Hulu's High Fidelity is packed full of romantic comedy pleasures, but if — like us — you walked away from the show's first season wanting more of Da'Vine Joy Randolph's Cherise, we've got good news. Assuming the series gets renewed for a second season (and all indications are that it will), producer Veronica West promises that Cherise will get her own spotlight episode.
Fresh off her breakout role in Dolemite is My Name, Randolph is much more than just the series' answer to Jack Black. Beyond the side-eyes to Zoë Kravitz's lovelorn Rob and vigorous debates about listening to Michael Jackson's music, Randolph managed to mold Cherise into a fully-formed character. This, despite the fact that she went MIA for much of the second half of the season after her character quietly shared her dreams of making her own music.
In fairness, Cherise's quasi disappearance from the High Fidelity's later episodes is less of an oversight on the show's part than it is the result of her character finally taking the initiative in pursuing her musical dreams. But her absence left a host of unanswered questions. Did she end up working with those shoplifting youngsters in their DIY studio? Does her music make good on her proclaimed "and the kitchen sink" list of disparate musical influences? And finally... When can we hear it?
The series already delivered a perfect standalone episode in its first season, focusing on Rob's other employee, Simon (David H. Holmes). In the eighth episode, "Ballad of the Lonesome Loser," we got to see Simon's romantic background with a slightly unexpected twist. In a call back to Rob's Top Five Breakups, we learn that all of Simon's most significant heartbreaks were with the same guy. The episode set up a formula for the series to continue, a framework that allows the audience to step outside of Rob's self-centered field of vision.
One of the most rewarding themes in High Fidelity is Rob learning it's not all about her. A single side episode underlines Rob's selfish solipsism (one of the tensions in her relationship with Cherise), but a growing number of them could play out like a representation of her growth. That electric guitar she gifted Cherise at the season's close was certainly a nod to that growth, but perhaps a fuller gesture would be for her character to share more of High Fidelity's stage.
From what we know about Cherise, it's easy to imagine that her standalone episode could offer something even more unexpected. Her struggles are more internal than interpersonal; she's less conflicted romantically than she is with her artistic identity. She dubs herself a musician without — as Rob so often jokingly points out — actually creating any music. Yet, despite the skepticism of those around her, she maintains the firm belief that being a musician is an integral part of her identity. Much as we want more of her unfiltered and unashamed perspectives on love, the five breakups for Cherise should be spiritual ones — the moments that kept her from pursuing her dreams.
Perhaps the biggest question for viewers is what made her so afraid to make music, what held her back for decades? It's there, unspoken in Randolph's performance, the vulnerability as she watches a stranger read her poster hunting for bandmates, the hesitancy in how she first strums the gifted guitar. After pining for the instrument and working multiple jobs to buy it, it feels symbolic in her hands, with Rob's gift feeling like a first affirmation. Randolph plays the finale like Cherise is on the precipice, for the first time choosing not to back down. And this moment alone makes the case for more Randolph as the series continues.
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Chris Feil is a freelancer writer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His previous work can be found at Vulture, Vice, Paste, and The Film Experience. Follow him @chrisvfeil on Twitter.