Welcome back to the TV Boyfriend Smackdown! We pit two (or three) of television’s most eligible (and fictional) bachelors against one another, and discuss their merits with regard to three major categories: attractiveness, personality, and potential for capital-D Drama. Based on our spirited debate, we’ll declare a winner, but fear not: you’ll have a chance to weigh in as well.
This week, we’re talking the biggest show to hit screens this winter. Yup, it’s time to rate the men of Empire. Beware of spoilers here — if we’re going to judge thoroughly, we’re going to judge on everything that’s happened so far and we can’t be held responsible for your inability to Hulu or Netflix in a timely manner. Let the smackdown begin!
Lindsay's Take: The youngest member of the Lyon tribe, Hakeem’s rap career is heating up. Too bad he can’t seem to stay out of trouble! Would he be a good man to have around?
- • Attractiveness: Hakeem is totally Jess’ type. Actually, he’s my type, too. He’s got a great smile, a cool haircut, and plenty of swag to go around. That’s important: The swag. One, please. Wrap him up. I’ll take him with me.
- Personality: Remember what I said about the swag? The downside to having that much attitude is that you wield it too heavily. Hakeem’s latent insecurity and mommy issues (he’s not too cool with Cookie coming back, ya dig?) have led him to outbursts and “do you know who I am” incidents. Hakeem needs a therapist, and stat.
- Possible Drama: As previously mentioned, Hakeem needs to talk to a therapist. Or he can channel all of his rage over his mother (which is pretty unfounded, LBH) into his music. Hakeem’s drama all stems from his father, who is using him as a pawn in the fight for Empire Enterprises. If Hakeem could cut the cord and get some cojones of his own (and not be so easily impressionable), he could weed a lot of the drama out.
- Attractiveness: Hakeem is definitely a cutie. Lindsay knows my type (hey, we have been friends for eight years). I’m into it all — the hair (that fade!), the style, and oh man the mega-watt adorable smile! Hakeem = hot. Any day of the week.
- Personality: He has a tendency to veer into “entitled” mode real quick, and that’s not a good look on a potential boyfriend. Sure, he has the talent to back some of that ‘tude up, but Hakeem goes too far sometimes. And that’s not fun for anyone involved.
- Possible Drama: I agree with Lindsay — Hakeem needs to drop the bratty attitude and learn to stand up for himself the right way to his family. But until then, dating Hakeem would mean dealing with mood swings and a lot of family drama.
Jess' Take: Okay, how are things lookin’ for the middle Lyon bro, Jamal? Not too shabby from where I’m standing...
- Attractiveness: Jamal is for sure attractive. Yeah, he doesn’t quite have Hakeem’s impish charm, looks-wise, but he’s got good looks of his own. Like, smokin’ and smooth-as-hell good looks.
- Personality: Jamal is a total mama’s boy, but can you blame him? His dad was/is a total a$$. So naturally Jamal is in his mother’s pocket (see “possible drama”), but he has been cutting the cord a bit as Empire progresses. Which means he has the capacity to grow — very important in an imaginary TV boyfriend.
- Possible Drama: See above re: letting his mom call the shots. But I have faith Jamal will come into his own even more as the season goes on...and as he does, the drama potential goes down.
- Attractiveness: Ah, Jamal. Smooth-as-hell pretty much describes it, but have you seen Jussie Smollett’s dimples. Uhhhbuuuu-the cutest. Stammering cute. Of course, that voice doesn’t hurt...
- Personality: Jamal also has plenty of parental issues. The middle child of the Lyons, Jamal was literally thrown in a trashcan once by his father, Lucious. Literally. Because he’s gay. Jamal, for the most part, has been letting Cookie call the shots in his life — he’s much meeker than either of his brothers. As the season has progressed, he’d gotten more confident both in his music and in his skin, and that’s been fun to watch.
- Possible Drama: Again, parental drama. Jamal is Cookie’s pawn in the battle for Empire Enterprises. Though Cookie’s got plenty of good ideas, he needs to shake her off a bit in order to have any sort of relationship (poor Michael). I think that as Jamal grows within himself, the propensity for drama will lessen.
Lindsay's Take: The eldest Lyon brother, Andre has a domineering wife and some issues with bipolar disorder. He’s also a brilliant business mind (with no musicality). Would he make a good boyfriend?
- Attractiveness: The genes really do run strong in this family: Every guy is more handsome than the next. That being said, Andre is just a little too much of a suit for me. Personal preference, though. He is also hot.
- Personality: Personality-wise, Andre is the closest Lyon son to his father. They work together, as well, and Andre is priming himself to take over Empire Enterprises, if it’s the last thing that he and his wife do. She’s his Lady Macbeth, and I suspect that most of his bad behavior is triggered by her poking.
- Possible Drama: Have we mentioned parent drama? Kidding — Andre is definitely the son least outwardly affected by the Lyon mama drama. Really, all of the drama in his life either comes from his dad or his wife, which is awkward considering we’re trying to figure out if he’s a good boyfriend or not. Dump the wife and your dad, Andre, and then we can talk.
- Attractiveness: Damn, how is it possible that ALL the Empire guys are so good-looking? Seriously. Andre has the youthful sparkle of Hakeem PLUS the smoldering-eye thing that Jamal’s got going on. He’s like the best of both worlds. But I agree with Lindsay that he’s just a little too suit-y for me.
- Personality: Andre is definitely a power guy, partially driven by his power-hungry wife. He’s business-savvy but not musically gifted — and while that’s not subtracting any points for Andre, it’s not earning him any extras, either. He also has bipolar disorder, and it remains to be seen how his resistance to taking his meds will play out...
- Possible Drama: Lindsay is right — if Andre untangled himself from his father and scheming wife, there’d be less drama and less Iago-ness to Andre. But until then, there’s drama aplenty.
Winner: Jamal Lyon
Though Jamal has a few issues with his parents, um, all of his siblings do. Jamal is the smartest, cutest, most musically talented, and most importantly, most sensitive of the bunch. The middle Lyon brother is all we need to get by (not that he would go for us, but he'll make some guy on Empire very happy one day...we hope).
Disagree with our outcome? Well, you have a say, too! Just vote for your preferred winner in this round of the TV Boyfriend Smackdown below, and we’ll see you in two weeks for our next match-up!