On the back of the initial success of her first TV series-Afia Schwarzenegger which somewhat lost its momentum and audience to the exit of its lead character, Deloris Frimpong-Manso recently aired her latest production, Cocoa Brown directed by Kofi Asamoah—-after months of social media promotion and a failed machiavellian attempt to generate media buzz with an in-house orchestrated controversy as to who actually owns the name-Cocoa Brown.
The first episode of “Cocoa Brown” is currently on Youtube with comments disabled, perhaps, an attempt to prevent those who would watch it from discouraging others with their disparaging remarks about the overt execrable acting and unpardonable production flaws of the episode.
When the first episode of a TV series, which ought to serve as the strongest bait is clouded in glaring production flaws agglutinated with egregious acting, you would find yourself summing up how disastrous and odious the rest of the journey would be.
“Cocoa Brown” seems to have been elevated a little beyond the repugnant rhetoric of Afia Schwarzenegger, seemingly targeting an affluent audience that would find solace in a collection of “posh speaking” new and established actors—-except that, the lead-Ahoufe Patri fails once again to make a good case for her acting, inevitably casting a shadow on almost the entire cast.
With the first episode cleverly and deliberately placed not to give off the plot, a convention in the intriguing world of TV series, the least the show-runners could do was to present a spellbinding introduction, capable of generating keen interest for the subsequent episodes.
Cocoa Brown’s first episode fails to do this in so many ways—-notably, the lead actor-Ahoufe Patri’s terrible acting is strenuous to the extent that you wouldn’t want to bother with what’s next to come if you have several alternatives begging for your attention.
And as a lead, she fails to coalesced the brilliance of those around her—-that’s if there’s any. Caroline Sampson and Godfrey “Black Boy” Laryea are equally terrible if not worse, with just a tiny dose of brilliance coming from Jasmine Baroundi, yet incapable of settling the hovering dust of torment her co-stars serve.
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The brutal truth is; Ahoufe Patricia cannot act.
Beyond the individual excruciating acting, the production quality is perfectly synonymous to Kumawood—-for the twenty or so minutes, you are served with a teeter sound, lurching up and low. A case in reference can be vividly picked up at point 14:57 where the pitch of the dialogue instantly increases from a comfortable low to a level such that you would be compelled to lower the volume of your device to create your own sane balance.
The lack of consistency or balance in the sound also serves as a bulwark to the salient role of the ambience sound, sometimes making it seem it has totally disappeared—-this could also be an issue with mixing. Whatever it is, it makes it difficult to enjoy the episode.
Then there’s the indiscriminate aerial shots which patently have no bearings on the pre and post scenes anytime they are used, except to probably remind us that a drone was on set and it’s woefully being abused. This seems to be a problem with director-Kofi Asamoah’s expression of art, he continues to misemploy aerial shots, a repeat of what he did in Amakye and Dede.
Aerial shots are beautifully but they must add value, even if subtle to what’s at stake or must compliment a scene. It’s gawky and not to be contemptuous, mainly fatuous to just throw them in there without any scene connections as if they have been removed from a different movie and poorly inserted. This is the hallmark of Kumawood, using beautiful unrelated shots as some sort of cinematic interlude in-between scenes.
The production quality does not in anyway reflect the progressiveness of the contemporary TV series market and it surely fails to take into consideration the huge vault of master pieces like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Marco Polo, Empire, Scandal, Shampaign, An African City and the host of others it is piteously set to compete.
At this stage, the storyline is faintly being developed and it would be unfair to attempt to access its strength or weakness—-though I would say, employing flash backs in a twenty minutes premiere episode meant to set the foundation of a long journey is not the best practice.
And there was absolute no suspense or a striking moment: the story flows from Ahoufe Patri’s work place, aided by a pre-start narrative and soon, we are thrown into a black hole of flashback—-a journey to understanding where she finds herself today.
Even though those involved in “Cocoa Brown” hyped the TV series before its first showing, as GOT and the many other excellent TV series have shown, the strength of a series lies in the post showing conversation—that is what pulls in people to watch or follow it. And ‘Cocoa Brown’ was literally and metaphorically dead on social media post showing, an indication that it couldn’t catch the needed fire.
For some of those who have watched it so far, the apparent inconsistency in the pronunciation of the lead’s name-Cocoa Brown is what sets forth the watching anguish for them.
If Ghanaians have to choose between this and Kumkum Bhagya, I am certain we will all appreciate why many would fall on the latter, especially when we are yet to be introduced to the disastrous acting of Moesha Boduong and the others…