Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Single Ladies wrap up... Episode 4

A devout Sex and the City (SATC) fan, I have been patiently waiting for a television show that will capture my fancy just like SATC did.  So far, I’ve had no such luck and have resorted to reading cheesy romance novels during primetime – the horror!  However the tide has turned.  A month ago, to my utter delight and my husband's chagrin, I came across VH1’s new series, Single Ladies, starring Dionne— I mean, Stacey Dash— from Clueless (My high school version of SATC).  Unfortunately, after watching a couple of episodes with my partner in crime, Christy, she and I both noted that the show, as it stands now, will not fill the void SATC’s cancellation left in our television lineup.  And since we both really want this to be our "replacement" – the obvious reason being seeing Stacey Dash on television again— we decided to feature a series of blog posts that will discuss the good, the bad, and the unrealistic of the series.  We hope the producers, writers, directors, and actors take note—cause lord knows we cannot stomach another season of watching them fall short consistently when they could potentially triumph with a little bit more homework.  Below is a discussion of this week’s episode which aired on June 27th:

The Good:  In the opening scene, after Val’s date calls her a tease for not giving it up after their third date, she rehashes the conversation to Keisha and April during the girls’ post date wrap up.  During this, April utters our favorite line of the episode; Val: “90 days first, then tap this later”; April, in response: “Sounds like a layaway plan”.

The Good: Is Lisa Rae’s acting improving????? (crossing fingers...)

The Bad/Unrealistic:  So far, the scenes in all the aired episodes have been numerous, jammed together and not thought out properly.   Instead of having 25 short scenes where the viewer gets to see only snippets of dialogue between the characters, it would make more sense for there to be 10-12 solid scenes, following 2-3 story lines so that the characters can get a chance to develop and the viewers can get to know them better.  Examples...

1.    In the second scene, April shares with the girls that Daryl has agreed (again!) to go back to therapy with her – she’s optimistic that their marriage might stand another chance.  Now, this is HUGE news, since on the last episode, Daryl showed up at April’s 25th birthday party to serve her divorce papers.  The steps that it took Daryl and April to get to this position should have been part of the show, instead, April simply “tells” the girls about this relatively big news in the midst of them discussing Vals’ annoyingly prudish ways.  This storyline is very essential to the series, because it will either catapult April into single-dome or keep her in a committed relationship.  It would also give the viewers a chance to explore April's character and know if she learned from her mishaps; because so far, we can’t really tell if she’s “bent out of shape” because she got caught cheating with the Mayor or she truly wants her husband back and feels truly bad about her indiscretion.  They could have also used this “missing scene” to communicate to us if she would be better off without Daryl since she was obviously so young when they got married and lost herself in the day-to-day routine of being Daryl’s wife. 

2.   In the scenes that showed Val and Casey, we were a little disappointed they did not take the chance to explore – either for comedic effect or enlightenment— the dynamics of an interracial relationship.  When Val and Casey comes back to her place, she tells Casey that she warned him they should not sit in the front row at a black comedy club.  They should have showed both of them at the comedy club and their reactions to being the butt of the jokes.  There has been significant growth in interracial relationships (especially between black women and white men) over the past years and the show missed an opportunity to explore this element of our society.  It could have been shown for comedic purposes: it took six months into our relationship for my husband to realize I had a weave,  and when he found out he told me to stay away from the stove else I burn my hair, he once asked if I was having an affair with my hair stylist since I took all day "getting my hair did"; on his end, he suffered a serious case of sun burn—Bozo the clown comes to mind— because I refused to pack sun block on a recent beach vacation claiming it was not needed.  Or for enlightenment: Black men, it is not okay to hit on a black woman when she is with her nonblack date; I, i.e. Ava, cannot keep refereeing fights.   And white men, just because a black woman dates a white man does not mean she finds the whole lot of you attractive; refrain from approaching a black woman with any line you hear in a rap video. 

3.       There are so many things wrong with the scene where Malcolm asks to “speak to Kiesha in private” in the store and then simply walks 3 feet over to the front of the store; first, “private” is not talking so loud in front of shop patrons and staff that they can all hear the conversation (This scene does not even pass the lowest of the low: the “I am not a Nigerian movie” smell test); second, a man like Malcolm would never confess to his “disappearing act” and apologize over and over again – such men  - “Chocolate Trumps” simply don’t have to do so.  Their money and charm allows them more room for error and asinine behavior; lastly, a girl like Kiesha would never utter to Malcolm that she plans to bring a date to Malcolm’s party – a better storyline would have been for Kiesha just to show up at the party with her date and for the director to show Malcolm’s bewilderment and disgust when she actually arrives at his home with another man.   And another thing, a true Chocolate Trump wouldn’t have made that visit to Val’s store himself; that trip should have been made by one of his many assistants.  Also, how many times must Malcolm talk about Keisha’s ass? It ain’t manna! His lines seem to be coming straight out of a Harlequin romance novel—this is not a good thing— instead of it coming from a gorgeous, successful man’s mouth.   A gorgeous successful man would never engage in a frothing at the lips banter with Keisha, he would know not to give out compliments every time his lips moves or say things like, “I do not know what it is about you”, every time he appears in a scene.  The producers either need to hire a man to write Malcolm’s lines or get in touch with Melania Trump for advice on how the Trumps of the world pick up women.

4.       Character traits identification: The writers need to go back to the drawing board and explore the different characteristics and personality traits of the show's stars.  Currently, some of their actions are incongruent to what their characters are being portrayed as.  We touched on this a little with the discussion of Malcolm so let us now discuss Val, the obvious star of the show.  If any character should be appropriately developed it should be her, but sadly, this is not the case.  For example, Val, someone who is supposed to be a hopeless optimist and we assume the glue to these women friendships, will never utter these words to an emotionally wounded friend: “isn’t it customary to honor your vows?”  If that line was needed in the show, it should have been uttered by Keisha and not Val.  Val should have been the one mediating this “personal foul”. This is a role reversal that should not happen so early on in the season since the readers are just starting to get to know the core of the characters.  

Sadly, we could go on with other faux pas’ we noticed on this show, but we shall stop here with one significant recommendation— the directors need to decide whose character is going to be the dominating one and stick to developing that character – this will help in giving the series some stability.  There is no sense in equal distribution of screen time for all the characters – it simply won’t work.

Until next time, 
Christiana Duodu and Ava Drake

1 comment:

  1. I love, I love. I will definitely be coming back for more every week! When do you plan to post the weekly commentary Ava?