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Issa Rae Launches ‘The Michelle Obama Diaries’

By Alyssa Rosenberg  

"Issa Rae Launches ‘The Michelle Obama Diaries’"

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It’s not as if Issa Rae doesn’t have a lot on her plate, in between her web-based sitcom, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and the show she recently sold to ABC with Shonda Rhimes’ help, about a female cohost on an internet talk radio show. But in the midst of all this activity, she’s launched a new series, The Michelle Obama Diaries, which features Michelle Obama translating her own thoughts and throwing the kind of shade Luther offers up for President Obama in Key & Peele‘s Anger Translator skits:

The Anger Translator sketch works because it suggests something sort of naughty and delicious about the president that we’d like to be true rather than that we actually believe to be true. It’s fun for the same reason seeing President Obama punch back in a debate is fun: it makes us feel like he’s as angry and as frustrated as we are, that he’s as disgusted by the volume of crazy and lies lofted in his direction.

The Michelle Obama Diaries, on the other hand, plays into an idea we believe to be true of FLOTUS, that she’s tart and awesome and sexy. And instead of providing a wishful sense of escape from the limitations of the man and the role, the series gives us a sense of access to that side of her. This first episode isn’t as sharp as the Anger Translator schtick yet, in part because the idea that Michelle and Barack have sex, for example, doesn’t actually feel like much of a slap back at a stupid or vicious misperception of the couple, or a confirmation of something we’d wish to be true but don’t really believe to be the case. I would, on the other hand, watch the hell out of a First Ladies of Washington, DC show from Rae along the lines of the brilliant Real Housewives of Civil Rights parody from a while back:

I bet the brunches between Hillary and Michelle would make an epic arc to the first season.

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