The episode opens with exterior shots of an NYC apartment building.

We see transgender character Danielle in asleep in bed. Through voice-over she tells us this is the day her life changed forever. Fortunately for us that change doesn’t include narrating the entire episode. I don’t know what it is about soooo mannnyyyy Black Filmmakers lazily using voice-over to tell their story.

So Danielle’s alarm goes off and she falls out of bed. Okay, not one of No Shade’s strongest jokes ever but I get it.

Next we see her getting dressed, doing her hair and shaving…wait, what? Shaving?

Oh yeah, she’s biologically a dude.

But this is actually a nice touch because it visually shows us the many things she has to do to maintain her outward appearance as a woman. Details like this add up to a full character. Okay, I get it, now let’s move on to some story Sean Anthony! Time’s ticking and this Internet bandwidth ain’t free!

Danielle exits her apartment and walks through the city of New York. We see the city and people in all its glory. She walks and walks. Then she takes public transportation. And then she walks some more.

*Presses Stop*

Okay, No Shade. What are you doing here? I got a lot of fellas watching this show for the first time only because I vouched for it all over that first page…you’re making me look real bad in front of the homies. We’re three minutes into the episode and nothing’s happened. Let’s pick up the pace, yo. Throw a first act dilemma up in here, already.

*Presses Play*

Danielle’s still walking. Oh wait, she bumps into a white dude spilling coffee all over his shirt. Okay here we go conflict!

Nope, she keeps on walking. Huh?

Ohhhhhh! I get it. In the PREVIOUSLY ON: NO SHADE clips we saw Danielle talking about going to court to officially change her name. She must be in a hurry to get to court. And the white guy is gonna end up being the judge or someone who has authority over the decision…Hot damn, Sean Anthony, you sir are on it! I can already see the Curb Your Enthusiasm type awkwardness that will come in this later scene. (“Wait, you’re the one that made me spill my coffee! Name change Denied!” *cue corny sitcom laugh track*)

Hilarious. Assuming that I’m right, of course.


So the white guy yells at Danielle as she walks off…Then he hops on his cell phone and calls his office to cancel a meeting (one that he really didn’t seem in a hurry to get to in the first place) because of the spilled coffee.

Hmm, wait. So he’s not a judge or lawyer? Well, it still makes sense if Danielle was on her way to see him anyway. Yeah, that’s the ticket. She’s in a hurry to meet with the White Spilled Coffee Dude for her name transition, not knowing that he’s crucial to the whole process. Yeah. I’mma go with that. Sean Anthony, you’s a creative nicca!

So White Spilled Coffee Dude cancels the meeting with his secretary, 1998 Taral Hicks from Belly. She hangs up and tells an attractive young Lil Scrappy waiting in the lobby that his meeting was cancelled.


Young Scrappy doesn’t look too happy that this meeting was rescheduled, not too happy at all.

Wait a second.

We’re almost halfway through the episode, no plot has progressed and we’ve randomly added three brand new characters. Did Lamont Pierre ghostwrite this episode?!

Sigh, okay I hit play again. Back to Danielle. Wait, she’s STILL walking?!

Oh okay, she finally made it to the Court to change her name. Only took us 4:30 minutes but okay. NYC is big…and dangerous (as the previous episode demonstrated) so at least she made it unharmed.

But still no first act dilemma established? Sean Anthony, bro…what’s the dealio? Where my obstacles and conflicts, son?! Word is born, yo…got me searching for the Inciting Incident and it’s no where to be found, B!

Okay, my fake New York accent is just as bad on paper as it is in person. So let me just continue.

Cypher Avenue Rating: 3 of 5