Belinda Effah, Moyo Lawal, Annie Macaulay, Efe Irele, Ireti Osayemi, Segun Arinze, Kunle Remi,
13 episodes; appr. 30 mins/ep
In Aso-Ebi, five college friends re-unite five years after graduation on the occasion of one of their weddings. Ini, Rose, Tochi, Naomi and Uduak all graduated from college together and had big dreams. Unfortunately, as these things tend to go, not all the dreams come true.
Ini, played by Belinda Effah, is a businesswoman who sells insurance. The show opens up a few scenes later with her boyfriend proposing to her and her reaching out to her 4 best friends to invite them for her wedding. It is at this time that we meet Naomi. Naomi will go on to be the oil that keeps this engine running. You can almost argue that without her character, and without the splendid rendition by Moyo Lawal, the first few episodes at the least would have been drab.
Naomi has always wanted to live a flashy life. She wanted to travel the world and have the bill sponsored by an Italiano boyfriend. Unfortunately for her, five years after graduation and she was yet to see the interiors of Murtala Muhammed International Airport. This doesn’t stop her though from pretending to live the large life. She gets money from her ‘aristos’ and pretends to be an IJGB (I Just Got Back) to her friends. This character literally had me rolling my eyes so many times that I thought my eyeballs would eventually fall off.
The only drama in the first 3-5 episodes are really just Naomi, and Naomi is a superficial kind of drama. Somewhere after the fifth episode though the show takes on a different life. You go from watching these characters to actually rooting for these characters. The storyline continues past ‘the wedding’, and it is really past the wedding that the gem of the storyline begins.
Well… actually it began for me once Segun Arinze stepped onto the screen. Segun plays the role of Uncle Alfred, a late 40s uncle of Ini (the bride). Uncle Alfred falls for one of Ini’s friend’s, Uduak, who also happens to be the oldest of all the friends. Upon graduation Uduak dreamed of becoming a caterer and getting married to her then boyfriend of a few years – Effiong, played by Kunle Remi. Fast forward 5 years, and even though she is now a caterer, her and her boyfriend are still just boyfriend and girlfriend. In one scene where Alfred tries to hit on Uduak, she reject’s him saying that she has a fiance. My people do you see how we like to block our own destiny? How man wey never buy you ring after 10 years don turn Fiance? Feeya-who? And in another scene, Effiong meets another woman and refers to Uduak as his cleaner. I’ll just leave that there and allow to marinate in your head for a minute.
Even though Segun Arinze does look like the 40-something/50-something year old that his character is (and I blame the director for not giving us more flattering shots of him), he still has that ‘humph’ about him. I remember watching Ramsey in ‘Naomi’s Dilemma‘ and thinking that there’s something different about the romance of our yester-years stars – it just shoots at you and they never miss. This is regardless of how ridiculous their character is or who they are sharing screen space with. The same was definitely true about Segun Arinze in “Aso Ebi”.
Then there’s Rose and Tochi. Rose is a real estate agent who had a bad relationship in the past with a man who turned out to be married and now only does intimacy on a contractual bases. Then there is Tochi, the daft one, but also the youngest of the crew. She works for an oil company but sometimes acts like someone without sense.
By the time the series ends, there are a still a lot of loose ends left open. Like does Alfred return from Syria? Do Naomi and Deji ever end up married? Does Naomi get a real job? Does Tochi get a man? Do Rose and Kunle end up together? What happens with Okey and Kunle’s sister? …and so on and so forth. But I guess we’ll have to wait for season 2 to find out.