BET has announced that we will all be treated to the continued comedy and drama of Melanie, Derwin and the crew because The Game will return to the network for a sixth season. Just for a little perspective, Tia Mowry’s first sitcom Sister, Sister, also aired for six seasons, while Girlfriends, the parent show of The Game, aired for eight.
Sitcoms have a pretty reliable cycle. First they start off rocky and a little bit uncertain. Then, the cast, crew, and writers get their rhythm together and start working well in unison, leading to a pretty good show. Next everyone starts really nailing it, buzz spreads, and the show becomes a phenomenon. For The Game, right here is where things seemed to suddenly end — when the show was cancelled by the CW in 2009. After a long and vigorous campaign from fans the show was brought back for a fourth season by BET.
The viewership was record-breaking — The Game‘s season four premiere is still the top-rated ad-supported sitcom broadcast in cable history. At the same time, the trash-talking was extensive. I’d never seen people so openly call a show garbage while continuing to watch it, a reaction likely due to some character and plot changes that turned viewers off. As the first BET season wore on, viewership, which could never match that of the premiere, declined. I won’t mince words…this is when I kind of stopped watching. I no longer recognized the beloved characters from seasons 1-3, and was turned of by some of the messages about women that the show seemed bent on pressing.
Sitcoms have one final stage — jumping the shark, losing your attention, and going off the air. Sometimes there is one specific plot twist that makes everyone groan and declare that the show has lost its magic, other times the message of the show just gets tired and there are more interesting characters to follow on other shows. Does that apply to The Game? The show will be back for another season no matter what, but practically speaking, is it time to put this saga to an end?