Tuesday, January 11, 2011 was a very monumental day for many people in the Black community because it meant the long awaited return on The Game on BET. That show has a cult following. I can honestly say that I was one of those 7.7 million people who were pins and needles to see the continuation of the story of Melanie, Derwin, Tasha, Malik, Kelly, and Jason. Then the
show came on. BET (and of course the original writers who they said all came back….that fact that I question seriously) managed to turn The Game into fried chicken, Black & Milds, and a Maury paternity test show. Thanks! The show really broke down to these simple themes.
- Melanie is still traumatized by the fact that Derwin has a baby with his ex-girlfriend, Janay. She goes behind his back and gives the baby a DNA test. Finds out the baby doesn’t belong to Derwin. Derwin, who’s attached to said 2 year old, doesn’t want to know the results because he loves the baby. Melanie tells him anyway. Melanie then finds out that the test was wrong and holds back that information from Derwin. Classic Melanie move.
- Malik is sleeping with his boss’s wife. Steals his cousin’s girlfriend from him because he wouldn’t drive Malik home.
- Kelly and Jason, still divorced, have issues because Kelly is using her divorce as a way to gain fame by painting Jason in a negative light.
And the crowd goes wild!!!! I was on Twitter during commercial breaks and noticed that my whole timeline was about the show. It was going so fast that I could barely keep up with tweets.
Meanwhile, BET premiered a brand new show, Let’s Stay Together right after The Game. Let’s Stay Together is described by BET,
“Love has no limit or boundaries when it’s real. LET’S STAY TOGETHER is an updated, urban – romantic comedy that takes an unconventional look into the lives of five young, ambitious African Americans. The series centers on a married couple, an engaged couple and a single sister who all take courageous steps as they navigate life, love and matrimony.”
My timeline became totally different when the show changed. Tweets were coming in by the dozens that resembled this: “Changes channel.” “Let’s Stay Together, January 11, 2011 – January 11, 2011.” “I’m not even going to give this show a chance.” This bothered me not only for the obvious reason (you know the reason why major networks don’t give Black shows a chance is because we don’t), but because of what it symbolizes to me. Why are we so quick to tune into a show that portrays us as drama-filled, relationship challenged people but don’t want to give out attention to a show that paints us in a better light. I watched Let’s Stay Together. It’s actually a pretty good show. The couples have their issues, but they are solved within 30 minutes in responsible ways. The show balances comedy with issues that are apparent in every relationship.
In discussing this with the boyfriend and another close friend of mine, a bigger question came to mind. Does the way we allow ourselves to be portrayed in entertainment affect our real-life interactions? The answer seems to be a resounding “yes!” Some times it hurts me to my core to hear some women talk about how Melanie is always right and is always the victim. These are women that emulate that same behavior in real life. Sleeping with random men to get over the one they truly love. Holding men to an impossible standard that they wouldn’t be able to handle if tables were turned. Being selfish. Playing the victim. Taking drama to their man’s place of employment. They do all of these things thinking that it is right and it is validated on TV. These are the same women that are struggling to figure out why they can’t keep a man. I guess they ignore the fact that Melanie is barely able to hold on to Derwin. I’m an equal opportunity stone thrower, so I am not leaving out the men in this equation. Men look at Malik and think it is okay to still live with their mother and be too dependent on their mothers well past 30. Or being so cocky that you think it is okay to sleep with your boss’s wife for revenge. Or hurting your loved ones because they refuse to hold you up in stupid behavior is the way to go. Malik may be the quintessential playboy on TV, but some men haven’t figured out that this is why the world is a lonely place for them as well.
I think that we are doing ourselves a disservice by not viewing and celebrating healthy Black love. With all the studies out there that show that a lack of examples of healthy relationships being the reason why there are so many single parent families and so on and so forth, why shouldn’t we help keep Let’s Stay Together on the air. What do you think? Do the antics of characters on TV validate unhealthy ways of dealing with relationship situations?