Basketball Wives Season 4: Sexy 36

basketball wivesThere are episodes of television that remind you why you started watching that particular show in the first place. Every positive thing that it does gets put on display, while the flaws are either well-masked or eliminated, making for a concentrated bit of televised awesomeness. Though you appreciate good TV any way and anytime you can get it, since a show’s quality can precipitously drop at any point, they’re best when pulled out during a creatively barren time in the show’s run. Like it or not, sometimes you need a reminder of why you like something in the first place.

Paging Basketball Wives – you need an episode like that because what you’re putting out right now ain’t that cute. Tonight’s episode of the VH1 franchise just annoyed the pee out of me from the opening drop-in at the race track to the close out on Evelyn’s trash bag pleather catsuit at her birthday party. For one, since when did Basketball Wives turn into product placement central? I don’t mind the stars doing commercials for a particular sponsor or the show putting a particular logo on screen, but the past two weeks have been obnoxious with it. Did we really need to have a Dave & Buster’s commercial mid-show? Because that’s what it felt like, the logo constantly getting panned to, particularly when one of the ladies remarked on what a good time they had and how fun a certain part of their night was. Doing an establishing shot and letting us know where they’re at is one thing; turning the show into an infomercial is another. I don’t expect Basketball Wives to be drowning in integrity and storytelling, but I do expect them to try and make me get into whatever reality they’re trying to present us. The Think Like a Man screening and Dave & Buster’s trip took me out of the episode and made the scripted aspect stand out that much more; effective reality TV may have producer nudging on particular set-ups and activities, but it lets its talent and personalities carry the festivities.

During the product placement, Royce brought in her new boo to meet a couple of the other ladies, leading to Drunk Ass Suzie proclaiming that she could see a “happily ever after” for them. One problem, Royce and her boo broke up following last week’s episode, thanks to explicit texts exchanged with other women. That fact was another reason I just didn’t care about that scene, but y’all, Royce may need to become a little less open on camera. I appreciate her wanting to share everything, including her love life, but how many false starts have there been? Royce is a serial monogamist of the worst kind, too terrified to be without a man so she scoops up any ol’ body and projects all these ideals on him. Problem is, she doesn’t really know them, so she just makes herself look silly and in love with love. The fact that she has such a big heart, particularly after years of being on this show, is a beautiful thing, but every time a new man gets brought around, you get less and less hopeful for her. You care a lot at first, since she’s a cool chick, but by now, Royce is the girl that cried love, the lonely soul that falls for the idea of love without putting in the time and effort to nurture it. I have to admit, I’ve fallen too fast before, too, but you learn that maybe parading every new guy you bring around isn’t the best idea. It’s not bad to take things slow and keep things close to the vest until you know you have something more than pretty words and an intense physical connection.

Everything about the Nia/Jennifer/Evelyn Royal Rumble at the Races, though, was pretty stupid. I’m all for a good fight, but a good fight this is not. Instead, it was both ludicrous (Evelyn thinking she doesn’t judge people by their bank accounts) and extremely typical (Shaunie’s dumb-founded reaction), a painful example of an altercation where the right party gets drowned out by wannabe thugs (Tami, still trapped in her old neighborhood mindset) and irrelevant drama queens (everything about Nia). I’m glad that they brought Evelyn and Jennifer back together instead of keeping them separate all season, but I don’t think the results match the expectations, thanks to Nia getting involved and “the circle” turning on Jennifer. Basketball Wives keeps hammering home the point that “OMG Evelyn and Jennifer aren’t friends”, but it’s hard to see how they’re like around one another with all this going on. Regardless of her feigning surprise at the fight, Evelyn came in there ready to pounce, so whatever remotely interesting thing that could have come from another reunion with her former BFF went out the window pretty quickly. Rather than play that up, it’s “let’s start a really tame fight and then have them yell at one another for 1000 hours”, which isn’t fun by any stretch. Particularly since Evelyn has the self-awareness of a tsetse fly and negative amounts of emotional stability.

Can we get a donation to get this woman an Anger Management course and a Paxil prescription?

And while we’re at it, all the missing patches of fabric from every dress this season? Girl loves herself some cut outs.

Basketball Wives needs to get in the damn game, y’all. Right now, they’re having a really off night shooting and time is running out for the season to turn around. The focus is only on Evelyn and Tami’s shared toxicity, with everybody else just trying to cling to whatever screen time they can get. As a result, a typical episode is really negative and hateful, those two hens clucking at each other with Nia joining in and Shaunie playing the role of enabler. Nothing that they do in their regular lives gets enough attention to really make an impression, seemingly only there to fill an episode out so you can get back to Evelyn calling people a bum or Jennifer rolling her eyes passive aggressively. At its best, Basketball Wives can be one of the best guilty pleasures on TV, but right now, that pleasure has turned into a whole lot of pain, anger, and disgust.

Thoughts, Quotes, & Observations:
-“I do what the white people do, okay?”
-“You a black adult female. You are black.”
-It’s bad that I like Jennifer and Kenya as friends, right? Thought so.
-A tell all isn’t classy, but a (very) lightly “fictional” novel (based on your personal journals) is okay? Okay, Evelyn.
-Drunk Ass Suzie is doing the most right now. All the sex talk, all the liquor, all the trashing of Kenya – girl, don’t sprain something trying so hard to get camera time.
-Here’s an interview Nia did for Baller Alert to tell her side of the slap. Believe her? (Spoiler alert: I don’t.)
-It seems that even Evelyn’s fans aren’t feelin’ her right now. Hmm.
Royce, Evelyn, Jennifer, and I wrote blogs about last week’s episode.
-Forbes took a look at what reality TV is doing to women.
-Next week on Basketball Wives: Nia talks trash about Jennifer, Royce and her father have a fight, and a whole bunch of other irrelevant events occur.

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