Whoever thought that these two would end up where they are today?
And piggy-backing off that, the first thing that we loved about this show is something that comes naturally with any televised family examination:
- Family pictures!
These are all funny, candid and rare glimpses into the private lives of public figures. A picture may say 1,000 words, but these have more function than that: they’re reality show prototypes.
- Ray’s introduction.
The man that needs no introduction, as we’ve watched him for six months of the past year on VH1, got a great one:
In bed, not knowing where he was. (“I’m by the airport,” he later told Brandy.) His room is strewn with odd remnants of the woman who apparently left him by the airport…
…and Ray, throughout the show is portrayed as a ne’er do well goofball — a sharp contrast to the smooth ladies man he came off as on For the Love of Ray J (witness the episode-long storyline about him having to get the Norwood family van out of impounding and returning it to Sonja). I guess everything really is relative, especially when it comes to family matters, har har!
One thing consistent with what we’ve seen from him previously is that he seems entirely committed to a life of leisure: he explains that he parties multiple times a week — sometimes six if he’s just “chilling” and that he’s spent over a million dollars going out a year. That’s a lot of champagne glasses. “How can you win the game? You gotta score,” Ray tells us. Indeed, I think I heard something similar from a few For the Love of Ray J girls.
Speaking of family, Ray is, of course, joined by his sister…
…and his father…
They are all, in their own way, perfect foils to Ray’s antics. The set-up of the show is that Sonja has been managing her children’s careers for the past 15 years, and she’s ready to reclaim her life. She wants her children to run the family music business. She tells them this over a dinner that she cooked, which is apparently a rare treat. To illustrate this, Ray and Brandy explain their frequenting of fast food joints:
Ray: That’s why they know my name at Jack in the Box. First and last.
Brandy: And they know mine at McDonalds. And Fatburger.
Uh guys? They know your names because you’re freaking famous and everyone knows your names. The world is your Cheers. And now that you’re both on VH1 again, expect even more fast-food employees to know who you are!
- Sonja’s tough-cookie-ness.
From the offset, watching her slam down the phone and snort something about doing business her way or no way, it’s clear that Sonja is not the one to cross. This is best summed up in the unsurpassed quote of the episode: “Nobody is my cousin when it comes down to freakin’ business.”
(Sonja’s brass tacks made Brandy’s later dubbing of her as “Sony-Sone” even more hilarious. Sony-Sone would not be having any of that Sony-Sone crap!)
- Ray’s face at the prospect of his sister dating Flo Rida.
He looks disgusted, right? Who wouldn’t be protective over a sibling who was maybe about to kinda sorta start seeing a man who performed a No. 1 hit about oral sex with Ke$ha? According to Brandy’s friend Shay, though, she’s only known Flo Rida for a “cool Flo minute” and the proposed date is to the Grammys — not some lookout for backseat heavy petting. Both Ray and Willie thought that it was wrong of Flo to not have offered to pay for Brandy’s styling for the date, but neither of them stepped up to do so either, so in a way, they aren’t so so different.
- Shortie Mac.
We’ve seen him before, but never like this:
Also, I believe he’s responsible for this bit of linguistic brilliance:
It just goes to show that lechery is a lot easier to swallow when it’s done bizarrely.
- Ray’s declaration of independence.
When a woman at the club took him aside and asked about his televised search for love, Ray interviewed, “I’m done bein’ the dating show guy.” O RLY? He got over being the dating show guy quicker than he got over Cocktail/Mz Berry — and neither of them stayed around very long, you’ll remember. He also stated that love will “happen naturally.” You gotta give it up to him for only taking two seasons to realize this. For most, it takes at least three.
- Brandy’s declaration of rap-endence.
“I discovered this new side to myself, which I call Bran’Nu. In the car I just started mouthing lyrics, and I’m like, ‘Oh snap. Am I rapping?’” explained Brandy on her hip-hop persona. First of all, I think we can all agree that hip-hop is best when it’s accidental. Who doesn’t love a poet who doesn’t know it? Secondly, that it riles both Sonja and Brandy’s cousin/adviser Ryan…
…means she’s probably doing something right. Hip-hop is supposed to be unsettling. Gives her an edge. This whole exploration and explanation of Brand’Nu was worth Brandy’s reaction when Ryan told her to “be careful” with this new side of her:
She’s more animated than Fred Flinstone breakdancing over Fruity Pebbles.
And speaking of Brandy’s expressions…
- Dramatic Brandy.
That is how she reacts to a vest she likes while shopping with her homies. More vests to impress Brandy, please!
- The overt benefits of standom.
Domo started out as a fan of Brandy, but as she explained: “I invited him to a studio session that I had and from there, we connected.” Now he is a member of her entourage and (perhaps even more importantly), a character on her show. So, kids at home who are literally piddling your pants over your favorite celebrity, there is hope. You too could be a Domo.
- Sonja and Willie’s bond.
It’s straight-up adorable how close they are. Sonja says Willie is “that person that I can be mad with and love at the same time.” I love that being mad is part of their bonding. Totally relate. Also, look at how he brings out her softer side:
For all you yougins, this is hope for the future. Who says getting older is a bad thing? The Norwoods make it look like a grand old time: