Quarantine Television Viewing: Any Day Now


I’m sure I’m not the only person who watched a lot more television over the last 14 months. During the quarantine, I rediscovered Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven. I discovered Any Day Now which I never watched when it originally aired two decades ago. The show’s title is taken from the 1962 Chuck Jackson song ” Any Day Now ” and the show currently airs on StartTV every morning at 10:00am Eastern/Pacific.

Any Day Now is an American drama series that aired on the Lifetime network from 1998 to 2002. Creator Nancy Miller weaves the story of two best friends who grew up on opposite sides of the racial divide in the Civil Rights era in Birmingham, Alabama. Two decades later, they reunite as adults when one moves home. The two friends, one black and one white recall their friendship in the past when they reunite in the present. The show stars Annie Potts and Lorraine Toussaint.

The show is well-written and expertly cast. It explored issues around racism and how they recur over the years – from the 1960’s to the current day. Unfortunately, very little has changed in terms of American racism, so the show still looks and feels like real life. I’m currently deciding which episode to show to my students.

Mary Elizabeth “M.E.” O’Brien Sims (Potts) and Rene Jackson (Toussaint) grew up as close friends during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, however, their friendship ended when M.E. became pregnant and chose, despite Rene’s disapproval, to keep the child, drop out of college, and marry her boyfriend, Colliar Sims. More than twenty years later, M.E. and her husband still live in Birmingham, where they struggle to make ends meet. Their oldest son, Bobby, died as a child; but they have two more children, daughter Kelly and son Davis.

Their friendship provides an inside look at the civil rights movement as it affects the residents of Birmingham. Their friendship blossoms despite the discomfort of M.E.’s naively bigoted parents and her openly racist Uncle Jimmy, an avowed member of the Ku Klux Klan. M.E. and Rene’s friendship was fostered by M.E.’s loving grandmother and her older brother, Johnny, who was sent to Vietnam, while M.E.’s older sister, Teresa, often threatened to tell their parents that M.E.’s “little colored friend” had been in their house. Rene’s family included her father, James (John Lafayette), who was a lawyer and an active member of the Civil Rights Movement; her mother, Sarah, also active in the movement; and her older brother Elston, who was the same age as M.E.’s brother Johnny but dodged the draft by fleeing to Canada.

Season 1; Episode 1: Unfinished Symphony

Present: Mary Elizabeth Sims, a Birmingham wife, mother, and aspiring writer, reaches out to her estranged childhood friend Rene Jackson, a prominent Washington attorney, when she returns home upon the death of her father. The friends reconcile, and Rene decides to remain in Birmingham and take over her father’s law practice.

Past: It’s 1962, and Mary Elizabeth and Rene strike up a friendship over a shoplifted pack of cigarettes. Rene, a recent transplant from Detroit, has difficulty adjusting to the segregated South.

Nicki Sanders, MSW, CEO, is a Career and Empowerment Strategist who helps high-performing women of color in management go from overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated to energized, well paid, and appreciated. Through Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, she also helps businesses recruit, hire, train, and retain great employees. Nicki has an extensive background in developing and managing successful programs and leading high-functioning multi-disciplinary teams. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life she loves. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

© 2021 Copyright Protected. ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Protected by WP Anti Spam