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Grasping On to Some Hope for ‘The Game’

By Lucia V. Smith

After watching “The Game” debut on BET earlier this year after a shaky show-down about the dramedy’s future, I’m not quite sure if I’m ready to give the show another chance. What was once an interesting and rich storyline about the life of a star athlete and his go-to-girl has slowly spun-off into a tele-drama nightmare; a show filled with great performers acting out horrible writing. Nothing can be worse than bad writing for television.

With Brandy’s recent announcement to join the cast (perhaps a last attempt to make her child-star self relevant again), I’m starting to cringe rather than anticipate the return of  the fifth season of “The Game”. The presence of Nene “I’m Rich B*tch” Leakes (and the handful of other cameos that celebrities will make to give the show a rating boost) is also something I’m not too excited about.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Mara Brock Akil and her production talents. However, how does a producer deal with such bad television? According to her, as reported by the New York Times earlier this year, as great as the show was prior to its network move, it always struggled to get adequate ratings. The show averaged in two million viewers during its seasons and with the “cancellation bug” buzzing during a majority of season three, the show began to lose some of its original essence.

“One of our bigger competitors is reality TV,”Mara Brock Akil told the Times. She said that they also tried to remain mindful of social media: “The digital age, YouTube, reality TV — everything is now, in the moment, in the second.”

But I’ll be tuning in next season. I’m contradicting myself, right? Perhaps. But like the millions of other African-American viewers that went crazy when the show was dropped, I’m going to give “The Game” a second chance. At the end of the day, I think I’m right in there with them to save Black television. Not just black television, but scripted black television sitcoms, something that several major television networks currently lack.

But they are really going to have to do something about the writing of the show. Do we not remember “Sister Sister”? “The Parkers”? “Moesha”? “My Brother and Me”? “Sanford and Son?” “Good Times”? The legacy of “The Cosby Show”?

If scripted television can bring back the same buzz now that it had then, the television landscape would be an amazing world right now. And I’d probably have a lot more to watch than screaming black housewives and strippers on television.

 

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