Review: Netflix original series “Being Mary Jane” prevails against skepticism

By Olivia Ewing

While talking about Netflix with a friend, she suggested “Being Mary Jane.” I was a little skeptical at first, but after watching the first episode, I fell in love.

“Being Mary Jane” starts off with a man knocking on a door. He wants Mary Jane, played by Gabrielle Union, to open the door and let him in. The next morning, Mary Jane asks for a sign to let her know if this man was “hers” or not. She then finds his wedding ring on the ground.

Pauletta Patterson, otherwise known as Mary Jane Paul in her career, is a single, black female who is struggling with her family, social life, love life and career. After she kicks the man out of her house, a cautionary claim appears on the screen: “Forty-two percent of black women have never been married.” This is one black woman’s story, not meant to represent all black women.

Mary Jane is a news anchor for the show “Talk Back with Mary Jane Paul.” During her show, she talks about controversial issues focusing on race and gender. She is devoted to her family, who used to be particularly wealthy, but has lost most of their fortune. They sometimes rely too much on her to support how they used to live, which brings up more family issues.

Her social life consists of friends that are well-educated, but do not exactly see eye-to-eye on certain issues. One of the main disputes that she and her friends have is about finding the perfect man. Mary Jane always seems to find men that have a wife or girlfriend and her friends do not support her seeing them. Throughout the series, she debates whether seeing them is acceptable or not.

Since so many controversial issues are brought up during the show, some people have mixed emotions about it. IMDb gave the show 7.7 stars out of 10. Hilary Crosley Coker, who writes for ‘Jezebel,’ wrote a review titled, “Why I’m Already Breaking Up with Being Mary Jane.” In this article, Coker writes, “I wasn’t bowled over by the debut’s busy storyline.”

This review is contradicted by Emily Nussbaum, who writes for ‘The New Yorker.’ Nussbaum noted, “The sequence is at once crass, funny, sad and sexy, a savvy start for the BET drama about a super-achiever with a messy personal life.”

The first three seasons are available on Netflix with the fourth season airing on BET sometime in 2017.

My rating: 9/10.

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