Being Mary Jane: Season 3 (Episodes 1 & 2)

SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you have not yet seen or don’t want to know details from the BET series Being Mary Jane. 

Episode 1: Facing Fears

Mary Jane accidentally hears David and Lisa at the end of Season 2.

We see Mary Jane Paul (Gabrielle Union) getting wheeled into the ER after the (cliffhanger) car accident at the end of S2.  The BEST part of the ep comes early when Mary Jane’s dad, Paul Sr. (Richard Roundtree), punches David (Stephen Bishop) in the face (LOVED IT)!  The Pattersons now know that David was cheating w/ Lisa (Latarsha Rose), MJ’s oldest friend and a surrogate daughter to the family. 

David tries to explain/apologize to the Pattersons in the hospital.

In the cafeteria, Helen (Margaret Avery), pointedly asks Lisa about her relationship w/ David- AWKWARD (yet it comes off VERY well from the viewpoint of her tough-love/straight-forward character.  Remember how Lisa spent time w/ Helen in S1 (watching their fave TV show)?  And also how she cared for Niecy during her two pregnancies? 

The woman that collided w/ Mary Jane, Cece (Loretta Devine) is simply a delight (or should I use her term- “blessing?”)   Suffice it to say, Cece is a hustler who will NOT go quietly!  We learn about her smarts in the meeting at SNC, then later at MJ’s house (bold move there).

P.J. (B.J. Britt) comes over to see MJ; they have a GREAT convo re: black men, black women, standards, and David (specifically).  MJ tells him that she wants what their parents have (awww)!  I also LOVED thos scene; P.J. “dropped some truth” (as the commentators on Afterbuzz TV said).

Patrick (Richard Brooks) drives Lisa over- it’s too soon for MJ.  But she goes outside and they have (yet another) difficult convo.  MJ admits that she didn’t want to communicate w/ Lisa b/c that would’ve brought up HER own issues!  They’ve grown apart in the last year, b/c Lisa was jealous of what David (who she’d met first, then been friends w/) and MJ had.

Episode 2: Louie, Louie

This ep is like a “homage to her baseball bat” (Afterbuzz TV).  It also brings up some (serious) questions: Does MJ have a drinking problem?  Is it to the point where she’s an alcoholic?  (Niecy brought it up toward the end of S2.)

Kara (Lisa Vidal) covers up the mirror, then stays overnight in MJ’s hospital room.  (Their alliance/friendship is one of the BEST things about the show!)

Cece makes a (surprise) visit to Mary Jane’s house.

The Latino population is growing FAST, as the rep from the The National Council of La Raza tells Greg.  A new/younger gal, Marisol, has been brought in to sub for MJ, which causes MJ to feel pity for herself (yeah, she’s got SOME entitlement issues).

It’s already been brought!  -MJ declares to Cece (This is a callback to Union’s role on the teen comedy Bring It On.) 

While Marisol is on, Cece comes by and they have a battle of wit/words.  MJ calls her a “lazy negro”- she wants to extort money from MJ (even after getting $100,000 from SNC).

I LOVED how Patrick asked Paul (finally) for help- his father gets choked up w/ emotion.  When the others leave the room, Niecy (quietly/sadly) asks Patrick why wasn’t he there for her and Naima (her older sister who was engaged to be married in S2).  Niecy just keeps growing on me (I did NOT like her much when I started watching this show).

Being Mary Jane (Season 1)

SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you have not yet seen or don’t want to know details from Season 1 of the BET drama series Being Mary Jane.

Mary Jane on her primetime TV show "Talkback"
Mary Jane on her primetime TV show “Talkback”

I discovered this fabulous TV show 2 weeks ago (thanks to Netflix), and binged watch the pilot movie and 1st season over 3 days!  Being Mary Jane is set in Atlanta and centers on an ambitious, gorgeous, and very complicated (therefore relateable) TV talk show host named Mary Jane Paul (Gabrielle Union).  She’s in her mid-30s, black, and has never been married- VERY common in the U.S in our modern times.  Women of color will be (especially) able to relate to this show.

David & Mary Jane have a hard time breaking up

Hey, it’s not ALL about glitz and guys (as may seem from the ads).  Aside from two loves- the fallen family man, Andre (Omari Hardwick) and IT entrepreneur, David (Stephen Bishop), Mary Jane (real name: Pauletta Patterson) has to juggle a complicated (extended) family, close girlfriends, a closeted gay pal, among others.  The supporting characters add flavor to this multifaceted drama. 

In the movie pilot, Mary Jane discovers that the man she’s been seeing for the last several months (and fallen in love with) is already married when she steps on his wedding band while retrieving his clothes- how awful!  She promptly kicks Andre out of her house and turns the water hose on him- kinda funny.  This sets the tone of the show- you rarely get what you expect. 

Girls' night in
Girls’ night in

At work, Mary Jane has a strong alliance with her executive producer, Kara (Lisa Vidal), a powerful Latina in her 40s.  Her time-consuming job has taken a toll on her marriage, causing much regret.  These BFFs talk about everything, no matter how uncomfortable!  They have a long-term plan to gain more power, so that they can present stories they feel are more socially relevant.  Kara is tough because she has to be, but when it comes to her two sons, she can get emotional.  In one ep, she admits that her ex-husband, John, is the better parent. 

Niecy talks with Mary Jane

Mary Jane has been a positive role model to the teenaged Niecy (Raven Goodwin), the eldest daughter of her older brother, Patrick (Richard Brooks).  However, Niecy has a serious self-esteem problem (considers herself  to be ugly) and pregnant with her second child.  When she confesses that the father is her Filipino-American boyfriend, Dante, Patrick comments how these [immigrant] boys are “trying so hard to be thugs” to fit in with the black kids.

Mary Jane gets Niecy an appointment with her close/long-time friend, Dr. Lisa Hudson (Latarsha Rose), a sought-after OB-GYN (ironically celibate).  Lisa has a tendency toward depressive moods, though she’s religious (referring to God and The Bible on several occasions).  Like Mary Jane, she’s also single and has a lovely house all to herself.

Patrick (a recovering cocaine addict), his white/much younger girlfriend Tracy, and their young kids have been living in the family home for the last three years.  He helps his mother keep track of all her meds.  Patrick, a rather stoic man who once managed the hottest club in town, even provides some relationship advice to Mary Jane.  

The “baby” (and future hope) of the family is Mary Jane’s younger brother, Paul Jr, a cute, smart and charming college student in his mid-20s.  It boggles the mind that he is selling drugs on the side, until he explains wanting pay back his parents for the tuition, room, and board they’ve provided.  In on ep, he gets legal help via Andre, who’s old pals with a cop.     

Mark (one of my fave characters) anchors a news show

Aside from her neighbor/co-worker, Mark (Aaron D. Spears), Mary Jane has another male supporter- her father Paul, Sr. (veteran actor Richard Roundtree).  He was in the armed forces, then a commercial pilot, and eventually the first black board member on an airline company. 

Mary Jane with the most solid man in her life- her dad

In one poignant scene, Paul, Sr. softly admits to his daughter “sometimes, I wish she’d just die” about his fading wife, Helen (Margaret Avery from The Color Purple).  He adds: “I hope you get to experience love like that someday.”  Wow…  It turns out that Helen suffers from lupus.  Later on in the series, Helen laments the loss of her looks to Mary Jane (which she had so much pride in).  I’ve NEVER seen any series, focusing on a single woman, that rings this true-to-life emotionally (not unlike SATC and Girls).