A short review of episode seven of VH1's Single Ladies after the jump. You can read all my reviews of the show here.
At this point, I feel like my reviews are really repetitive so I will keep this short.
April's storyline is so patently unbelievable that it actually made me angry as I watched it. It isn't that I don't think a white woman could be an A&R exec or even that I'm necessarily opposed to April being the vehicle for this story. It's just that everything is so poorly rendered. The show is doing a terrible job of convincing me that April has any knowledge of music or the music industry.
And frankly, as a lifelong hip hop fan, it gave me no pleasure to watch the legendary Biz Markie (playing a fictional character) act like what Tyler Hilton did over that track was dope. If I didn't already know that hip hop wasn't ours anymore, this proved it. A legend debasing himself with a scene that terrible hurt my heart.
- Queen Latifah's character and Val had sex once in college? Snooze. Sure, Queen Latifah channeling her real-life frustration about the constant rumors about her own sexuality in that last scene was a nicely meta, but really the whole storyline was just silly.
- Keisha and Malcolm are together? Yawn.
- Christina's professor wants to make their tryst seriously? Boring.
I'm at a loss as to what to else to write, so …
What do you guys think about this episode?
You could always stop writing anything at all about the show. Obviously, you don’t like it and it has, in fact, no appeal for you. But there are millions of people who enjoy Single Ladies and at this point you just sound resoundingly petty and mean spirited. There are aspects of this week’s review that are so unnecessarily layered with racial and gender stereotypes that that I could write a thesis on it. As a black, gay man who fought his way out of poverty and earned a degree in Cultural Studies from Michigan and a graduate degree in history from Northwestern, I say that your call for some long since lost “Hip Hop” authenticity is actually an allusion to a myth. Hip Hop, from the moment it left the corner was always a commodified, commercialized, corporate representation of a small segment of Black life in America. A representation, I might add, that was misogynistic, homophobic and often violent.
And as for the Sharon Love story line. Okay, it made you yawn but the truth is gay and lesbian African-American teen’s lead the nation in homelessness and suicide percentage wise. And Tracey Morgan only recently thought it would be funny to joke about stabbing his son in the neck if he were gay. So, did we solve world peace? No, certainly not. Did it change anyone’s mind about already long held beliefs? Can’t say. But maybe we did. And maybe, just maybe, it expanded the terrain, if only by a millimeter, upon which the conversation is had. And is there a more powerful word in the English language than maybe?
Every show isn’t for everybody. You seem like an intelligent individual and I’m sure there must be other things you can do with your time besides bashing Single Ladies every week.
P.S. I wrote next week’s episode. You should go ahead and review it now. Just change the date. I doubt if anyone would even notice.
I guess in the same way I should stop watching your show, you should stop reading my reviews.
I happen to think there is value in criticism. I think too much black cultural production gets by on the “well people like it” and “but at least we have our own” as a way to avoid making things better. I get that people like the show, but that doesn’t have anything to do with quality. People like McDonalds and it is still bad for you.
And trust me I understand the way black cultural production is commodified. That wasn’t what I was saying. My point was that I couldn’t figure out why someone like Biz Markie would participate in a scene that was so absurd. Tyler Hilton is a talented singer, but that scene did not show it.
I just think the writing isn’t as good as it should be. Obviously, since you are one of the writers, you disagree.
Please refer to the line in my critique of your reviews where I suggest you stop watching the show? Further, all commercial cultural production gets by under the “well people like it” banner. That’s the only way it gets made. Television is like every other product produced in a capitalist system; it is made for only reason — to make money.
What bothers me most is your suggestion, informed by your presuppositions, that Single Ladies (because it isn’t to your taste) is some how just thrown together by a group of people who are just trying to “get by” and that we are satisfied with second best. There are three African-American writers on this show (two women and me) with degrees from Harvard, Berkeley and Michigan respectively. Together, we have a list of credits and accomplishments a mile long but more importantly, none of us are interested in just “getting by.” We discuss every aspect of what we put on the screen and are very conscious of the limited representations of African-Americans on television. I’m not saying this to suggest that you should give us a break or that you should reconsider, far from it, but your reviews are no longer constructive. You don’t say that the writing isn’t as strong as you think it could be (that would be fair). Instead you point and laugh and roll your eyes like a child on a playground. All the while you allude to a standard of quality that you never produce an example for and thus it safe itself from critique because it remains always, forever elusive.)
Hate the show. That is your right but to use your own example (which is not, at least in an academic, theoretical sense a good correlation) Do you stand outside McDonald’s every week and yell at the people who do choose to eat it or do you give them a better example and explain the reasons for choice?
I don’t know if you read some of the other reviews, but I actually really do try to be fair to your show. I have discussed where I think things work really well. I happen to think the KC character is terrific and his interactions with Val feel real. I liked the Isaiah Washington storyline. I really really like the way Travis Winfrey avoids playing Omar in the usual way.
I do not trash your show. I critique it. I try to be very very fair. No one is suggesting that your credentialed (as if that matters in the slightest) colleagues are slapping these shows together.
But I have to say that I don’t think it’s a strange concern to be frustrated with the fact that we never got to know April and Darryl before everything imploded. And that’s just one example of how the show really does confuse accelerated plotting for character development.
If you are offended that I am critiquing your show, you don’t have to read my reviews. But to just come here and throw your degrees in my face suggests an insecurity and defensiveness that, frankly, are beneath you.
Wow, that’s what you got from my response. Never mind. LOL
Watched the show; read the blog…
tigger500, I can definitely say that you and I have very different taste when it comes to entertainment. however, i felt that your review of episode 7 was SPOT ON…I honestly hoped that when “April” got the call about Tyler overdosing that he was KILLED OFF. I liked April’s story line better when it focused on her divorce and lottery benefit…
Seeing Dana Owens on the screen as a lesbian isn’t a shocker; watching her EXPOIT it for the sake of a ratings buzz and to get sponsors at the expense of someone who is suppose to be a friend, BIG TURN OFF…especially since Keisha didn’t EXPOSE her as someone of her character is most inclined to do…
And am I the only one not feeling ANY CHEMISTRY from Stacy Dash and Old Dude…
Happy for Keisha and Malcolm but too easy to see coming…the two people with the most ‘game’ (and walls) getting together in the end. Despite him paying Rick Foxx to attempt to prostitute her (previous episode) and her being a thief, they seemed to get over some very real betrayal issues for a little sex and breakfast in bed…
As far as the student/professor relationship, i do want to see how that pans out…
WoW! i love this blog and i look forward to your perspective on the show each week. Its only natural that we disagree – we are different people – yadda yadda yadda. I do hope that the banter between you and Demetruis Baby(DB) continues, because I think an outside view could only improve the narrative of the show. Don’t take it personal (DB)…it’s just one (very intelligent) view. I think the show is improving and I look forward to viewing your piece next week. Please come back to this blog and have banter – I enjoy reading intellectual masturbation.
Perhaps you can clarify because I don’t know how else to take what you’ve been saying, sir.
So. Tigger. I play Omar on Single Ladies. I have actually enjoyed reading every single one of your blogs. As an artist, I believe you are right, criticism is a must!
I think that you have a good grasp on what “our” audience is thinking… because YOU are our audience.
Keep up the reviews.( and pls keep watching)
Thank you Travis!