It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Love & Hip Hop franchise on VH1. You see, I’m a person who is with the shits, and LHH is a program ’pacifically dedicated to being with the shits. In fact, most of my television watching could quite squarely fall into a box that’s called for “TV for People Who Are With the Shits.” Greenleaf? Yep. Insecure? Yep.
You get the picture. Well, of the entire LHH franchise, Hollywood is my particular poison. Now, I initially began watching for Ray J—Patron Saint of With the Shits—but he’s actually calmed down quite a bit since he and Princess Love got together and eventually got married. Though he’s picking up the shenanigans a bit—maybe he felt like he was slackin’ with the fuckery—in his work with Bridget Kelly.
Listen, I don’t remember shit about Bridget Kelly’s career. In fact, I remember about as much about her career as I do about Brooke Valentine’s (another Hollywood cast member), but I’m pretty sure that a song called “Pussy So Good” and a video where she’s literally shooting MONEY from her vajayjay is not a good look for whatever career she has. But Ray did that. See, when Ray is with the shits, he makes sure to make them count.
While this season of Hollywood has had its typical nonsense of furniture moving and drinks flying, Mona Scott-Young has ALSO managed to sneak in both subtle and in-your-face moments of health management and wellness. Watch the show long enough, and you might fuck around and learn something or get inspired to go see a doctor your damned self.
For instance, early in the season we’re treated to the fact that Ray and Princess are struggling to conceive. In what starts out as a joke, Ray, Safaree and A1 all decide to go to a doctor, presumably at a fertility clinic, to have their sperm analyzed to see who has the highest sperm count. The person with the lowest count has to do a song with Hazel-E, which almost seems like a double homicide.
So the three musketeers all go, get tested and then find out the winner. A1 has the highest sperm count and Ray has the lowest. Sure, they cracked jokes at Ray’s expense—they’re dudes after all—but they all actually want Ray to be able to have a child with his wife. They’re encouraging of him changing his behaviors to get his sperm count back up.
As opposed to seeing tables being thrown all over the place, we’re treated to black men going to a doctor to determine the cause of a problem and then attempting to figure out how to fix said problem, as friends. I can’t think of the last time I saw three black men willingly walk into a doctor’s office to determine something so vulnerable on one of these shows. It’s also how I deduced that the three of them must be real friends, not just TV friends.
You just don’t go get your sperm analyzed with any Tom, Dick or Harry.
On last night’s episode, the shits were eschewed (mostly—OK, like, 30 percent of the shits were eschewed) to deal with Teairra Mari’s very real addiction to alcohol. An intervention was set up that included Nia, Fizz (both of whom Tea-Tea did not want there and were asked to leave), Nikki, AD, Moniece and a producer for the show who were all very, very concerned about Tea-Tea’s drinking.
I’ve seen enough episodes of Intervention to know that she responded pretty normally to feeling ambushed by everybody telling her she has a problem. She was angry, in denial and lashed out a bit but eventually realized that if people who love her are this concerned, then maybe she does have a problem, and at the end of the episode, she was willing to go seek help. Maybe not as much help as the group wanted, but she was willing to give it a start.
While I didn’t tear up like Moniece, I felt happy that Teairra was willing to not forgo the love and care of those who really wanted her to do better. Granted, people talking to and visiting with therapists isn’t a new thing and has become more commonplace, especially on reality shows, but seeing an intervention that seemed genuine was a good move for the series. Of course, the timing worked out perfectly to somewhat exploit the situation, but the truth is, this is about as much reality as we’d all like to see on television: Teairra Mari facing her demons and going to make some changes to hopefully help her out.
While I don’t want the cast members of these shows to continually have life-threatening issues, I do think it’s very helpful to see them seeking out help and attempting to address issues in their lives and fix them. It almost makes it worth seeing a few glasses and shoes being thrown across the room.
Hell, even during the same episode where Teairra accepted the help she needs, apologies were flying around a club as a bunch of adults, at least for a moment, realized that they all had problems with one another because of two people. There were apologies and handshakes, and even Hazel-E, momentarily, sounded like a voice of reason. I guess a broken clock is right at least twice, right? I’ll take it.
Mental-health awareness and self-care are becoming very commonplace, it seems, in society as more and more people are taking necessary steps to ensure their own peace of mind. While LHH is typically where one might go for the exact opposite, it’s good to see that when the need arises, the show isn’t afraid to at least address, even if subtly, issues people in the community are dealing with.
Now, if we could JUST cap the number of tables and drinks that fly per episode.