Why I Fell Back in Love with Tariq and Kal


Tariq says goodbye to Kal. Screenshot courtesy of “The L.A. Complex.”

“Goodbye Kal.”

When Tariq Mohammad abruptly utters these words after down-low millionaire rapper Kaldrick “King of Cali” King tracks his estranged lover down to Montreal I was heartbroken.

You could see they still loved each other. It was there. In their eyes. In the way Kal moved toward Tariq like he wanted to take him into his arms. And the way Tariq’s mouth said one thing but his expressions said another.

But I have to credit the writers on the CW’s groundbreaking series “The L.A. Complex,” which had its season finale last week. The writing was honest. It was real. Things happened the way they should have.

Kal went too far when he viciously beat his lover Tariq after producers discover the two kissing in Dynasty’s studio. That Kal would do that to cover his homosexuality was cowardly and unforgivable.

Kal tries to reconcile with Tariq in Montreal. Screenshot courtesy of “The L.A Complex.”

It was so jarring I wrote the original blog on why that scene upset me so much and turned me off to the series, although I later became an avid watcher again (to read my earlier blog entry click here).

Yeah, I know a lot of fans wished they would get back together, including yours truly. The spark between actors Andra Fuller and Benjamin Charles Watson was palpable. You wanted  the relationship to work. Badly.

But The L.A. Complex never played like a soap opera. It played true to life. Right down to the end when Kal, after the death of  father, writes a coming-out letter to his Dad that he posts online for millions of fans to see.

Yeah, some of my friends criticized his move, saying it bit off of true-life Hip Hop artist Frank Ocean’s public letter released last summer that confessed he had been attracted to a man. I disagree. “The L.A. Complex” started the Kaldrick King storyline months before Ocean’s revelation.

The series was prescient. Fiction became reality and then fiction borrowed from reality.

Kal and Tariq. Photo courtesy of AfterElton.com.

I love the “DL Chronicles” but “The L.A. Complex” will probably be the best depiction on primetime television of what gay black men experience — the self-hate, the isolation, the depression, and for some the soul-searching and painful process of coming out of the closet.

Kaldrick’s actions in the final episodes were inspirational. They inspired me to come further out of the closet, something I am still struggling to do with long-term friends and family members.

Photo courtesy of Zap2It.com.

And the fact Kal and Tariq and Kal’s new love attorney Christopher Taylor (actor Jarod Joseph) were successful, smart and masculine made me like them even more.I get so tired of black gay men on reality and other TV shows playing the effeminate, sexless sidekick — it was refreshing to see characters of such depth.

“The L.A. Complex” attracted a rabid fan base but the ratings were low. It is unlikely there will be a third season.

However, I have to congratulate the writers, producers and especially actors Fuller and Watson for creating characters that will resonate with viewers for years to come.

If you want to see edited versions of “The L.A. Complex” that feature the Kal and Tariq storyline you can watch them on Youtube, thanks to subscriber SuperGoodTV101. To visit his page and see the clips click here. And to sign a petition to keep the show going go here!

23 thoughts on “Why I Fell Back in Love with Tariq and Kal

  1. I totally enjoyed Kal and Tariq storyline. Some say it was not true to life but i bet its someones story. I do hope it comes back I would like to see what happens to Kal’s boy. I like when he said to Kal “I did not have to look at the harddrive, I’ve known you all my life.” I just though he was living off of Kal but he really loved Kal as a brother. (in my eyes). I liked him more when he said that.

  2. At first, I wrote the show off as another “closet-cased rapper” archetypal show (plus that one chick from Degrassi has always annoyed me), but I realized I hadn’t given it a chance. One day, I decided to watch Episode 1 Season 1, and I’ve been hooked ever since… And not just with Kal; I’m into all the character’s story lines; there’s some awesome writing. Of course I wanted Kal and T back together; the last scene they shared together, I had a lump in my throat the whole time. When Kal said “Goodbye, Tariq”, he said it with such… finality.

    However, it is refreshing to see how Chris is helping Kal shape up, and it’s about damn time. They’re a great couple. And when Donna came to see about Kal’s dad and tried to hold his hand, I started LIVING when Chris came around the corner and Donna started understanding why Kal couldn’t “get it up” for her!

    *sighs*

    Great writing, awesome actors, and if they beat the odds and actually DO make a season 3, then I’ll know for sure that there’s a God.

    Lmao

    -_Cogito

    • Cogito thanks for the great comment. I’m in contact with the show on a professional level. As of last week even they didn’t know if they would be renewed. Personally I dont think it was advertised well and it was dropped in the middle of summer…a practical ratings dead zone. Even if it isn’t renewed The LA Complex ended well. Great show!

  3. I am unable to address the black issues surrounding The LA Complex. However, as a man in a four-year interracial partnership with another man, I found the storyline believeable and realistic. Not every relationship encounters the same challenges on every level. It was a great show with a talented cast and production crew. Too bad it got most of it’s publicity at the end. Better promotion during season one may have boosted the ratings. Great synopsis, my blogger brother!

  4. Oh, and thanks for the review Immanuel. It was great to know that the fan-base didn’t disappear or totally die on me. I enjoyed the series because for ONCE I could watch a hot str8 guy [Fuller] do a gay-4-pay and focus more on the ACTUAL gay character [Watson] with wanton lust **salivates @the thought of Ben Watson**. The above comments are on point too, because most of us closeted folks be thinking that we have THE WORLD’S BEST KEPT secret [esp. us men], when we actually show our ass when a nice piece a ass walks by that we want **grins**

    The writing was good, and I have not much to complain about. THANKS FOR POSTING the link to the petition too! Didn’t know there was one. Consider it re-tweeted & re-posted on FB ;0)

  5. I was soo excited and hopeful about this show. I texted weekly to remind all of my SGL friends to tune in. My heart went out to both Tariq and Kal’s character. Tariq reminded me alot of myself in the since he was willing to be vulnerable to love……..GOOD LOVE. However, I had no desire for those two to rekindle their relationship after the abuse. That would have sent the wrong message. We need to create and sustain positive black gay roles in movies and tv. I’m down. How about you?

  6. As Cristopher appeared in Kal´s life, i´ve got to understand better Kal-Tariq relationship. T was his first, he was scared.And not just scared to lose his fan base, or his hip-hop status. I felt sorry for T, when he got beaten up. Of course I did. But it made sense. And for further developments in his life, for him coming out of the closet, for him to be happy with Cris…. that needed to happend. People do stupid, iracional things when their survival its in stake. Not just gays. The good thing is that, exactly those stupid, iracional things, are the ones who help you evolve. We are constantly learning from our past mistakes. And that´s what Kal did.

  7. I have been watching their scenes together for two days straight but like you said, that scene where Tariq and Kal are talking in Tariq’s apartment made me want them to hug each other. But that is the way it should be with women suffering of domestic violence, staying away from the abuser. Good review. And I want the series to be out on DVD SOON!!!!

  8. I stumbled onto this show recently, after watching The Skinny, I was instantly “hooked”. I loved seeing two regular looking guys , especially Kal, deal with falling in love , I had read Terrace Dean Hiding In Hip Hop and the reality is that much of the storyline in LA Complex isn’t too far the real world.

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