The culture is buzzing about the return of the fictitious friend group we were first introduced to in 1999 with the cult classic film The Best Man. With the third and likely final installment of the franchise, Panama Jackson dishes on what he loved & what he could have done without.
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Panama Jackson [00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio is Black Podcast Network Black Culture Amplified. What’s going on everybody and welcome back to Dear Culture here on theGrio Black Podcast Network. I’m your host Panama Jackson in its 2023. New year, new you, new me? Who knows. We’ve got a little bit different background for you to check out over here so you know no more kids scribbles on the wall if you’re watching this on video which I hope you are, which I’m hoping you’re checking out through theGrio’s app. So today here on Dear Culture, we’re going to talk about something that everybody that I know personally in the Black community has been talking about. One of the most important, significant things to happen to the Black community since. Well, since the last big thing to happen to the Black community. In December, we finally got the updated The Best Man: The Final Chapters, which is a rehash or review of one of the favorite movie series of most people I know The Best Man and The Best Man Holiday. The Best Man, obviously, is the film starring Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan. That comes out in 1999, Regina Hall. And in 2013 we got The Best Man Holiday, which included, unfortunately, the passing of Monica Calhoun’s character, Maya, who was married to Morris Chestnuts character Lance.
Morris Chestnut [00:01:23] No, she can’t go. She can’t go.
Panama Jackson [00:01:29] And if you’re like me, and my guess is you are. If you like Black movies, you watch these movies and you always want to know what happens after the fact. You always want to know, you know, Did they make it? Did the marriage last? Are they happy? Well, Malcolm Lee decided, hey, I want to let everybody know what happens to everybody else in this series. And he brought that to us in The Best Man: The Final Chapters.
Taye Diggs [00:01:54] Life doesn’t always go the way we expect but if we’re lucky to end up where we’re supposed to.
Panama Jackson [00:02:00] It aired on Peacock TV. Eight episodes. Everybody that I know was talking about it, but not all for good reasons. Some people loved it. Some people hated it. I’m one of them people that loved it. I was going to love it regardless. There’s nothing. There’s no way that I wasn’t going to enjoy this because The Best Man is one of my favorite movies of all time. Right. And since I love that so much, I can’t wait to see or I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen with these characters and how they rehashed it as they’ve grown up into like real adults and as I am a real adult now and I’ve effectively grown up with these people in a parallel universe, of course. It’s kind of fun and interesting to see how their lives have played out since then. So recently on theGrio’s website, I wrote an article titled “Ten Thoughts About One of My Favorite Follow Ups eEver, The Best Man: The Final Chapters.” So instead of just letting it live as a as an editorial and op ed piece online, I’m also going to talk about it here because, well, this lets me get my thoughts off a little bit, a little bit better. So I hope you’ve seen it. If you’re watching this far, I’m guessing you have watched it because if not all the spoilers fam spoiler alert central is where we’re about to be living. So we’re going to take a quick break here. And when we come back, we’re talking to The Best Man. The final chapters here on Dear Culture. So just keep in mind all the spoilers. Spoiler alerts, whatever you need to know. You know, when you’re on like Facebook or one of the things that people like put a bunch of like ellipses going vertically to let you know that it’s about to be all the spoilers. That’s what this is about to be. You ready? I’m ready. All right, so let’s start at the top. I did not realize how much I loved these characters like. The more I watched the series as I’ve got through like episode one and two and three and four, I started to get like sad that it was going to end pretty soon. I’m like, I want to live with these people forever. Like, I want to continue to know who they are and what they’re doing. And that just lets me know that when The Best Man was created, it was a genuine classic film, like the characters of the kind that we want to know about Harper Stewart, the writer and the author. Lance Sullivan, who is the the NFL player the the star running back to the New York Giants, who sets all kind of records by the time the series is over, right? You got Murch who is interestingly in the earlier films is more of a foil like kind of a foil for for Harper and Lance but becomes central to the story in the final chapters. And of course, we got Quinton Spivey, the heir apparent to the Spivey empire of hotels and real estate and all this other stuff.
Terrence Howard [00:04:51] You know, a brother gotta keeps some mysteries.
Panama Jackson [00:04:55] Who was kind of the like the insightful, cool swaged out dude but by the time we get to the final chapters, it turns out like he’s one of my favorite characters, period. He has a heart, he’s genuine, he’s insightful. He’s the one that everybody can go to for advice and info, but he also genuinely cares. He’s emotional, like who knew? And on the flip side, Shelby, who is played by Melissa de Souza, a person that I hated in the first two movies in The Best Man and the Best Man, Holiday. Man, I love her. Her and Quinn end up married and I’m like, Wow, I really want them to make it in life. They’re probably going to be the of the of the of the four main dudes in it. Quinton in Murch are the marriages that are going to go the distance are the ones that are going to make it obviously. So, Jordan, Nia Long’s character, Jordan Armstrong. I mean, I was so I’m so happy that she’s so successful. Like, I want her to win. Right? And, you know, Candice is married to Murch. That’s cool. I like their marriage. Sanaa Lathan plays Robyn, who is married to Harper. We’re going to get to her more later because I don’t really care that much about Robyn’s character like. And I realize that the more that I watch them, like, you know, I’m I’m happy she’s here for story purposes. But at the end but at the same time, I’m kind of good on whether or not she’s there or not. So, yeah, it’s just I really like these characters and I love these folks and I don’t think I realized it until I started watching it. And I started getting genuine like feelings like man I want my guy Lance, to be alright, you know what I’m saying? I want Q to be good. I’m invested in their stories. I alluded to this. Quinton and Shelby becoming my favorite couple was not on my bingo card. Like, I just. I did not see that. I didn’t expect it. There was. There’s no universe where if you would have told me back in 1999 that Quinton and Shelby would have ended up married that number one, I would have been cool with that. Or two, that I would have thought that it would work. In fact, if you would’ve told me Shelby got hit by a bus at some point between then and now, it was no longer a part of the show. I’d have been perfectly fine with that, completely fine with it. I wouldn’t have been upset at all. And now I’m like, Oh, she’s so essential to the story that if they decided to do more chapters, I mean, this is the final chapter. So I don’t know what the the Prolog or the Epilog excuse me that I would want a Quentin Shelby spinoff of everybody else. Those are the people that I want to see spun off and then everybody else can kind of show up as need be to be part of the story.
Melissa De Sousa [00:07:29] Spare me the revisionist history Quentin ok. The only thing you ever wanted out of this is sex.
Terrence Howard [00:07:34] Because that’s all you ever offered me. The rest you kept hidden behind some wall that you think keeps everybody out.
Melissa De Sousa [00:07:42] Well, I have to protect myself.
Panama Jackson [00:07:43] I didn’t see that coming. Completely unprepared for that. But as it turns out, I really loved and cared about them. When Quentin was about to get married to Nicole Ari Parker’s character, Xiomara Amani, the unicorn, as they called her and he, like, went after Shelby. I was actually happy about that. I was like, man, I did not see this coming. So we’re going to take a real quick break here. And when we come back, we’re going to talk about more thoughts, concerns, thoughts, prayers, concerns, whatever, what have you about The Best Man Holiday: The Final Chapters here on Dear Culture.
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Panama Jackson [00:08:52] We’re back here on Dear Culture, talking The Best Man: The Final Chapters, the series that drops in December on Peacock that had my timeline all over the place, had it going up. Everybody that I know wanted to talk about it. If you’re one of the people that hadn’t watched it yet, you were annoying in the group because now we had to kick you out to start a brand new friend, group or group chat just so we could talk about these things. That’s how important this series was for us. So I talk previously just about the things that I love, how I love the characters, how I love Quentin and Shelby how I was glad to see everybody back. But let’s talk about a couple of things that I didn’t necessarily love. Let’s briefly go over some of these things now. There’s a big difference between making a film like an hour and a half film and then doing an eight hour or roughly eight hour mini series about characters that you typically shoehorn into an hour and a half. What that means is you’ve got to give everybody some room to move. You got to give everybody storylines that might otherwise be a little bit longer or let, like you find out maybe I don’t care as much about that character’s story as I do that they’re there. I want them to be present. But the storyline in such as the case with a couple of people that were written here, so there’s a storyline that has Murch becoming an MMA fighter. Now this happens because Murch feels disrespected and his manhood being questioned and he needs an outlet to get his frustrations out and he somehow ends up I can remember exactly how we got there. I think he saw something on TV for like an MMA thing. Anyway, he signs off at a gym to start going to practice and make an MMA fighting or just to spar and the trainer thinks that he could be a fighter and next thing you know, she’s out here whipping people’s asses. Excuse my French because he’s just that good at, he’s that much of a fighter, right? Which was cool, but it was just like, I don’t know, I didn’t need it. You know what I’m saying? These different things happened in Murch to kind of continue as frustration. He gets into an argument with a white woman who over a cab and then he sees her out in public eventually and he’s so frustrated and annoyed because he sees how no interaction with her, if he calls her out on anything, is going to end positively right? So there’s all this Black frustration that he has. And I get it. It just seemed like I don’t know, it didn’t seem necessary. I didn’t love that part. This is going to be a little bit controversial, perhaps. I didn’t love the L.J, which is Lance Sullivan Jr. storyline of coming out to Lance. So Quentin and Jordan are the godchildren to Lance’s kids. All right. So Mia passes and they’ve stepped in. Jordan apparently has stepped in heavily to help Lance raise the kids.
Nia Long [00:11:38] You know, my godson has only been here a week and he’s killing it.
Morris Chestnut [00:11:42] Of course he is, he’s my son, would’d you think?
Panama Jackson [00:11:44] And the oldest, L.J. Lance Jr. apparently is he’s no-binary, which leads to a very funny scene where Quentin has to where Q starts calling people non-binding, like he’s trying to understand what’s going on here. Like, not that he cares. He’s just trying to understand what it means and. This sets up, obviously a situation with Lance, who is less tolerant, less welcoming of or less invested or interested in who L.J. is in those terms, he views L.J. a certain way. He thinks L.J. is going through a phase. This is a phase. He needs to get back to football. He needs he’s going to find his way back to who else is going to find their way back to who they really are. That’s not what happens. It says that this whole thing where Elgie goes missing, Lance has to go find O.J. and then eventually there’s a reconciliation. And even so, much of a a public acknowledgment on the part of Lance about who L.J. is, which was was just which was touching. That was really dope like, I thought that was great, but I just felt like it was a storyline that just if we don’t have this story and I don’t know if the I don’t know if the the series loses anything. There was a sexual assault on the part of by Candace. Candace is graduate advisor for her Ph.D. sexually assaults her while they’re working on an article that she’s trying to get published. By her advisor, Dr. Temple. And it was so it didn’t seem like I kind of thought that that might have happened, but it never happened until, like, the last moment. Then it happens. And I was upset for Candace, but I was also like, this didn’t need to happen. It does set up in the the closing credits where you find out that Candace, who has written this letter she writes, is once her once our advisor is going to receive an honorary doctorate from some school, she gets pissed and she writes this letter that out to him for being a sexual assaulter and apparently he’s done this to other women. There’s this the whistleblowers are at. I came up with the title of the article that they show like on the closing montage, but. You know, there’s a there’s a bunch of whistle blower women who blow the whistle on this doctor and get get him out the paint. I don’t know. It just felt a little bit shoehorned, little unnecessary and I didn’t like this last one. At least one that I’ll stick to here. They gave Jordan an ex from college who shows back up. Who online is very funny, but I’m not like I know him as Terry Silver from Power but he shows back up. He’s somebody that Jordan struggled with because I guess the sex the sex was so good that every time that they were together, like she just got dumb she couldn’t focus on school. But it turns out he’s like a private like he runs a company that invest in prisons, so they have to break up. But I just it just I didn’t like him. I didn’t like them together and I know they wanted to give Jordan some love. She needs love, especially since the whole Harper thing never worked out, which we’re going to get to and I just I didn’t like this storyline. I felt like it was unnecessary. Didn’t add much to the story. If he wasn’t there, we would have all been just fine. Nobody was like, We need to give Jordan somebody else, because she seemed still heavily invested in this friend group. Now, I do wish and hope that Jordan does find love if that’s what she’s looking for at some point. I just didn’t like how it got shoehorned into the series. So yeah, this is in this cuts to I guess one of my other points, which is that I think this series probably could have been six episodes instead of eight. Now, look, if they wanted to give me 15, I’d take as much as much content as they want to give. I’m going to watch it. I’m going to enjoy it. I’m going to love it. But if we’re talking about like a tight script, of storylines that are very like succinct and to the point and are telling a fabulous story, a wonderful story, they probably only need two six episodes to do this. They could have cut out all kinds of stuff that would not have changed the outcome of this story because the big storylines which are Harper and Robyn in there, the marriage is falling apart. Lance and his dealing with with L.J., Quintin and Shelby. Like, there’s a bunch of stuff they had to work with that would not have had to be sacrificed if they cut out a bunch of the fat, is all I’m saying. So we got to take a quick break here. And when we come back, we’re going to talk about a few final points that I have about The Best Man: The Final Chapters, because I loved it so much and some things that that I thought about the series overall. And the most controversial, the biggest conversation point to Harper and Robyn’s storyline. So stay tuned here on Dear Culture.
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Panama Jackson [00:17:23] All right, We’re back here on Dear Culture and we’re talking The Best Man: The Final Chapters of the series that updated us on the lives of Harper and Lance and Murch and Q and Jordan and Robyn and Shelby and their families and everything in between. Right. You gave us an update on their lives. I love the series. And there’s a I just talked about that the storylines that I did not think were necessary but hey, they’re there and I’m glad they exist because I love these people don’t want to see more of it. Be that as it may, I don’t think we’re getting anymore. Right. It’s called the final chapters. When you watch it, it says season one. But I get the impression from interviews and things that I’ve done that this is it. Well, let’s say that by some miracle of financing and whatever, that we were going to get additional seasons or additional chapters. Right? Mostly, like I said earlier, I just want to see Quinton and Shelby and I don’t ever want to see Robyn again. Harper and Robyn get a divorce. I am perfectly fine if the friend group gets you, gets reduced down by one and we never see Robyn again, except in face times to Harper for the kid because this leads to the big storyline. The thing that most people I know we’re talking about when it came to this to to the series Harper and Robyn, they go through marriage counseling, but it ends up not working because Harper is truly a selfish individual. He really is. He can’t kind of get past himself and it’s always been that way. Like, as much as I find that I probably like Harper the least but I haven’t really worked and worked out my feelings on that one. But either way, he and Robyn get a divorce. In the divorce proceedings when they’re about to sign off on everything. Robyn drops the bombshell that she’s taking Mia, their daughter, to Ghana. So there was a trip that was taken over the summer where Robyn went to Ghana to work to work with a farmers co-op of sorts. And she fell in love with it there. And she decided she wants to go live there permanently and she wants to take their daughter. She springs up on Harper last second. Harper is obviously upset and mad. He eventually files for custody. For Mia, it caused this huge blow up on Lance like Lance is being is jerseys being retired at the stadium. They have this big thing for him there and nobody makes it by Harper because everybody gets into this huge argument about Harper’s decision to file for custody for Mia. Robyn shows up at Quinton Shelby’s house and they get to the huge argument. Harper checks. Candace tells me, you know. Tells her to stay out of the whole thing so nobody comes. Again. I don’t like Robyn. I don’t think she’s a bad person. I just don’t. I didn’t like her over the course of the series. Right. I don’t. I can run as a parent. I can understand wanting. You know, she’s like, I’m trying to go do something for me and I’m taking my kid with us. And that created all these arguments online about people like, well, should she be able to do that? Like, how what kind of the nerve that she has to take that to to separate that child from from a father. I agree. Like, I just it was. It’s one thing to say I’m moving to Philly or I’m moving to D.C. a couple of hours away train But like you’re moving to a different continent. It’s not as easy as just copying that plane ticket and going like you’re moving to a completely different culture continent and all these other things that require so much more work. He’s probably not going to see his daughter, but a couple of times a year and he points that out and that’s why he’s so adamant against this and filed for custody. Now, what happens eventually is he doesn’t want to fight with her anymore and I don’t know if he realized the error of his own ways, but he’s like, look, she’s going to she can go with you. We’ll figure it out. I still ain’t like that. I really did not like that I’m leaving, that I’m skipping the country to go move my child, our child to some other place to build my life there away from you here. I guess it works out but I didn’t. I didn’t like it. Nobody. I was on the side where I didn’t like that. I saw somebody be somebody mention like it’s just a ten hour flight. Like there’s a lot and it’s like this pensive flight and it’s a flight that, you know, like, again, it require it’s not just as easy as hopping on a plane and going there. But anyway, so that’s that’s the big storyline. That’s the one that came crashing down. But I guess they work it out because the series ends two years later when Harper is giving a talk about his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Pieces of Us. Over the course of this of the series, they keep talking about Harper, who really wants to be respected as a writer. Like his whole thing is I want more. I want to be seen more importantly than I am because I’m writing these books that are, I guess, could be considered fluff, you know, like, I guess he’s writing lots of urban lit, like bumper GC Or like his A series that’s, that’s doing this. But he wants to be taken seriously as a writer and as a thinker and as a creative. So his goal is to write this book that’s going to do that, and he does. Right now, here’s the thing. It’s my objective on my part. I don’t believe it. I don’t believe Harper has it in them. There’s nothing about Harper that makes me believe that he’s writing the definitive, some definitive, all encompassing Pulitzer Prize winning work. That’s just a hater in me. Maybe just a little shade. I don’t know. I want to read this book. I need to see. I need some pages. I need somebody to drop some pages. It’s like a reconstruction era, like romance novel, love story called Pieces of Us, where, I don’t know man, I just. I’m surprised, but whatever. I feel like you also didn’t have to give the man a Pulitzer in order for him to still have written this definitive work that was important but Pulitzer kind of puts it in this. Wow. This man literally wrote the definitive work on something. In my mind, that’s how I interpreted it. Two more quick things I. I do not care about the Jordan Harper romance anymore. I cared about in the first film I somewhat cared about in the second one at this point. I don’t care at all. I just don’t feel like Jordan and Harper, like, fit together anymore. Like I really don’t like. They kept trying to make that a thing. Shelby kept throwing Harper in there, like, because of Harper. They even had another situation where they kissed but it didn’t go any further than that. You know, like, they let the old that old thing caught them, but it ended up not resulting in anything. And I’m glad because I don’t need them. Like I actually I thought Lance and Jordan seemed to care more about each other, Like the conversations they happen seem so much more genuine and authentic and real. It was so interesting, like, you know, in. Lance seems to have found love from from somewhere else. And that’s great. But I’m just saying I don’t really care about Jordan and Jordan and in Harper, I don’t. I don’t want to see that again. Last but not least, this is my ask to Malcolm Lee and anybody else who’s involved in this. Can a brother get the unfinished business movie? Can I go ahead and make that? You know, Let’s look. Can we get that in theaters like I would love to see? Let’s keep the franchise going. We’re going to split. Take my money. Here you go. If I had a dollar to put on a camera and I would put it out. Just take my money. I would love to see the unfinished business movie all the nineties nostalgia, because that’s my era and everybody I know who cares this much about the characters. To sit and watch 8 hours more about what they’re going through in their lives would absolutely go see that movie. So those are just some thoughts, opinions, feelings that I had about The Best Man: The Final Chapters that I absolutely loved. I’m sad that it’s over, but I’m glad that I can watch it again and again. I’ve seen it twice at this point, the whole way through. I will watch it again because I care. I genuinely care that much. So, you know, thanks for checking this out. This is hopefully you enjoyed The Best Man: The Final Chapters a much as I did and perhaps I got some points that maybe you agree with or disagree with. Whatever however you feel, feel free to share that in comments anywhere you want to. But yeah The Best Man: Final Chapters. I love it. I love it. And I hope you did, too. And if not, let’s argue about it. I’m ready to argue any time, any place, anyplace, as Janet Jackson so eloquently put it on that song. Thanks for listening. Thanks for sleepwalking. Thanks for checking us out here. This podcast is an original podcast of theGrio Black Podcast Network. Dear Culture is produced by Sasha Armstrong, edited by Geoffrey Trudeau, and our director of podcasts is Regina Griffin. Make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. You can check us out on the app and you can check us out on wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, give us, give us a rating. Give us a couple of stars, not a couple. Give us all the stars. Whatever the system is, give us all the stars. You know what I’m saying? If you like what you hear, help a brother out. Help us keep Dear Culture chugging along into the future. My name is Panama Jackson. This is Dear Culture. Have a Black one.
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