There are many things one can do on a cool weekend in the spring, watching Reality TV is not one of them. Given that there’s a lot of things going on with my personal life, I decided to experience what it would be like to be brain-dead for a few hours. Hustle and Soul, which had a short six-episode run on WE TV, has given us a new type of reality television that eats itself and the people in it alive.
Imagine for a minute a cable version of Black and Sexy TV’s Chef Julian; the chef (Lawrence) has a bevy of beautiful women (Sana, Candice, Thandi and Ana) to choose from and be with. Let’s imagine now that this same scenario was set in a soul food restaurant in Brooklyn seeking success making, as the chef consistently says, the best soul food ever. Throw in a ton of arguments, some ultra-violent fights and a hood version of the Brady Bunch “talk” and you got Hustle and Soul.
Let’s be clear; plenty of reality shows have arguments, plenty of reality shows have fights and discussions about why said fights happened and should never happen again. This show, which just finished its first season, seems on auto-pilot for destruction; the staff, aside from Sana and the goofy twins (Dominic and Stefen), seem intent on engaging in relationship power games to the point where one of them twice went WorldStar Hiphop on another employee. You start to feel scared, seriously scared, for the people who get jumped on; during the second fight, which happens towards the end of the season, a dozen people had to get in-between the parties involved and perform a game of twister as a defense move.
If the show gets renewed, which I’m certain it won’t, the security get a big raise (and any other random dudes hanging out in the back who leap out like Superman to stop fights).
You get some random celeb appearances with the likes of Mama Jones from (Chrissy and Mr. Jones) and Angela Yee (part of The Breakfast Club radio show) who decide to come by to see what the fuss is about. Mama Jones baring witness to the drama doesn’t really respond, but Angela politely comes by and mentions that it would be wise not to fight in front of the customers. Yee’s words, which came during the next-to-last episode, were not heeded as another fight in the last episode breaks out after a staff meeting.
I liked the twins. This show didn’t allow them to really do much of the comedy that would keep the show from resembling the worst episode of COPS. One of them even manages to score a kiss from one of the ladies, but somehow the chef-n-chief engages in cock-block mode. Kudos to the twins if they are still working there long after this show ends.
The show has already given folks a bad taste in their moves and will be lead to an early grave along with All My Baby Mamas, The Real Mistresses Of Atlanta and Sorority Sisters. I can hear it now; you don’t say that with the Love and Hip Hop and Real Housewives franchisees. Those franchises are not entirely centralized to one location; both Love and Hip Hop and Real Housewives can pack up and leave if they want to and change the entire case if they want to. Hustle and Soul doesn’t strike me as a show where they have kind of flexibility given that the structure is more about doing the dozens than making food.
I would say that WE TV should re-consider a second season of this show. A second helping of this drama could mean someone ends up killed given the two very scary fights that take place. I’m sure more security will be added for the next helping, but how many times can dudes leap out of nowhere to stop a fight that begins over nothing?
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