BET Has Ruined "The Game"

Last night the third episode of Season 4 of The Game aired on its new home, BET.

Quick recap for those who haven't been keeping up:

Melanie & Derwin are married, & she quit her residency to be a baller's wife. She screwed up & DNA tested Derwin's son erroneously, which caused him to initially question Janay about paternity. Janay responded by filing for child support & custody in court. Tasha Mack has been humping a closeted gay dude Terrence J & caught feelings, and also has been managing Derwin & being her normal loudmouth self. Kelly & Jason are divorced & going through some thangs - Kelly is filming a Basketball Wives-esque reality show while Jason wound up getting cut from the Sabers & is now doing commentary on tv. TeeTee has quit as Malik's do-boy & now runs a mobile chicken wing stand. Malik is being reckless, he's currently humping the new Sabers owner's wife, and even gets down with TeeTee's girl in the hot tub.

*sigh* Already this new season on BET started off with both a bang & a fizzle. The first episode was an hour rather than the standard 30 minutes, but even that wasn't enough time to devote to each storyline. And the time that was devoted was quite choppy - there's no overlap or seamless segue between the various characters & their storylines. It's as if each character has their own show, instead of this being a show with an ensemble cast, as it was previously on the CW. The previous seasons had multiple storylines, but each one fed off the others & the transitions between plots worked. There wasn't a need to fit each characters drama into every episode; different characters were the focus of the episode each week which gave the overall show a balanced feeling.

Now that the series is back to its standard 30 minutes, the disconnect between storylines & the choppiness is even more apparent. It feels like the writers are simply trying to cram as much drama as they can into 24-26 minutes of on-screen time. It almost feels like a soap opera, but with worse shooting & less dramatic music. Simply too many characters all trying to hog the spotlight & no editing to something that the audience can handle.

Beyond the issues in screen-time, the actual writing this season has left much to be desired. I don't know what happened to the original writing team, and how much influence BET/Viacom has on the writing process, but the audience can detect a very noticeable difference in the writing compared to previous seasons. What used to be smart, funny, & cute is now overdone, overly dramatic & down right distasteful. Last night Tasha Mack actually used the word "cooch" in a scene...TWICE! Come on now, do we have 12 year olds writing this show now? What happened to adult dialogue? With the change in writing has come a change in the characters as well, which has become glaringly obvious. For example, Melanie went from being a young woman determined to be both a good girlfriend/fiancée/wife while also being a successful doctor, to now a glorified trophy wife & insecure snob. Malik, while he always had issues, has become a caricature of a successful athlete - selfish, reckless, arrogant, & unapologetic. Instead of really developing likable characters, this new writing team has simply relied on those tried-and-true caricatures to base their characters on. Those who are fans of The Game are fans because of the characters & their relatability/likability. The characters in their new form are neither relatable or likable.

 I really liked this show in the past, but in its new form I don't enjoy it at all. The Game has become a shell of its former self, and is really suffering in its new environment. As anticipated as it was, it's disappointing that what we've seen so far is the product. Not only does it not live up to the hype, it doesn't even live up to the previous seasons, which is unfortunate.