The Sunday Stream

If you’re like me, whether you want to admit it or not, there’s ONE reality show that serves as a guilty pleasure. It’s usually something you watch while you’re eating, or chilling, or both… something that allows you to veg out and take a break, ironically from reality. For me the past few years, it’s been OWN’s Ready to Love, starring Nephew Tommy, best known from radio’s The Steve Harvey Morning Show. What made this particular series stand out was its declaration that it was a dating show for Black folks of a certain age–ones in their mid 30s to early 40s–who were, like the title indicated, ready to settle down. Ready to find their forever mate. Who were ready to love. And what’s not to like about that? Beautiful Black people finding each other and getting together? Sign me up. I was all in.

And then… reality happened. Let me explain.

The premise of the show was simple: 20 singles from a certain city gather with the intention to find love. They pair off and get to know one another as much as possible in a three week span, with the end result being hopefully three couples remaining at the end with a chance to move forward. The first two seasons felt authentic. They used Atlanta as their hub and you really got the sense the singles were coming into the situation looking for romance. Sure, there were the occasional camera-ready interlopers who weren’t there for anything other than a few weeks of face time, but overall it seemed like love was a possibility.

With the third season came a move to Houston along with more storylines in the place of connections. You could gradually tell that more folks came with their resume in mind more than their love lives. More drama. More characters. It became hard to keep up with who was who. Some of the singles went weeks without screen time for the sake of storylines. There was Season Three with Denice (who was hilariously referred to by Tommy as “Aunt Viv”) and ridiculous secret camera footage ala The Real World or Big Brother, Season Four where Joel from New Orleans presented himself as open to love, only to show an immaturity on levels only to be matched by the worst “contestants” on VH1’s flagship of foolery, Flavor of Love.

And then there’s this season, taking place in the nation’s capital, where I only have to say the names Corey and Kamil for anyone familiar to know how insane things are going in DC. [Spoiler alert: they’re going terribly, and those “characters” are the main reason.]

I won’t spoil much more, in case you’re a bit behind or haven’t started binging yet, but hopefully you’ll take advantage of the gap week to catch up on the Chocolate City shenanigans. Like most shows I start, I’ve become a loyal watcher–which I’ve found isn’t always a good thing. Through the good and the bad, the glory-seekers and the resume-fillers, I’ve been sticking beside it. It’s not quite a train wreck you can’t turn away from. It’s more a Where’s Waldo photo where you see all types of weird things on your way to finding the photo’s purpose. The “Waldo” of Ready to Love continues to be the folks that are there for the right reasons, the ones hoping to find their matches that are actually, truly, and visibly ready to love.

Ready to Love Season 5, starring Nephew Tommy, takes place in Washington, DC and airs Fridays on OWN.

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I have to admit, I’m way late to the party but now that I know both seasons of South Side are on HBO Max, I’ll be a binging fool this week. It looks hilarious.

Since we talk about television here and he is definitely on television (even though it’s local), I must give a huge shout to Charlotte Hornets’ play-by-play announcer Eric Collins. That man, and his enthusiasm, is a national treasure. Whew.

Recently I discovered that the Crackle app has tons of old series in its catalog. So of course I’ve been going down the rabbit hole, re-discovering gems like The Greatest American Hero and Pamela Anderson’s V.I.P. and being introduced for the first time to short-lived comedies like the Kadeem Hardison/Tommy Davidson-fronted Between Brothers and The Gregory Hines Show, which featured the legend Bill Cobbs, Soul Food‘s Brandon Hammond, and a younger Wendell Pierce. Good times.

I just want to go on the record to say that I’m not particularly a fan of how Swagger handled the underlying storylines during its freshman season. I needed more space and screen time given to Phil and Crystal’s situations. The finale is this week. Let’s see how the writers land the airplane.

With each passing holiday season I find myself less and less excited to watch the entirety of Love, Actually. Lately I’ve just been fast-forwarding to the scenes with Sam and his girl crush and Emma Thompson’s emotional scene. Oh, and Mr. Bean in the department store. Other than that, I might be over it. Trying to figure out if that’s growth or boredom.

Earlier this week I saw the first stills from the final season of This Is Us and I’m not sure I can even type here how unready I am for this show to end. Long live the Pearsons, man. For real.

Why yes, yes I will be watching Netflix’s Tiger King 2. Thank you for asking.

Speaking of hot messes, thankfully and mercifully Apple TV Plus’ second season of The Morning Show aired its finale this past week. Hopefully we, and they, are out of its misery for good.

What are you watching? Please leave a comment and let me know.

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