‘The Game’: Season 4 Finale Review

My review of the season finale of the fourth season of The Game after the jump. Reviews of every Season 4 episode can be found here.

Interestingly enough, I think The Game Season 4 ended exactly the way it began: with way too much drama that comes more from writers's desire than character. This episode plays very much the way the premiere did with scene after scene of nearly everyone acting wildly out of character.

Melanie and Derwin spent the bulk of the first half of the season dealing with drama related to Derwin's child with Janay and then basically receded into the background. So it is jarring that this episode focused almost exclusively on the lesser developed fact that Derwin is now the Sabers franchise player and that reality has gone to both of their heads.

There have been some hints that Derwin feels like Malik is past the point of being helped, but his behavior in this episode just felt like it came out of nowhere. It makes total sense for him to be concerned about a conflict of interest if Tasha manages Malik again, but for him to be so unconcerned with Malik as a person just felt out of character. Other than the Episode 4 where Derwin doesn't come to Malik's press conference, Derwin has been mostly concerned about Malik – and usually helpful. So for him to be so cavalier with his disregard for Malik didn't work for me at all. And asking Melanie to handle it with Tasha is just a punk move.

Similarly, the fight between Melanie and Tasha was pure spectacle, though very well-acted. It was not rooted in anything real. I didn't buy for a second that Melanie would be so callous about Malik right to Tasha's face and so the way the scene escalated was just contrived. Melanie's behavior is particularly egregious given how much help that we know Malik and Tasha have given her in the past.  

I needed Tasha to do more than just tell Melanie off in that scene. I needed Tasha to really to address more forcefully just how brand new Melanie and Derwin are.  It is just another example of the neutering of Tasha Mack as the voice of reason on the show (even as her ghetto fabulous characteristics have been overemphasized.)

But truthfully, the show has simply just not earned this new heartless, materialistic Melanie and Derwin. Such a tremendous shift in character has to be shown, not told. Melanie and Derwin are the center of the show. They grounded the show through their desire not to get lost in this professional football world. But now, presumably, they are caught up. They are no longer the characters they were 5 years ago. Ok. Cool. But how did they get there? We do not know. And we need to.  

The Game simply becomes a different show if Melanie and Derwin are essentially Kelly and Jason now. Such a profound shift has to be earned, but just sort of picking up 2 years later and expecting us to just adjust to the loss of the show's heart is a lot to ask. The writers had all season to help us understand more fully why these two characters have made such dramatic shifts. They failed to do that.

That said, I like that the show is taking seriously the consequences of Malik's season-long melodrama. Given how much time has been spent on the story, I'm glad that the show didn't find some contrived reason for the Sabers to keep him around. He really did have to be replaced.

But I still don't buy that Malik loves Model Jenna as much as the writers want us to believe. And it makes no sense that him setting up a fake modeling job would send her careening off the wagon. Was it her first job since getting out of rehab? How badly did she mess up her career? We don't know, so we don't care that she's humiliated. It's just all poorly conceived and plotted.

Season 4 has been a season in which we've watched the writers destroy all of the relationships between the six main characters and then try to build a new telenovela-like show around storylines for all six characters separately. Where the original show was tons of fun and incredibly well written and performed, this new show is not enjoyable and is poorly developed and executed 

More importantly, this new show is not what any of The Game fans wanted.

The Sabers are the institution that brought these six characters together, but the relationships that were built over the first three seasons were sufficiently strong enough that the show could have existed in some form even if Malik and Jason are no longer Sabers and Kelly is no longer a Sunbeam. But as it stands now, there is no real reason for these six people to ever speak to each other again.

I don't know, dramatically, what purpose has been served by putting these characters through what they've been through this season. But I do know that makes it very hard to care at all about what might happen in Season 5. 

Some final thoughts:

  • The scene with Jason, Derwin and the new quarterback was comedy gold. Coby Bell is a comedic genius. He is remarkable at playing the humor of Jason's ego. So many great jokes in that scene, but my favorite was definitely "top five Jason Pitts moments. Go!" His absence this season has been felt. We need Bell back in every episode next season.
  • It is unconscionable that Brittany Daniel wasn't in the finale. It feels at this point like Kelly Pitts has been written off the show. But the unceremonious way that the character has been dispensed (if indeed she's been written off, which is not really clear) is just terrible. I'm willing to bet that the treatment of Kelly Pitts this season is why Daniel did very little of the promotion prior to the start of the season. Brittany Daniel deserves so much better than what she got this season. 
  • Mario Van Peebles played Tasha? Boo. and. Hiss.
  • I really need the show to not make the "Dr. Melanie Barnett Davis" thing a running joke if the writers aren't going to take more seriously the fact that Melanie isn't practicing. Or maybe the show should just explain to us why she's not practicing. It makes Melanie look really awful that she needs to be called by this title even though she so cavalierly threw away her career for her husband. 
  • Melanie had an abortion? What the fuck?

 

What did you guys think of the finale? Do you want a Season 5 and if so what should the writers do better next season?

About tlewisisdope

I write. I live in DC.
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42 Responses to ‘The Game’: Season 4 Finale Review

  1. Kay says:

    one word…sucked! ugh! and you’re completely right, as a true fan of The Game they’ve ruined it so much that I could care less if it even comes back. If this is the foolishness that they’ll continue to dish out to us they should just cancel it right this moment. I rather see it canceled than for them to continue showing us this rubbish driving us to hate what was once a beloved show.

  2. LaWanda says:

    Once again, on point. Seriously I am going to recommend your blog. I like the fact that you have no preferences. So your reviews are about the show without any bias.
    I am still gathering mt thoughts about that finale. But suffice it to say, I hated it.

  3. tigger500 says:

    Agreed. If BET didn’t bring it back for another season, I wouldn’t be mad.

  4. tigger500 says:

    Thank you LaWanda. 🙂

  5. ITS CHANDA!!! says:

    Excellent job Ty Ty!! The season had its ups and downs and even when I got upset with the direction I was still tuned in to BET on Tuesday at 10pm (the only time my station is registered to BET). So that being said, yes I need another season. While the characters are evolving on a rapid-odd pace – I am eager to see what’s next. The conclusion was odd – too many loose ends (in my opinion). I did not get the point of Mario Van Peoples flying in Keith Sweat just for some booty. I mean I never had that much loot, so I do not know, maybe that is what rich people do when that need some side tail. Strange.

  6. Hal says:

    Blog- excellent
    Show- horrible: First- Why couldn’t Mario Van Peebles’ (is he going broke; taking a shameful role like this) character really be terminally ill and just died (someone needs to let the writer’s know that Black Folks lives aren’t always filled with deceit)…secondly, isn’t this suppose to be a drama? Why are they forcing the comedy into it. TT was the comic relief and he didn’t so much a spill any chicken grease in the finale…the abortion thing at the end unnecessary; once again the writers seem confused as to whether they want to do comedy or drama.

  7. tigger500 says:

    There are definitely episodes that I’ve enjoyed this season, but the overall arc of the season was deeply problematic for me. But yea, the Mario Van Peebles thing…ugh.

  8. tigger500 says:

    Well, the show is actually a comedy first, drama second. The show has sort of flipped that this season and not terribly well. I agree that they didn’t need to undercut last week’s episode by having Mario Van Peebles just be a deceitful bastard. It was cheesy last week enough that they even went that route, but I was willing to go along with it because it gave Tasha Mack a rare opportunity this season to be a three-dimensional human being. I just think the writers got a lil beside themselves coming back this season and overshot what they needed to do to keep an audience.

  9. raquel.gary@gmail.com says:

    I missed the finale…but based off your blog and what I am hearing through the grapevine I don’t think I’m gong to make an effort to try and see it. I see you said Melanie had an abortion??? WHOA…I hope it was Derwin’s so he can divorce her butt and go back to Janay~lololol~You know I had to throw that one in there. Look forward to your blogs next season, if the show if even comes back.

  10. Great review! I love The Game and have from the very beginning. Even though there were things I would’ve love to see differently, I supported Season 4 all the way. I was thrilled The Game was back on the air, and all was great. However, the finale stunk to high heaven! I was extemely disappointed and was left perplexed. I really thought they were gonna give it to us big and leave the viewers with an ending we could sink our teeth into (especially clearing up the Derwin/DJ paternity issues since many fans still don’t think DJ is Derwin’s son), but they failed royally. I will continue to support The Game all day, everyday, but I’m hoping that season 5 will tie up loose ends they left totally unraveled. WTH happened? The whole Beau things could’ve been left out period. Tasha and Mel’s argument was over-the-top. Malik/Jenna, huh? Kelly not being apart of the finale was unbelievable. Jason = hilarious, and last, but not least – Melanie has an abortion? What??? I can go on and on, but I won’t. Again, great review!

  11. The Mrs. says:

    Talk about left field. I don’t even know where to begin with this finale. First it was way too short. It seemed like I had just turned it on and then it was over. The abortion thing just threw me for a loop. I was left like “huhhhh???!!!!” Someone I know gave the explanation that Melanie was pregnant a few seasons back. Back on the episode when Derwin proposed to her on the football field. She took a pregnancy test in that episode and that was the reason for the proposal. The person also pointed out that Tasha said when Melanie says “definitely”, she is lying. I missed that. But even if that scenario was true about her being pregnant then, WHO IN THERE RIGHT MIND IS GOING TO THINK BACK THAT FAR?!!! If it hadn’t been for it being brought to my attention, I never would have thought about it. And this is just an assumption, so we still don’t know how the writers are going to work that one in. I just thought it way over the top with drama. I really truly hope the writers are researching the feedback about this season. It was truly disappointing. Great reviews from you as always.

  12. I Agree says:

    I totally agree with your review. I’m just a newbie fan of the show, watched most of the past seasons on reruns, but this season and the finale were a let down. I feel like the writers screwed up big time. The show is less funny, less entertaining and lacks depth. And why was Kelley just disregarded like that? Such ashame because BET was basically handed a golden egg and its seems like they are blowing it. Hopefully things can get turned around.

  13. tigger500 says:

    Yea, I’m hoping they understand our frustrations and make the right changes for Season 5.

  14. tigger500 says:

    Thank you, Malaika. And thanks for posting in the message boards. Good lookin out 🙂

  15. tigger500 says:

    Yea – you really didn’t miss anything. Just a hot mess. lol

  16. Tiffany says:

    You hit every single nail imaginable! OMG I am posting this link everywhere. I hope you sent this to the writers,BET and whomever else.

  17. Nekeisha Mitchell says:

    I totally agree with your blog! I’ve been kinda trown off since the season premiere 1/11/11! The setup doesnt seem real at all. I know that they filmed in Atlanta, but they need to make the actual footage like it was back when they were on the CW.In certain scenes, it seems as if they’re actually reading a storyline or just cant seem to get there acting together.It’s nothing like the previous seasons. I am a BIG fan of The Game and I have and will continue to watch every episode. I just would like if the writers would not make it too “dramafied”. I hated Kelly’s new haircut and character as a whole. The “new” BritBrat character seems waaaaay too old. I mean the girl was only 8 or 9 when the show went off and now this is how she is 2 years later?? No way!! Melanie is too high class now. And I hate the red lipstick and brown hair. What happened to the old melanie??uggh I could go on and on but hopefully the reviews will get back to the writers and producers and season 5 will be muuuuuuch better.

  18. nowreen says:

    Brittany Daniel’s aka Kelly was probably the most sincere and relatable character on the show…Melanie is sort of a messed up (damsel in distress) type ditz, and Tasha Mack is this overly dominant alpha female type…Brittany gave her character a type of vunerability and heart that really kept me counting down to this season. That being said, I do LOVE the show…I fell out of love with Melanie as of late (probably around the time she was two timing with McHottie and to when she wore that disasterous wedding dress). They really DO need to bring back the original ingredients that made this show, the characters, and the plot so great…The show has def gotten a bit more coarse and is trying hard to be “sexxier.” This show used to be incredibly well written and hilarious where as now I feel like they are TRYING TOO HARD to establish their rythmn and character…Possibly as a result of being moved to a new channel and time. As the writter said, they spent way too little time on character development and a bit too much time on side stuff thats not necessary — we really dont need so much Melanie…She is not even a good actress. They need to return to their roots and quit trying so hard.

  19. You are very welcome. My pleasure!

  20. I think i’m in the minority when I say I enjoyed the new direction of the show. The Melanie and Derwin drama through seasons two and three got tired and old. I liked the fact we are getting back to the lives of football players and their drama they go through. We needed to see the end results of Malik’s piss poor personal decisions. Melanie ultimately fought the Sunbeams so much that she became one of them in the end (behavior wise, emotionally and mentally). Remember early on, Melanie would jump on the Sunbeams about their lackluster behavior and hated that football ran everything even about holidays and simple gift giving. 13 episodes were not enough for us to completely understand the dynamics the characters went through. I understand that costs and production issues played a big part in this.
    The Game is loosely based on the Staci Robinson book, Interceptions. I never read it but from what I read and hear, what we see on The Game is connected in some way to the book. The CW never marketed the show as it was supposed to be marketed. Brock-Akil admitted in her answers to our questions, she simply did what she had to do to get the show on the air. This explains alot in why the show was branded and built initially as a comedy.
    Also, we did not have time to get to know Melanie and Derwin. Melanie is Joan’s cousin but we only met her one time before the show started. If we had a chance to see her throughout the years and learned more about her and Derwin, many questions and theories would be resolved.
    I want to see Season Five and look forward to the new plots. I would advise having more episodes, the show needs 20 episodes a season at a minimum, 22-24 would be nice (but I understand costs and this is cable). The additional episodes would allow for more character development and explanation just as we were accustomed to during the CW years. Bell definitely needs to have more time and there is still room for Brittany Daniel (even on an reoccuring basis). Since we aged Brit-Brat, we need to utilize the teenage daughter character more not just to say we have a child.

  21. Jamal Chevis says:

    I saw the Melanie had an abortion angle coming. They established during the Tasha argument that when ever Melanie says “definitely” before something, she is lying. Other than that I agree with your post, great job Ty. Oh & using the word punk move to describe Derwin’s actions toward Malik was very generous of you, I was thinking more like Bitch Move! That pissed me off, it just took away all his sexy!!! Malik Wright is a genuine, bonafide f-up. I don’t know what can help him at this point, not even a near death experience.

  22. Dark and Lovely says:

    I loved the show in the past, but I just wasnt feeling this season. It was all over the place and the Finale, well that was just a hot mess within itself. Dont really care if it comes back on or not, just wasnt that interesting this season like I was last.

  23. raquel.gary@gmail.com says:

    @ The Mrs…unfortunately I can remember that far!~Lololol~Only becuase before season 5 I watched those re-runs like religously~I know the episode you are talking about, when Derwin purposed because he thought Melanie was pregnant, but when Tasha made her take the test and she found she wasn’t melanie told derwin not to purpose (but he did anyway on national tv). I doubt that’s where the abortion took place.because I can recall an episode where Melanie wanted Derwin and Janay to have an abortion and when Derwin asked if she would ever do that Meanie replied No CAUSE IT WOULD BE YOURS!! So that tells me right there if this abortion really did happen it was not derwin’s baby.

  24. tigger500 says:

    I hear ya. I do sort of want it back. You know how we black folks ride or die for our shit. lol

  25. tigger500 says:

    All good points. I should say that some of the individual episodes were quite enjoyable. But the season was poorly plotted and executed as a whole. But thanks for stopping by and offering a different perspective. Always good to have that happen 🙂

  26. tigger500 says:

    Awww. Thank you, Tiffany. No I didn’t send this to the writers. lol.

  27. tigger500 says:

    Agreed. That lacefront wig she got on is a mess!

  28. I’m just so disappointed in this season. Most of the time, I was confused. I have watched this show since the first episode. They show wasn’t this bad when it first started! I hope a writer, producer, Mara herself is reading your reviews because they need to.
    I wouldn’t be mad if they said sike to this season. I wouldn’t care if they started season 5 where they left off at season 3. I can totally forget about this season.

  29. Erica Davies says:

    I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and I LOVE all of your reviews about The Game, all of your comments are spot-on in terms of my feelings towards the show.
    Something I’d also like to note is the fact that they’ve downplayed (and pretty much eliminated) the smart, successful women that Akil built Kelly, Tasha, and Melanie to be, and particularly the fact that Melanie and Tasha should be seen as role models for young black females. Melanie struggled to get through med school for three seasons in order to prove that she is still capable of accomplishing her goals and be more than just a typical trophy wife who depends on the financial support of her husband. Tasha Mack embodied the saying “you reap what you sow”, literally coming from nothing and creating her own agency, establishing herself as the golden example of an independent black woman. Kelly shows that although initially she wanted the life of a trophy wife, it’s important to have a plan B, so she works for Tasha and enjoys the life of a working woman, knowing that she can have her own income.
    I don’t know whether it was the network or the writers, but they COMPLETELY stripped all three women of the main qualities we loved them for. They don’t show Tasha at her office anymore trying to seal deals or pick up new agents, and they turned Kelly into a trashy reality TV star, making her look desperate, vengeful, and money-hungry, FAR from the quirky, positive, reaffirming woman we know her to be. Melanie’s change is by far the worst of all three: she is a reincarnation of a 1950s woman who decided to foolishly forego reaping the benefits of a six-figure education by becoming a practicing doctor in order to cater to her husband and allow his career to take off. It seems like they’ve molded her into the very people she fought so hard to be disassociated with, thus changing the very essence that made us viewers love the show. In essence, Melanie has been turned into a living example of ‘money changes people’.

  30. Erica Davies says:

    I don’t know how @nowreen can say that the Game can do without Melanie when the show is BASED ON HER LIFE. I actually liked her wedding dress, and I liked Melanie even MORE for playing Derwin with Jerome because to me it showed that she’s only human and that both men AND women make romantic mistakes in the game of love. The new Melanie leaves WAY more to be desired: during the course of the two year gap, how did she magically love the Sunbeams and turn into such a plastic, one dimensional woman like the rest of them? The fact that she didn’t buy into stupid things that they did like planning their lives around their husbands’ is what made Melanie even more likeable.

  31. Erica Davies says:

    I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and I LOVE all of your reviews about The Game, all of your comments are spot-on in terms of my feelings towards the show.
    Something I’d also like to note is the fact that they’ve downplayed (and pretty much eliminated) the smart, successful women that Akil built Kelly, Tasha, and Melanie to be, and particularly the fact that Melanie and Tasha should be seen as role models for young black females. Melanie struggled to get through med school for three seasons in order to prove that she is still capable of accomplishing her goals and be more than just a typical trophy wife who depends on the financial support of her husband. Tasha Mack embodied the saying “you reap what you sow”, literally coming from nothing and creating her own agency, establishing herself as the golden example of an independent black woman. Kelly shows that although initially she wanted the life of a trophy wife, it’s important to have a plan B, so she works for Tasha and enjoys the life of a working woman, knowing that she can have her own income.
    I don’t know whether it was the network or the writers, but they COMPLETELY stripped all three women of the main qualities we loved them for. They don’t show Tasha at her office anymore trying to seal deals or pick up new agents, and they turned Kelly into a trashy reality TV star, making her look desperate, vengeful, and money-hungry, FAR from the quirky, positive, reaffirming woman we know her to be. Melanie’s change is by far the worst of all three: she is a reincarnation of a 1950s woman who decided to foolishly forego a six-figure education in order to cater to her husband and allow his career to take off. It seems like they’ve molded her into the very people she fought so hard to be disassociated with, thus changing the very essence that made us viewers love the show. In essence, Melanie has been turned into a living example of ‘money changes people’.

  32. tigger500 says:

    Oh I saw it coming too. I just wish it hadn’t. It’s a stupid development that the show will likely botch in Season 5.

  33. Dawn says:

    Like you I have been irritated–ACTUALLY PISSED–at the overemphasis and at times exploitation of Tasha’s “ghetto” side. I was floored to hear Tasha say there was a time she would have gotten her gun and shot up his wife and ashy kids. How in the world could black writers, a black actress, and a black run network find humor in black children being shot? What black woman would ever raise the specter of shooting a child even in jest? It was ugly and insensitive and had no place in television especially a black show written by black writers. Like you, I don’t understand the change in Melanie and Derwin. I can’t fault them for wanting to protect their interests; afterall, this is their livelihood and they have no reason to sacrifice their fortunes for Malik who has squandered his. It’s not something he would do as we witnessed when Derwin’s career almost ended before it really got started. That aside, the show has lost balance, perspective, humor and heart. I suspect that viewership has remained relatively high because die hard Gamers are hoping for a return to the old, but I also suspect that if they don’t course correct at the very start of season five die hard Gamers like me will just let it die.

  34. lilkunta says:

    Hal: Why is Mario shameful for taking on this role? TG is the #1 show in AfrAM households so its good for Marion. No 1 watched his “mario’s green house’ reality show so this is actually a Come Up for Marion VP.

  35. lilkunta says:

    TheMrs: Actually many of us on imdb did think back that far so it wasnt a strech.

  36. lilkunta says:

    Neke: Mel thinks she is hi class but she isnt. She is ghetto fab in a bad way. Her wig and the red lipstick, yuck yuck yuck.

  37. lilkunta says:

    nowreen: I like Mel’s dress. It was her hair that sucked. Tia is a ood actress.
    Yea TG def needs to return to its roots. I hope that now since the ratings were stellar BET will hire the Cali writers and put $ into better sets( WE NEED FOOTBALL SCENES) so s5 is better.

  38. lilkunta says:

    yes yes yes. well said.

  39. lilkunta says:

    This is an excellent review of TG’s s finale.
    Im from imdb, Lawanda posted that we all should read your blog & she was definitely right.
    I hope Mara read’s yor review and the comments so she can get her *ss together for s5.

  40. Miss Lady says:

    I agree this season was a let down. Melanie does not have a mind of her own. Kelly should have been in all the episodes she was one of the main characters. What happen to Jaynae an DJ. They had too much going on in the last episode, I will watch the first episode of season five if it seems anything like this past season. I’ll let it go.

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