“The Vince Staples Show” is a new limited series streaming on Netflix. It follows rapper and actor Vince Staples as he tackles some challenges from his daily life. The show brings a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama paired with the lead’s musical skills. Like Lil Dicky’s “Dave” or Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Vince Staples presents a fictional version of himself in this Netflix series. Although this fictional version shares similarities to his real life, it may not have the exact experiences he has had. In case you liked Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” for its absurdist humour, you should check this out.

Spoilers ahead. 

The Vince Staples Show (Limited Series) Recap:

What is ‘The Vince Staples Show’ on Netflix about?

“The Vince Staples Show” on Netflix follows fictional adventures from the life of rapper Vince Staples. Every episode begins with a note saying it is a ‘work of fiction.’ Besides Vince, the cast includes Andrea Ellsworth and Vanessa Bell Calloway in recurring, integral roles. Naté Jones, Arturo Castro, Scott MacArthur, Bryan Greenberg, and Myles Bullock also guest star in this comedy-drama series. As the Netflix bio says, this series is gritty and provocative and uses deadpan humor. Vince co-created this show with Ian Edelman and Maurice Williams, along with Kenya Barris, Corey Smyth, and Willian Stefan Smith as the executive producers.

What happens in ‘The Vince Staples Show’ on Netflix?

Netflix’s “The Vince Staples Show” follows Vince’s different life experiences as they turn into dark comedic adventures. Besides being a drama with semi-fictional Vince at the center, it is also an entertaining fusion of comedy and music. Those who know Vince as a rapper will surely be in for a treat.

The Vince Staples Show Episode 1: Pink House

The series begins with Vince Staples (as himself) being pulled over for speeding. A police officer recognizes Vince as ‘the guy who played The Rapper Boyfriend in Abbott Elementary.’ Those who have watched Quinta Brunson’s show will understand this reference. Anyhow, no matter how popular or rich Vince is, he gets arrested. Inside the prison, he meets some interesting characters. One of them is an aspiring singer – Robb. He sees Vince and instantly recognizes him.

Since Vince will be locked in that cell with him, Robb decides to seize this opportunity. He tries to upsell himself and try to impress Vince enough – so that he can enter the music business. Vince ignores Robb and calls his real estate agent sister – Bri (played by Nate Jones), to bail him out. But she is busy doing her job. So, he stays there, stuck between other inmates. Later, he tries to convince a white cop that he is innocent. He pays no heed to it. Instead, he and other officers keep watching the music video of Vince’s Norf Norf with a chorus – ‘I ain’t never ran from nothing but the police.’

The cops joke about Vince’s innocence. Later, Robb offers to be his close friend in the prison.  While a prisoner intimidates Vince, another one smokes weed. Meanwhile, Vince’s mother – Anita (played by Vanessa Bell Calloway) does not help to bail him out. Eventually, the cops realize they made a mistake arresting him. He returns home to his partner – Deja (played by Andrea Ellsworth). She asks him about his day and whether anything interesting happened. He says nothing did.

The Vince Staples Show Episode 2: Black Business

Vince visits a bank to request a business loan. The white female secretary thinks he is there to use the washroom. When Vince reveals his actual purpose, she does not take him seriously. After laughing at him, she brings him to her white boss. This manager hides his racial prejudices behind his smiling face. Vince proposes a plan for a breakfast cereal called Kapow. The manager checks Vince is an artist and immediately dismisses his integrity. He thinks Vince isn’t trustworthy, considering his volatile, unpredictable earnings.

Vince reveals the amount of paychecks he will keep receiving for years to come. The manager laughs at Vince for thinking his millions of earnings are worth his time. After all, this white man usually deals with the Crème de la crème of billionaires. Nevertheless, Vince accepts the rejection and walks out. Suddenly, he finds himself in the middle of a bank robbery. But the robbers do not scare him off. Instead, one of them starts speaking to him – as if they are long-lost pals. All this while, the white customers stay there, terrorized.

The Vince Staples Show
A still from “The Vince Staples Show”

That robber starts talking about the plans for his future. To help him, Vince goes up to the manager and tries to convince him to offer 10 million to ensure their safety. The manager directs Vince to their bank’s vault. Along the way, Vince meets their old, black janitor, who keeps doing his job despite the robbery. The janitor recalls how he and his past generations have been stuck in their tireless job and pledged their subservience.

After this dialogue, Vince reaches the vault, unlocks it, and brings the robbers to do their work. Afterward, Vince and a robber have a heart-to-heart conversation. Vince reveals that the manager refused to give him a business loan. The robber cuts the manager’s handcuffs, and Vince brings him outside the building. The minute they walk out, the cops shoot the manager.

The Vince Staples Show Episode 3: Brown Family

Deja joins Vince and Anita for their family reunion. As per the plans, Anita prepares mac and cheese. Once they reach the location, Anita realizes that the other women lied to her. They decided to wear yellow clothes in a group that she didn’t know about. One or the other thing keeps making Anita angrier. So, while Vince mingles with men from his family, Deja stays with Anita to keep her anger under control. Uncle Mike (played by Kareem J Grimes) advises Vince to be cautious about his savings. Vince walks away to help his cousin hide his affair from his wife. Meanwhile, a fight breaks out in the back.

Anita goes from one woman to the other, confronting them for keeping her in the dark and making her do hard work. After a while, Deja gets tired of Anita’s pettiness and confronts her. Meanwhile, Vince speaks with another uncle about the purpose of life. Then, he roasts chicken for everyone and ends up burning it a bit. Deja joins Anita to fill their plates. She chooses Anita’s mac and cheese over the other. It leads to an argument that soon turns into a full-blown fight. Still, it ends up giving Deja and Anita a few moments to bond with each other.

The Vince Staples Show Episode 4: Red Door

Vince reluctantly joins Deja to celebrate her young brother’s birthday. Since Disneyland costs more, they decide to go to an ordinary park. Vince does not want to do this but agrees with Deja. But he keeps getting hostile treatment by the park’s staff and a costumed performer. While Vince tries to make peace with it, Deja tells him to bring the fried chicken. He walks into the store, but the manager insults him. So, Vince starts feeling as if the whole world is against him.

Moments later, a park worker directs Vince to another shop to get some chicken wings. This place has an odd, eerie feeling to it. The order taker does not speak even a single word, which adds to its weirdness. Soon after, Vincent enters a down-on-luck magician’s empty show. He desperately seeks Vince’s attention but fails to entertain him. By then, Deja gets into an argument with a store manager for not giving her a discount.

She says her boyfriend will seek revenge and thinks Vince’s name will scare him. The manager, however, does not even know who Vince Staples is. Meanwhile, Vince gets beaten up by costumed performers. Eventually, he gets hold of chicken wings and returns to Deja. She asks him where he has been. Immediately, they start arguing. While her brother is about to blow the candles on his birthday cake, Vince and Deja keep arguing.

The Vince Staples Show Episode 5: White Boy

We see glimpses of Vince through different stages of his life. Firstly, we see Young Vincent about to leave for play school. Anita helps him get ready. She tells his father that she’ll need to work overtime. A few years later, Vince again prepares for his first day of school. When he is about to leave, someone repeatedly bangs on their door. Finally, we see Vince as a rapper, returning to a school to help a white teacher to help guide her predominately black students. She thinks it is noble of her to invite him.

The Vince Staples Show (Limited Series) Ending Explained:

The Vince Staples Show
Another still from “The Vince Staples Show”

Vince is invited to speak about his experience as an artist to a class of black students. When he begins speaking, one of the students asks if he can go to the washroom. Vince allows it. The student walks there and enters a cell. Another student gives him some weed. They both smoke it, and then he returns to the classroom. Vince’s lecture ends, and he is about to leave the room. But a kid doesn’t. So, Vince asks him the reason. The kid says that his dad knows Vince. When they were young, Vince used to call him = ‘White Boy’ (thus, the episode title).

The kid leaves, but Vince fears his father may try to seek revenge for how he was treated in the past. In the parking lot, White Boy notices Vince and tries to shoot him. Vince runs away, and White Boy chases him. He walks inside a house and borrows a gun from an old white man. Then, he enters a laundromat and gets a pair of clothes. While he changes his appearance, White Boy buys some food for his son. On the driveway, he notices Vince. Once again, Vince starts running, and White Boy starts chasing him. It looks like he is about to shoot Vince dead.

What happens to Vince in the end?

At the end of “The Vince Staples Show,” White Boy tries to find Vince and shoot him – due to some animosity from their past. He looks around an empty supermarket but finds Vince nowhere. Suddenly, he appears behind White Boy. A shot gets fired and Vince walks out of the building. But White Boy’s kid had put on his headphones. So, he does not realize this. Eventually, Vince returns home to be with Deja. The news mentions shooting incidents that happened in The Beach. But, when Deja asks Vince about his day, he once again says ‘it was cool.’

Meanwhile, White Boy’s son watches a TV commercial for Vince’s Kapow breakfast cereal. It brings Kapow (the sound of shooting a gun) as an entertaining way to sell their cereal. So, much of the episode revolves around the topic of gun violence. The brand’s catchy name makes a violent activity almost feel normal. Since the kid stays fixated on the screen, it is likely indicating the impact of gun violence on his life thereafter and his emotional health. The episode does not disclose if White Boy is killed and mostly mentions shooting incidents. Still, if we consider that White Boy died, his son will have to process so much at his tender age.

The Vince Staples Show (Limited Series) Review:

“The Vince Staples Show” emerges as the rapper’s individual creative offering in the visual storytelling space. In the past, he has used his rap to shed light on his past and present – paired with catchy beats. Recently, he acted as the boyfriend of Quinta Brunson’s character in “Abbott Elementary.” It gave a glimpse of his acting abilities. The new Netflix show does not take it a whole lot further. The most obvious comparison to this show would be Donald Glover’s “Atlanta.” So, let’s get into that.

“Atlanta” follows the life of a fictional black rapper and explores several aspects of their personal, professional, and creative lives. It used surreal humor seamlessly in its progressive messaging. Lil Dicky’s “Dave” brought a similar absurdist comedy. But it felt inessential since its focus has largely been on a white, well-to-do, man-child rapper with no do-or-die stakes or financial responsibilities. Kid Cudi’s “Entergalctic” became a rather breezy rom-com that promoted his new music tracks.

“The Vince Staples Show” brings a mix of these elements while integrating them into absurd adventures. Its end result feels rather a mixed bag than an absolute creative triumph. One of the key reasons is its short length. In barely five episodes of 20-30 minutes, the showrunners hardly get a chance to delve deeper into any of the said experiences. The show still brings forth some integral aspects of the lives of black people. Be it gun violence or financial freedom, it certainly wants to speak about many such topics.

But “The Vince Staples Show” feels more like a snippet – a mere teaser for something yet to come. The second episode that revolves around bank robbery is excellent – for how it blends its strangeness with both humor and pathos. But overall, it does not reach any new heights and feels exceptionally short-spanned. Again, I’m not sure if Vince or the creative team is at fault for this. Still, that’s the reaction you have at the end of their oh-so-limited series.

Read More: Bob Marley: One Love (2024) Movie Review: A Disinterested Biopic with a Myopic View of its Subject

Trailer:

The Vince Staples Show (Limited Shows) Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Vince Staples Show (Limited Shows) Cast: Andrea Ellsworth, Nate’ Jones, Kareem J. Grimes
The Vince Staples Show (Limited Shows) Genre: Biography, Comedy, Music | Runtime: 5 Episode
Where to watch The Vince Staples Show

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