“Love & Hip Hop Atlanta,” VH1’s latest addition to its reality show lineup, seems to be a hit. The show that takes viewers inside the lives of some of hip-hop’s Georgia peaches is serving up all of the juicy drama audiences love.
While we can debate whether or not the show does black women and our image a disservice, there’s one thing I am almost certain of: This reality show is anything but reality; it’s totally scripted.
Although I’m well aware that most reality shows have some element of staged drama, the conflicts, characters, and situations on “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” just feel more like a bad primetime soap opera than how real folks actually live. As one of my Twitter followers put it the other night, “‘Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’ is a bad telenovela, but with negroes.”
I agree. And here’s why.
Stevie J is a horrible actor — and it shows
I’m sorry, but one of the main reasons I can’t take this show seriously is Stevie J. Instead of coming off like a real person, he sounds like he’s serving up his best Blaxplotation performance or Mase impersonation. His reaction to everything is just so lackluster and monotone and is not anything close to being real.
Pregnant jump-off? Stevie’s expression is placid. Angry girlfriend? Stevie’s face is so still (and his voice so flat) he must sweat Botox. Getting them “paws” put on him? Stevie was talking to Scrappy like he was asking for some Grey Poupon instead of getting ready to fight.
If the “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” folks want me to believe this show isn’t a horribly acted dramedy, then I’m going to need Stevie J. to seem a little less plastic and a lot more real.
People don’t actually talk like this, do they?
I’m not from the South, so somebody school me. But between Stevie J’s threat to Joseline that he “has papers” on her, Karlie’s conversation with Mimi about Joseline “being down” for her man, and Lil’ Scrappy’s threat to “put them paws” on Stevie J. for dissing his woman, I can’t help but wonder if folks down South actually talk like this.
The way these folks sound makes me feel like I’m caught up in a bad street lit novel rather than listening in on normal conversations. And when you couple their dialogue with the super stylized camera shots, I just can’t take these folks at face value.
Mimi can’t possibly be this dumb … I hope
While “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” is about several people, it looks like the show’s producers are going to center the drama around Mimi and Stevie J. To call their relationship “troubled” is an understatement; it’s a train wreck.
While Mimi is off cleaning office buildings (she owns a service), Stevie J. is holed up in his studio with his jump-off/protégé. Although it’s clear Stevie is cheating, and according to various reports he has been for years, Mimi is choosing to look the other way while pretending to be upset about it.
But she’s not fooling me. Although she claims she and Stevie have been together for 15 years, I distinctly remember his very high-profile engagement to Eve back in the early noughties. And while that relationship could have happened when Mimi and Stevie were on a break, I don’t know how many more times she needs to have him look into her eyes and promise he isn’t sleeping around before she gets a clue.
For her sake, I hope Mimi isn’t as dumb as she seems and is really playing along with this foolishness just to cash a check, because the alternative — that she really is this spineless — is just too sad for words.