BET hosted an event for bloggers to promote their season premiere of The Game. I thought that was pretty cool considering bloggers and fans of the show have been instrumental in giving it a second life on television after getting canceled on the CW.
I got a great opportunity not only to talk with the creator and executive producer, Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim Akil, (pictured above with the cast) who also produces and writes for the show, (such a sweet and gorgeous couple), but with several cast members. Coby Bell (Jason Pitts), Hosea Chanchez (Malik El Debarge Wright), and Wendy Raquel Robinson (Tasha Mack) were all thrilled to talk about finding a new home at BET and their experiences on the show.
When asked about his character, (whose still battling with his wife Kelly), Coby Bell, who was really fun to talk to says, “Jason, he’s still an ass.” I asked if his character was still cheap and Bell laughed and added, “He’s more of an ass than the last time that you saw him. It’s so much fun. He’s that guy that crosses that line. He’s a jerk!”
Bell is having a great and rare moment in his career as an actor pulling double duty on two shows, Burn Notice, reportedly the USA network’s number one program, and coming back to The Game. Bell humbly remarked, “I can’t complain one bit. I’m a very lucky man right now, and I’m aware of that. The Game ended and though I loved it, you gotta move on, you know?” Bell went on to explain that the powers that be at NBC Universal were cool enough to let him be on both shows.
I love Coby Bell and think he’s hilarious as Jason Pitts. He’s made that character his own and I’m glad he was able to rejoin the cast of The Game because the show definitely wouldn’t be the same without him.
Chanchez, who laughed when I said his character’s full name, Malik El Debarge Wright, seemed reluctant to offer any spoilers when I asked what we can expect from his character this season. But I let him know I’d done my homework and knew all about his character’s affair with the wife of the owner of the San Diego Sabers (played by Meagan Good). Then he opened up and said this season was going to be all about “affect” for Malik. “You’re going to see the affect of being a young, rich African American male. You’re going to see the affect of him having a single mom, and you know, not having a lot of discipline. You’re going to see all of those results two years later.” (The show skips two years ahead, reflecting the time it was off the air.)
When asked how he felt about filming in his hometown of Atlanta, Chanchez said he felt “good” and has been shown “a lot of love.” And if you remember his story on one of the BET promos that a fan complained he was nothing like his character, her disenchantment was my delight as I found Chanchez charming and personable. It’s so refreshing to speak with someone who’s grateful for the fame and fortune. And yes ladies, he and all of the male cast members are as cute in person as they are on TV! The close-ups don’t disappoint!
Wendy Raquel Robinson
I saved my girl for last! I was so excited to speak with Robinson as I absolutely love this woman. She is hysterical as she portrays the engaging combination of grit and vulnerability of Tasha Mack with the finesse that only a true actor can achieve. And this season, her character has a “cougar” romance with a twenty-something man, played by Terrence J of BET’s 106 & Park. (When I heard Terrence J was cast in this role, I hoped he’d be good. And he was. I envisioned Trey Songz for the part, but Terrence puts in a solid performance. Kudos!)
Robinson, who sweetly introduced me to her husband, (it was so nice to see black love in action!) spoke of her experience playing a “cougar” opposite Terrence J. “He’s been wonderful. It’s like the first day of shooting we had to just jump in there. (We shot the episodes) when we met, we broke up, we felt the love, all that.”
I’d heard that actors have to like their characters in order to connect with them so I asked Robinson how she felt about Tasha Mack. “I love Tasha. I love her flaws, her attributes, her likes and dislikes. I call her my alter ego. I’ve really fallen in love with her,” Robinson gushed. I love Tasha Mack too, as I’m happy the character is written with complexity as a smart, strong, independent woman with a soft side she’s willing to share on occasion.
From what I’ve seen on the first episode of the new season of The Game, we’re in for a hilarious, fun and sexy ride with an impeccable cast that’s only gotten better during their time away. As the cast and crew thank the fans, let’s also thank BET for being forward thinkers and leveraging the power of their platform to revitalize a show the fans wouldn’t let go of.
Will you be watching The Game?