucial part of being a pop cultural icon. When Fox's nighttime soap Empire debuted three weeks ago, Taraji P. Henson's character Cookie stole the show the instant she sashayed out of jail and started wreaking havoc in whatever room she entered. She's been stealing it ever since. The supercut above is a tribute to a character who instantly resonated with audiences.
And she keeps resonating, as does the show. Last night's fourth episode broadcast premiere scored an audience of 11.3 million, its highest yet. Empire is an out-and-out phenomenon, and I think that's with good reason. I'm hooked. The storytelling is deliberate and easy to follow, the plot developments are juicy, and Empire shares hip-hop's wisdom regarding the importance of guest stars (Naomi Campbell and Cuba Gooding Jr., have popped up in bit parts with more familiar faces expected on the way). It balances melodrama and the ensuing unnatural acting with an uncommon realness — almost every week the show has spawned some sort of minor controversy, from one character's criticism of Barack Obama as a "sell out" to whether the word "faggot" should be said on television (it should, especially when it's wielded with such specificity and illumination). It has spawned smart think pieces, like Michael Arceneaux's "Black People Are Not More Homophobic Than Everyone Else." The show is bold and it's getting under people's skin. Like its quick-witted, sharp-tongued character Cookie, Empire really goes there and then keeps going there and it's exhilarating.
If you're a fan of TV and you aren't watching Empire right now, what are you doing with your life? If you haven't gotten around to checking it out yet, I hope the montage above provides you with all the inspiration that you need.