Jan 19, 2011 @ 12:22 pm | By TheFeministGriote | 3 Comments
January 12,2011 BET premiered the fourth season of the show The Game after it was cancelled in May 2009 by the CW network. 7.7 million people tuned into BET that night. Those are impressive numbers for a network that has been highly criticized for its lack of substance and failing to uplift the Black community that it says it serves. I was part of that 7.7 million people who watched. After watching the first episode I had lots of reservations about the new season after watching the second episode last night it became very clear what BET’s intentions are and where they plan to take this fourth season and that is what prompted this post. As a Black feminist woman everything I read, watch, and listen to gets dissected and filtered through that gaze and after watching the second episode of The Game my internal feminist bells was ringing loudly.
I understand that BET is in the business of making money and they saw an opportunity to make money and gain viewership by bringing back the show The Game, but when the name of your network is Black Entertainment Television and you are producing one the very few Black shows that is currently on television the margin for error is slim and the expectations are high. To begin with, I think it was very reckless for BET to have the character Tasha Mack apologize to Kelly the only white character on the show in the manner that she did. The whole diatribe of Black women being jealous of white women for dating Black men that was inflammatory and culturally self deprecating. Its bad when non-Black writers write characters of color in a very stereotypical way, but when black writers write Black characters in a stereotypical way it is damn near criminal and treasonous. If Tasha Mack is suppose to be the archetype for strong, overly aggressive, ghetto-Black women then why is she begging the white woman for forgiveness like a slave begging not be lashed by ‘massah’ for getting out of line? The whole entire conversation was pathetic, unfunny, and damaging!
Secondly, BET’s treatment of Melanie’s character is so ridiculously unbelievable. All the character Melanie had to do to realize her goal of being a doctor is finish her residency. Melanie walks away from her dream of being a doctor to stroke Derwin’s ego all day and self sabotage her own marriage. I have a quite a few friends who are studying to be doctors. One of them even has a child and she didn’t even allow an unexpected unplanned pregnancy deter her from her dream. Melanie use to have goals and dreams and just because she married “a brand, an icon, a one man ball catching economic stimulus package,” it is not just cause for Melanie to give up on being a doctor. Once again this is another stereotype that Black women are gold-diggers looking for a handout and this is when Black women are not filling the other stereotype of being super independent, “bitchy,” and emasculating the Black man! During episode one when Tasha Mack was trying to console Melanie and said that Melanie had won because Melanie was “wifey” and the “baby momma” wasn’t. I almost lost my dinner to that comment. No ring, marriage ceremony, or riches can ever trump a child. Keeping score between the “wifey” and “baby momma” is a new low even for BET. A child is not a thing, its not a bartering tool, it is a human being and yes Janay may not be “wifey,” but she is the mother of Derwin’s child which in my book makes her extremely important.
The absolute worst and most dangerous part of the show came in at the last couple of minutes of episode two when Derwin was talking to Melanie like she was a second class citizen with no rights. How can a man tell his wife that his illegitimate child is none of her business and orders his wife to go to church to remedy all of their issues? Going to church is not going to make Melanie less insecure and needy. I was surprised to see that most of my twitter followers saw nothing wrong in Derwin talking to Melanie like she was his child and here in lies the problem and the point I am trying to make. There are many people who take their relationship cues from pop-culture and therefore shows like The Game must be mindful of how they’re portraying the relationship dynamics between Black men and Black women. The Game is the only show on television for the exception of Lets Stay together were you can see a Black couple therefore it has a big responsibility to depict a healthy functioning Black couple. BET like Tyler Perry is virtually a monopoly right now. No other network is telling our story so if BET is going to be it they really need to look at the cultural effects of their product. We can have quality television and it still be funny, juicy, and engaging e.g. Girlfriends, A different World, and Living Single.
Unlike white audiences who have a diverse image of themselves in the media they have the luxury of having a choice on what to watch and what show best speaks to them, the Black community only has the show The Game and Lets stay together and of course we can watch Meet the Browns and the House of Payne if you are into coonery television. We should never forget and undermine the power of the media and how it shapes peoples ideas of one another. As Black people we deserve quality television and quality representation and the show The Game in its current state is not IT!
What do you think of how BET is handling this season of The Game?!
Categories: The Temple of My Familiar