Ratings begins with a situation many can relate with: Traffic and Party Jollof.
—Spoiler Alert for Ratings—
Ratings is Ndani’s latest web series starring popular Instagram comedian, Mc Lively (credited as Michael Sani Amanesi) as a ride-hailing cab driver, Fola Joseph aka FJ, plying the roads of Lagos. If not ‘Ratings’, the one-word title they must have deliberated would be ‘Crazy’, because that is just what traffic life in Lagos is for a driver. It doesn’t matter if you are meek like a pastor or wild like a tout, you will definitely face your fair share of the Lagos driving experience some day.
Lagos as a setting and the plot of a driver’s chronicles in this location is like a match fit from heaven for drama and, of course, comedy which the series aims to be.
The short length of the series makes it very easy to watch. You can complete it during that short stay in the toilet or better still, when stuck in Lagos traffic.
In the first 8-minute long episode, titled “Party Jollof”, a dispatch bike rider, played by Officer Woos (credited as Oladapo Gbadamosi), orders FJ’s car for a catering delivery, which he can not complete himself due to motorcycle suddenly developing a fault. So this is a case of two more or less ride-hailing drivers in the same car. One rides a bike, the other is a car driver, ego is bound to come into play.
On their way to the food delivery, they experience traffic on Lagos road and are forced to eat out of the packaged meals due to hunger.
On reaching the destination after a long time spent in the traffic, they meet a furious recipient whose party has ended and has no need for the food anymore. A back and forth ensues between the dispatch rider and the recipient who is a loud Yoruba woman, adding its own spice of humour into the already funny day, for the viewer at least.
Due to his short fuse, and the recipient being a Yoruba woman, it leads to an exchange of words with the woman no longer interested in accepting the order. Along the line, her son steps out in an army uniform and dishes out punishment to the dispatch rider who has insulted his mother. This involves the normal military punishment of frog jumps and continuous barking of orders, ensuring the person does it well. All of this happens while our ride-hailing driver continues to grow impatient and awaits the fare for his completed ride.
During this moment of impatience, the woman steps out again to inform her military son that two packs of food are missing, for which the car driver is implicated and both drivers have to face the music of failing to buy roadside snacks while in traffic earlier.
The short length is one thing that’d keep me on as a watcher. I see it as an easy watch which doesn’t take much time. Most especially in this microwave age where I am getting 2-3 other notifications while watching this same series.
Ratings was created by Adekunle Bryan who has mostly worked as an editor in movies like Ajuwaya, Something Wicked, Couple of Days. He also directed the first episode of this hilarious series. A good decision was made by the creatives behind this show to not prolong the episodes to reach a forceful 20-minute mark.
Ratings also boasts interesting usage of graphics and sound effects which makes it equally pleasant to watch. A story with Lagos and drivers should not be not funny. Any filmmaker that fails to make such a premise funny cannot make any other thing funny in his life. In this area, Ratings shines as Mc Lively’s comedy, mostly physical, should be well applauded and in my opinion one of the best in Nigeria.
Based on the trailer, I expect the driver to be the only main character in the series, as other minor characters would most likely have just one time appearance and as a result the series would run like an anthology. With his car taking the form of a character who would also be a mainstay in his daily chronicles as a driver.
We can only look forward to places his driving episodes would land him in, hopefully nothing more dangerous than potholes.
- I am expecting nothing lesser than two seasons from Ndani this year. Well, if the reception is strong.
- Based on my Instagram experience, the actor is just the best fit for this role. I have always been drawn to the humour he expresses through is facial expressions and movements. I laugh more when he does these things with his face than when he speaks.
- This is Instagram’s comedians’ season. No one can stop their shine. I am all for them having their own shows, not unnecessarily injecting them in cinematic movies that have no need for the roles they often end up playing.
- Adekunle Bryan’s background in film editing can be strongly seen in this episode, and hopefully in the series as it goes on.
- The timing of the “I can not explain” at the end was so good. LMAO. Mc Lively ooo.
- The graphics for the end credits is also commendable. Keep up the good work guys.
- I wonder if we would get to know more about FJ. If not, this might just be an extended Instagram skit. Cos, if you noticed, I could barely say anything about his character in the recap, other than the fact that he has the fuse of an average Lagos driver, which is nothing of note and doesn’t distinguish him. Him being funny is more of a trait that Mc Lively brings with him. But, it is just the first episode.
A new episode drops every Friday at 3pm on Ndani’s Youtube Channel.