If you’re not watching Empire, get yourself over to FOX On Demand ASAP, because you’re seriously missing out. For the few people who have been living in caves, Empire is the beloved bedazzled primetime soap Dynasty (1981-1989) reimagined for the 21st century. (It’s probably no surprise that show creator Lee Daniels was a huge fan of Dynasty growing up.) Empire brings all the drama, conflict and bling, minus the shoulder pads and big hair, with an updated twist. This sudsy treat is about an African-American family who owns one of America’s biggest (fictional, of course) recording enterprises.
During Season 1 Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) was released from prison, where she went to take the fall for her husband, hip-hop titan Lucious Lyon. She returns demanding half of the recording empire—coincidentally called Empire—Lucious had built in her absence (on the foundation of her talent, nerve and hard work) and in need to repair her relationship with her three sons—all of whom are vying to be the next head of the company.
Now that we’re in Season 2, the Lyon clan is taking no prisoners as they wage war for control of Empire. Holding it all together is Cookie, a rare depiction of a middle-aged woman and mother as a fierce, intelligent, loving force of nature. Is it any reason we wish she was our mother? Here are the Top 5 reasons why:
1. Sheer ferocity. No one, and I mean NO ONE, messes with Mother Lyon’s cubs.
2. Fashion forward. Ever since gay middle son Jamal asked, “What are you wearing?” when she returned from prison, Cookie has been immaculately turned out. If she was our mom we know we’d always look terrific.
3. Getting it done. There is no problem that Cookie can’t find a solution for. Knock her down and she’ll cut you off at the knees. Sure, sometimes someone must be disposed of, but she doesn’t stop until she finds a solution. And she never compromises who she is to get it.
4. Self assurance. Cookie knows who she is and what she brings to the table. She never doubts herself or lets herself be made small by Lucious’ domineering ways. And she insists her boys stand tall, too.
5. Encouragement. Those who come under Cookie’s umbrella are given everything they need to grow and succeed. She’s willing to take a chance on those who are at the end of their rope as well as youngsters just starting out. And she doesn’t hesitate to let her sons know that she appreciates their gifts.
Be sure to watch Empire, airing Wednesdays at 9PM EST on Fox.
Main image: Chuck Hodes/FOX