1.12.2014

Black Girls' Night Out: Mary Jane Paul

After six months of waiting, Being Mary Jane returned last Tuesday night with a vengeance.  It  won the night as cable's #1 first-run series, earning a 1.5 in the 18-49 demo and 3.3 million viewers.  The second airing, which ran immediately following the premiere, earned another 1.1 million viewers.  It also trended #1 worldwide on Twitter.

I hope these numbers hold.  The more successful  shows there are that have black female leads, the more network executives will be pressured to start doing things differently.  Or at least they will if they think there's money to be made.

"Some people feel the rain, others just get wet." 
~  Bob Dylan

The episode starts out in dramatic fashion with our heroine smashing a window to get into friend Lisa's house (the doctor from the movie pilot who examined MJ's pregnant niece).  Mary Jane  finds Lisa lying unresponsive on her bed, hauls her to the bathroom, and after asking her if she took all of the pills from several empty bottles scattered across the bathroom countertop, forces her to vomit.

After all that drama, imagine my surprise when Lisa comes strolling into her kitchen the next morning like she hadn't just tried to kill herself.  And while Mary Jane didn't exactly let her friend off the hook, she didn't go as far as I think she should have either.  At the most, I think Lisa should have been under observation at the hospital, and at the very least she shouldn't have been left alone.  They never really concretely talked about what happened, and given her conversation with Never Answer aka David back at her house later that morning about the situation, I get the feeling that Mary Jane has been enabling her.  Which seems to be MJ's MO with everyone else in her life, so I guess it's par for the course.

Back at her house, Andre rolls up to her gate like he lives there, and MJ is just as flabbergasted as the rest of us.  If I recall correctly, the last time he was at her house she told him to wrap his car around the nearest tree, so either he has short-term memory loss or he's got some serious game.  When David goes out to "investigate", the gobsmacked look on Andre's face is priceless.  He tries to play it off in a way that made me wonder how he got away with lying to MJ for four months about his marital status (he just pulled over to send a text...right), but David isn't buying it. 

Meanwhile, Mary Jane, who's been watching from the proverbial shadows in her foyer, plays dumb when David comes back into the house.  Without letting on that he knows Andre's appearance wasn't as innocent as it appeared, he invites her to an Esperanza Spalding concert that night and she happily accepts.

Apparently determined to see Mary Jane any way he can, Andre pops up outside a coffee shop (!) to try to convince her that he really does love her.  He's lucky he doesn't lose a foot or some other important body part as she peels away in her Porsche so fast that she narrowly avoids getting into an accident on her way out of the parking lot.

At work, MJ has a surprise visitor:  Andre's wife, Avery.  She wants to know some things about Mary Jane and Andre's relationship that makes me blush, and I'm no prude.  She asks MJ if her breasts are real, if she has an orgasm every time she has sex with her husband and if she lets Andre perform oral sex on her, the answers to which are, "yes", "yes" and "it's required."  Of course, the questions aren't posed as grammatically polite as they're written here, but I'm sure you get my drift.  The most interesting part of their conversation, however, is that not only has Andre not talked about his friends and family with Mary Jane, but for all the love he says he feels for her, they've also never talked about the future.  That's very telling to me, and judging by the look on Mary Jane's face as that realization hits her, she agrees. 

Fearful for their jobs now that the network is starting to cut the dead weight, Mary Jane's producer and friend, Kara Lynch (Lisa Vidal), is determined to get the story of the year by following the exploits of an elderly couple that has decided to ride out a dangerous hurricane in their home.  Everyone--except Kara it seems--is tense and on edge as they worry about the fate of the couple.  MJ is disgusted that they were willing to use the couple for ratings (we are never told whether they lived or died), but Kara tells her that they need their jobs and throws CNN in her face.  I take it that whatever happened over there wasn't good. 

An exhausted Mary Jane--both from her stressful day and her mother blowing up her phone--calls David from her office and offers him a nightcap back at her place to make up for the fact that she had to cancel on him earlier.  Things quickly turn sour however, when he tells her that he's already made plans with someone else.  Even though she and David aren't exclusive (there's a reason you still have him listed as "Never Answer" in your contacts Mary Jane), she berates him for sleeping with her and another woman at the same time.  And really...I'm surprised that she's surprised.  The man showed up on her doorstep in the movie pilot asking for casual sex to which she agreed.  What else did she expect?  Marriage vows?

Dejected and probably a bit angry with herself (not to mention embarrassed), she goes home, changes and then makes her way to the gym where she runs into Andre.  Despite the disgusted look on her face, I can't help but think that a small part of her wanted to run into him.  Otherwise, why would she have taken the chance of going to the same gym where she met him at in the first place?

Clearly agitated, MJ stalks off, and the next time we see her, she's wearing a towel and a plastic cap, ready to hop into the shower.  She runs into him again just as she's about to get in and they get into it right away.  Mary Jane accuses him of being a liar while he insists that it "just happened" (my pet peeve of a cheater's excuses).  She informs him that she told his wife about them and then demands the password to his phone because there are likely inappropriate things on there (like naked pictures) that I'm assuming she wants to erase.  He gives up the phone, tells her the password (her address) and gets a gander at his family.  He apologizes again while she cries and allows him to comfort her.  Comforting soon turns to other things, and she folds like a piece of wet cardboard. 

Things progress quickly at this point (or devolve depending on how you look at it).  Before I have time to blink, they're naked in the shower, having sex against what I'm going to assume is a germ-ridden public shower wall until someone tells me otherwise.  Sigh.  I hope that in the next seven episodes we get some kind of backstory that explains why Mary Jane is so enamored with him.  It may simply be what she told him:  for months, she'd been dreaming about white picket fences and the pitter patter of little feet.  But I'd still like to see that fleshed out more.

All in all, I enjoyed the season premiere of Being Mary Jane enough to tune in again next week.  I didn't enjoy all of her choices, but I'm curious to see how she handles them.  Despite her flaws--and she's got many--I like her and want to watch her navigate the pitfalls and joys in life.  Am I crazy about yet another married man/side chick storyline?  No, not really.  Am I curious to see what Mara Brock Akil, the show's creator, is going to do differently with this particular storyline?  Yes.

She has to know that people are comparing Mary Jane Paul and Olivia Pope, so I'd be surprised if she doesn't have something different planned for her relationship with Andre.  Something that doesn't include puppies and rainbows and happily ever after.  Only time will tell, and for now at least, I'm willing to go along for the ride to see where the journey takes us.



*In case anyone is wondering, this is cinnamon. I'm now just using a shortened version of my former name.

13 comments:

  1. She asks MJ if her breasts are real, if she has an orgasm every time she has sex with her husband and if she lets Andre perform oral sex on her, the answers to which are, "yes", "yes" and "it's required."

    *DEAD*

    Before I have time to blink, they're naked in the shower, having sex against what I'm going to assume is a germ-ridden public shower wall until someone tells me otherwise.

    Ewwwwwwwwwww!!!! I thought they'd gone back to her place. They screwed in public shower? Why would any writer thinks that's sexy????

    She has to know that people are comparing Mary Jane Paul and Olivia Pope, so I'd be surprised if she doesn't have something different planned for her relationship with Andre.

    Maybe she's faking us out. *crosses fingers* I'm done with the Black Woman on the Side recipe.

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  2. I'm done with the Black Woman on the Side recipe.-AMEN!

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    1. Co-sign. No interest in this show at all.

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  3. How ironic. Gabrielle Union was turned away from doing Scandal, now she's doing being Mary Jane .Things does happen in mysterious ways. For her ,I'm hoping that those millions will be more millions.

    When Ankh talked about Mary having sex in a public...yuk!It seems cheap :-) I guess that Scandal effect has touched a lot of people but its working. If there is any thing I love about BMJ is that its showing with a Black female and Black love/ love complexities being shown . I bet that some people didn't expect for BMJ to be doing as good as its doing.TV execs are probably getting intimidated aboutthis .They better get to work... lol!

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    1. How ironic. Gabrielle Union was turned away from doing Scandal

      Ironic indeed. While I like Kerry Washington, I honestly would've preferred Gabrielle Union as Olivia Pope.

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    2. Interesting. I did not know that. But I could see her pulling it off too. Gabrielle Union does power lady very well.

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  4. I too am sick of seeing black female lead characters as jump offs/ mistresses. It's like that's their way of giving her flaws. It just seems like lazy writing to me. There are plenty of ways to give someone a complicated love life without resorting to sleeping with someone else man. It is creating a whole new stereotype of us. It's either we can't get a man or we can only get someone else's man and play second best and for that I refuse to watch this show.

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    1. I agree. I also am tired of the whole emotionally destructive and unfaithful black man. I mean all of these shows always have the "niggas ain't shit" meme and its just getting tired and boring. To me Mary Jane seems kinda desperate; another thing I am tired of seeing.
      AC

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    2. Speaking of black men, I wonder if the ones that so vocal about the adultery on "Scandal" will be as vocal about it for this show?

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  5. I too am sick of seeing black female lead characters as jump offs/ mistresses. It's like that's their way of giving her flaws. It just seems like lazy writing to me.

    Lazy writing indeed. WTF is up with these showrunners who see a successful show - in this case Scandal - and think, "OMG, I need create another show that is, for all intents and purposes, just like that show."

    Uh, give us something new please. Imitation is the laziest form of flattery. It's also the quickest way to burn people out on "flawed", beautiful, Black single lady leads who tragic love lives.

    Speaking of black men, I wonder if the ones that so vocal about the adultery on "Scandal" will be as vocal about it for this show?

    God, I hope so.

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    1. I'd hope so too, but somehow I don't think the noise will be as raucous. She IS bumping adulterous uglies with a Brotha after all.

      Double standards. How I love them. -_-

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  6. " The more successful shows there are that have black female leads, the more network executives will be pressured to start doing things differently."

    No they'll just duplicate the same show with the same theme over and over again with a different actress with a different career, like all those reality shows and romantic comedies featuring black women. Remember Hollywood thinks we're stupid and won't pick up on being sold recycled crap.

    "Or at least they will if they think there's money to be made."

    Now this is more up their ally.

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    1. Like I said...imitation is the laziest form of flattery. It's also the cheapest, since all the work's pretty much been done and all you have to do now is copy & paste.

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