The Game: The Second Season
Studio: CBS Television Studios
US Rating: Not Rated
Film Length: 6hrs, 8 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 – Enhanced for 16X9 TVs
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, English Stereo
Release Date: January 19, 2010
Review Date: January 19, 200
“Tasha, she can't be here. Girlfriends have to prove at least a three month commitment by documentation or unplanned pregnancy!”
The Show: 2.5 out of 5
I’ll take every opportunity to complain about the grotesque lack of minority representation on network and cable television. This distressing failure has a direct correlative consequence on both the quality and popularity of the precious few shows with a minority focus cast. And since there are no new start up networks, which build their audience on minority shows before reaching a level of success and then shifting their programming to white focused shows (think of Fox and how it built a following with shows such as In Living Color, Martin, and New York Undercover, and how UPN launched with Moesha, The Parkers, and Girlfriends, and the CW’s America’s Next Top Model, Everybody Hates Chris, and the former UPN show Girlfriends), the outlook does not look good.
As of today, with Girlfriends and Everybody Hates Chris being cancelled from the CW in favor of hour-long ‘dramas’ like Gossip Girl and Melrose Place (shows with perhaps one, maybe two minority characters), the only “black” shows on television come from the mind and talents of Tyler Perry, a troublesome lack of range and depth in the exploration of African-American lives, and the ABC Family show Lincoln Heights (unless I am missing something). None of the big networks; not ABC, FOX, NBC or ABC, have a show in production which explores African-American lives. None!
The Game is a show filled with characters acting selfishly; self-serving, immature, unreasonable and petulant adults acting like children; a surprising base of characters for a 30-minute situation comedy. Set in the world of professional football, the show, from the creators of Girlfriends (of which this show is technically a spin off), follows three players of the San Diego Sabers, and their relationships with wives or girlfriends. Derwin Davis (Pooch Hall) and his former girlfriend, Melanie (Tia Mowry), fight and retaliate against each others’ progress in other relationships. Derwin is a self-centered ‘good-guy’, caught up in the fame and fortune of his life in professional sports which caused the break-up of his relationship with Melanie. An indiscretion in season one led to the dissolution of his relationship and season two is spent in an on again, off again pursuit of each other (though never in pursuit of each other at the same time). Jason Pitts (Coby Bell) is a penny pinching, coupon-clipping multi-millionaire with severe control and trust issues, married to Kelly (Brittany Daniel). This season, Jason’s control issues lead to an incredibly rocky marital ride, resulting in a split and threats of divorce. Finally, Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez), an ego-maniac living up the excesses of hero-worship, sexual flippancy, and control. As the season begins, his mother/manager, Tasha Mack (Wendy Raquel Robinson) lives with him, as does his personal assistant, Tee Tee (Barry Floyd), and his mouth in public is his greatest foe.
The season runs through the gamut of soap-opera shenanigans; a plethora of make-ups and break-ups, sex, drugs, and Robin Givens. The characters are extremely difficult to find sympathetic. Wendy Raquel Robinson is loud, aggressive, wise-cracking, and almost exclusively focused on herself (she focuses on others on rare occasions where their wellbeing affects her). Her comedic timing is actually quite good, but buried beneath a veneer of unpleasant attitude, it can be hard to appreciate. Tia Mowry, who spends much of this second season as a disgruntled ex-girlfriend, displays a grating propensity of anger and weakness, embroiling an unsuspecting new boyfriend into her unreasonable obsession with loving and loathing Derwin. Derwin himself acts a child in flaunting his new sexual conquests in front of the now financially struggling Melanie (only to eventually quest to have her back). And Malik, self-indulgently and self-servingly parties and churns through women groupies like Kleenex, and when his career hits a major stumbling block (after he punches a wheelchair bound critic), he not unexpectedly blames his mother for not being there to clean up his mess, and abruptly fires her. And Coby Bell as Pitts, remains the best source of comedy for the male leads, but is weighed down by an unpleasant mistreatment of his wife (who herself chooses to alternate between retaliation and remediation), making his chauvinistic, paranoid exploits tough to swallow.
It may seem shallow to say this now, after my apparent excoriation of the show, but there are moments where this half-hour comedy resembles a drama, and in those moments really does make sense, and make its value apparent. Some of the issues the show deals with are heavy, and dramatically speaking, both the chops of the actors, and the effectiveness of the writing, conspire to create some honest-to-goodness good television. I wish that the show was renewed as a drama, rather than a comedy, so that it could more fully explore the world it explores (but as it stands does not mock, or challenge). If this show intends to closely show the kind of lives led by footballers and their wives/girlfriends, then I have no interest in meeting professional football players anytime soon.
Episode 1 – Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Redux
Episode 2 – The Trey Wiggs Taps Back Episode
Episode 3 – Tasha, Renee and Malik the Cliche
Episode 4 – Hit Me with Your Best Shot
Episode 5 – Fool Me Twice... I'm the Damn Fool
Episode 6 – Parental Guidance Suggested
Episode 7 – Media Blitz
Episode 8 – The Truth Hurts
Episode 9 – Turkey Basting Bitches
Episode 10 – The Ghost of Derwin Past
Episode 11 – Je-Rome Wasn't Built in a Day
Episode 12 – Take These Vows and Shove 'Em
Episode 13 – The List Episode
Episode 14 – White Men Can't Jump, But They're Definitely Packing
Episode 15 – The Commitments
Episode 16 – Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Episode 17 – Before the Parade Passes By
Episode 18 – The Lord Givens and the Lord Taketh Away
Episode 19 – I Got 99 Problems and My Chick is One
Episode 20 – Baby Come Back
The Video: 3.5 out of 5
CBS Television Studios presents the second season of The Game over three discs and is presented in its filmed aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16X9, and enhanced for widescreen televisions. There is a fair amount of detail for a television show, colors are expectedly bright, and there are no issues or worrisome factors to warn you about. Night scenes are extremely rare, and the grand majority of the action takes place in interior sets – so the uniform brightness and quality through the episodes and discs is reassuring.
The Sound: 3.5 out of 5
All 20 episodes come with both a Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Stereo surround option. The opening and closing credits are perhaps the most active elements, ringing out clearly in each speaker, but the frequent use of bass reliant tracks through the season give the sub-woofer a fair few nudges. Not much to speak of in the surrounds, but the center channel is issue-free, and generally the audio delivers for the show well enough.
The Extras: No Stars out of 5
No extras, no stars.
The Game has a loyal following; fans, who upon hearing the show had been cancelled (after the third season), petitioned for BET to pick it up and give it a chance, but to no avail. So, in a television landscape largely devoid of African-American characters, shows like The Game find themselves followed closely by African-American viewers simply because they are so rare. That’s my opinion, of course, but a show which pales in comedic value to former greats (Martin, My Wife and Kids, Good Times, etc), and trades likeable characters for sensationalized, soap-operatic style lives lacking in sympathy, which finds such a loyal following must owe much of its success for simply being one of the precious few shows out there focused exclusively on the lives of African-American’s. And that, I am afraid, is yet another reason that the lack of diversity on television is causing an issue with the quality of that television.
Overall Score 3 out of 5
*Note: The case indicates that some episodes may have been edited from their original network versions and that music has been changed.