It will only take minutes for you to become obsessed with the new comedy series Harlem on Prime Video. The new show about a group of friends living in Harlem comes from writer Tracy Oliver, who also blessed us with the instant classic film Girls Trip. If you like that movie, you’re gonna love what this show has to offer. With a dash of Insecure and a sprinkle of Sex and the City, this show comes from producers such as Amy Poehler and Pharrell Williams and proves to be as funny and cool as they are.
The colors are beautiful, the clothes are spectacular, the jokes are super funny, but most of all, each of these characters is authentic as hell. And while the show as a whole completely nails the hardships and successes of everything from flirting to sex to friendships to work and power dynamics involved in all of those aspects of life, we’re just gonna focus on one brief yet highly impactful moment from the first episode here today (all 10 episodes are currently available to binge).
Meagan Good (more like Meagan GREAT, amiright?) stars as Camille, a college professor who quickly learns she has an admirer in one of her students, Malik, played by Ashlee Brian who is as charming as he is chiseled. She brushes off his flirting until she’s at the gym one day and he steps on the treadmill next to her. Now, if he wasn’t as charming and chiseled as he is, this would be a no-no. A potential double no-no happens when he reaches for her phone to turn down the volume of her music that she is vibing to (“Juicy” by Doja Cat, just one of many perfect selections on this show’s soundtrack).
“I dropped your class, effective immediately,” he tells her. “I guess you really hated it,” Camille responds.
“No, I loved it,” he tells her, turning his body towards her to not only invite but encourage her to glance down at his gray sweatpants. Let us take a quick moment to say thank you to the manufacturer of said sweatpants for choosing a fabric that could present such an outline in this way.
“You can’t date a student, problem solved,” he tells her with a coy smile. “Malik, hoping for a date seems like an odd reason to adjust your academic schedule,” she says after working real hard to revert her eyes away from his bottom half. But he picks up her phone, adds his number, and tells her, “Call me if you want, and I think you should want,” as he glances down at himself and silently suggests she do the same for one last look.
Her friends later ask how she could possibly “not take him in the locker room right there,” and while she protests, “He’s too young, I am not having sex in the locker room,” her more adventures pals encourage her to not knock it until she tries it.
But let’s applaud this show for pointing out the obvious: we appreciate you, gray sweatpants. For leaving little to the imagination, for serving as the most comfortable form of flirting, and for being acknowledged by this show in this way. The moment is sexy and silly at once. If it’s pervy, it’s only in a good way. And most important: we have all been there. When both looking away and what’s happening in those pants, are the same amount of hard. Hell, earlier this week Charlie Puth celebrated his birthday by skipping the sweatpants part entirely, and instead posted a photo of himself in gray undies that has to be the most zoomed-in photo on Instagram this year (not that it needed a whole lot of zooming, either!).
This treadmill moment may be the peak sexiness of the relationship between Camille and Malik so far. The anticipation and attraction are there, the forbidden-ness still lingers in the air, and oohwee if Camille probably doesn’t get an extra sweat on after that encounter. But it also celebrates women as sexual beings as well. She can protest and try her best to be professional, but she’s still gonna glance down. She’s a smart, accomplished woman, and she’s got sexual needs too! Demonstrating without a forced effort how dynamic women, and particularly Black women are, is what this show does so very well in such a short amount of time.
And no matter how book-smart Camille may be, she still can’t fight the urge to look Malik up on Instagram later that night. What happens next, well, you’ll have to watch and see.
Stream Harlem on Prime Video