3 thoughts on “Unfortunate Associates: The Ersatz Elevator Part 2 (Netflix)

  1. My school did AR points too! I know a lot of other people who did, so you’re not alone Tyler. I never remember it being used as a grade, but as just a fun extra thing that you could use to trade in for prizes and compete with people to get the highest points. I had a friend who won our junior high competition with something like 1200 points one year, it was wild. (Oh, and Jerome does show up again in the Penultimate Peril, he’s one of the people JS could refer to.)

  2. Hi Tyler and B!

    I like how you’ve highlighted the show’s effort to not just cast only white people in the show. However, I was surprised neither of you mentioned how weird it was that Jerome was white!

    Call me a weird racist, but when I saw the name “Jerome” in the book, I just assumed he was black (I’ve never met a white Jerome). This only made more sense to me as his character was revealed. I always saw his fear of standing up to Esme as his internal fear of not being accepted within the white “in” crowd if he were to “act too black”, so he just abdicated to Esme’s whims. When it became apparent that Esme had no actual love for Jerome, I figured that she simply married a black man because it was the “in” thing at the time, and that she never actually loved him, but loved what he would represent to her friends. I always thought this was quite intricate racial politics for a children’s book. Nevertheless, it always kept me interested as an adult.

    So, you can imagine my surprise when Jerome opened those penthouse doors and was portrayed by a white actor. Overall, I didn’t really pay much attention to it for the rest of the Ersatz Elevator episodes. But, once I finished the episodes, I felt like one of my favourite parts of the book had just been over-looked.

    I’m looking for this show to make any meaningful commentary about race (we have Atlanta for that). However, for a show that seemingly cares so much about race when it comes to casting, I feel like they missed a chance to actually address racially-charged issues within the show.

    Thanks for reading my essay-long letter!

    – Andie

    1. Wow, I’ve never thought about it from that perspective but it actually makes a lot of sense.

      I guess we can assume Handler didn’t have that idea in mind when writing the books, since he’s a producer on the show and had a say in casting, but it’s definitely an interesting lens to think of his character through. I feel like a white author in 2001 probably didn’t think about racial tokenism or any of the points you brought up much and Jerome was more of a surface level “Don’t be a pushover, kids!” kind of character.

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