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The Wu-Tang Clan Is Experiencing a Hilarious TV Renaissance

The rap group has been showing up in unexpected places recently, but what what does it mean?

Liam Mathews

TV is f---in' with the Wu-Tang Clan.

The New York City rap collective has been showing up on TV in unexpected places recently. More specifically, the group's iconic W logo has been a sight gag on two different shows in the past two weeks. First it showed up as a tattoo on Nora Dunn's (Carrie Coon) arm on an episode of The Leftovers last month, and then it showed up again in Tuesday's season finale ofThe Mickon a headband worn by Jimmy (Scott MacArthur).

Wu-Tang was a bigger deal on The Leftovers. In the episode, Nora shows Erika (Regina King) a tattoo she got of the logo for "the Wu-Tang Band," as she calls it, to cover up a previous tattoo she had gotten of her departed children's names. She explains that immediately after she got the tattoo of the names, she realized it would be too emotionally painful to have them there, so she had the tattoo artist cover it up with the first thing she saw on the wall of the shop. The design she chose happened to be the Wu-Tang Clan logo (at first she thought it was a phoenix). The out-of-left-field randomness of it makes for a hilarious reveal.

​Carrie Coon, The Leftovers

Carrie Coon, The Leftovers

Wu-Tang is a presence throughout the episode. Nora and Erika jump on a trampoline while the Clan's song "Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)" plays. The writers credited on the episode are Tha Lonely Donkey Kong and Specialist Contagious, who are show creators Tom Perrotta and Damon Lindelof with their names run through a Wu-Tang name generator.

The W shows up again in the season finale of The Mick when Mickey's (Kaitlin Olson) boyfriend Jimmy is approached to become a police informant. Jimmy makes a lot ridiculous demands before he'll tell the police what they want to know, and one of his demands is a Wu-Tang headband.

​Scott MacArthur, The Mick

Scott MacArthur, The Mick


Kaitlin Olson tells TVGuide.com she's honored to be in the company of The Leftovers in this trend, and she's "probably going to insist that Jimmy get a Wu-Tang tattoo in Season 2, just because I want to continue this trend."

These examples come a few months after Wu-Tang member Method Man appeared as himself on Luke Cage. More peripherally, Method Man is a ubiquitous actor, showing up everywhere from Blue Bloods to the upcoming HBO series The Deuce, and Wu-Tang leader RZA directed an episode of Iron Fist.

This Wu-Tang swarm comes at a low ebb for the group musically. They haven't commercially released an album since 2014, and their conceptual art project Once Upon a Time in Shaolin has been marred by its excessive exclusivity and association with pharma entrepreneur/internet troll Martin Shkreli. Raekwon released a solo album last month, but none of the nine members' solo work has made a splash of late.

So perhaps this little trend is a sign that they should all focus their efforts on television. The success of projects like Straight Outta Compton and The New Edition Story probably indicates that people would watch a Wu-Tang origin story miniseries. There may not be room for a gritty urban kung-fu series so soon after Luke Cage and Iron Fist, but maybe a stylish one where the members of the Wu-Tang Clan play leaders of warring gangs could be done. Or maybe a fantastical kung-fu series in the vein of RZA's movie The Man with the Iron Fists.

On the other hand, perhaps it's a sign that they should reconvene and make a really dope Wu-Tang album.