Our own Hope Carter and Bradford Howard look back on Netflix’s now-cancelled ‘The Get Down.’

‘The Get Down’ is gone and it’s never coming back.

Executive producers Baz Luhrmann and Nas’s attempt to tell the story of hip-hop and B-boys’ coming-of-age – and disco’s prime before the fall – in late ’70s New York had acquired a cult following on Netflix when it first touched down. ‘The Get Down’ being broken up into two parts, however, killed its momentum, and Luhrmann’s flair for the flashy may have proven too much for the production budget to handle. In the end, Netflix decided not to bring the series back for a second season, killing off one of the most diverse series out right now across all the media platforms. Its premature cancellation left many questions and plot wrinkles unanswered and others… well, left to end the way we expected them to end.

Our own Hope Carter and Bradford Howard sat down to give ‘The Get Down’ the send-off it deserved, revisiting Part 2’s highs, lows, Hope’s convenient use of mobile games, and more.

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Bradford Howard: So, let’s talk about ‘The Get Down.’

Hope Carter: Let’s.

BH: How about we start at, umm…

HC: What’s the biggest plothole?

BH: You jumped right in to it.

HC: Yup.

BH: To me the biggest plot hole in Part 2, is either the political angle (Zeke’s internship/Papa Fuerte’s battle to be heard amongst his white peers in politics), or the unpursued idea of disco vs. hip-hop. As if one must function as one or the other in order to have longevity.

The latter was the real “beef” of the show for me, even more than Mylene vs. Shao and their wannabe Pirates of The Caribbean rivalry (Mylene being Elizabeth, Shaolin being Jack Sparrow, each appealing to different sides of Zeke’s Will Turner).

Mylene (Herizen Guardiola) and Zeke/Books (Justice Smith) in ‘The Get Down’. Credit: Myles Aronowitz, Netflix.

HC: I think where ‘The Get Down’s’ writers missed it, is they took out the tension on both sides. Mylene’s dad passes and Books leaves the internship. So there’s no more romantic escapism, no more need to sneak around. Highkey, the viewers who didn’t care for the music, stuck around for the tragic romance. Once you take that out, it’s simply music politics as usual.

So now I don’t care that Mylene is a “whore” – to use her dad’s words – because no one is around to call her that. Now I don’t care that Books could lose his internship, because he has nothing left TO lose. So now I’m bored AF playing Candy Crush during a lot of what might be vital scenes.

BH: No romantic escapism? So you’re calling Zeke and Mylene, Romeo and Juliet until both of them essentially had clean breaks?

HC: More like Maria and other dude from West Side Story.

BH: I understand where you’re going, though. It’s kinda weird that without her dad, Mylene can “move on” so easily. There’s no goodbye to her mom or anything. No scene of her visiting her uncle-now-real dad in prison. And if the bombshell is that she’s really Papa Fuerte’s daughter, it makes no sense that wasn’t explored at all. Or maybe that was going to happen in Season 2. Who knows.

Does it matter to you at all that the group is disbanded? I know you said you felt less interested in Mylene and Zeke’s stories once the “tension” to their respective ambitions was removed. But did you care at all about the fate of the rest of the Get Down Brothers after they “broke up”?

Giancarlo Esposito as Pastor Ramon Cruz and Zabryna Guevara as Mrs. Cruz. Credit: Netflix.

HC: For sure I cared about the rest of the group. But I feel like the unfolding of Shaolin’s background was taking for-freakin-ever. It felt, a lot of times, as if the writers were taking their sweet time to develop everything and it started to get annoying.

BH: It DID take too long to give Shaolin some backstory. We barely got the tease of it when Shao called the other disco dude his “brother” because of how Annie treated them both.

HC: … and I’m sorry but that whole Shaolin/Annie thing was just too gross for life.

BH: I mean, I get it… kinda. To give Shaolin context for why he is the way he is? But I can’t call it. Oh, and also, according to ‘The Get Down,’ parents/guardians are almost always trash – dream killers and people who don’t seek to understand. Sheesh.

HC: Yeah. This is true. Like, adults are the enemies the whole series. There couldn’t be ONE supportive adult? I am tempted to believe that older audiences may not have connected well with that message.

BH: Very possible, very very possible.

The ending just felt like, “know what, nvmd.”

HC: All in all though, the images in the series were beautiful. I’m a HUGE Baz fan and he really came through, but it was probably hella expensive to make. I honestly think that’s the real reason for the series’ cancellation.

BH: Baz does an awesome job of creating a world. That’s exactly how ‘The Great Gatsby’ ended up being postponed beyond Oscar season, because Luhrmann’s so big on flourish and flash. Unfortunately, Netflix ain’t Hollywood. It was legit too big to continue, in a way.

HC: Yup. But ‘Gatsby’ is also the most beautiful movie I’ve ever seen.

BH: I won’t disagree.

I know the show is meant to steer you towards rooting for Zeke and Mylene, but was there anyone else on the show you really rooted for?

HC: Nope. It was like Shaolin, for example, was both the protagonist AND the antagonist. More than “rooting” for anyone, I was just hoping the kids didn’t get killed off.

I’m still mad that the end of Season 1 basically set up Shaolin and Books to do some morally terrible stuff… and then Shao gets away from Annie and Books got kicked out of his program at once. Like, that could’ve added SO many layers to the story!

BH: MAN, yes. That’s why I hated the ending. It was wayyyy too clean.

HC: It just felt like a “know what? Nvm.”

Zeke and Mr. Gunns (Michael Gill). Photo credit: Netflix.

BH: It’s like, “oh, there was a confrontation at the Harvard club, but no biggie.”

HC: They killed a whole roach for no damn reason. Where is PETA?!?

BH: “The white politicians are pulling funding from Papa Fuerte’s housing project, but hey, he’s going to jail.” “The white girl at the internship seems to be spilling tea – as the kids say – but let’s just make her irrelevant.” Speaking of which – Zeke’s quitting on the internship so all-of-a-sudden seemed very… awkward? It made zero sense that Zeke would find a moral compass in that moment.

“The viewers who didn’t care for the music, stuck around for the tragic romance.”

HC: They solved all their problems mid-season. Lowkey, there was no reason for another season (except Jesus, who is always the reason for the season). We can just assume the rest of the story.

BH: There really wasn’t. It had already been implied that disco was going to die and hip-hop was gonna persist; and it seemed like Mylene was just being boosted to only exist for like an era.

HC: Assumptions about how ‘The Get Down’ ends that make complete sense:
1. Mylene never comes back and is Donna Summer Lite.
2. Books makes it without her and is J. Cole Lite.
3. Shaolin gets killed, gets AIDS, or ends up in jail.
4. Jaden (because that’s not Dizzy, that’s Jaden) turns into gay Basquiat.
5. The rest of the kids grow up and become accountants who tell their future kids that they used to know J. Cole Lite and Donna Summer Lite.

We didn’t need another season for that, honestly.

BH: I feel like I’m not supposed to be laughing at “Gay Basquiat.”

HC: *laughs* I thought it was fitting.

BH: It is completely accurate.

HC: So I guess in being sad there won’t be another season, we kinda realized that we… don’t even NEED another season?

BH: But I don’t think Shao necessarily dies. I think that’s another loophole that doesn’t get explored but should. Like, does Shaolin NEED The Get Down Brothers in order to leave the gang life behind? Without them around, does he go BACK to gang life.

HC: I feel like Shao doesn’t need to explore any more holes…

BH: Yikes. Okay. Let’s just make Shao’s fate being the first Blackploitation porn star because that’s where this is going.

HC: Prolly. Actually. Yeah. That’s it.

The Get Down Brothers. Credit: Netflix.

BH: But I actually would’ve liked to see Ra Ra developed more. He was maybe the only one I think that could’ve functioned outside of New York since he had the brains.

HC: Who was that?

BH: The young man with the plans, literally.

HC: The fast rhyming one?

BH: I think the fast rhyming one was the one who wanted to hustle on the side.

HC: No, that was the dancer who wanted to hustle on the side. Ra was the older brother.

BH: Ahh, yeah, you’re right.

HC: I cared nothing about him the entire time. Bored senseless by his character until he turned into Twista.

BH: Man, Ra-Ra was cool to me. I liked that he was always planning something. That young man got swept into the “I am an Afrikan” movement when they met Bambataa.

HC: Yeah, I Candy Crush’ed that scene away.

“Does Shaolin NEED The Get Down Brothers, in order to leave the streets behind?”

BH: Oh! The best part about Part 2 was definitely Grandmaster Flash taking a backseat in the story. He was cool or whatever with the Mr. Miyagi wisdom, but this show is about the kids, man.

HC: I did love the allusions to Grandmaster Flash – cameos, rather. But I also wondered if that went over the heads of people who weren’t already acquainted with the real person.

BH: And all of the kung fu movie-era references that were teased but not fully executed or fleshed out. Sigh.

HC: Yeah. Womp.

BH: So, if there WERE a second season…

HC: There wouldn’t be a third.

BH: *laughs* Although I feel like everything you mentioned, made any speculation on a second season pointless. ‘The Get Down’ really could’ve skipped through the entire ’80s and went right into the ’90s.

But what would be some leftover plotlines? What would be left on the table? Cadillac striking out on his own with his label? Jaden and his tagging crush making love not war?

HC: Whatever happened to the kid who goes to jail (Boo Boo). Getting the group back together. Seeing Mylene on TV and her downfall because of hip-hop’s rise.

Herizen Guardiola as Mylene. Credit: Netflix.

BH: Do you think Mylene adapts to the times? Can she even?

HC: I think she wilds out and then hits rock bottom because disco dies. So then drugs happen. Then she tries to get back with Books. And he allows it because simp. And then Mylene and her girls become his background singers. But no one else makes it besides Jaden. Gay Basquiat.

BH: Your background singer angle IS kinda teased at the end, with the background singers singing Mylene’s part on “See You on The Other Side.” But we don’t “see” Mylene. That was very weird.

HC: Yup.

BH: I just realized your description is pretty much saying Mylene becomes the Jenny to Zeke’s Forrest Gump.
MIND. BLOWN.

HC: Dassit.

BH: Okay. Time to give out the final rose of the night. Which character did you hate the most on the series? Did you hate anybody at all or were there just annoying “Go away, young man/young woman” characters for you?

HC: Annie. Eww. MF eww.

BH: Welp. Jesus be molestation charges.

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