Friday, February 29, 2008


Yeah I know I am a little late with this but Girlfriends is cancelled. Oh My God, the Network made the ballsy decision to cut the Negro Show and say it was mostly due to the WRITERS STRIKE. I hear you, I mean all those other sitcoms were just fortunate to have that little extra to stay afloat and make another season at it. I hear you, it was a “HARD” decision to make with all those other shows you have on the line up. I guess the viewers should be fortunate that it make the cut from UPN to CW. I mean, 9 years is something to be honored, especially as a Black Television show or even a Black ensemble series (a record in television circles) and even more so, an honored show (Nominated for Prime time Emmy. Another 7 wins & 35 nominations) at best (THANK YOU KELSEY GRAMMER aka Frasier).

As you all know, I take to research before I go on the repeat and spread gossip as News but here I get this all up in my eyes:

We hear from a source within the "Girlfriends" writing camp that the CW has decided to cancel the series immediately instead of bringing it back for a ninth season.

While no official announcement had been made as of press time, we were told the CW will not even film this season's remaining nine episodes that were suspended during the writer's strike.

Ironically, news of the show's cancellation comes just as the strike has ended and the writing staff was preparing to return to work. We were informed by one of the writers yesterday that Monday night's one-hour block of new episodes served as the show's last.

"Girlfriends" became the longest-running live-action comedy series currently on network television with the debut of its current season in October 2007. The writers strike suspended production after only 13 of 22 ordered episodes were completed.

The series, created by Mara Brock-Akil, was consistently the No. 1 show in black households since its Sept. 11, 2000 debut. Original cast members Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Persia White and Jill Marie Jones starred as a group of close friends dealing with life and love in Los Angeles. Jones left the series in at the end of Season 6. – EURweb Feb. 12, 2008

WHY IMMEDIATELY? This makes me suspect. I will admit, in the beginning it took me a minute to warm up to the Sistah’s Show (that’s what I call it because it was kinda WEST COAST GHETTO) but I grew up in a house full of girls and in each one of those heifers; Joan Clayton, Lynn Searcy, Maya Wilkes, Toni Childs and the fifth Girlfriend William Dent, all represented at least one of my sisters. I think, like the Huxtables from the Cosby Show, we all had someone in our family that we could relate to, which was and still is part of the success of shows like Girlfriends. Granted, this was a "BLACK" sitcom and most of its honors reflected that, none the less, it was the number one watched Black Show on television for 9 years straight.

I guess my favorite and unfortunately moderately short-lived was Toni Childs, played by Jill Marie Jones. Her leaving once the show transitioned from UPN (Urban Peoples Network) to the CW (Colored What?), the rumors of contract renewals, money issues and story lines became true. Still, she was my character and the one I think I’d love to hate the most …. Toni Childs was DRAMA, more quality drama than Joan who in my right mind I would never want to be LOCKED in a room with … can you say ISSUES. But regardless of your views of the characters, they were all family, Black Families, Black Friends, they where the people in my family, my sisters growing up.

While in Chicago I had the pleasure of meeting Reginald C. Hayes. NICE GUY. He not only was approachable but he is/was humble for the work he received on Girlfriends. That in itself was a reason to respect the work on the show. My ear to the acting world has told me that everyone on the show shared the same sense of the pride and dignity and that energy displayed and put out reflecting the inspiration that the entire cast and crew wanted to portray.

Thinking back, this was reminiscent of another ensemble cast of Black Women, Livin' Single on the FOX network back in 1993. Originally Livin’ Single was to be a mid-season filler, the show lasted for 5 seasons being at that time, the longest Black ensemble show to date. More Afrocentric than Girlfriends, it was Ghetto East Coast and rough around the edges but soon found it stride and became the blue print for young successful urban youth and young families. What I enjoyed most between the two shows was that although both were centered on the successes of Black (women) progress, both captured a detail struggles of Black identity, pride, independence, mainstream, assimilation, beauty, spirit, history and economics within communities on the SMALL SCREEN. Call it a toned down version of the Cosby Show, you can not dismiss the fact that what Bill Cosby had accomplished in terms of Black Images on television with his brand of family open an acceptable door for Livin’ Single (Urban Realness) and Girlfriends (Jack and Jill Realities).

There may have been other shows, ensembles that all shared the same formulas of the four aspects of Womanhood; Age, Sex, Intelligence, Humor, but none spoke deeper to the Black community as Livin’ Single or more so than Girlfriends. Take The Golden Girls, which became a CLASSIC even before it was in re-runs. You have Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia; these names are ingrained in television lore, were the bright and safe journey to retirement telling a fearful world that it is OK to get Old. And over the years, with the lessons and laughs learned from watching there women, that once you find your first grey hair, pluck it, look at it in wonderment, and then laugh your ass off because now you can officially, "SAY WHATEVER I WANT CAUSE I EARNED THE RIGHT TO BE OLD, BEAUTIFUL AND BOLD". I have caught many of Black folk (Brothas as well) sneaking and watching these Grandmas. I can admit that in my youth I never saw the fascination of looking at four wrinkled grey haired women sitting around a kitchen table eating cheesecake and calling each other sluts, old maids and idiots and yet as the years pressed upon me and my personal friendships became deeper, I now find myself sitting around my table eating bowls of organic cereal while calling my friends with their building potbellies and receding hairlines calling each Ho, Fat Ass and Mr. Dirty Boy. We may not be all that "Golden" but we are catching a bit of SHINE nearing our mid-life years.

By the time Sex In The City arrived on the scene, my television days declined into serious and conscious driven viewing. I also made it a point to only support those shows that made real efforts to employ Black actors in real roles and represented what I considered real like ME. There were very few choices and if I subtract the over saturation of Black Athletes, shows trying to make Rappers into Stars with bad behavior, there wasn’t much to choose from in Black television outside of pushing the sitcom as the only image of who Black people were in America. With the soon to be absent Girlfriends; we can look forward to shows like Lipstick Jungle, Cashmere Mafia and Gossip Girl. I know, I know I don’t want to get all-RACIAL and all but I only see is one Asian in all of the three shows mentioned which is Lucy Liu. So much for diversity on television. I guess Hillary and Obama can address that in their next debate. Then again, maybe not.


One Man’s Opinion said...

Shazza, I love you boy. Can I be like you when I grow up? I ain't playing. You be dropping the knowledge. I hate to gush, but I throughly enjoyed The Politically Correct Nigga (you have to check out my drawing called the Evolution of a Name).

As far as girlfriends is concerned; you know it was time for it to die. How more crazy and insecure could they make Joan, even after they give her a man. I would have like for them to have shot an ending though. I will miss Maya, just like I missed Toni. Like you, I did not warm up to the show immediately (didn't even watch it the first season), but it was all a friend of mind would watch and I found myself hooked. I never knew it won 7 and was nomminated for 35 daytime Emmies. I thought, like most shows with a black ensemble, alway snubbed by such awards. My bad. I also like the way you made the links from Girlfriends to Living Single (which I think came before Friends, but I could be wrong), to Golden Girls. All shows which I loved to watch. Of course, than you went to Sex and the City and Gossip Girl and lost me completely. I know you were not singing there praises, but I could have done without.....Oh, and for your information. UPN? It stands for Under Paid Negroes. Get it right.

dejanae said...

oh man
The Golden girls was my show
Girlfriends fell off big time after Toni left
no season finale tho?
nice post