We don’t normally see characters as sensitive as Jerome, but I’m glad he’s here. Lovingly embodied by Mamoudou Athie, Jerome is just a guy who hasn’t yet found true love or a companion to share his life. In FXX’s Oh Jerome, No (which wins for best new title of the season), Jerome goes to extreme lengths to find happiness, and his actions in this absurd comedy will have you raising your eyebows.
Teddy Blanks and Alex Karpovsky’s short form series tackles toxic masculinity in a new way by centering on a young man hungry for love. In flashbacks, we see how Jerome manages to turn a bully into a lifelong ally, but he also has let jealousy destroy some of his most meaningful relationships. Since we don’t guide men on how to channel or extrapolate their emotions, they don’t know what to do when they are troubled to ask women out. Please don’t get a job at a restaurant just because you want to date one of the waitresses. Let Jerome’s actions be a lesson to us all.
Athie brings a sweet enthusiasm to his performance. Even though we watch Jerome make one bad decision after another, you want him to find someone who will match his passion for being in a relationship. We shouldn’t shame men for being in touch with their feelings. After all, they aren’t all as smart and keen as Jerome is.
Awards Daily: After playing this character, I wondered if you think we should retire the phrase, “Good guys finish last”?
Mamoudou Athie: Yeah, man. It’s so funny that you ask that, because I haven’t thought of that expression in so long. It’s tired. There are a lot of arguments about how a good guy presents himself. Jerome, in the spectrum of people on the earth, is a good guy. Some of the actions he takes are fucking weird, man.
AD: Yeah. (Laughs)
MA: It’s not good guy shit. It’s not because he’s a bad person. It’s dodgy.
AD: He’s such an emotional person that I feel like he is grasping at any solution to try it make himself happy no matter how shady it feels or how strange.
AD: In the second episode, they are creating his dating profile…in an office on the oldest computer in the world.
MA: Or the thing I keep referencing is working at the restaurant.
AD: Oh, that’s so messed up. (Laughs)
MA: What’s wrong with him? Ask her out or don’t. I guess you don’t want to ask out someone who is serving you—that’s a weird power dynamic, so I get it. That whole “nice guys finish last thing,” I wonder, created the whole incel culture that we see now. It’s bullshit. I know plenty of nice guys who are in loving relationships or they date around.
AD: It’s like when you see a show and a character says, “Oh, men are from Mars! Men can’t possibly know anything about women!”
MA: It’s dated and tired. It doesn’t do anybody any good.
AD: Do you think if Jerome ever considered a therapist?
MA: I think he treats Dan as his therapist. Based on his actions, I don’t think he’s ever stepped into a therapist’s office, and that’s strange since he’s so outwardly progressive. I’ll have to bring that up to Teddy [Blanks] and Alex [Karpovsky]. I wish everybody went to therapy.
AD: If everyone had one person to talk to about everything…
MA: We’d all be less monstrous.
AD: Maybe they should use that as a tagline.
MA: Yeah, come get some help.
AD: I am curious about the conversations you had with Alex and Teddy about absurdity. In the first episode, Natasha Lyonne eats a pigeon.
MA: (Laughs) Yes.
AD: Did you guys talk about that in depth since Jerome is very grounded?
MA: We did a short that was kind of an advert for Ray-Ban that was kind of strange. For me, the situations are so outlandish enough that I didn’t need to put any extra on that. I had to approach it as realistically as possible and let the story do the rest. There would be plenty of moments where I’d read the script and I’d go, “Guys, I don’t know about this.” At the same time, if we talked a little bit and it didn’t make sense, we’d change it. There was trust there since we worked together before. I once had a teacher who once told me that, “In the time it takes to discuss one thing, you can try 10 different things.” If something didn’t work, we just didn’t do it.
AD: You could probably lean into “Dating is crazy!”
MA: “Dating is so weird!”
AD: I like how it doesn’t put a fine point on toxic masculinity. We never hear that term come up and I was curious about those conversations with the filmmakers.
MA: I think we are all of one mind about that. We started making this about two years ago, and it was in the zeitgeist. I don’t think we set out to do it in an altruistic way. We do talk about it a little with Dan towards the end. If you don’t know, you don’t want to know. It’s been a part of everyone’s life. It hasn’t been good for anybody. We have this hyper-sensitive guy who is guilty of that stuff sometimes. He’s a super sensitive guy and he acts out in bizarre fucking ways.
MA: I talk like I don’t like Jerome, and I do.
AD: He has a good heart. Some of his actions are extreme, but he’s not a bad guy. The whole episode in the middle of the season where we learn about his last major relationship and how his jealousy bubbled up was interesting because we can all relate to that.
AD: In one way or another.
MA: I’m not going to lie, I get it. He’s probably a Scorpio.
AD: When Jerome started taking the Toughen Up class at the start of the show, I didn’t want him to go through with it again.
MA: That’s really the incel episode if I think about it really.
AD: You could go around the room and ask, “What’s your Reddit username…what’s your Reddit username…?”
MA: Yeah, you could. (Laughs)
AD: Are you talking about doing a second season? Please say you are.
MA: Are talking…about doing more, yes.
AD: I got so used to seeing how the title was used in every episode. When Paige says it at the end of the series, her pause really killed me.
AD: I feel like I got super sensitive just watching it.
Oh Jerome, No is available to watch on Hulu.