The Racialicious Roundtable for Undercovers 1.4

Hosted by Arturo R. García

The good news is, NBC ordered an additional 4-6 episodes of Undercovers.

The bad news is, it also asked for nine more episodes of Outsourced.

Actually, there’s been some mixed messages regarding the show over the past few days. Sure, the show’s been granted a stay of cancellation, but even its’ fan blogs have to note that the show’s ratings and viewership continue to drop.

There’s also been posts crediting the show with helping NBC become “the most watched network in black households.” Going by this post from Target Market News, the Peacock does have four of the Top 10 shows for that viewership … but Undercovers comes in at No. 11, having dropped 200,00 viewers between episodes 1.3 and 1.4.

And by now, the cat’s definitely out of the bag about this show, and we’re not the only reviewers out there who see the flaws. As Aymar Jean Christian at Televisual puts it,

In short, Undercovers was a decently executed but ultimately underwhelming project that was hindered by its lack of edge and depth not ambition and quality. It would have done better on USA*, alongside White Collar and Covert Affairs

We’re just saying, we totally called that a couple of weeks ago. But enough about us … actually, this is the part where we start dishing on Team Bloom’s battle with bad Irish accents in “Jailbreak.”


Any thoughts on the links posted above?
Mahsino: The Televisiual article is annoying. Really “you neither admire nor root for [Mbatha-Raw] (like we do Piper Perabo in Covert Affairs).” We’re comparing Undercovers to Covert Affairs!? Cute, conventionally attractive, white woman starting a new job and is seemingly in over her head is more worthy of praise than Undercovers? I can’t…  And frankly, I’m tired of “a female with a tough-chick reputation (like a Zoe Saldana…”, I think we’re good on “strong Black women”, I just want some level of conflict in the story, either that, or balls to the wall cheesiness.
Diana: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there is absolutely nothing on the Undercovers blog other than the decreasing viewership numbers.  Black people like NBC?  No, no, no.  I think the ratings chart shows that black people, probably like most other people of any other designation, like new episodes of Law and Order.
Andrea: I don’t think Aymer is saying that the ‘Table hasn’t said about the show: the main characters don’t have drama, the plot doesn’t exist, Michael and Fiona and the rest of the USA Network crew need to make room in its line-up for the Blooms.  I just don’t find myself cheering for the Covert Affairs lead, but I’m not gonna join the Matt Bomer stompdown. I agree with you, Mahsino, that Mbatha-Raw doesn’t need to be compared to Perabo: I’m trying to figure out how an extremely competent ass-kicker like Samantha compares to the Covert lead. Twice as good to simply be seen as good? Wait….

Ok, for all the play it got, the whole “Lie Detector” thing didn’t get a payoff. Not only did nobody remark on the fact that the Irish guy’s girlfriend lied right to Steven’s face, but the fact that he called Lizzy borrowing money was ignored.
Diana:  This just shows poor writing and lack of attention to detail.  Faux intrigue is just faux intrigue.
Andrea: I agree: that aspect of Steven definitely makes him USA Network-worthy.  I just think that the creators wrote it such that 1) we get to see the girlfriend suffer by hearing Shawn say that he didn’t care about her (karmic payback) 2) the fact that Samantha confessed at the end to the loan. That was the payoff–not big, not well-done, but the writers did cover both of them, in my estimation.
Arturo: It was karmic payback for the girlfriend, but it didn’t relate to anything the Blooms had been doing. Even a moment of silent realization on Steven’s part would’ve done the trick for me here.

Speaking of that final scene, what do you think Steven’s “big secret” is?
Mahsino: I’m only mildly interested because I’m guessing it’s going to be super lame.
Arturo: The problem here is, there’s so little tension going on around them, it makes the slow reveal feel more drawn out than it should be.
Diana:  Steven really hates Sam’s cooking?  Whatever it is, I’m with Mahsino.  I have extremely low expectations.
Andrea: He’s in league with Satan. The deal: to keep Steven well-moisturized at all times.

In an odd development, Hoyt is becoming the most well-rounded character of the group. He’s still Tech Guy, but we’ve seen him in the field with no sign of “typical” geek awkwardness, and the “Reverse Seduction” was a nice turn for him vis-a-vis Nash.
Mahsino: I’m starting to like him more. I also like how the “Reverse Seduction” highlighted how creepy Nash’s game is when you really think about it.
Arturo: Well, people like that are creepy, period. But that tends to get ignored in the pop-culture landscape.
Diana: I much prefer Hoyt to Nash.
Andrea: I do like Hoyt because he made his weakness his strength. Actually, I’d do Hoyt. ::blush::

Open Mic!
Diana: I’ve been secretly watching Hellcats. ::Holds head sheepishly.::  Surprisingly, despite all the inane fluff of the first episode, it is actually getting better.  I cannot say the same for Undercovers. :[
Arturo: It’s okay. I’ve heard there’s support groups for people with the Hellhabit.
Andrea: Can I say that the fake-ass Irish accents drove me nuts in this ep?  And the signifying “Irish” names? (Fiona? Really??)  It’s like we were hit over the head that they were in Ireland with some of the tritest indicators. Ack!  Anyway….I tried holding out hope for this show, but I can’t too much longer.  Spy shows just shouldn’t be so….pat.  And I’m surprised that this is coming from JJ Abrams.  I think I’m going to add to its declining numbers.
Arturo: At least we didn’t get a Seamus. Progress?

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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