|Charity Shea, Stacey Dash, and LisaRaye McCoy|
VH1 just debuted a new show a couple weeks ago called Single Ladies. The show stars Stacey Dash as Val, LisaRaye McCoy as Keisha, Charity Shea as April, and Travis Winfrey as the sassy gay male friend, Omar. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this was probably VH1’s attempt at a Sex in the City type show with a multiracial cast of characters that was supposed be funny, thoughtful, and intelligent that dealt with issues such as race and dating, breakups, marital infidelity, online dating, and “love ‘em and leave ‘em” mentalities.
Unfortunately, they strike out.
Val is undoubtedly the main protagonist of the show. Val started the show in a relationship with a pro basketball player who ended the relationship after she started an argument because they weren’t married after five years of togetherness. She goes on to tell him that she didn’t know how to explain to her family and friends why they weren’t married. She whines that she gave up her career as a traveling stylist to the stars for him, that she compromised for him, so they could have a life together.
I couldn’t help wincing through this whole argument. I’m aware that there are women out there that think these things. I know some of them, but really? Your basis for wanting to be married is so that your family won’t think you’re a pariah? You give up your career because you want to compromise when he gave up nothing and even pointed out this was YOUR decision? Not once did love and wanting to be with this person come up in the conversation. Everything she said was shallow, the kind of reasoning you expect to come out of a child’s mouth, not an established, smart woman.
Then, there’s April. April is a white woman married to a black man. That means her race comes up often and usually in context with “humorous” quips like her friends joking, “Save some black men for us.” April is also sleeping with the mayor of Atlanta, a powerful, married black man. She claims that they’re only having fun and often uses his status to get things that she wants. The police department and other judicial types are aware of her affair with the mayor and “protect” them in a way.
April’s husband seems to be a good man from the two episodes I’ve watched. He’s aware of the distance between them and appears to be making an effort to mend whatever is wrong with their marriage. April comes off as selfish. She uses her friends as a cover without telling them. She blabs her friends’ business, but not her own. Then, she expects them to be loving and understanding that she made a mistake. Of course, they are.
Last, we have Keisha, a video vixen whose claim to fame is having a big ass. Something that is mentioned in just about every scene that she’s in. Keisha doesn’t believe in love and relationships. She sleeps with men, but doesn’t allow them to stay over. However, she’s met her match in man who knows how to play her games just as well as she does. It’s a constant war of wills with these two.
However, an ex-video vixen who “found Jesus” that Keisha worked with in the past threatens to expose her in a tell-all book for stealing on shoots they used to do back in the day. Keisha justifies her actions by saying that she stole from people who didn’t pay her and fenced the items. She tells Keisha if she wants to stay out of her book she needs to do one last job for her.
This show is a trainwreck. The scenarios presented for each character aren’t so bad. Many of them are a great setup to helping these characters evolve, but this show is riddled with terrible clichés that often aren’t addressed—such as the black women and weave thing and the black women in the show are so tolerant of these attacks. Then, there is issue after issue presented when there needs to be focus on some issues instead of jumping around half-cocked with all these problems.
Then, the acting… I know that much of this probably isn’t the cast's fault. They have some great actors in the fray, but the dialogue they have to work with is dreadful and childish. You get tired of hearing about Keisha’s ass and Val’s fairytale beliefs about love and romance. And this is all around Omar’s sassy witticism that neither adds nor subtracts from most scenes. That’s about the only time you realize he’s still there.
You can tell they wanted this to be hip and brilliant, but it’s a complete mess. But will I continue to watch it? Probably.