THE GAME

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I don’t think I watched it that much when it was first running on UPN/CW, but after it was cancelled I started catching the reruns on BET. I found it to be a rather clever show. The focus was on the fictional NFL team, The San Diego Sabers. Derwin was a new recruit, who was living with his girlfriend Melanie, a medical student. Melanie’s parents disapproved of her relationship with Derwin, since she had moved to San Diego with him instead of accepting her scholarship to the prestigious John Hopkins University. The other man characters were Malik, the star quarterback of the team who lived with his mother, Tasha, who was also his manager. And there was Jason, the older veteran of the team, married to Kelly, a leader of the Sunbeams, the organization of wives, girlfriends, and baby mommas, of the team.

As the show progressed, it highlighted Derwin’s attempt to fit in with his team-mates, while Melanie tried to fit in with the rest of the Sunbeams. Some characteristics became evident, Malik was the stereotypical pro-athlete, who was all about partying and getting laid, while his mother was loud and over-bearing. Jason was a notorious cheapskate, who used his control of the money to basically control his wife. Eventually Malik moved out on his own, meeting his biological father and half-sister, an aspiring singer, & got into a brief fake marriage with actress Robin Givens just to give her publicity for her career, which they eventually ended. Tasha formed her own management company to manage other athletes, including Derwin, hiring Kelly as her secretary, before joining a major agency and then beginning a relationship with former NBA player Rick Fox that she was constantly on the verge of self-sabotaging based on her own insecurities. Jason become addicted to steroids, which eventually led to the break-up of his marriage. Derwin fell prey to the temptations of fame, cheated on Melanie with singer Drew Sidora, and when Melanie found out she dumped him. Derwin eventually began a serious relationship with a woman named Janae, while Melanie had a string of relationships with different men, before she and Derwin decided to get back together after he broke up with Janae. But right around that time, Janae announced that she was pregnant with Derwin’s child.

BET would often rerun multiple episodes in a row for hours during weekends, which is when I would happen to catch it. Sometimes it was a bit inconsistent. A sub-plot began with Malik dating a plus-size model, revealing that he always had a preference for larger woman, which he hid because he was afraid of what people would think. Then, when that relationship ended, he was back to dating typical model-types, or celebrity women, like Serena Williams. One team member came out of the closet as homosexual, which Malik had trouble accepting, and then after a couple of episodes that whole subplot was dropped and the character disappeared. Race was occasionally addressed through Jason and Kelly’s marriage (Kelly is White). It’s major flaw, to me, was that in later seasons, it started to get “serious,” too often for my taste.

Well, now the show has been brought back by BET, with all new episodes, with most of the main cast returning. I was surprised that now, instead of on studio sets, they mostly appear to be filming on location, in actual houses and buildings. Just like real life, two years have passed since the final episode on the CW, where Derwin and Melanie finally got married. Derwin is now considered a superstar, Melanie is the new leader of the sunbeams, Tasha is involved in a relationship with a much younger man, Jason has been fired from the team and now works as a sportscaster, while Kelly is starring in a reality show about athlete’s ex-wives, while Malik is struggling with addiction to pain-pills and has had to enter rehab.

It’s been four episodes now, and after the last one I think I am officially done. The show seems to have forgotten that this was supposed to be a sitcom, and has now turned into a soap opera. The serious moments I talked before now seem to have taken over the whole show. There was a storyline in the beginning where Melanie began to suspect the Janae’s son was not really Derwin’s, so she had a DNA test done, which proved he wasn’t. She told Derwin and he had a big fight with Janae, only to find out a few days later that the test was wrong, and the baby is really Derwin’s son after all. Tasha is, of course, sabotaging her new relationship, while Kelly is extremely unlikable now. In fact, the way they act with each other, it’s hard to believe that Kelly, Tasha, and Melanie were ever friends. Same with Derwin, Malik, and Jason. There’s barely a laugh to be had. It’s very disappointing, and I’m just not willing to give it any more chances.

But, according to the ratings, the show is a success, so good for them. It’s just no longer my cup of tea.

What do YOU think?

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