We’re having a BBQ with the Pauls. The fam’s all there, minus PJ, who works in LA. Oh, and David, who ain’t blood, but was treated like family, until he was summarily dismissed after the Pauls discovered he had relations with Lisa. Mark my words, he’ll be back. We haven’t seen the last of David.
Patrick is on the grill telling his dad how well he’s doing at work. Dad is so proud. Would he be if he knew Patrick was back on drugs?
But he doesn’t know and for the moment, all is well. Mama even has a sunny disposition, an awesome change from the shade she’s usually throwing. Is it wrong that I’m wondering who will be the first to mess this moment up? My money’s on MJ. This lady cannot stand to be happy.
Niecy’s got her iPad at the table and MJ scolds her like she’s a child, telling her to put it away. Look, it’s rude and all. But Niecy isn’t a kid. She’s somebody’s mama. Maybe if MJ had a child of her own she wouldn’t stay treating Nicey like one. Where’s D’Asia? She can’t parent D’Asia?
Anyway, Niecy is looking for a car. MJ tells her she needs to be saving money. Sigh. Why is she always telling folks what to do? Damn. Nicey looks crushed until Papa Paul pipes in that he will by Niecy a car. MJ tries to squash that. Sigh. God bless Niecy for pointing out that MJ just bought a 100k whip.
MJ proceeds to tell her family how they should be managing their money, based on Suze Orman’s advice. MJ has a point—and good tips-- but MJ’s so gotdamned smug and shady and always lecturing all the time that no one is trying to hear her. The family abandons MJ at the table. I completely understand why.
Later, Patrick is out at the pool with dad, smoking cigars and talking about big plans. MJ looks out the window at her family enjoying the pool and heads out to join them, grabbing dad’s cigar. It’s a nice family moment. This will implode the minute they find out Patrick’s back on drugs.
The next day, (maybe?) MJ heads to Clark Atlanta University for a guest lecture. MJ’s talking branding, and how lowbrow “news” is what sells. “People say they want well researched, in depth reports, but all they look at is headlines,” she says. “Drama sells.”
As a journalist, I’m going to co-sign that one. People do say they want more depth. But what gets clicks is the trashy sh--. You vote with your clicks.
A student accuses MJ of selling out. MJ says she didn’t. “I bought in,” she retorts. Another student, so full of college self-righteousness (sigh) more or less calls MJ a figurehead that gave up her voice when she gave up Talk Balk to go to Primetime. “You sold out,” she says. “That’s why we don’t trust you.”
Someone please ask her about her thoughts on the matter in 10 years when she’s keeping it 100, underpaid and paying back college loans. Righteousness does not pay bills.
And also, how are we defining sell-out? MJ’s not addressing hard issues or black issues anymore, but she’s not up on PrimeTime saying wild sh—that sets the race back, like trying to cure racism by pulling up your pants and picking up trash, or clowning random “Black names” even though you have one. She’s not doing anything, but she’s not doing harm. So is she selling out?
Not by my standards.
But MJ is hurt by the girl’s accusation. Mostly because it’s the second time she’s heard it-- Goldie pointed it out when she was a guest on the show a few episodes ago—and because MJ covers “news” about dogs now.
Anyway, MJ leaves campus like a rock star with students crowding around her to take photos and ask questions.
MJ heads to CeCe’s bookstore to give her the last bit of extortion money. Haki R. Madhubuti is the guest, listening to Black moms expressing concerns about protecting their sons. CeCe’s pipes in that as community we need to start addressing our male children as boys instead of “Lil’ Man”. Good point.
MJ asks CeCe, “do you think I’m a sell out?” She explains what happened at Clark. CeCe agress.” You prefer things, not value, especially not doing anything for anybody besides yourself.”
This here, is why I love CeCe’s ol’ extorting self.
MJ says her black episodes are the lowest rated and “at some point you just get tired."
Cece asks MJ what she wants. MJ says financial freedom. CeCe says MJ has that and wonders what she’s doing with her money. I CACKLED.
CeCe says that MJ didn’t appreciate the freedom that she had with Talk Back. MJ says it was less money and less billboards.
MJ gives CeCe the last payment and declines CeCe’s offer to hug it out, but she does offer congratulations on her bookstore. CeCe tells MJ that she thinks MJ will miss her. You know what? She’s right. These two met under bad circumstances and continued a relationship under shady circumstances, but CeCe is what MJ needs in her life
MJ jeads home to watch re-runs of her show, particularly the episode with the dog. She covers her face in shame. Ma’am, that’s a dumb topic, but an honest check. Pick your head up.
The next day, MJ tries to meditate at home for 10 minutes and falls into a deep sleep. LOL! She wakes up when she gets a text from her white boo, who is one his way over. With wine.
Tonight’s the night to do the do! But first things first: a police report and HIV tests! White boo looks confused. He says he uses condoms, but MJ points out what’s the point in putting a clean condom on a dirty… Point taken.
The music whiletheytest each other and wait for the results makes the whole process look so much more romantic than what it is. Doing it isn’t bad, or awkward, it’s just not romantic. Maybe I should have lit candles too. I dunno.
Anyway, they have the sex, and while white boo is passed out in her bed, she takes a pic and texts it to Kara. Really? REALLY? Um. MJ's immaturity is appalling sometimes. She would be mortified if a guy did that to her. And he ain’t wake up when the flash went off? What did she do to him?! LOL.
Kara swings by the house early the following morning for a recap. She’s shocked that MJ has never slept with a white man before. She asks what she thought.
“It was pink!” MJ says, but adds, that it was cool. “One stereotype that was true. They do love to chomp the box.” Welp.
MJ heads outside , only to find CeCe waiting for her. This is weird. CeCe says she gave MJ bad advice. “Don’t tear down to build,” she tells MJ. She wants her to keep PrimeTime and do Talk Back. MJ hears her out, but tells her not to come back. She threatens that she’ll call the police.
MJ watches an interview with her replacement asking tough questions of Donna Brazile about Hillary Clinton. The timing here is everything. This is what MJ misses.
She meets with Greg to tell him she wants her job back. Greg says, “you remind me of my wife, both why I want to divorce her and stay intrigued by her.” Was that a compliment or nah? MJ says that the AA audience is easily exploited, especially when she tackles “the hot button, emotional stuff.” LOL. She just said that to get him to say "yes". It's working. Greg looks intrigued.
Patrick and D’Asia and her mom are having dinner at Patrick’s home. He’s decided to move sooner than later and that he will begin packing that night. His ex notices how much energy he suddenly has. Yeah… she knows.
Kara’s leaving the office late and spots MJ working. MJ tells her about taking back Talk Back and pitches Kara on the idea. Kara isn’t down. The pay ain’t the same and it’s too much work for her to take on and still be an involved mom. Plus, she likes their relationship better without working on the show. Kara tells her that she should produce her own show. She encourages MJ to get a new team, “someone with no life, no kids.” MJ suggest Marisol.
At home, D’Asia is sleeping when Patrick comes in with boxes to back. Tracey tells him that she’s getting out of the halfway house and she wants to know about them getting back together. Patrick says it’s a no-go, he just wants to co-parent. He says he’ll help her get a job, and give her money. Tracey guilts him about all she’s done for him. “this is how you treat me?” she asks. Patrick tells her that he never promised her anything and she keeps lying to herself. He says he told her that before. He sounds sincere. I don’t think he’s a bad guy. Still, Tracey gets mad and leaves.
MJ’s at work early working on her new show when a guard stops by to say a woman who says she’s MJ sister-in-law is there. It’s Tracey. She wants MJ to know that her brother is on drugs again.
Sigh. I’m mad at her and I ain’t. This needed to be said. She should be telling MJ. But I’m annoyed that she’s telling MJ to get back at Patrick for not wanting to be with her.
MJ ain’t feeling her and shades her just like her mother would have. Ex says she is sure Patrick is using because she knows the signs. “I didn’t want to come to you, but you’re probably the only person he’ll talk to, “ Tracey says.
MJ ain’t trying to hear all that. She kicks Tracey out and tells her she’ll have her arrested if she comes back. MJ staythreatening to call the cops, don’t she?
Later that night, MJ catches up with Patrick, telling him what Tracey said. She doesn’t believe Tracey, or better, she doesn’t want to believe Tracey, but she asks Patrick anyway, “you’re not on drugs, right?” Patrick lies and says he isn’t, except he’s taking a little something to help him focus. “Perscription drugs? MJ asks. “It’s not my prescription , but…”
Sir. You are a recovering addict. You can not start up on a new drug of choice and think that can be brushed off.
Papa Paul appears from nowhere, with mama in tow. He is pissed.
“You set me up?” he asks MJ.
Patrick argues that it’s not a street drug and it helps him focus.
Papa Paul says that until Patrick gets himself right that they’re taking D’Asia. Also, Patrick has to go back to rehab.
Patrick flips about them taking D’Asia, and insists he is not on drugs.
One more time: Sir.
Dad loses it. He says he and mom have spent the last 15 years trying toget Patrick right and they drained their bank account trying to help him.
Mom says they can’t do anything more to help Patrick. Dad says he’s done and kicks Patrick out. He implores him to get his life together.
Patrick says to MJ, “you love kicking me don’t you?” before storming out.
I’m torn on whether I think Patrick has a point about MJ tearing him down or if he’s deflecting his problem on to her. This situation needed to be handled, yes. And there’s no right way to handle it, but was ambushing Patrick really the best way? I dunno, I dunno, I dunno.
What were your thoughts on this episode?