‘Single Ladies’? Must We?

Single-Minded: VH1 is stepping into scripted territory with the "urban Sex and the City." Lord help us all.


Throughout the hour-long premiere, each BFF got her soliloquy in the sun, explaining point blank why she wasn’t bitter or why she was. “Y’all bitches got drama,” exclaimed the “prereq” gay sidekick at the turn of another melodramatic plot point. Thing is, that’s the one thing the show is truly missing (besides extra yards of fabric): drama.

Sure, Val had a pregnancy scare and a potential Maury moment. April (played by Shea) is a white woman who’s juggling her own husband plus somebody else’s. And Keisha (played by McCoy) is an aging video vixen with sticky fingers and an even trickier love life.

All the drama is just a Basketball Wives reunion (another VH1 “urban” offering) that probably already happened. So all the fun gets sucked out of actually trying to untangle the webs these women weave because those wigs have been yanked off already.

If the old adage “The truth is better than fiction” is, in fact, true, then can a network dominated by “truthiness” tell a real story? Does reality TV — the push-up bra of modern entertainment — make everything else look flat by comparison? For now, Single Ladies needs all the help it can get, but hopefully soon, the shoulder pads will come out and a real story will be somewhere underneath it all.

A previous version of this article misidentified Charity Shea.

Helena Andrews is a regular contributor to The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.

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