In the series premiere, Cam has his first press conference while his mother, Cassie (Tichina Arnold), watches from her Boston apartment as movers arrive to pack it up as Cam moves her to Atlanta. She’s just one of the many hangers-on orbiting Cam’s star.
Cam gets good advice from his advisor/cousin Reggie (RonReaco Lee), who fears Cam’s spending on unnecessary extravagances (an Aston Martin) are out of control. Cam dislikes Reggie’s “dad talk” and wants to spend on himself and even more on others, saying he feels guilty that he made it out of the projects while others did not.
“Give too much and you become a cautionary tale,” Reggie warns.
Cam’s blunt, lesbian sister, Mary (Erica Ash); Reggie’s refined wife Missy (Teyonah Parris) and Cam’s hustler Uncle Julius (Mike Epps) round out the baller’s inner circle.
The primary story in the pilot involves an acquaintance from Cam’s old neighborhood who gets his hands on an incendiary video tape Cam made as a kid that could damage his career if it’s leaked; a blackmail plot ensues.
Fresh and often frisky, “Survivor’s Remorse” gets more darkly comic in its second episode when Cassie tells a TV reporter she used to beat Cam and advocates corporal punishment for unruly youth.
“In order to be a good mother, sometimes you’ve got to mix a little hurt with the hugs,” she says. “Kids are resilient; bruises will heal.”
Cam dismisses the team owner’s outrage until he meets a father and son on the street and the dad says Cam’s mother encouraged him to smack his son around. A press conference apology from Cassie follows but it comes with strings attached.
Although a TV series about the trappings of sudden fame could be cliché, Mr. O’Malley roots the show in specific, believable characters that make “Survivor’s Remorse” one of the fall’s stand-out new shows.