7.5

Chozen Review: “In A Pickle”

(Episode 1.09)

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<i>Chozen</i> Review: &#8220;In A Pickle&#8221;

In last week’s episode, “Boy’s Night,” we saw how many of the characters in Chozen’s world would be better without him. Characters started relationships that weren’t as volatile as their relationships with Chozen were and even got their careers moving without Chozen around. Obviously pointing out that all of your supporting characters might be better off without the show’s main character can be a pretty big problem. As the title of this week’s episode, “In A Pickle,” implies, the writers needed to show that Chozen is actually integral to the show. They succeed.

While Phantasm has been set up as the show’s major baddie, this first nine episodes have made complacency just as villainous. For most of this season, Chozen has focused on anything other than his rap career, like eating taquitos and watching Blade. Even though the rest of his rap team, Ricky and Crisco, are more frequent in attempting to get their careers off the ground, they are willing to float by on whatever modicum of success they do receive. Sure, they want to be superstar rappers, but finding minor popularity in the kid’s birthday circuit is enough to let them give up on their dreams.

In a way, “In A Pickle” actually deals with some of the same issues that season three of Girls did: is it better to give up on your artistic ambitions to live comfortably on moderate success, or should you go all out and give your dreams your all? Given the opportunity by Tripp Goldstein (voiced by Fred Armisen), Ricky, Crisco and Chozen are hired to perform on the children’s program, “Pickle and Friends.” Ricky and Crisco have to dress up like baby corns, while Chozen is a giant eggplant, with the trio becoming the next Wiggles instead of the next Wu-Tang.

Ricky and Crisco are seduced by the catered lunches and sex parties that Tripp throws after hours, but Chozen wants to have his eggplant career and working on his rap career in his free time. Yet Tripp’s contract won’t allow him to do this, leading Chozen to go big or go home. He takes the mic during a live broadcast of the show and tells the kids to not be brainwashed by the man, causing a riot of children. Ricky and Crisco get pissed at Chozen for ruining their slight success, yet it’s Chozen giving it everything he’s got that pushes the group forward into the next step of their career. Setting up for the season finale, Chozen is now on the bottom of the Broken Spear Festival bill, headlined by Phantasm, and finally getting nearer the battle the show has been hinting at for weeks.

“In A Pickle” focuses on what Chozen does best, focusing on Chozen’s rap career and minimizing the amount of characters that need stories. We finally see the importance of Chozen in the careers of himself, Ricky and Crisco. They may be lazy, but when they fight that instinct and go for it, Chozen’s the one who pushes them to do better and reach for their dreams instead of giving up in an attempt to be comfortable.

Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.

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