My Thoughts on #ShesGottaHaveIt
She’s Gotta Have It is a Netflix TV reboot of the 1986 Spike Lee movie (which I have not seen) of the same name. It tells the story of Nola Darling. A young black woman who is trying to juggle life in Brooklyn. It follows her life with her friends, her career and the three men (and one woman) that she is dating. Well, dating is the wrong word when it comes to Nola, as she is a commitment phobe and does not believe in being exclusive in a relationship. So basically, she is in a sexual relationship with all 4 and they all know that they aren’t the only one she is sleeping with.
There’s Jamie – The older married man who can be a bit uptight.
Mars – the child like sneaker head who adores Nola completely (of the three he seemed the most good for Nola if she ever decided to have a boyfriend. He prayed for her, made her laugh and always came through for her when she needed it. True embodiment of what you need not always coming in the package you want)
Greer – narcissistic model and photographer who screams out his own name during sex
It’s a little difficult for me to convey how I feel about the show as I don’t want to undermine the good parts of it and I don’t want to play down its flaws. I think it was a watchable and even enjoyable conscious comedy. Conscious because it’s blackness was front, right and center and couldn’t be missed. I liked how it touched on totally relevant topics such as street harassment, body image issues while also paying homage to prolific black musicians of old (the show constantly toes the line and veers into pretentious land but I really liked the one episode that had Nola visiting the graves of black musicians past)
I thought about it for a long time and I think I decided what was bugging me about the show and I think it’s the casting. Granted I don’t know what tone Spike Lee was going for but I didn’t feel any of the characters were believable. They almost all seemed like caricature characters playing in a satire and I wanted to turn the volume down.
DeWanda Wise who plays Nola is GORGEOUS. A striking beauty of a woman but I just never fully bought in. Especially during scenes when she was mad. Greer is supposed to be this debonair, suave man and all I kept thinking is when is he going to come out the closet? Everything seemed forced and not fluid. Same could be said of the sex scenes. What was Fat Joe’s character supposed to be? Has his voice always been that screechy? I do have to say I really enjoyed Shemekka as a character.
I am always vocal about why writers make the lead female character on most shows hella annoying and selfish and this was no exception. I found Nola to be selfish which seems harsh considering she was there for Shemekka and Papi their mayor but overall she seemed bratty but I think that comes with still figuring things out and not having any direction?
There were two inconsistencies I noticed that nagged at me – first, when Jamie had this talk with his son and his son one minute was arguing that this generation is different and more accepting of stuff and few minutes later when his son says this is how race is now, his same son says “now? it’s been that way for a while” :/ and second when Nola rails at Jamie for letting her down and she says “I am tired of people like you letting me down all the time!” and I am thinking but Mars has been there for you every single time.
I do want to point out how this show made me pause and think for a moment. Nola is a sexually liberated woman who has no qualms sleeping with whoever and no strings attached. My first thought when I watched was thinking how she seemed like an addict who didn’t want to be alone and she wasn’t truly this free, sexual person. Then I saw tweet that said “Real talk though, she is a ho”. That made me pause and wonder why it was hard for me to believe this was what Nola really wanted but if it was a man, I would have accepted without question.
Another instance was with the episode that dealt with a provocative black dress Nola wore that elicited similar responses from each of the men that insinuated that she was asking for whatever came her way wearing a dress like that. Each time, Nola was adamant as to why she had a right to wear whatever she wanted to and that really made me check myself because before that I think I was on the fence and thinking well you should be able to wear whatever you want but you have to know what comes with it.
Overall, the sub-par acting or bad casting notwithstanding, I would recommend the show. It definitely had its over preaching, pretentious doing too much moments but it’s a good binge show and since it is 30 minutes of 10 episodes, it goes by fast. Also, the show does a cool thing of where for each song it played in a scene (and they were hella dope songs), the album cover would be shown at the end of the scene. That was really cool. I hear the playlist is on Apple so, something to check out if you are interested.
P.S It was kinda cool to see Heather Headley pop up as an actor after many years of being gone. Has she always had an accent?
Fun Fact – The woman who plays Nola’s mom is Joie Lee. Writer on the show and also Spike Lee’s sister. Also, the show’s title music is called “Nola” and is written by Bill Lee – Spike Lee’s dad.
Suits: Season 4 Episode 6
yep i saw that but i didn’t add it as i didn’t think enough people had seen the original to find it interesting enough. She was the one she hugged and Nola kept saying she looked familiar. and yes i agree Nola was selfish. Where did you watch the original?
The original is also on Netflix
I really loved this review as it captures my thoughts perfectly. I saw your tweet that said you preferred season 2 to season 1 and I wonder why.
Also, the scene where Nola lashes out at Jaime for being like other people, I think it’s because she secretly liked Jaime more than her other partners especially Mars? Jaime was more mature & convenient and I think if he was single without drama from his nuclear family, things might have worked out between both of them.
Furthermore, I agree that some parts of the acting was too much but decided that the entire show was satirical. I know it’s a somewhat low-budget show but remember how to show her best friend’s new booty, they used an obvious padding? I think Spike Lee’s intention was to make the characters and acting as extreme as possible so people can easily identify the satirical content but understand how he’s actually touching issues that affect Blacks in the United States.
Maybe I have forgotten how I felt about season 1 but I think I preferred season 2 because I remember having more of a feeling of appreciation after it than I did for season 1. But overall, its so hard for me to categorize this show. Its good but can be so bad at the same time.
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Yaayyy I was waiting for your thoughts :). I definitely agree about the casting for Greer. His voice, mannerisms, etc. were just over the top and not true to the “sexy” character that he was supposed to play. I did go back and watched the original after finishing the series. I feel the other characters were a better, more fleshed out versions of the original casting. I really enjoyed Mar’s character, and I was intrigued with how the plot was going to develop with Nola’s character. I kept debating whether I liked Nola or not throughout the season. I didn’t like how she treated Opal and Mars. I found her to be selfish, but I feel that her behavior is true to where she is at in life. In the moment of feeling broke and hopeless, yell at the person that has been giving you consistent gift and bursts of money when they aren’t able to come through when YOU want them to. I thought the gentrification plot got preachy by the time they made it to the town hall meeting, but it was still a valid issue within the series. I really enjoyed the music, and imagery of the album covers throughout. Spotify has a playlist for the series as well, and it’s so satisfying. I would like to see where they would take the show in the future. I think Spike did a great job of rebooting the story for today’s generation. Oh and another fun fact, the actress that played the original Nola made an appearance in the show. She was at the art show and complimented Nola on her work. She looks really good 30 years later!