I Know You Mean Well, But…7 Reasons Why BET Kills Me Softly

February 16, 2012  |  
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When you make the conscious decision to name yourself Black Entertainment Television, you’ve got to know that you’re setting yourself up for a whole lot of love, hate, criticisms and critiques, so I know it can’t be easy for the good folks at BET to do what they do. Oh trust me, I get it. While they’re a successful company and have many bright spots (adore BET Honors, Sunday Best is in its own lane, and 106 & Park is cute), the truth is, the programming is the major issue with BET.

Yesterday it was revealed that they would be creating a new show called Single Black Female about a TV host…who…is single I guess? I mean really, what will make people want to watch? As a friend said, the ideas BET comes up with are actually really good, but the execution is nothing near good.  The channel has mad potential, so we hope Single Black Female is good, but most importantly, we hope it isn’t all over the place like these shows…

The Game

I have to be honest. The Game on BET is really not working for me. Try as hard as you want (I tried to keep up my enthusiasm during the first season with the network, but it waned), but after a while, you just realize that “thangs done changed” big time. When the show was on The CW, I felt like it was less soap opera-ish, and I honestly didn’t mind it at 30 minutes with the laugh track. They kept it simple but funny. But now that it has moved, I’m not sure I’m feeling the directions of the stories, the fast forward into the future, or the complete 360 the characters did. The Tasha Mack character is just getting too annoying and I love Brandy, but girl, you need to do a Moesha II or Moesha: All Grown Up because her chemistry with Jason’s character is…meh. I’ve been a fan of Mara Brock Akil’s since Girlfriends, but the writing on this show nowadays (not always) needs to do a throwback to the past. I just don’t understand why it had to change so much for BET.

Harlem Heights

What could have been an awesome opportunity to showcase young black elite professionals making moves and getting their foot in the door in their respective industries wound up being one of BET’s dullest programs ever. Seriously ya’ll, I was so excited for this show, especially since when it came out, I had never been to New York, so I was amped to see Harlem culture. I honestly got none of that. After a promising start that brought us the cast celebrating the election of President Obama in ’08, things went downhill from there. The show basically became BET’s answer to MTV’s popular show, The Hills. And instead of viewing classy men and women doing it big in Harlem, we only got to see catty, b****y drama, Kanye West’s self-absorbed ex-girlfriend, and people wasting money going to dinner all the time just so they could talk about others while doing so. After 10 episodes, it was a wrap for Harlem Heights, and sadly, that was the right decision.

Their Penchant to Get Rid of Good Programming

Sometimes it seems that BET doesn’t offer much support to shows that could be successful. For instance, they had a program that ran from 2006-2008 called The Black Carpet, which was BET’s version of (originality…?) the Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood programs and featured the comings and goings of popular black figures and celebrities. But instead of making it an everyday program like these similar shows, it only aired once a week and pretty much did a rap up of news everybody already knew–no real incentive to keep tuning in. Also, the cancellation of most of BET’s public affairs shows, like Teen Summit and BET Tonight with Ed Gordon, which kept the viewership in tune with things that mattered and real issues (while now you simply get news briefs in between commercials), killed a lot of what made people take the channel seriously. And man, do I miss ComicView too…

Baldwin Hills

Once again…BET’s answer to something MTV was doing better (Laguna Beach), Baldwin Hills followed black teens in the BH area of Los Angeles and put you front row and center through high-school-ish drama like fighting over boys and even teen pregnancy (yikes!). As one of my co-workers put it, she felt a huge issue with the show, and many of BET’s attempts at reality TV because the production value comes off as being very low. There’s no pop or polish, just flipcam looking material. On top of that, these teens were more awkward than usual because they were trying too hard to make it look like they weren’t acting and trying hard to memorize their lines when they clearly were. Point blank: it was horrible. Sorry kids (who are probably close to my age now…).

The BET Awards

Not the Hip-Hop Awards, because we get that that program is supposed to be horrible, but a few years back, The BET Awards used to be very entertaining and fun. They’ve made good attempts recently to try and showcase new, up-and-coming artists, as well as to highlight people doing great things in the community, but if I have to watch Lil Wayne close out another show with his boxers up and his jeans down, or see Rick Ross go topless, I’m going to protest the channel. I just feel like the show comes off seeming so unorganized sometimes. And I totally abhor whoever is in charge of censorship during the performances, because they fail at covering up the curse words, and instead bleep out everything else. And can we actually get the people you nominate to start showing up to the show??? Crazy…

College Hill

You know, College Hill (BET’s answer to The Real World) got off to a pretty good start I must say, but like most reality shows, things had to get ugly for viewership to increase. There were folks getting hit in the head with stiletto pump heels, pulling pool table sticks on one another, fighting in cars–just getting really ratchet. After the first season, this show really became about foolery, and BET had no problem with it because they were pushing the fights in their advertisements for the show. Niiiiice. We know there are stations run by white folks that don’t mind making us look crazy for a buck (heeey Vh1), but there’s something wrong with a station owned by black people and a show produced and pushed by black folks thinking it’s okay to do so.

Uncut

Azz Dance. Nookie. Dat Apple Bottom. No Panties. Slap It, Clap It.

No matter how hard they try, unfortunately, BET can’t run from their scandalous past, a past that included BET Uncut. And with song and video titles like the ones above show, we can see why that’s a hard reputation to outrun. I actually only watched Uncut one time while at a friend’s house for a sleepover and we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I’ll never forget it. It was all booty clapping, credit card sliding, bath tub playing and pseudo-fellatio scenes that were just the absolute most. I might enjoy a Reed Between the Lines nowadays, but in the back of my mind, I’m still shaking my head at the horrible production value of “Werk Dat, Twerk Dat.”

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