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Let's Stay Together aired from January 2011 until ? on BET.
BET's new romantic comedy highlights the modern relationships of five young professional African-Americans. The series centers on two sisters and the men in their lives and features two couples who take courageous steps to try to navigate life, love and matrimony.
A Review from Media Life Magazine
'Let’s Stay Together,'
but likely not for long
The characters on this BET comedy are but ciphers
By Tom Conroy
Jan 11, 2011
Some TV shows are so formulaic that it feels as if their creators just filled in the blanks. On others, it’s feels as if the creators just left the blanks blank.
BET’s new sitcom “Let’s Stay Together” is a relationship comedy about two couples. That’s virtually all that can be said about it. Both the main characters and their relationships are generic and vague. The actors are likable, but the weak jokes and plots give them little to work with.
In the premiere episode, airing tonight at 11, Stacy (Nadine Ellis), learns that her fiancé, Charles (Bert Belasco), has reused the engagement ring he just gave her. Meanwhile, Jamal (RonReaco Lee), who is married to Stacy’s sister Tasha (Joyful Drake), has decided that he wants to pursue a career as a lounge pianist, accompanied on vocals by Charles’ sister Kita (Erica Hubbard).
The plots develop in a lazily unlikely fashion. A restaurant simply allows Jamal and Kita to start performing. Stacy eventually forgives Charles after he tells her something that would probably make her more angry, not less.
The actors over-emote a bit, but that’s forgivable considering that the scripts give them no clue as to who their characters are.
The dialogue is weak. Tasha hints to Charles that Stacy knows about the used ring by saying, “I had calamari rings,” which he should try because they might “ring your bell.”
The premiere opens with a scene in which Stacy and Charles discuss the high quality of the sex they’ve just finished having, a conversation that surely takes place more on TV than in real life.
A traditional three-camera sitcom, “Let’s Stay Together” could have been produced at any time in the last 30 years. Only a brief reference to online video alerts us that we’re not watching a rerun of some forgotten flop.
In both TV and movies, the use of an old pop hit as a title traditionally signals that the producers know their premise is weak. The ensemble of actors on this show might be able to flesh out their characters, but it’s unlikely the ratings will let them stay together long enough.
A Review from The Examiner
'Let's Stay Together' review; Is BET changing?
, African American Entertainment Examiner
January 12, 2011 -
BET’s new sitcom “Let’s Stay Together” is a fun, quick-witted series that follows five young, black professionals (two couples and one sister/friend) as they deal with the ups and downs of life and relationships.
Bert Belasco’s Charles is engaged to Nadine Ellis’ Stacy, while RonReaco Lee’s Jamal and Joyful Drake’s Tasha act like an old married couple despite their young age. The third wheel (and fifth character) is Erica Hubbard’s Kita, Charles’ younger sister who works at the DMV and is currently single.
The chemistry of the cast is apparent from the start, as Jamal and Charles come off as really good friends. Jamal even shows that he’s comfortable enough to bare his feelings to another man, telling Charles he’s worried he’ll never achieve his life-long dream of being a lounge performer).
The women are good, too, with Ellis’ Stacy coming off the most real and down-to-earth. Upset after discovering that her fiance gave her the same engagement ring he once offered another woman (“America’s Next Top Model” winner Eva Marcille), the scenarios the characters encounter feel relatable, if recycled.
The best thing that can be said about “Let’s Stay Together” is that it looks to have potential. The more we see these characters and the unique ways in which they interact with (and love) each other, the more we’ll find them likable enough to tune in on a weekly basis.
With “The Game” back on television and the launch of “Let’s Stay Together,” BET is now airing two scripted sitcoms that star a predominately black cast. Only TV One (“Love That Girl”) and the Tyler Perry-centric TBS can make similar claims.
So is BET changing? Are they making an effort to transition away from the buffoonery that’s been their Achilles Heel for years? Only time will tell (it’ll take some time to recover from “Frankie & Neffe”), but “Let’s Stay Together” is a good start.
*** out of *****
A Review from The Blackboxoffice.com
‘Let’s Stay Together’ [Review]
Posted by Jonathan Hailey in REVIEWS
BET is known for its telelvision programming being lackluster. To combat their nearly cemented reputation, they’ve developed a series with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit production company to bring you Let’s Stay Together.
Let’s stay together is romantic comedy centered around two couples living in Atlanta Ga. One couple portrayed by Ron Reco Lee and Joyful Drake the other portrayed by Burt Belasco and Nadine Ellis.
If the network was making an attempt at intelligent television for our community, this show completely missed the mark. The jokes landed harder than a brick being thrown off the Empire State Building. Things that should’ve been funny were more cringe inducing than anything.
The problem is an amalgamation of wrongs. First, the writing is subpar. There was a hint of reality, but not enough to captivate the audience. Try as they might, the actors never wrung the comedy out of the script. Despite having The Game as a lead in, Let’s Stay Together is going to struggle keeping that audience.Whereas The Game is a smart, realistic yin, Let’s Stay Together is the slightly coonish yang.
If Let’s Stay Together is evidence of what BET has up their sleeve, in terms of original programming, they can save it for someone else. Step it up, BET, step it up.
A Review from The World Press
Review – Let’s Stay Together
Before UPN stopped broadcasting in 2006 it used to be the home of successful black sitcoms like Everybody Hates Chris, The Hughleys and Girlfriends. When UPN merged with the WB and became The CW they launched a spin-off from Girlfriends called The Game. It was a moderate success but then The CW decided to ditch all of its programming created by or starring African Americans in favour of low rated soap operas aimed at teenage girls like One Tree Hill and 90210. The Game was taken off the air in 2009 but was resurrected in 2011 by cable network BET, otherwise known as Black Entertainment Television, so there’s no real chance of it being dumped again in favour of Gossip Girl.
When The Game left The CW it was rating a little over 1 million viewers per episode, when it returned on BET it scored an audience close to 9 million viewers. The CW made a great decision getting rid of a toxic program like that. The Game signalled a new direction for BET with a focus on scripted television. African Americans haven’t had a lot of love from the broadcast networks in the last decade so BET stepped up. Joining The Game as their first original scripted offering is the sitcom Let’s Stay Together. Let’s Stay Together is the tale of an engaged couple, a married couple and their wacky single friend. So while BET is trying out scripted comedy it’s not exactly trying anything NEW in scripted comedy.
The engaged couple are Stacy and Charles played Nadine Ellis and Bert Belasco. They’re still young, sexy and in love and you can tell because their first scene has them taking suggestions from the Kama Sutra. The married couple are Tasha and Jamal played by Joyful Drake (Phat Girlz) and RonReaco Lee (The Good Guys, The Shield). They’re not as sexy and in love as Stacy and Charles and you can tell because they act like an old married couple even though they’re not that old. The crazy single one Kita is played by Erica Hubbard (Lincoln Heights); she’s crazy and single and is not weighed down by the baggage of a man in her life which allows her to still be crazy and single. Did I mention she was crazy and single? Because she is both of those things.
Generic premises are fine. The world is full of generic premises. An original idea is hard to come by and sometimes old standbys are old standbys for a reason. Basing a show around a group of friends all at different stages in their relationship is nothing new; in fact in the last year we’ve had Better With You and Perfect Couples which are just another version of this show. It’s what you do with the premise that counts. Unfortunately Let’s Stay Together doesn’t do anything with the premise to set itself apart in any way whatsoever.
The plot of the pilot involves Stacy discovering that her engagement ring was actually intended for a previous girlfriend that Charles proposed to, but when she said no he kept the ring and gave it to Stacy instead. This is a fairly typical story playing up pre-wedding anxiety and exploiting a made-up social taboo. ‘You CAN’T give a girl a ring you meant for another girl!’ is how the women of the show see the situation whilst the men all see the situation as ‘you CAN give a girl a ring you meant for another girl’. Dividing the argument down gender lines just reinforces the tiredness of the whole thing.
To get revenge Stacy buys herself a new ring, one that wasn’t meant for another girl. Which is ridiculously insane behaviour for any number of reasons, least of all that this new ring wasn’t given to her by her fiancé. In the end they don’t resolve the argument but just buy a new ring. As this main plot chugs along and eventually runs out of energy the B story doesn’t fair much better. Jamal makes mention early in the episode that he’d always wanted to be a lounge singer. Coincidentally enough two scenes later the whole gang is in a restaurant, the lounge singer chucks a fit and leaves, and Jamal gets his opportunity to live his dream.
Stepping in behind the piano, Jamal is accompanied by the crazy, single Kita who sings some out of tune nonsense songs that are so terrible they’re supposed to inspire laughter. Instead of just one song and moving on to another gag Let’s Stay Together continues this joke in three separate scenes of Kita belting out yet another terrible song. Just as with the main plot, this story isn’t so much resolved as ‘ended’ when they find out people were making fun of their terrible performance on the internet. Jamal reads out the comments, one which of which reads “I didn’t think it was possible to suck and blow at the same time.” (I wonder if The Simpsons got royalties from Let’s Stay Together lifting their joke almost word for word.) Jamal then just gives up on his dream, presumably so he can have a wackier dream that he attempts to pursue next episode.
Let’s Stay Together features some charismatic actors forced to deliver painful material (including this low point: “girl, I signed up to be a bridesmaid not an old maid.”). The show just stops part way through the episode as if it ran out of steam and the writers couldn’t be bothered thinking up a third act. They let the show build up into nothing and then just run the credits. The misguided relationship comedy of the main story and the broad shenanigans of the secondary story are given no pay off. They’re just left sitting there. It ultimately leaves Let’s Stay Together feeling not only unfunny but also half-finished.
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?
For more on Let's Stay Together go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let%27s_Stay_Together_%28TV_series%29
· Date: Sun February 27, 2011 · Filesize: 41.6kb, 79.3kb · Dimensions: 1024 x 764 ·
Keywords: Let's Stay Together Cast