A review of episode ten* of VH1's Single Ladies after the jump. You can read all my reviews of the show here.
*I was informed that the premiere movie – what I call episode one – is considered a separate entity from the show. So my reviews are numbered incorrectly. Oops. This is technically episode nine. Why VH1 did it this way is beyond me.
I have mixed feelings about tonight's episode. Some stuff worked really well, but too much of it was just … off.
I really enjoyed the way that the Val and Jerry relationship developed and I particularly liked the way the (supposed) end was handled tonight. The show has treated Jerry with the utmost respect and that was the treatment of his desire to never marry again. It's a reasonable feeling to have, but it does conflict considerably with the kind of woman that Val is. There was no attempt to make Jerry the bad guy and even when Val finally tells him it won't work, we feel for them a bit.
Also – Stacey Dash did terrific work in the scene where Jerry told her he didn't want to ever get married again. Her totally silent reaction perfectly captured how Val's world was completely falling apart before her eyes. Magnificent work.
I also liked the way LisaRaye handled that scene with Malcolm's ex-wife even though it is abundantly clear that Malcolm's "honesty" is really just "honest about what he wants to share." I mean, really? Racist father gives money to daughter's black friend but draws the line at that black friend being daughter's boyfriend? If he really don't like black folks, he ain't giving him any money regardless of the relationship to the daughter.
But then, Keisha and Malcolm's relationship is ridiculous and the sloppily rendered film noir-esque plotting to it really stands out tonally from the rest of the show. If Terrance really does hate Malcolm, why doesn't he just blow his spot up now? Why be cryptic? Is a character like Terrance really the cryptic type or is he the explosive Tazmanian devil destroy everything in his path type? These are the kinds of questions one thinks of when watching this particular storyline unfold.
I really wish we could have gotten to know Vincent and Omar with Vincent before they so abruptly ended that relationship. Last week, Omar got drunk because Vincent didn't attend a dinner party, but this week he's "over him" and dating some old fling? It could happen, but the show didn't earn it. Omar's story can't continue to happen offscreen…
…certainly not if it just makes room for the completely ridiculous April the A&R exec story (which continues to be completely, amazingly unbelievable and very very boring) and the neverending saga of Christina the immature college student who is a different person depending on who she's dating. With this new guy, she's now insecure and jealous about her new boy toy's interest in the girl they brought into their bed. This despite last week's escapade with the guy who had a low sex drive.
I am willing to believe that there is a limit to Christina's wildness, but the problem is we don't even know why she's wild and so we can't gauge when she's reacting within the limits of who she is or when her behavior is solely the wild creation of writers who have no idea what to do with her character. She broke up with last week's guy because he wasn't going to satisfy her sexually and now she's relatively conventional in her disdain for a new guy's desire for another woman, which turns out to be about wanting him to be her boyfriend? When has she ever wanted a boyfriend? Why couldn't her annoyance have been about something more interesting like an affront to her (perhaps mistaken) belief in her inherent desirability? That would feel more like the Christina who's been introduced to us.
A full season in it is clear that the show is still really struggling to service all of its characters well. The writers would do well to think about the tone conveyed in each story, the plotting, and the central relationships. Right now, there is practically no relationship between Val and Christina, which is a glaring oversight and a failed opportunity to show different sides to both women. Omar and Christina need to be integrated more fully into the show. And there just have to be stories about the main characters and not just stories about each of them independent of one another.
All in all, not a bad episode but not a very good one either.