Call Me Miss Cleo: Review

This documentary on HBO Max is called Call Me Miss Cleo, so you would think it would reveal so much about the infamous Miss Cleo. Let me tell you what you got. Nothing! Absolutely nothing, and as the documentary continues, you start to question everything the people who “knew her” tell you about what she told them. Let me explain.

Now, I do want to say that the documentary had a great flow from the beginning of Cleo to the end of Cleo and everything in between. But and however, Miss Cleo was an enigma. I remember being a kid in the 90’s and catching the infomercials. As a kid, I didn’t understand that Miss Cleo was the face of the brand. I didn’t understand that when you called you didn’t actually get to speak with her. Apparently, some adults didn’t realize that either. I was not aware of the Psychic Readers Network or PRN. Now that I learned while watching the doc, but that’s not what I came for. I came for Cleo and who this woman really was. I thought I was going to get an in-depth backstory and I got vague answers to questions about her and things I could have just googled. What I would have really enjoyed is an entire doc with the PRN representatives that were featured in the middle of the doc.

I want to pause here because I just thought of something that I want to mention. There was a PRN customer service rep that was part of the doc who was Jamaican. Like actually Jamaican and not faking an accent like Miss Cleo whose real name is Youree Dell Harris (allegedly). He said that people wanted to hear the accent. Made them believe in the realness of the reading, and they went into detail about why that is, but I feel like that’s a thing for white people and not really black people. This could also just be me. I get tarot readings every year and my psychic is an old white lady named Barbara. The place where I get these readings have psychics who are mostly white. I don’t feel, personally, that I would feel better or like the reading was more authentic if I had someone with a Caribbean or African accent. I feel like that’s the effect of Hollywood. There’s always a superstitious African or islander who gives a word of caution in the movies or these television series and that adds to that notion. Just my two cents. Back to Cleo and them.

So, HBO Max, go back and do a full PRN documentary. I want to know about the formation of this organization and others like it. Where did the craze come from? We touched on it some in this documentary but I wanted more. Throughout the doc, they sprinkled in her stealing money from her theatre company, her being a lesbian, possible abuse in her childhood, her fake accent (that was painfully apparent to those who were Jamaican), and her life ending fighting cancer. She had no black friends, from what was shown, and somehow kept up that accent in her every day life. I wondered when she was in the hospital did she also still have the accent. Terrible thought, I know, but it makes you wonder about stuff like that. I wanted a deep dive into this woman. I wanted someone to find a neighbor, a lover from high school, a roommate from somewhere, just anything, and I was grossly disappointed. Now, with that being said, this is a documentary worth watching because if you don’t remember any of this at all then this will be nostalgic for you. You might learn something that I already knew. You might not have known that the accent was fake or about the lawsuit she was named in. It’s streaming now and could be a good thing to watch while you have some down time.

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