As previously stated, Being Mary Jane is a very stressful show to watch. Four seasons into the series and not much has changed for our beloved protagonist aside from the city she resides in, her haircut and the men in her life. But as we witnessed after viewing this week’s episode, “Feeling Exposed,” we find out that MJ’s not alone in her stagnation.
Last season, Mary Jane’s niece, Niecy, had something of a come-to-Jesus moment about her life. The mother of two was dealing with the reality that the father of her son, Treyvion, was not a consistent presence in his life. She also had to face the fact that Dante, her boyfriend and the father of her daughter, Isabelle, was a user who was sleeping around on her. Financially, things were going better — for a hot second. She received a settlement after being tasered by a police officer, but ended up using that money to pop bottles in VIP and getting into fights, on camera, over it. She was eventually ordered to return the hefty settlement (along with the car and other things she’d purchased with that money) after blabbing off at the mouth online about her lawsuit against police, which was against the rules of her agreement. It took for Niecy to realize that her children deserved better, and so did she, for MJ’s niece to decide she needed to make a change and take her life seriously.
So why is she in New York with Mary Jane looking for love in all of the wrong places?
In this latest episode, after being able to persuade Helen Patterson to send her to New York to visit/check on Mary Jane following her split from Lee, Niecy spends a majority of her trip running behind a guy she met online who wines and dines her New York City style. What that means is he gave her some pizza, a rose, some tap water and then they ended up having sex.
While she thinks she’s about to meet her king in New York, Niecy finds out that her dreamboat guy isn’t the baller or boss she hoped he would be (after giving up the drawls of course). Instead, he paints, just moved out of his mom’s place and does maintenance in the building he stays in to cover rent. He’s good at his craft though, showing off a portrait he’d done of Niecy while she was sleeping. But she’s unimpressed and even more turned off when he finds out she’s related to Mary Jane and asks if she can show her famous aunt his art.
When Niecy reveals to MJ the fact that she’d spent most of her NYC trip not sightseeing, as planned, but instead, under Mr. Play Picasso, Niecy shares that she’s pissed because he’s a starving artist living in a teeny apartment and not the type of guy she came to the city looking for to sweep her off of her feet. It took MJ to remind Niecy that she needed to bring herself down a couple of notches, because while she finds the guy’s adoration of art a less than feasible future, he’s found something he’s passionate about and loves, and she should finally do so, too.
All I could think while watching is, “Ain’t that the truth?” Because to be honest, Niecy has spent way too much time waiting for others to help her sort her life out. This, despite having multiple “You can do this” triumphant moments in the series.
I hoped that after her victorious episode in the first half of the season, Niecy turned over a new leaf and was going to be a new, independent, confident version of herself. But instead, she’s still looking for someone to take care of her and her kids. And no, she’s still not confident. She doesn’t believe she will find a passion, but admits she hasn’t really tried to search inside of herself for it. And while she’s judging him for not being where she wants him to be, the truth is, she isn’t anywhere near where she wants to be. She doesn’t have the car she wanted him to have, the job, the money or the spacious apartment (she still lives with her grandparents). And what he did have, she didn’t: a fervor for something substantial. She was, as many of us often do, looking for someone to have it all together even when she didn’t in the hopes that he could help her get there.
In the end, I want Niecy to win, just as I do Mary Jane, but what Niecy picked up from our title character is the same habit of regressing, as opposed to making progress and changes in any direction that’s not leading to possible heartbreak — or off of a cliff.
When asked by MJ if she used protection with her NYC fling near the end of the episode, Niecy responded by saying, “Of course I was safe. I’m not going to be dumb again.” But what can be taken away from her story in this episode is that being “dumb” isn’t necessarily just about having another child one isn’t prepared for, but also about doing the same foolishness over and over and expecting different results — or someone to save you from them.