My thoughts on episode 7 after the jump.
As always, reviews of previous episodes can be found here.
So far, Season 5 has done a spectacularly good job of wasting the talents of Tia Mowry Hardrict and Wendy Raquel Robinson. The Game's writers have so reduced Melanie and Tasha to their most stereotypical elements – Melanie's a bougie princess and Tasha's ghetto fabulous – that very little of what the actresses, both incredibly gifted, have been asked to do with the Melanie/Tasha rift storyline makes any sense.
Tonight's episode, I think, was an attempt to at least advance the story toward reconciliation between the two women. Melanie enlists Tee Tee to help her smooth things over with Tasha once she sees that Malik and Derwin have patched things up. But for reasons that Tasha fails to articulate, it's not as easy as Melanie had hoped.
And therein lies the problem: Tasha is still so unreasonably and annoyingly ghetto and irrational for no discernible reason. Her behavior in the scene with Melanie and Tee Tee is so absurdly over the top that she ends up looking mean-spirited and foolish. That just hasn't really ever been Tasha Mack. Tasha has always taken the opportunity to remind Melanie of exactly why her bad behavior was in fact wrong. In that scene, Tasha of the past would have explained exactly why trying to fire her as Derwin asked so badly hurt her feelings and wasn't even the best idea in the first place. Instead she acts out, throws Melanie's infertility in her face, and storms out in a big stereotypically ghetto-ass huff. It's just totally unnecessary.
As far as Melanie, it's totally in her character to want to make up without articulating any real remorse for her part in the conflict. But since Tasha Mack doesn't call her on it, as she often has in the past, Melanie weirdly ends up looking like the more reasonable of the two by default. But she never once apologized to Tasha and neither women acknowledged the reality of how nasty their falling out really was in Season 4's finale.
So while I understand that I'm supposed to empathize with Melanie crying in her car alone at the end of the episode, I just felt manipulated and irritated. It wasn't earned. Had Melanie expressed any contrition to Tasha – even if Tasha didn't immediately accept – I would have been more inclined to sympathy.
To be fair, it's clear from the way the story unfolded – as well as the way it advanced the separate, but related story of Derwin and Malik's reconciliation – that the writers are dragging this out a bit. But it would have been nice if the show didn't do so by undercutting Tasha and Melanie as characters.
Interestingly, the show is punishing Melanie for getting caught up by Derwin's fame and fortune in a way that it is not punishing Derwin himself (which is the subtext here with his relative easy reconciliation with Malik). I did appreciate that Melanie reminded Derwin that the fight with Tasha was because Derwin asked her to do his dirty work, but Derwin emerging relatively unscathed from all of this conflict is problematic. Both Derwin and Melanie got brand new and they both need taken down a peg or two. Presumably the continued conflict with Kwan Kirkland will come to a head and will provide that opportunity.
That said, emotionally and dramatically tonight's episode did start the process of reintegrating the core cast so that these people have a reason to all be on the same show. But the devil is in the details. Gotta see how it unfolds.
- I liked the B story about Derwin deciding to back Malik as the starting quarterback. He was inconsistently allied with Malik last year, so it's great to see him fully onboard with Malik and acknowledge that that support has as much to do with his own inability to control Kwan Kirkland as it is about their friendship.
- Michael Beach plays a smarmy asshole better than anyone else on the planet. But it makes sense to me that public pressure wouldn't be enough to overcome his vindictive desire to ruin Malik. But clearly having Derwin onboard is a signal that the show itself wants Malik to regain his spot, so I like that the show is treating Malik's transgression seriously enough not to fix all of this quickly. It's gonna take more than one video and some fans to change Roger's mind.
- As always, Coby Bell-less episodes are laugh-free
- Not sure why all the men are using the term "smash" so much. Didn't that go out of style? Ain't it "smang"? LOL.
What did you guys think?