comScore Mr. Nancy's American Gods Intro Is the Best TV Ever | The Mary Sue

The Best TV I’ve Ever Seen Is This Scene From Next Week’s American Gods



The introduction of Orlando Jones’ Mr. Nancy is the most scorching and brilliantly rendered media I’ve seen as a TV viewer. Now I know I was hardly alone in my evaluation, because Starz has released a clip before the May 7th episode. Watch it here.

The first time I saw this scene—which kicks off the second episode of the series—I seriously did not breathe through its entire duration. And now that I’ve seen it a few times, it just gets better and better and so important it should be required watching, especially for Americans. This isn’t the scene in its entirety, but is its most vital part.

When I spoke with Orlando Jones at the American Gods press junket, I told him that I’d be personally kicking off his Emmy campaign. So here we go: EMMY PEOPLE, DO YOU SEE THIS? DO YOU SEE WHAT HE DID HERE?

A fascinating bit of information I learned at the junket from the show creators was that originally, this scene had not been intended to begin the second episode. But they explained that the series takes on a life of its own in the editing room. After they ended the first episode with a violent lynch mob attacking Shadow, Mr. Nancy’s thunderous, searing, all-too-true speech about the state of racism in America to an audience of captured Africans bound for that country moved to the forefront. Now I cannot imagine the story progressing in any other way.

As Starz explains in its press release:

“Mr. Nancy / Anansi, played by Orlando Jones, brings the African trickster god to life with an explosive speech about racism in America aboard a slave ship bound for this country. Clad in a sharp plaid suit and occasionally morphing into his godly spider form, Jones gives a “positively show-stopping turn,” according to Dominic Patten at DEADLINE. As added the “Coming to America” vignette is, “both incredibly socially relevant and one of the most memorable introductions a TV character has had in a long time.”

But remember, folks, you heard it from me here first.

As subsequent reviews, and praise from my fellow reporters at the press junket demonstrate, the reaction was universal. I think it’s impossible to watch this scene and not be viscerally moved, angry, and in awe of what has been created. So watch it and tell me what you think. AND AN EMMY FOR ORLANDO JONES.

(image: Starz via screengrab)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.