I want to give VH1’s upcoming show Bye Felicia the benefit of the doubt, but I just can’t do it.
One, the title of show alone gives me pause. “Bye, Felicia,” a phrase from the 90’s comedy flick Friday, has become colloquial, “street” shorthand for dismissing someone’s opinion or that person’s entire existence. A quick Google search of the phrase will send you pages of memes and zingy Twitter comebacks using it as a hashtag.
So of course, with a title like that, a show could go any number of horrible directions. Maybe some sort of Cheaters type show with a twist.
To VH1’s credit, the premise of the show is a bit more wholesome. It’s basically two life coaches, Deborah Hawkes and Missy Young, giving straight no-chaser advice to their clients. Apparently, the coaches will be helping people rid themselves of their inner Felicias? Oookay.
From the brief clip VH1 released, the jury is still out on this. The facial expressions and verbal responses from the show’s life coaches seem funny and reasonable given the context of their client’s outlandish responses. But is this going to be one of those neck-rolling, sister-girl, side-eyeing type of shows? We don’t need anymore of those. We already have Girlfriend Intervention (aka that horrible trash bag of black women stereotypes that Lifetime has heaped upon us).
With those strikes against the show already before it even airs, the final blow is VH1’s reputation for showing black folks in the absolute worst light possible. VH1 is after all, the home of the Love & Hip Hop franchise. This is the franchise that is responsible for taking us in the messy love life of Peter Gunz. That alone is unforgivable. Add to that the shenanigans of Stevie J, Ray J (No more Js!) and the never-ending woman-on-woman fighting and you have yourself a network that is making major bank off of hit shows that appeal to the lowest common denominator.
To be fair, VH1 is also home to T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle, arguably the most adorable, sugar sweet family reality show about a rapper ever made. That still doesn’t make up for knowing the mating habits of Peter Gunz though.
Of course, we as consumers/viewers have the option to simply not watch television programs that are not up to snuff. That is always an option, so the fact that VH1 has been able to capitalize on trash television over the years is as much an indictment of us (the viewers) as it is of them, the creators/distributors.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to say “Bye, Felicia” to all of these craptastic, semi-scripted, horribly acted “reality shows.” Thank goodness for Thursday nights with Shonda Rhimes and big screen gems crafted by Ava Duvernay. There is quality film and television to consume that doesn’t involve black people being the butt of the joke or the object of exploitation.
Will you be tuning in to this new VH1 show?