Sunday, July 10, 2011
Single Ladies Wrap Up… Episode 5
“I propose that we go to the floor and slow dance... lalalalalala…… lalalalalalala”.
Recommendations for this episode can be summed up with one saying: less is more. Or… it's primetime not daytime—we do not need an All My Children in this time slot; or... this isn't a sprint but a marathon, pace yourself. Yes… we feel the need to keep throwing out more sayings even though just one would have sufficed… because… hell, that is what we had to endure on Monday night: too many story lines.
It was not all bad though… the good:
The witty banter between Val and Jerry were quite entertaining throughout the show—from Jerry’s, “you look trustworthy to me” to Val’s cheeky reply, “Oh I am… I was a Girl’s Scout”-- those two character’s scenes were actually the only scenes worth watching. The only recommendation we have was for the director to show the restaurant scene with Val and Jerry where he manages to pay for the dinner, even though Val insisted repeatedly that she wanted to pay for it to make up for Jerry’s purchase of her golf clothes. It was pointless to hear the story in the third person – via Jerry’s account. We saw him show up at the store to ask her out to dinner, and then walk her back to her apartment lobby – and nothing in between.
Favorite line— Keisha’s reply to Val accusing her of also being a man junkie: “I am a recreational user; I do it for the sport”.
The not so good: As mentioned earlier, there were so many story lines that kept getting introduced even though older story lines/plots are still stuck in writer's limbo. Like a child who never rises above his or her parent’s station in life, this show is quickly slipping down the tandem pole. From last week’s SL wrap-up, we recommended for the writers to figure out who is going to be the lead character—preferably Val—and stick to revolving the show around her. Evidently, they didn’t get the memo in time to heed our advice – so we repeat, identify the lead character and develop the remainder of the show’s story lines around her. And with that, try to stick to one or two story lines per episode. There were at least a dozen story lines in Episode 5, and none ever flourished by the end of the show. This entire episode should have been limited to two stories— for comedic effect: Val’s attempts to “man cleanse” and for substance: April and Daryl’s story line.
The following scenes should have been eliminated, properly developed, or introduced in later episodes:
-Workout scene with Kiesha and her personal trainer: Was it just us or did you feel like an intruder looking in. There was no prior introduction of Armadello (sp?). It seemed like this was the first time Kiesha was meeting her trainer, yet the first series of exercises seemed more like routine foreplay that usually leads to the kind of wild sex the viewers witnessed. Anytime a viewer asks herself “what is going on?” and the show isn’t a thriller or suspense but rather a romantic comedy, red flags should go up in the writers/director’s heads. The scene needed more conversation or background –i.e. in the scene preceding this one, when all the girls were in Val’s kitchen discussing her man cleanse, the women should have also discussed Armadello. Keisha refused to go on the “cleanse” with Val because “she had some things lined up”. Which things exactly? Most friends would have asked and that would have been the perfect time to introduce Armadello to the story.
-So off to the party scene with the fashion institute students. First of all, when girlfriends show up at a party, they usually stick together for a huge part of the festivities – unless they attend with dates/significant others. We are not quite sure why Val, April, Kiesha and Omar were all positioned in opposite corners of the room. And Christina, who supposedly invited the gang, was off dancing with her friend and making out with a professor while her “guests” were left to fend for themselves. Oh, and there were no scene shots of the great clothes Christina and Val both mentioned. If the writers want to continue giving Christina sizeable screen time, they could have shown her introducing the gang to some of the key players at the fashion institute who are presumably at the party showing off their work. Quite honestly, what was the point of the entire party scene? So that we can know that Kiesha is a man eater with a conscience because she wouldn’t stoop so low as to “do” a 19 year old? Or that Val isn’t too keen on people spilling beer on her designer shoes? Or that Christina or Omar will screw anyone, anywhere? We’ve already seen it all. What’s next?
-Robbing scene should have been axed, very incongruent with the story. Also, who immediately enters their place when they first find out they have been robbed? Umm... the robber could still be there.
-Another thing that is beginning to irk us more and more is Val’s increasing meanness to her so-called “friends”. When the series began, Val was portrayed as the loveable, sweet, and protective girlfriend who would diffuse any tension at all costs. But in the last two episodes, she’s uttered a few nasty comments toward her friends, which gives us the inkling that either the writers would like to change her personality traits or they are not quite sure which direction to develop her character. For example, why would Val suggest to April (after they were robbed) that it was bad enough that she had to hide the affair from Daryl, now she has to keep April’s behavior regarding her finances (transferring her trust funds) from Daryl? Why in a million years would we think that Val would divulge this information to Daryl? Even our frenemies would not stoop that low. The opening episodes made it clear that the girls are best friends – even though Daryl introduced April to Val. Also, Val barks at Kiesha that if it wasn’t for her screwing her personal trainer in order to get over Malcolm, whom she really loves, the robbery wouldn’t have happened. How harsh is that? Even if she thought it, Val, as we were originally introduced, would have never made such a comment. She’s the diffuser, the mediator, and quite frankly, the one with the least backbone of all the girls. A suggestion: leave Val’s character as she was originally introduced. If you feel the need to have her grow a pair, show the viewers the steps she goes through to get there (this will take more than one episode by the way).
This is all for now; as usual, we held back some of our opinions and hope to God this gets better. It is getting painful and Christy and I are thinking of pulling out our SATC’s DVDs and just giving up on Single Ladies... tear!
Christiana Duodu and Ava Drake