Tuesday, April 30, 2013

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The scripted new series “Single Ladies” packed in so many music references, I half-expected VH1 to resurrect “Pop Up Video,” with informative thought bubbles hovering over the heads of Stacey Dash, LisaRaye, and Charity Shea.
The cameos were in full effect on “Single Ladies,” an original two-hour movie turned TV series. First it was Eve. Then TLC’s Chilli stopped by. Then Common played a Mayor while Jermaine Dupri and the “Real Housewives” Kandi Burrusspartied in the background.
Related: 'Single Ladies' - Another 'Girlfriends' in the making?
Music even found its way into the character’s backgrounds, as LisaRaye plays a former video vixen.
So, it wasn’t really surprising that the “Single Ladies” premiere began with our three female protagonists having a music-related debate with the three men in their lives. Dash’s Val, LisaRaye’s Keisha, and Shea’s brotha-loving April argue over the merit of sexual songs and artists.
“Marvin Gaye is acceptable nasty,” says Val. “R. Kelly?”
“Just nasty!” says all three women in unison.
The music references continued, with Val giving her boyfriend of five years an ultimatum.
“If you like it, put a ring on it. If not, let’s stop wasting each other’s time,” demands Val.
And just like that, we have our first official single lady. Cue the Beyonce music.
“Single Ladies” features a huge cast of black actors, but the show plays less like “Sex and the City,” “Girlfriends,” or even Showtime’s “Soul Food,” and more like a scripted series of “Basketball Wives.” And while “Basketball Wives” is fun to watch (okay, check that, extremely fun to watch), you’d be hard-pressed to admit that the women of the series are likeable. You tune in every week to see who will pull someone else’s weave outta their head the fastest, not because you have an affinity for the “characters” or a vested interest in their lives.
Related: 'Basketball Wives' - More fights, more drama, more fun
That’s kind of how I felt when watching “Single Ladies.” Fun in a tawdry, melodramatic way? Yeah. A must-see series with likeable characters? Not really.
One thing that “Basketball Wives” does have? Chemistry. Whether it’s the friendship between Shaunie O’Nealand Jennifer Williams, or the genuine hate between Evelyn Lozada and Tami Roman, the passion is palpable.
“Single Ladies” feels like a first day rehearsal that happened to be caught on camera. There’s no genuine sense that Val, who has opened up her own boutique, has much in common with Keisha or April outside of their love for the lavish lifestyle.

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