For five seasons, The Game has followed the lives and dramas of football stars and their ever-supportive wives, girlfriends, and mothers. Though the show is sort of about football, “the game” refers to these characters' personal dramas, and oh boy, these characters have drama. At the start of season five, Melanie (Tia Mowry-Hardrict) and Derwin (Pooch Hall) try to have a baby together, but Melanie worries that she is having trouble conceiving because she had an abortion when she was younger. Melanie is feuding with her best friend Tasha (Wendy Raquel Robinson) who is having troubles of her own, mainly that she can't find a date much less a steady relationship. Meanwhile, Tasha's son Malik (Hosea Chanchez) is going through hard times since getting out of rehab, and he loses his lavish house and sports cars. As Malik's life is in a tailspin, though, Jason Pitts's (Coby Bell) life is looking up with a new sports hosting gig and girlfriend Chardonnay (Brandy).
If I had to sum up the fifth season of The Game into one word, that word would be bipolar. The show is filmed like a traditional sitcom complete with laugh-track, but the laugh-track is used sporadically and at awkward moments because the show isn't really chuckle-worthy. Many comedies tackle difficult subject matter like abortion and drug addiction, but those story lines are still structured like a comedy. The Game is more like a cross between an after-school special and a low-budget soap opera. In one scene, Melanie asks if her infertility is a punishment from God for getting an abortion, and a few minutes later, Tasha is cracking jokes again. Even the laugh track seems half-hearted.
I could have forgiven the show's shortcomings as a comedy if the drama had been engrossing in a guilty pleasure kind of way. Unfortunately the conflicts were contrived and I couldn't empathize with any of the characters, mainly because there is a weird sexist undertone to the entire show. With the exception of Chardonnay, every female character in the show doesn't have a life outside of their husband's career and serving that career in some way. To Melanie's credit, she goes back to school near the end of the season, but that character development is greatly diminished by the truth that Melanie only goes back to school because actress Tia Mowry-Hardrict is leaving the show.
In its five seasons, The Game has survived cancellation and a network switch, but Tia Mowry-Hardrict's departure might be a sign to finally end this unfunny sports comedy. To fans of Community, keep in mind that this show is guaranteed six seasons. Life is not fair.
DVD Bonus Features
Special features include a highlight reel, a gag reel, and deleted scenes.
"The Game: The Fifth Season" is on sale December 4, 2012 and is not rated. Comedy, Romance, sitcom, soap-opera, Sports. Directed by Salim Akil. Written by Mara Brock Akil. Starring Coby Bell, Hosea Chanchez, Pooch Hall, Tia Mowry Hardrict, Wendy Raquel Robinson.