Saturday, March 6, 2010

Online Pick of the Week (3/5): Girlfriends

Oh, hell yes! I’ve recently gotten WEtv back, so I’ve been watching some episodes from the final year or so of the UPN/CW sitcom Girlfriends for the first time.

And now I realize why I lost interest in the show originally. I must say it really lost something when Jill Marie Jones a.k.a. Toni Childs left. I've seen certain shows that have the adult "friend" ensemble type casts which can survive one or two people leaving (Mary Tyler Moore easily comes to mind with Valerie Harper and Cloris Leachman going off to do their own spin-offs), but there are other shows where going on without a main character just didn't fly (for instance, the British version of Coupling) and this was one of those shows. The other three girls were still there: book smart Joan Clayton (Tracee Ellis-Ross), sassy Maya Wilkes (Golden Brooks), sexually adventurous and bi-racial Lynn Searcy (Persia White), and their male friend William Dent (Reggie Hayes). They tried to fill the void by bringing back William’s ex-girlfriend Monica and giving Maya’s husband Darnell and her son Jabari bigger roles, but it really wasn‘t the same.

Also I think another reason why the show wasn’t the same for me in the end were the stories. Well not the stories in themselves, but how depressing they got. I was happy that Maya was pregnant again, but it sucked only to see her miscarry in the end. Just as it finally looked like Joan was going to marry, her fiancé Aaron was deployed to Iraq. And with the CW cheapening out on them in the end, there was no real series finale made. One of several bad decisions the network would make fresh after the merge.

Despite my grievances with the later seasons, I still find that Girlfriends in its beginning and in its first few seasons was a really funny situation comedy centered around four loving, strong, and unique African-American women and their male friend. It also did a really good job at handling certain issues, such as interracial relationships and AIDS. I wish it ended as well as it started. In the start, there’s a lot of fun mixed in with the conflict. Toni and Maya’s back-and-forth is always worth a laugh. Lynn’s sexually ambiguous and artistic behavior also provided some good laughs, and the earliest episodes also poised an interesting point of view of Joan’s where we see more of what she’s thinking.

The episode chosen is “Old Dog,” one of my favorites from the first season. In it, Joan is willing to consider waiving her “three month rule” of dating with her current boyfriend and seeks her friends’ advice.

Girlfriends, my online pick of the week!