Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Review: Harlem Heights -- Good start, but not great


Harlem Heights, BET's latest "reality tv" series, is the show everyone has been waiting for. 

It's a positive show that will follow eight 20something African-Americans who all live in Harlem. These individuals are go-getters, movers and shakers. For the most part, they appear to be much better role models than we've ever seen on BET's programming.  By far this show, which debuted on Monday, is much better than College Hill, the reality show that [in my opinion] failed to capture the essence of a black college experience.

Harlem Heights [or HH] is an excellent effort to give people what they've been dying and asking for -- a positive show that depicts young blacks trying to do the right thing. But is that really entertaining?  To be honest, not really.  The first two shows really didn't include any heated drama or anyone getting involved in an sexually-charged moments. It was pretty boring in that sense. Not saying that's a bad thing...I'm just stating what we didn't see.

On the first show, BET captured the buzz around the 2008 election and how these characters celebrated the historic victory.

Leading up to Barack Obama's win they engaged in conversations with each other about what this election meant. It was good solid conversation. However, it seemed heavily scripted.  But that's no surprise for reality TV.  I just expected this show to be a little different.  


One of the characters, Jason, is a father of a young daughter and he had a conversation with her about the importance of an Obama victory.  I thought it was a good moment for the show, but it just seemed very scripted and not really too believable. Nice try though.

The second show was a little less impressive.  The show was brought down by the phony beef surrounding two of girls on the show.  



One of them, Brooke, was identified as the ex-girlfriend of Kanye West. Smh. Well, it turns out the two girls used to be friends and then they drifted a part from each other. Then they tried to work it all out at a birthday party. Really??  C'mon, we gotta have better story lines than that!!!


I thought Landon's character is a great example of a young black man on the rise. He talks to his father about his future. He speaks to youngsters in the community and really seems to be trying to make a difference. 

I also have to make quick mention of the fashion in the show. It was clear stylist June Ambrose was hard at work making this cast into an upscale dressed bunch that would have youngsters trying to copy-cat their style and swag. The girls looked great.  Hands down.

Overall, the first two episodes leaves you wanting much more. I think it has great potential. I hope to see much deeper story lines and some more believable moments. The narration throughout the show also made me feel like I was watching Moesha. Remember that?  LOL. 

Bravo to BET for taking a step in the right direction. But for right now the show is good, but not quite great.  It's definitely about time we have a show that we can be proud of. I hope that this is it. It kind of reminds me of my friends and I. Hopefully others can see themselves in this show and more importantly, hopefully this will inspire youngsters to see that they can be more than sexy video vixens and paper-chasing rappers. We'll see how this all plays out. I'll definitely be watching... 

What does everyone else think???


10 comments:

trixie said...

i agree with just about everything you said. love the fashion, wish the girls didn't have so much makeup on. it was distracting and they are all clearly beautiful without it. i will continue to watch.

M Feenz said...

yeah...i peeped the makeup overload as well...

ima6ftbeauty said...

While watching the show i frequently thought " what is the point in this show?" i thought the story was line weak and the first two episodes failed to grab my interest to be a devoted fan or to watch weekly. i thought the girls were so uppity and bourgeoisie and i couldnt relate. they tried it with the phony beef btw ashley and brooke...as a whole it was dry and BET needs to come up on their shows and find a healthy medium btw this madness and college hill.

M Feenz said...

ima6ftbeauty, i couldn't agree with you more...i don't know who is doing these story lines, but they need some improving if this show is going to succeed. there are ways to captivate viewers in less than 30 minutes...but stuff like we saw last night isn't going to cut it.

Ferdz said...

Um yeah...so maaaybe I'll watch another episode or 2 but I wasn't impressed. I agree with the June Ambrose props cuz I was definitely loving the fashion, though I'm sure they don't wear on a day to day basis. But I couldn't relate to any of these ppl. As my homegirl N Harlem would say from Stoopidfreshmind.com....WNBMF - Would Not Be My Friends. Definitely felt the bourgeoisie-ness...but still trying to comprehend everyone's grind. The whole time I watched it, I was picking out the script in my head like okay I see the stories here, though it's "unscripted"...and sorry, but it was weak for me. I can give you more interesting and compelling stories with 7 of my friends here in NY. But I am happy that BET is moving towards the positive route, and for that reason, I do support the show. I guess we can consider this baby steps.

Ferdz said...

Wait I take that back...SOME of the people are relatable to me (like Landon)...but there's a lot of phoniness in the air that I didn't like (like Brooke and Ashlie). So I found it to be not genunine as opposed to relatable, which can turn you off to the show. Hope it improves though.

n.harlem said...

Oh Lordy, I need to see this.

I hate to see "us" in scripted reality shows. Yeah, sure, LC and Audrina can do it on "The Hills" and "The City," but I cringe every time I hear scripted foolishness on Baldwin Hills (and though it hurts my heart to say, "Daddy's Girls").

I shall be tuning in to the re-runs. Sadly, my favorite BET reality show is the one that stars Keyshia Cole. If only its broadcast were restricted to black people over the age of 21, who would enjoy but not incorporate the foolishness into their lives.

ElHafiz78 said...

I think it was a step in the right direction for a channel has had misstep after misstep and let's see if they can improve and see where it goes.

thescreenwrite said...

LMFAO! First of all, I don't know how this guy MFEENZ can sit up there and say that Harlem Heights is better than College Hill when he posted his blog March 3rd but College Hill South Beach didnt even debut until March 23rd? So how would he even know yet. Then he had the nerve to say the first two Episodes of Harlem Heights didn't include any heated drama or anyone getting involved in an sexually-charged moments, then he said it was pretty boring. Well, this season (so far) college hill has had all of that and more but yet Harlem Heights is supposed to be so much better than College Hill? You should watch it first before you make comparisons like that. But everybody has their own opinion and I guess I’ll just have to respect that but In the meantime, I'm gonna continue to watch College Hill, and you should continue watching Harlem Heights since you feel it's a better show. LOL

thescreenwrite said...

LMFAO! First of all, I don't know how this guy MFEENZ can sit up there and say that Harlem Heights is better than College Hill when he posted his blog March 3rd but College Hill South Beach didnt even debut until March 23rd? So how would he even know yet. Then he had the nerve to say the first two Episodes of Harlem Heights didn't include any heated drama or anyone getting involved in an sexually-charged moments, then he said it was pretty boring. Well, this season (so far) college hill has had all of that and more but yet Harlem Heights is supposed to be so much better than College Hill? You should watch it first before you make comparisons like that. But everybody has their own opinion and I guess I’ll just have to respect that but In the meantime, I'm gonna continue to watch College Hill, and you should continue watching Harlem Heights since you feel it's a better show. LOL