“The Other Black Girl” attempts to uncover and display the competitiveness that can mar female friendships. When Hazel does something nice for Nella, the latter questions if it’s done solely from the goodness of her co-worker’s heart. The two are constantly pitted against each other by those around them, though they attempt to free themselves from these plights, hoping that they can coexist in their workplace and friendship as two talented Black women. If the show was simply about the two of them navigating the troubles of assimilation and racism within the workplace, it may have been great. But in an attempt to pull the rug out from under the viewer, intriguing hints about cults and double lives instead lead to mediocre representations of secret societies hinged on laughable ideas.
Alas, the show unravels under the pressures of modern sci-fi horror that has rapidly started plaguing Black films and television. “The Other Black Girl” ultimately fails when its most interesting ideas of assimilation and race become bogged down by boring tropes borrowed from seemingly every Black horror film since 2017’s “Get Out.” There comes a time when cinema and television must strive for new stories to tell, and unfortunately, it’s clear that such a time is overdue. In a climate with shows like “Them” and films like “Bad Hair,” this series is behind the times and forces its viewers to ask, “Haven’t we seen this before?”
While not necessarily unimportant, the show’s discussions about Blackness feel like regurgitations of stories that have been told before, offering a dull consensus that has been hammered out in films before it and in real conversations amongst the Black community. What could have been an enthralling story about assimilation to the highest degree ultimately fumbles under the weight of the dozens of films and miniseries that preceded it. Perhaps if the novel came out on the cusp of the release of “Get Out,” this adaptation would be more appealing instead being almost offensive in its mediocrity.
“The Other Black Girl” premieres on Hulu on September 13th.