I have given this show a four episode try, and I am going to have to get over a lot of my own projections to keep watching it.
When I saw the trailer for this series, I was super excited. Of course I wanted to watch a love story. Of course I wanted to see the real deal behind the couple who brought us Girlfriends, and Tracee Ellis Ross into a more prominent and infinitely quirkier spotlight.
Who wouldn't want to? And then, for me, of course I wanted to see what Will Catlett was up to, now that First (by Issa Rae) seems like it is never going to see the light of day again...
First was a web series under the Issa Rae production tent (a tent that also housed other favourites of mine, such as Hard Times, Giants and The Choir). It got to the end of season one, but I believe due to funding constraints, they never continued.
Will (we're on a first name basis, at this point. See what I did there?) was the main love interest. And boy, were we all interested.
PREMISE IS THE LOVE STORY
You know who I am NOT on a first name basis with? Yasir, who Catlett plays in this new show. Ok the premise is the love story of Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, who met on one fateful day and fell in love, at first sight, immediately – and this was after one heady date.
Not that I don't believe in love at first sight (I don't), but I do recognise that it can happen to people. I just think that these particular people were dumb.
Maybe that's a strong word, and again, the series is supposedly loosely based on them, but with the information they're giving with the series alone, I'm seriously questioning their judgement.
First of all, as one of her friends so helpfully points out, how can you be so in love with someone whose last name you don't even know?
And, after one date, you're willing to give up your career to see or be with? Now, kindly note, this chick had a mortgage. If she lost her (dream) job, who was going to pay for her house? How is it that all of a sudden after a first date that isn't a one-night stand, this woman was willing to give up everything?
I'm sorry, y'all, but the power of adulthood is much stronger than the power of love.
And this dude. Yasir. Mhm. I really resent (again, projecting) this thing dudes do where they're being super mysterious, but in reality, they're hella broke/parenting/shady.
Now, I'm in episode four, and they've had 26 ups and downs, and it is only in episode four that he finally tells her that he has an ex-wife AND a child (this isn't a spoiler, it is mentioned in episode one).
Are you telling me that this kind of dodgy behaviour is ok? Hiding an entire child isn't ok. Neither is hiding an ex-wife, or a room-mate who's your on-again-off-again cuddle buddy. No sirree. And why does he tell the truth? Because he gets busted. And not a second before.
Love Is, I think, is a great thing for the image of Black and Black American relationships. It's a success story, really – the couple is still together, and is successful together, in spite of terribly shaky beginnings.
But in terms of what is acceptable in relationships? I beg to differ. Then again, it was the 90s. I'm sure things were different then. But now? If you hide things from me like I'm a child or a fling, then you shouldn't even bother being here.
In fact, I'd like to put forward that the reason so many men act like children instead of stepping up to the plate is because we, as women, continue to enable this kind of stupid behaviour, perpetuated in series and film like this: the idea that dishonesty is ok, because it all works out in the end; that you don't need to know everything about someone before you commit your life and career to them; and that actual children are details.
No. Rejection of these ideals is a revolution in itself, and after this sow, it most definitely will not be televised. There's your tip for today, about how to change the world – speak some sense into these manboys. Puh.