It’s a Monday night August 2008. I’m watching television with my roommate. “The Game season premiere. Friday night.” Once the promo went off, my roommate comments, “Oh no. Friday night. The television graveyard.”
Friday night, the day that no one can account for staying home to watch their favorite television show. A strategy to weed out the shows a network does not want anymore, so I can just imagine the mindset of Mara Brock Akil when she received the news that her show was on its way to the television graveyard. I can imagine her saying, “Let’s pull out all the stops and go out with a bang.” A bang that caused a cosmic explosion creating a movement that rallied fans to keep the show going.
The most important night of January 2011 in the black community. Watch parties and social network buzz. The Game, like a ghost, came back with a vengence in the form of an hour long season premiere. (Let’s put a pen in that hour-long season premiere.) I chose not to participate in the watch parties and social network frenzies, so I could watch with a critical and objective eye.
My biggest fear since the announcement of the new season was the BET Factor. What is the BET Factor? Well, to compensate for the airing of one of my favorite shows, BET’s Uncut, BET has tried to clean up their image by over censoring their programming. I had a feeling the raw element that made The Game such a success would not be there. But I can say, for the first episode, it wasn’t so bad. The character that was mostly effected was Tasha Mack. I understand that characters are suppose to grow and evolve, but her essence has been stripped away. I contribute that to the BET Factor. I also contribute Terrance J to the BET Factor as well. It was probably a contractual stipulation for him to be on the show, but he did a great job. I tip my hat off to him.
I was excited the show started off with our favorite couple, Derwin and Melanie. I was very interested to see what they would do with this storyline. I knew it would be heavily influenced by the baby. Yes, it was predictable, but I like what they did with it. I can say I was a little upset with their storyline in the beginning of the hour having the baby not be Derwin’s because that would have been a cop out, and cop outs can ruin a series. A nice and neat ending is for the 1950s and 1960s. But the twist at the end was a nice touch. This gives them room to play with Melanie holding on to the secret that Derwin is the father, and it plays with the dynamic of Melanie and Derwin’s relationship.
I have mixed feelings about Melanie not doing her residency. It’s a strong choice for the storyline, but the decision doesn’t sit well with me as a woman. I guess, at the end, I’m satisfied with the decision. I like the way it struck such a strong feeling in me. In television, they teach you to make the audience love or hate a character’s decisions. Love and hate will always bring a viewer back! Indifference means the audience doesn’t care, and they stop watching. Her character has finally fully sacrificed to be with Derwin, and I’m predicting that that will be the downfall of their relationship.
Once I gathered my thoughts and opinions about the premiere, I scanned Facebook for other opinions. I have to agree that I don’t like the decisions Kelly’s character has made, but yet again, I understand. They’ve turned Kelly’s character into a satire, so it’s fun to watch . I remember when VH1’s Football Wives premiered. I follow The Game’s production manager on twitter. Her comment before the Football Wives show premiered was “Football Wives. There’s already a show like that. It’s called The Game“. Even though I do enjoy Basketball Wives, I love a little bit more that Kelly’s storyline is a satire on the silliness of the Basketball/Football wives phenomenon. What makes it even funnier is that Kelly’s reality show called Football Ex-Wives, and we all know that those shows hardly have any current wives but are full of ex-wives and girlfriends. CALL OUT! Now that’s true comedy! You just have to dig deep to find the jokes.
Now, I do like what they’re doing with Jason’s character. They are shedding light to what has happened to so many athletes. They use them up, make money off of them, then throw them away without a notion, so a small handful that have great personalities have the opportunity to transition into sportscasting. I have to admit that last night he was a little boring, but I’m expecting big things from his character. And I know he’s going to shake up the Sabers’ program! The only thing I wish was that they would have kept him with Camille, but they probably couldn’t afford to pay Stacey Dash and Meagan Good. Also, the new Brittany is whack! They’ve aged that girl like she was on a soap opera. Eight one day and 13 the next. Her character can’t act and is doing the most!
Tasha Mack! Tasha Mack! Tasha Mack! We were rooting for your love with Rick Fox, so I’m a little disappointed. We’ve seen the cougar thing before. Womp! Womp! Like I said before, Tasha Mack has fallen victim to the BET Factor, and what I hate the worst is how they’ve turned the tables on Tasha and Kelly’s relationship. It’s too unrealistic and is being played up for laugh sake. It’s not funny. After Kelly hit her, wouldn’t Tasha just call Pookie on her? Or at least Pookie’s sister because a Pookie always has a sister to beat up the women for him. I would have also liked to see Tasha Mack branch out and manage Poochie’s singing career. There’s a character arc right there, but I understand that may be straining the multiple storylines, so they replaced it with her managing Derwin’s career. Yeah uh huh, but don’t plant a storyline if you’re not going to explore it!
When I was looking through Facebook, I also read comments that people are hating what they’ve done with Malik’s character. I have to beg to differ. Malik’s story is my favorite so far. Oh, I’m so excited about his potential character development! My favorite element is how ignorant Malik is. We’ve known this since the first season, but I love how the storyline is overtly showing how everyone is passing him up. Even Tee Tee has his own business… funded by Malik. Malik also thinks he’s screwing his new owner, but his new owner is actually screwing him. The owner is using the money that he’s making off Malik and has bought multiple businesses, so who has the last laugh? What is Malik doing? He’s spending his money on disposable materialistic things that don’t have any return. It mirrors the mistakes that so many athletes, celebrities, and much of the black community are making with their money. I can’t wait until Malik wakes up and makes a change! This is going to be great!
Remember that pen? Let’s go back to it. The choice to make the season premiere an hour long was a very interesting one. It’s actually comedy in itself. You know what? Let’s go back even further than the pen. Remember the television graveyard? Back in 2008, the CW made a decision to get rid of all their 30 minute comedic formatted shows, so they sent all of their 30 minutes shows to Friday, the television graveyard, including the critically acclaimed Everybody Hates Chris. To avoid being cancelled, Brock Akil and her producers tried to transition their format to the one hour dramatic format the CW was looking for. If you noticed in season 3, they decreased the laugh tracks and the show took more of a dramatic tone. But the studio had already made their decision to cancel the show. Ouch! That had to hurt! So the choice to make the premiere an hour was a laugh in the CW’s face showing that the show could make the transition and do it well! Great job Mara Brock Akil and the rest of The Game’s team! The best revenge is success, and I wish the series all the success for the season and many seasons to come!
**** Next post: My critics on Love That Girl and Let’s Stay Together