Can ‘The Game’ Remain the Same?

BET's hit dramedy begins its sixth season with an emotional farewell to two beloved main characters.

Pooch Hall and Tia Mowry in The Game (
Pooch Hall and Tia Mowry in The Game (

“I think it’s kind of sad that he feels the need to comment, tweet, retweet anything negative about the show that helped him/us become the artist we are today,” wrote Chanchez in a lengthy tweet to fans earlier this month. “Everything comes to an end for us all, just like Pooch and Tia, one day it will be time for ME to move on in my career. That’s the name of THE GAME we’re in called ‘ENTERTAINMENT.’ “

That post definitely foreshadowed what would be the premise of last night’s premiere, with Chanchez the actor echoing his fictional character Malik’s aha moment: The game belongs to no one.

“I don’t want to leave. Ya’ll two are my family, man,” Derwin screams with tears in his eyes after learning that he’s been traded to another team, summarily dumped “for a younger, hotter dude.” Malik, in true form, has little sympathy but spins some ungrammatical sense nonetheless.

“You know this is the game, dog. We ain’t got no control over this, Derwin. We are chess pieces, man,” Malik says in one of the most depressing pep talks ever. But it was also one of the most poignant scenes in last night’s episode. The show’s original leading men got to wax comedic over their careers, which, on-screen and off, have taken many a turn. It was a highlight-reel moment.

Sadly, Mowry’s Melanie didn’t get the same opportunity for a victory lap. A scene featuring Tasha Mack, Melanie and Kelly Pitts cackling over a bottle (or three) of wine would have been a nice touch, a game ball thrown into the stands for those who have stuck by the team through some rocky seasons.

In the end, the saying “The game remains the same” doesn’t work here. The players are different — not better or worse — and The Game is, too.

Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.