Lagos Big Boy: A Creative Misstep by Ndani TV?

A poster of four boys in agbada looking regal and ‘demonic’ would definitely melt many hearts. This is perhaps why a lot of us, me included, fell quickly for the Lagos Big Boy series, that is apart from the reputation Ndani TV has created for itself with hit shows like Gidi Up and Skinny Girl In Transit, and the acclaim Dare Olaitan of Ojukokoro has had for his imagination in his debut film.

When the first two episodes didn’t seem like they were going anywhere close to the images on the poster, we began to murmur, to get impatient and ask for our juicy looking Yoruba demons in all their splendor. Some of us switched on patience mode and waited, trusting that a cast of Pulse’s Chuey Chu, Gbolahan ‘Bollylomo’ and Charles Etubiebi would not put us to shame. Others just gave up and opted for Barney and Friends instead.

Lagos Big Boy was written and directed by Dare Olaitan, and produced by Abimbola Craig. Its first season has twelve fifteen-minute episodes. It is a story of four men; three of them originally friends, and one joining them at some point. These men, Tunji, BJ, Ebuka and Sayo live together in an absurdly fancy apartment where they get busy playing video games and discussing weed and women all day. They suddenly realise BJ can sing after owing a drug lord called Rambo a lot of money, and decide to get BJ to record a song to pay their debts. While at it, Sayo prevents them from selling their souls and rescues them from their debt but loses his house and savings in the process, and is invited to come crash with the gang. They all get focused on helping BJ achieve his musical big break, but BJ is so unserious he keeps getting them in trouble, mostly unreasonable trouble, till the last one at the end of the season that is just outright ridiculous.

“Lagos Big Boy didn’t just stumble upon such depths of ridiculousness overnight. The signs had been there from the beginning”

It is so ridiculous you wish you didn’t have the patience to have seen it through. It is so ridiculous you feel insulted by the cast and crew who think you are a fool to have fallen for all they’ve been selling. It is that ridiculous, and if you are anything like me, you start looking for one of them to give you back your wasted data. But Lagos Big Boy didn’t just stumble upon such depths of ridiculousness overnight. The signs had been there from the beginning, from the flashbacks that get the eyes drowsy, to the way Tunji (Tosan Wiltshire) falls for High Boy’s lies, to the way they crash High Boy’s sham party in slow motion and steal his musical equipment, to the way they audition for a producer, run into trouble with a police officer and then an ‘olosho’ girlfriend. Everything is a big joke, like a game of police and thief we have been invited to partake in. Or maybe the idea is to bring out some encrypted genius from this mass of crap. Maybe we just aren’t deep enough to understand it.

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Well, there’s a second season coming up which might help us see what we have failed to see and answer our questions while at it. The only problem is it is unlikely that anyone would be seeing it, not for the acting that is generally painful to watch, or for the dialogue that’s devoid of life, or for the story that begs for imagination and believability. Perhaps for the pictures; cinematography is always a high point for Ndani TV.

This leads us to discussions about the promised third season of Gidi Up, the one show we all can trust. Was Lagos Big Boy intended as a temporary distraction, something to hold on to while the creators of the hit show gathered what was left of it? Was this just an experiment, a way of keeping the fans busy and committed while real work was being done? Will Gidi Up ever see the light of day, or do we stop waiting and start moving on with our lives? Sadly, we would have to put on our patience garbs once again to find the answers we seek.

Ifeoluwa Olujuyigbe was the 1st runner-up in The Critic Challenge 2017. She is a writer, editor and film critic. Her short stories, reviews, essays and flash fiction pieces have appeared on Brittle Paper, Akoma, The Naked Convos, Storried Nigeria, The Scoop, Pulse Nigeria, Words are Work, Writivision, Paragraph Planet UK, Short Sharp Shot Literary Magazine, and 'A Mosaic of Torn Places' anthology, to mention a few. She won Flash Fiction Competition, Blackout (2016), and the SGNT Media Short Story Prize (2016), and she was a runner-up for the iWriteArt Competition (2016). She currently writes movie reviews for True Nollywood Stories (TNS) and edits for gemWoman Magazine.

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