Jean Elie and Mike Gauyo created a love letter for first-generation Haitians with Send Help.
Few people relate to the struggle that comes with being first-gen but the half-hour dramedy, which premiered last week on Allblk, is a window into the internal battles that they deal with when forging a path for themselves while also being intrinsically tied to their family and their culture. Elie stars on the seven-episode comedy as Fritz, and the character’s story is also loosely inspired by his life.
Like Elie, Fritz is an actor in Los Angeles who is also coping with the tragedy of losing his big brother, and the void that caused in him and the rest of his family. After his show This Can’t Be Us gets canceled, Fritz is back at square one fighting to keep his career afloat, being the rock for his mother and his friends, and maneuvering a chaotic dating life.
Elie previously opened up to Complex about his desire to make a show that represents his community while also showcasing the emotional turmoil that Black men often deal with in silence. Send Help, directed by Stewart Yost, is all of that and then some. Gauyo and Elie, who also wrote on Insecure, set out to make a show that is truthful, funny, relatable, and also a joy to watch for people who will see themselves in the different characters on the show.
The show is also rich in cultural references about Haiti and its people—which the creators say was a fundamental aspect of them making the series. “We want people to be entertained. Have fun, watch, laugh, but also, get some insight into what it means to be a Haitian American or what the culture looks like,” Gauyo tells Complex. “But also, having some sense of joy because you recognize that culture either as your own or of a friend of yours that you haven’t seen amplified or expressed like this on TV.”
Complex caught up with Jean Elie and Mike Gauyo to chat all about their show’s first season, portraying personal stories on TV, and what they hope will happen for Fritz in Season 2.