The show is longer, the cast is larger, the tension is higher, the earrings are bigger:
They’re going to have to bust out some hula hoops next time to top this!
Ah, Basketball Wives is back and it feels so good to watch women be bad. Not bad, like evil, but bad in the “Bad Mama Jama” sense of the word. And also: catty.
For this season’s recaps, we’re going to stick with our Points of Tension format, but expand it to include some of the less dramatic moments. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of drama, but there’s also plenty of non-drama since, having been lengthened to an hour, there’s plenty of show, period.
We resume this saga with Shaunie, who’s now a full-blown cast member and holed up at Miami Beach’s Gansevoort for the summer…
How fabulous for her!
Speaking of fab, she soon gets the girls together — collectively and for the first and last time, known as the “Fab 5″…
Do you feel ambushed yet? What do you think they carry in those giant bags that come this close to scraping the ground? My guess is more shoes and back-up bricks. Just in case — you never know when you’ll need a brick.
They reach their restaurant destination and sit down to eat and catch up.
Jennifer announces to the group, “You supposed to look everyone in the eyes or it’s bad luck.” Like, always and forever? By looking at my computer screen and not my officemate’s irises am I condemning myself to a life without rims dangling from my ears and shoes that easily cost my yearly salary and then some? The fact that I don’t have these things suggests my avoidant gaze has already done its damage, I guess.
The girls go around the table, serving bite-size tidbits of their between-season lives. Royce is dating a guy named Dwayne but she adds, “He hasn’t made my hips spread yet.” Is that, like, a ritual? Does it involve him playing a flute? Why can’t she spread her own hips? She says she’s thinking of putting off putting out till he puts a ring on her finger. Smart if you can stand the sexlessness. Evelyn introduces herself in interview as, “the ex-fiancee of Antoine Walker, and I’m a feisty little bitch.” That’s Ev for ya, she says what we’re all thinking. She’s been working at her shoe store Dulce. I like to think that basically involves hoarding merchandise in giant pocketbooks. (Her part-time masonry work makes her bags full!) Jennifer has been taking her fragile relationship with her husband Eric day-by-day. He’s in New York now but “he’ll be here soon, getting on my damn nerves,” Jenn assures us. That really bodes well for the future. Suzie, finally, has been thinking about her water-throwing tendency and trying to grow up a little bit. If she wants to grow, maybe she should throw water on herself, making sure to add fertilizer and get plenty of sunlight.
Royce wonders if anyone has talked to Gloria. Shaunie answers in interview, “No one has had any desire to reach out, talk to, look up or at Gloria.” It would be really funny, though, if no one wanted to do any of those things except for look at Gloria. Like if they all just spent the time between seasons staring at pictures of her, all day everyday.
We’re next introduced to Tami Roman, Shaunie’s “friend” who’s joining the cast.
You will remember her from The Real World, Season 2.
Her greatest hits include “I’m a Slave, I’m a Slave, I’m a Slave for Your Lovin’,” getting her jaw wired shut, getting an abortion and “It wasn’t not funny!” Tami knows the reality game inside out. She helped define it 17 years ago and she’s back to help perfect it. I’m not being spoilery at all when I tell you that she really, really helps perfect it.
She talks to Shaunie about her situation — she was married to Kenny Anderson from 1993 to 2001. She’s been living in Jersey for the past two years and she’s happy. She says it’s good to be happy. Indeed. Being happy does not suck. As for where she is with her ex, she tells Shaunie, “Last year, if he was on fire, I wouldn’t have pissed on him. Now I might spit in his general direction.”
Isn’t she terrific already? She mentions that when she first got with Kenny, people called her a golddigger, but she had little sense of whom he was. Plus, he made her sign a prenup before the wedding, which left her with nothing and ended up with her on government assistance, at one point after the divorce.
Shaunie and Tami turn the conversation to the circle of women on this show. “Now, you don’t think we’re gonna clash?” says Tami regarding Evelyn. Well, isn’t that the point? Think, schmink — we watch in hope.
Speaking of clashing, a meeting with Al Reynolds of all people (Evelyn refers to him has her “good friend”), sends Evelyn on a collision course…
He reveals that he heard about a trip Evelyn, Jenn, Shaunie and Suzie took to Vegas and bellows laughter. Evelyn describes the trip in an interview as having gone “from sugar to s***.” Sugary to s***ty is a good way to describe Evelyn’s behavior toward Suzie, too. She quickly figures out that it was Suzie who informed Al of her apparent dalliance: she met up with a friend and “just kicked it.” Something tells me that friend was not a former member of Xscape, despite the syntax and the fact that it would have made for good reality TV. Evelyn adds that she’s single and can do whatever she wants and, in the process, has revealed far more to the audience than Suzie did. Still, Evelyn feels betrayed. She tells Al, “I’m going to investigate this, ’cause I will investigate some s*** like I’m f***ing Columbo.” It’s a reference for the grown and squinty crowd, but it’s also a good one.
The first actual point of face-to-face tension arrives when Shaunie takes Jenn and Evelyn out to Avalon to meet Tami.
Evelyn and Jenn versus Tami
At first Shaunie, Jenn and Evelyn talk bout cooking — Evelyn doesn’t like it, Shaunie does and Jennifer likes making reservations. Maybe if Eric would communicate with her more, she wouldn’t have to find such pleasure in coordinating things with strangers on the phone for 30-second stretches at a time. Whatever, these women know what’s up:
After the girls are finished with their Gloria reference, Shaunie fills them in on Tami, saying that at one point she was on food stamps. Evelyn is scandalized.
They talk about whether Evelyn and Tami will get along. Evelyn hypothesizes, “It could be like, ‘Oh my god, we’re from the same cloth,’ or, ‘Bitch, I don’t like you.’” Her arched eyebrow makes the latter scenario feel particularly ominous.
She adds to Shaunie, “If we don’t like each other, you need to choose one friend.” I gather from the look on her face that…
…she isn’t kidding, either. Shaunie doesn’t seem to realize that Shaunie’s Choice will not be a comedy.
Tami finally arrives and they spend some time investigating how they’re connected.
Antoine and Kenny once played on the same team (…is what I gather, and please don’t quote me on this — 90 percent of what I know about basketball is, very sadly, via this show). Meanwhile, Jennifer lived a few doors down from Kenny. Tami immediately asks, “So you saw the mistress?”
Jenn literally stammers, “Yeah, no, I mean…” Evelyn chimes in that they thought it was the fiancée. Tami responds, “How you gonna be the fiancée when he married?”
The way that she says this is extremely reminiscent of Jackée Harry (Tami’s “married” = Jackée’s 227 “Maryyyyyy!”). Just when you think that you couldn’t love someone more, they bust out a tremendous Jackée impression. I am in rapture.
Tami takes no time grabbing the wheel and steering the conversation.
From Jackée to Sally Jessie in seconds. This is breathtaking. Jenn calls her relationship status “like, the trending topic.” Clearly, she loves that. When it comes down to it, I think we all have a Twitter-crazed cheerleader inside of us. Tami excuses herself to go to the bathroom. And then, the unthinkable happens:
Evelyn doesn’t have anything to say. Did she amputate her own tongue when the camera was on Jenn and Tami? After some probing from Shaunie on what Evelyn thinks of Tami, Evelyn reveals, “She really does seem nice, I mean, I just look at a million other things that disturb me.” What sorts of things are disturbing in Evelyn’s world? You know, truly frightening concepts like bad weaves and nails, which Evelyn accuses Tami of having. I guess Tami’s nails aren’t pointed and claw-like enough to satisfy Evelyn’s standards. Jenn says that the jury’s still out on Tami.
Tami returns to the table and asks, “What were y’all saying about me?” Very astute…or, you know, just cognizant of how life works. Jenn chimes in with, “I was telling them I haven’t seen a food stamp before.” Tami laughs at this heartily…
And yes, I said, “at” and not “with,” because she interviews…
“Whoo! I didn’t know I was having dinner with Jennifer Trump!” Killing it. The woman is killing it.
Tami turns her attention to Evelyn and says she didn’t know if she was going to like Evelyn on account of her “t**** pictures.” We are reminded of the viral sensation that helped add to this show’s profile…
Evelyn says, “The bitch who leaked those pics was a hater,” but, “thank god I got nice t**s.” Can you imagine what life would be like without nice t**s? “Thank god I got nice t**s,” kind of sums up the relief of an entire generation, don’t you think? Tami asks if Evelyn’s boobs are real. Very Wendy Wiliams of her. A++. Evelyn responds, “No, they’re really fake.” Touché! We seem to be watching people meet their match. How special all of this is!
Then, a solo scene with Jenn. Sad music plays as she calls Eric’s phone.
Eric’s her husband. If you forgot, let this gratuitous shot of her wedding ring remind you.
She says that he hasn’t done anything shady that she’s aware of, but, “I can’t say I 100 percent trust him. We just…I don’t know.” It’s left at that level of specificity. Shaunie comes over and Jenn tells her about their situation. Shaunie suggests that Jenn text him “something sweet and sexy.” Or she could go for sweet and salty and send him a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels. Her choice! Jen thinks that a sexy text would actually turn Eric on, not that she’s going to do it. She does, though, suggest that they get away together, just the two of them:
Since Jenn clearly isn’t in any rush, this communication is left at that…for now.
Then we see Evelyn and Jennifer shopping for lingerie. But this mostly involves complaining about lingerie and its faulty concept (it’s just going to end up on the floor anyway, if it works!).
They also look at a vibrator.
Evelyn likes that this one doesn’t look like a d***. Indeed, that’s very unpretentious of that vibrator.
We next see Evelyn at her shoe store, Dulce, and she’s pissed.
She’s stewing about the Suzie situation. Royce drops by to let Evelyn know that Suzie wasn’t being malicious when she said whatever to Al Reynolds.
Why the hell would Evelyn care about intent? It’s all about effect! She is, you could say if you want to be grown and sexy about it, in effect mode. Royce thinks this is childish. She interviews, “If y’all gotta do the bitch boo bye, bitch boo bye. And let it go.” I feel like Royce just painted an abstract picture with her words. I get what she means, I just have no idea how any of it works.
Evelyn and Jennifer go to a bar for our next point of tension.
Evelyn versus Suzie
“I just have a feeling she’s going to lie, because she’s a lying bitch,” says Evelyn. But on the plus side, from that you could also glean that Suzie’s very consistent.
Suzie arrives. Jenn’s boob is almost hanging out of her dress.
How much do you want to bet that when she saw that she thought, “Thank god I got nice t**s”? Evelyn cuts the crap and tells Suzie that she feels Suzie has no loyalty. Suzie says that she didn’t meant to throw Ev under the bus, and that she didn’t tell Al Reynolds that Evelyn had sex. So is the issue here that Al Reynolds thought all of them were virgins and they wanted to keep it that way? Homeboy is far from the Pope; I doubt he minds. Evelyn cries when she talks about the betrayal she feels on Suzie’s part. Jenn, whose boob is now entirely covered, says it’s time to go.
Jennifer is literally dragging Evelyn away as Evelyn goes on and on.
“Just know that I never betrayed you,” says Suzie. Except, of course, she did.
Tami and family versus Kenny Anderson
Things get uncomfortably tense when Tami and her daughters, Lyric and Jazz, meet with her ex and their father for the first time in years…
Kenny barrels in, makes no pretense of affection with his daughters, and says, “How y’all doin’? What ‘cha’ll been up to?” The girls’ answer is smart and pointed:
Ha! I see they’ve inherited their mother’s sharp tongue. Tami explains that she feels that she and Kenny have been acting like kids in this situation, which is bad since they’re the parents. She says he always could have seen his kids.
“I tried,” he claims, saying that they moved and he didn’t have Tami’s phone number. She points out that he had his daughters’ phone numbers. He says that Tami turned him down when he asked if he could see his daughters. He also claims that she’s making him look like the bad guy. First of all, the girls are not having any of it…
Secondly, he’s erratic and bellowing and gesticulating wildly throughout this meeting.
He finally does admit that he did wrong and wasn’t ready to be a father. Judge Judy would cut this guy up, put him atop her Wheaties (the box of which, Kenny would not be on), and eat him for breakfast. Why couldn’t she have been mediating this? The meeting ends unresolved, but hey, at least he’s willing to admit some shortcomings.
Then we reach yet another confrontation:
Evelyn versus Suzie
It all happens when Shaunie plays peacemaker and invites the Fab 5 over for some food. Jennifer talks about the fact that she doesn’t like drama. “It’s so draining!” she says. By the end of this season, there will be no fluid left in her body. Shaunie, on the other hand, thinks drama is sometimes necessary. Especially when you’re on TV!
Suzie arrives with Royce and Evelyn’s greeting is priceless:
Evelyn, again, cuts the crap and brings up a conversation she had with Royce, in which Royce revealed that Suzie said that Evelyn leaked her own nude pictures.
Even if you think that, never say it. It will only result in ferocity. Suzie, who seems to be mourning the death of a friend and/or friendship…
…says that she’s sorry and wants to put this Al Reynolds thing behind her. I bet that’s how Star Jones feels, too. Evelyn sternly reminds Suzie that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. She sounds like an angry post card. “I f***ed up and I’m apologizing to you! I’m sorry, I’m really, really sorry,” says Suzie. Too bad! Evelyn stays at her, reminding her that she brought Suzie into this circle despite Suzie’s questionable reputation. Royce thinks they’re going around in circles and are in the same circle already, so what’s the point. Too many circles and who has time for the concept of concentrics, anyway? Evelyn says that Suzie is not in her circle. She brought her in, and now she’s kicking her out. Suzie leaves and Evelyn’s goodbye is as marvelous as her greeting:
Apparently, Suzie goes right from the Gansevoort to a secluded park by the water and under a tree.
Again, sad music plays. Suzie daintily (pinky out!) calls someone and says that she needs someone to talk to.
We come to find that someone is none other than:
Gloria, who’s been banished to a circle of hell that is not the center of this show.
Ha! Is revenge a dish best served Govan, or what?