When Being Mary Jane aired as a movie, I scoffed. I don’t know what it is about Gabrielle Union, but I never got IT. We want and need a pretty black woman to play the lead role so badly that we’ll take whatever mediocrity we can- sorry/not sorry. So, I said “Nah.” Besides, it’s BET and I have standards, after all!
That movie then became a series that offered up more mediocre storylines- at least judging by the promos. Here we go again, the gorgeous successful woman (Union) sleeping with the married man. Zzzzzzz… I was that cynic; the one not unlike those who thought Scandal was nothing more than a show about the gorgeous successful woman sleeping with the married man. (Come on, the first 2 ½ seasons of Scandal were good!) Cynical as I was, somehow I was convinced to give it a shot and it turns out there really is more to this show, well once you suffer through the movie and trudge through the first season.
The second season digs deeper into various issues: Mary Jane’s mindset behind the affair, her questionable choices in romantic partners, her treatment of her family and friends and her blind ambition to have a glamorous career. Through her family and associates, the show also manages to boldly explore the concerns of the average middle class person of color: drug addiction, teenage parenthood, coming out to your family, whitewashing yourself to get to the top, and even the alarming rates of suicide in professional black men.
As the host of a cable news show, Mary Jane covers stories that delve into conversations we would not normally expect to hear discussed on television and I really do appreciate it. Mary Jane the character is an enigma though. In her fictional world and in our real world, it is hard to tell how one should feel about her. She’s strong, which is admirable but she’s tough to the point that she is quick to be cold to anyone who hurts her. Basically, I don’t know how she has friends and Union pulls it off well. Not surprisingly. Let’s face it, she seems like a mean girl.
Last week was the season 3 premiere and BET did a half decent job building the anticipation; the smartest part being that they focused on the guest star they needed ever so badly. When Loretta Devine steps on the scene as Cece, she delivers everything you wanted and more. It is unexpected, dramatic and perfectly delivered. I don’t know how long Cece’s story arc will last but I am hoping I get her for at least a couple more weeks. She is in a word, everything!
The show has some talent, let’s not get it twisted; Margaret Avery, Richard Roundtree, Richard Brooks (Cleveland’s own!), Lisa Vidal— they do what they gotta do. STILL Ms. Loretta Devine gave me absolute life! I don’t know how invested I am in the direction they’re taking the show right now, but I am so invested in this character and everything Ms. Devine brings to the screen.
The show is worth a watch if you have the time. If you don’t have time or enough interest to start from the top, do yourself a favor and watch the first two episodes of the third season. I’ll let you know how much more Cece there is…stay tuned.