Your Honor TV Series Show Scene Bryan Cranston as Michael Desiato acting like a defense lawyer during the trial with a cop on the stand and him officially being a judge in the case

TV series Your Honor – Racial Stereotyping at its Finest

I tried to let it go, I really did. It’s been three days since I first saw the first episode of Showtime’s TV series Your Honor starring Bryan Cranston. And for those three days, the same thought has been running on repeat in my mind. Wow, there’s something really wrong with this shit. And then it hit me, it had something to do with how people of color were portrayed. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I kept finding new parallels and examples, solidifying my initial gut feeling. And each time I would find something new I would try to disprove it and explain it in some other way. And I simply couldn’t.

This is why I decided to get it out of me and share it with you. We will go together through this first episode of Your Honor and I will point out all the details that bothered me. As you probably already know this is our second examination of racism in cinema. We first posed the question of Are Seventies Killer Bee Movies Racist a couple of months ago. As I already stated in that post, this is not some hot woke take but an honest examination supported by facts. After some deliberation, I decided it would be best if we just let the episode run and then focus on important scenes.

Be aware that there will be spoilers here. It’s been a couple of weeks now since I wrote this analysis and I’m still not sure how this happened. Is this racism in the second degree? Were they just trying to show “things how they be” or something like that? Maybe they were trying to be modern and deal with these issues but in a really clumsy and blunt way. I hope you’ll help me to understand this better because I’m at a loss here.

The Opening Scene

We see a man running wearing gray sweatpants and a hoodie just as the sun is rising. The next scene shows a young couple in bed. To add a bit of context to these scenes, the runner is Bryan Cranston, the father of the sleepy young guy in the second scene. And I simply cannot resist the urge to comment on the boomer ideology subtly hinting that while the father is already running and “seizing the day” his young son is rolling around in bed, fornicating.

Now, I’m probably reading too much into this but this concept of an early run is usually associated with the suburbs. However, our fit judge is not running through the suburbs. His first stop is the cemetery because of course his wife is dead and he visits her grave, I assume, daily. Although that’s more of a tomb than a grave. But I digress, next, we find out that the kid has asthma because of course he has to have asthma. It’s like you’re watching any movie from the eighties.

But at the same time, you simply know that this asthma thing is going to come into play at a later time. He picks up some flowers, enters his shabby-looking car, and starts driving. You would think a judge’s kid is going to have a better car but I guess you would be wrong. Maybe he’s one of those strict boomer parents teaching his kid responsibility. Shit, there I go again with the whole boomer thing. I promise this is the last time.

Now it’s time for the introduction of another, this time crime family as it will turn out. A young 17-year-old white kid gets a decked-out motorbike for his birthday from his father. Excited, the kid decides to take it out for a test ride. If you’re a bit jaded you already know where this is going but just stay with me, we’re just getting started. So far, all the characters we’ve met are affluent white people. Just a side note to keep in mind.

Your Honor – The Racial Stereotyping Begins

Our grey sweatpants runner now enters a New Orleans hood. All the houses look old and decrepit and there’s no one else on the street. He stops in front of a seemingly random house and comes to the door, his face still obscured by the gray hoodie. And we get a glimpse of our first African-American character, a young boy whose first words to the world are: You police? The poor kid squares up to our masked hero and asks what do you want prompting him to continue running.

Don’t worry, this incident will come into play at a later time. And with huge consequences. Seven minutes have passed and we now have three whiteboys roaming two different New Orleans hoods. One is running, one is driving a shitty car and the last one is riding a motorcycle. Whiteboy #1 parks the car on a seemingly random street and then looks at the picture of his deceased mother holding flowers. Well, you know what’s up now.

She died in the hood, in that street, right across from the place where he’s parked right now. Apparently, she died in front of Yaya’s Food Store which looks like it hasn’t changed from the fifties. So, he places her framed picture and some flowers right beside the entrance to this classy establishment. And if you thought that we’re not going to have any more black characters you’re sorely mistaken!

Yup, as our solemn whiteboy #1 stands up and leaves, he’s met with no less than five black guys. And they look like your stereotypical gangsters. I think they covered all the possible looks. One guy’s shirtless, the other has a white t-shirt, others red, blue, and whatever. You know something’s coming. Especially when they start walking in a perfect formation.

Shit Gets Real

At this point, whiteboy #1 knows what’s up, doesn’t make eye contact, and gently makes his way to the car. Our black gang is staring him down with their leader grabbing his gigantic dick as a show of force. What are these strapping and strapped young men doing at this early hour, we don’t know. Apparently, they’re the only ones awake in this neighborhood. Oh yeah, there’s also one solitary chicken that runs across the road. Why they don’t like our young whiteboy #1, we also don’t know.

After a minute of frantic driving, our confused whiteboy #1 finds himself in front of Yaya’s Food Store once again. He notices that the picture of his mother is smashed and the flowers trampled. Now, who would do such a thing? Who would commit such a senseless act of vandalism? Maybe the scary black men who are now pulling out guns and walking toward scared whiteboy #1. He floors it and starts having an asthma attack.

And to make things worse, he notices that a black SUV just started following him. It would appear that our scary black men are now in that SUV and chasing him just ten seconds after they were on foot. As they’re getting closer and closer, he’s getting more and more out of breath. And his inhaler is rolling on the floor underneath the passenger seat.

And this is where, seemingly out of nowhere, he collides with a motorbike. After the accident, the gray SUV makes a U-turn and disappears. Of course, whiteboy #2 who was driving the motorbike is dead. And who you might blame for his tragic death? Who caused this incident? Perhaps someone who was pursuing our whiteboy #1 who thought he was going to die if they catch up to him.

Your Honor’s First Case is Pure Cringe

After an objectively excellent couple of scenes about the death of poor whiteboy #2, we’re back in business. We get our seventh black character and he’s apparently a homeless man washing windows at the side of the street. And one more important thing before I forget. During those several minutes after the crash, absolutely no one showed up at that intersection. There were no cars passing by, people running or riding their motorbikes.

At this point, I know I’m ranting a bit but just stay with me, the best is yet to come. The identity of our mysterious runner is finally revealed and we learn he’s the famous New Orleans Judge Michael Desiato. After a quick shower, he’s ready for his first case. Female Jones is her name, with Female being her first name and also, as it happens, her gender. I’ll refrain from comments on this little tidbit.

The first witness is a white police officer who describes seeing Female stuffing drugs in her private parts. And right away our honorable judge starts grilling the poor man. Now, I’m not a lawyer or an expert but I’ve seen my fair share of courtroom drama and I know how things work. We’ll talk about this a bit later, but Female is a single mother raising no less than four kids.

At this point, judge Desiato stops the trial and asks a young kid in the audience to step forward. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s the same young kid he visited during his run. What a fucking coincidence. Oh wait, this is not a coincidence at all! It would appear that Desiato has something up his sleeve…

Eugene’s Story is a Sad One

The kid’s name is Eugene and the first thing judge asks him is where is his father. Well, you know where this is going. Eugene replies that his father is busy with his side girlfriend and with dealing drugs. So, our homeboy is not in prison, which is refreshing, but he’s dealing drugs and living with another woman. I guess that brings us back to square one. Poor Eugene doesn’t remember when’s the last time he saw him.

The judge then proceeds to ask him what did he have for breakfast. How’s this related to the case he’s currently presiding over, we don’t know. However, I don’t think that was the point of this question. What we’ll hear next is something that I’ve never heard before in my entire life. Eugene says he had pickle juice for breakfast. Pickle fucking juice! I shit you not, this kid had pickle juice for breakfast. I wonder what his three siblings had…

Not only have I never seen a judge do something like this but I have never seen a more stereotypical African-American story. You just need to add welfare checks to make it complete. The judge is basically acting like a defense attorney taking it upon himself to help this poor black family. Because he cares and because they don’t know any better it would appear. However, the story doesn’t end there.

Judge Desiato continues to explain that if he sends his mother to jail for five years, Eugene will end up on the corner, selling drugs for his brother and his gang. He then makes sure that the officer is locked into his “drugs into pussy” story before he annihilates it. You see, this is the reason why he visited that house, to check out if it’s possible to see what this officer saw that day. And, of course, it’s not possible and the case is thrown out.

There’s No Racism Here Folks Just Look At This:

How could the first episode of the TV series Your Honor be racist with a character like judge Desiato? The man went above and beyond the call of duty to save a poor black girl from prison. Yes, he might have inadvertently highlighted all the negative stereotypes about African-Americans but he was just trying to help. He’s trying to help the children for fucks sake! Moreover, did you know that judge Desiato has a black friend? And they’re not just any kind friends, they’re good friends!

And he’s not any black man, he’s Isiah Whitlock Jr. best known as State Senator R. Clayton Clay Davis from The Wire. He’s that shiiiiiiiiiiiit guy if you’re not familiar with that perfection of a TV show. A show that’s about predominantly black gangs and criminals and yet not racist in the slightest. Even more, moreover, it would appear that Desiato saved Isiah’s life several years ago. Also, the poor kid took full responsibility for the hit-and-run accident never mentioning the black guys or anything.

Poor whiteboy #1 or Adam even tried to save the dying whiteboy #2 Rocco by giving him mouth-to-mouth. Yes, you read that right, he tried to give him mouth-to-mouth although he was in the middle of an asthma attack at that point. That surely proves he’s a good guy. Although, he did run from the scene of the crime, tried to destroy the evidence, and then did whatever the fuck his father told him so there’s that.

Am I Going Crazy or There’s Something Here

I don’t think I’ll watch the rest of this show as it appears to be quite contrived and annoying. It could be so bad that it’s good so I might even give it a chance someday. One of the elements I stumbled upon pertains to the murder of judge Desiato’s wife and Adam’s mother. Apparently, this rich white woman, also married to a judge no less, went to that Yaya’s Food Store and was killed there. And you can guess who killed her although I think that by this point you already know the answer.

In the end, I want to see the best in people. This is why I think that almost everything I talked about is a result of clumsy writing without any additional agenda. I could be wrong, of course. Maybe they were trying to get the urban white population by exploiting their justified and unjustified fears. Maybe they were actually trying to be woke and talk about the issues of poverty and crime in New Orleans.

I also want to add that we dissected only the first twenty minutes of the first episode. The rest of it consists of Bryan Cranston making sure that everybody else knows something weird is going on in his house. As a judge, he should’ve known better, something that I, as a true crime fan, know for sure. However, I think I’ve made my point. At least I hope so. As always, if you think I’m wrong, please do tell me in the comments below. And a couple of “why did chicken cross the road” jokes.