The Game & why they should not play with social commentary.

Jan 12, 2012 @ 1:58 pm | By TheFeministGriote | 2 Comments

I along with 5.3 million other folks,was locked into the season 5 premiere of BET’s “The Game,” on January 10. I had all my tools for the big event. I had my twitter page opened up on my macbook, my cellphone to talk/tweet from, and of course my brain, never watch television without it. I will admit midway through the last season, I lost my patience with the show, I got frustrated and decided not to watch it. However, I decided that this time, I would give this season a chance. The season premiere reminded me of some Tyler Perry-esque drama. It was not great television.I was not expecting great, but I was not expecting to have my feminist sensibilities assaulted while watching the show. The writers took some very serious leniency with facts and although hyperbole may be good for television, when you are talking about current hot topic issues, hyperbole can easily become dangerous rhetoric. These were my following beef’s with the episode:

The Abortion Issue: The entire interaction between Derwin and Melanie in regards to the abortion was absolutely appalling. At one point, I thought the GOP wrote the plot. First Derwin was mad Melanie had an abortion, then he was okay with it, as long as the aborted fetus was his? Talk about wanting to control a woman’s womb. Derwin views on abortion was starting to mirror Mitt Romney’s flip-flop stance. The way Derwin’s character treated Melanie like trash over her having an abortion, is not all that fictitious. Never mind the fact that Derwin’s character has a child with another woman, who Melanie accepts, but Melanie must beg Derwin to accept her past. What kills me about this situation is the fact that Derwin represents the thinking of some men. Men who refuse to believe and accept that their girlfriends and wives had an entire life which includes a sexual past, way before they entered their lives. Men are allowed to have full lives that include a myriad of sexual conquests, but women have to be saints in order to escape the label of  a “ho.” Women are told to be sexy, but not be sexual. Flirt and tease, but never give in. This contradictory double message is not helpful to young girls/women. Secondly, the way the show is trying to link Melanie’s inability to procreate with Derwin to her past abortion is disturbingly inaccurate. According to GuttMacher Institute nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended. 1 out of 3 women have terminated a pregnancy. These women go on to have other kids. 1 out 3 women did not suddenly lose their ability to procreate because they had an abortion. I thought Melanie’s character went to medical school, surely her character could have debunked that faulty logic? 2011 was not a good year for women’s reproductive rights. At every turn some male politician was trying to defund Planned Parenthood, force women seeking abortions to have a sonogram, Mississippi was trying to redefine personhood, and a heap of other foolishness. Abortion is way too serious of an issue to take fictitious license with.

The Colorism Issue: I get that Jason Pitts’ character is a bi-racial man, that would rather claim his whiteness than his black roots. Okay I get that, but even for Jason Pitts’ standards, his level of douche baggery was a bit much in the premiere episode. The constant need to beat the audience over the head with Jason Pitts’ colorism issues, was the type of subtlety that Tyler Perry movies are made of. What was up with the hangover sub-plot of him going to Mexico and marrying Chardonnay, played by Brandy? So I am suppose to believe that this proud black woman who tells Jason off, he gets her fired, they drive off to Mexico, and she marries him? After marrying him she has the nerve to say that he is the “oppressor,” really? It’s the 21st century the self-hating tragic mulatto trope has been overdone! 

The tragic black woman syndrome: What happened to Tasha Mack? When she is not being the stereotypical strong black woman, she is tragic! I thought the tragic black woman role was already being filled with Melanie’s character. The writers need to decide who Tasha Mack is going to be. Is she going to be a successful black woman who gets money or a dejected woman who compromises her financial prowess to mother her “baby boy?”

The NOT so funny Overdose: Since when is an overdose a joke? The way Jenna’s, Malik’s girlfriend, bout with drugs was being turned into some comic relief of the show was deplorable. You can’t simply insert some ill placed laugh tracks and, suddenly, drug abuse will become funny. Tasha commenting on her flawless skin, Malik’s bodyguard stating, “he got next” on a “dead” girls lifeless body (cue the rapist track) was all a bit too much for me. I mean that entire plot was just dripping with insensitivity. When the high end drug dealer gives Jenna an epinephrine shot no real context is given surrounding the drug dealers action. The writers assume that the audience will know that was an adrenaline shot that saved Jenna’s life(the only reason I know about the shot is because, I recently watched a drug documentary). Mind you 3o seconds before ,they thought she was dead, when Tasha Mack did a “thorough check” of nudging her twice with a flashlight. Did not check her pulse, did not check to see if she was breathing, nothing. But declared her dead. All those many adults and no one knew how to properly check to see if another human being is dead or alive? At one point Jenna ceased being a human being and was just a body for the audience to ogle at.

I know many may think that I live to dismantle the show,but I don’t. The fact of the matter is, I am “The Game’s” target audience. I want the show to do well, but the show is not beyond reproach. As a feminist and a critical thinker, the episode made me very uncomfortable. I like many other Black people, want to see myself in the media. Black people on television can be just as witty,can have smart/snarky dialogue, and be dramatic without it mirroring the chitlin theatre. “The Game” needs to do better, and I for one am hoping for the best.

What was your impression of the season premiere? Drop a line in the comment section.

2 Responses to “ The Game & why they should not play with social commentary. ”

  1. All great points, especially in regards to Melanie

  2. I know that this article is a few years old, but I wanted to tell you…..I so get it. This is the kind of stuff I like to talk about. You hit a lot of different points right on the head about this show. It’s a relief to see intelligent beings DO exist because you really did nail everything that is wrong with the show. Even though, I knew everything you were saying in my head, there is no way I could have taken the time and perfect way of expressing how we feel like you did. You did really well on this article.

    And while I was reading it…. it occurred to me, do we really have to give a show this much commentary and critique when it’s so glaringly clear what is so wrong with it? Everything that you named that was wrong with this show, is spot on and millions of others know it too. It’s just painfully obvious. Makes you wonder how this is even acceptable to broadcast. Anyway, point is, if we have to explain to the makers and writers of this show like their 3 years old what is wrong with this show, it’s pretty much a guarantee they will never get it.

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