Mary Jane Returns With A Cracked Face and Career

We have questions. And conclusions.

By Michael Arceneaux

About an hour before the season premiere of Being Mary Jane began, I came across the most hilarious tweet:

It sounds callous on the surface, but it’s perfectly reasonable to many who watch the show. Mary Jane Paul is interesting to watch, but she’s not always the most endearing character.

She’s often rude, can be pompous and judgmental at times, and sometimes, draining as hell. She’s the friend who often comes to you with her man problems and you end up having to start off every response with “Girl.” To that point, if she did die in the car accident, I imagine Jesus would have greeted her with, “Don’t bring that bullshit up here.”

Even so, I’m happy Being Mary Jane is back. The show itself explores what it’s like to be a Black professional or just Black in ways most shows on air do not. And to be fair, last night I actually felt bad for the woman. Let’s gather around and talk about Mary Jane Paul and all her shenanigans.

1. Mary Jane’s friend Lisa is an insecure bird.

Shout out to Mary Jane’s mama, Ms. Helen calling Lisa out by telling her that when it comes to messing around with David, “There are a million penises in this world. You coulda tried them all.” Lisa is not only selfish for doing that, but also forcing herself into Mary Jane’s face so she can try to make an act of contrition. Your friend almost died—partially due to overhearing a conversation about a sexual act your performed on her longtime on again, off again boyfriend—and you’re making it about your guilt. Girl, go the hell away.

I honestly feel if the accident hadn’t happened,Lisa would have thrown it in Mary Jane’s face in the key of Destiny’s Child “With Me (Part 1).” Go away, Lisa. Far away.

Now, her no good friend behavior notwithstanding, when Mary Jane Paul threw Lisa’s molestation in her face, I immediately thought, “There’s that awful woman I know.” They were having some kind of competition to see who was more worse than the other. It’s neck and neck, but they bring out the worst in each
other. Find new friends, y’all.

2. Why would Mary Jane admit she was distracted?

Mary Jane created this blackmail mess herself when she wobbled over to Loretta Devine’s character’s hospital room to not only apology, but cut her a check and write “I’m sorry” in the memo. You finally want to be decent for the first time in your life and this is the option you go with?

Her insurance company has to be cursing her smooth out. By the way, how was Mary Jane walking around like that after major surgery and anesthesia? Is she some sort of superhero?

Wait, no, because if she were fighting crime, Mary Jane would have tipped the FBI about her blackmailing. I guess, Mary Jane. It’s your money.

Loretta Devine was fantastic last night,though, and reminds me about the best aspect of this show: It gives Black women of varying ages characters with so many layers to them. Moreover, even the ones that are more typical of an aging actress – say, the mama—there’s just so much more depth to them beyond that.

4. I’m glad Mary Jane’s brother got her together about David.

I appreciated baby brother telling Mary Jane, “Men like David don’t know how to show up.” Mary Jane needed to hear that. However, I didn’t need to hear that shade about light skinned men essentially being entitled. I consider myself light skinned adjacent, but I was still bothered by the sentiment. Drake didn’t put in all this work for nothing. Leave us/them alone.

5. Mary Jane often talks like a Black Republican.

So, I’ve noticed that Mary Jane is very much one of those Black people who play down the role systemic racism plays in the varying problems the Black community faces. Last night, she basically went shoo-shoo when that issue came up, opting instead to tell people to basically pull up their pants, stop being lazy, and pull themselves up from their bootstraps. In that respect, she’s a typical short sighted middle class Black girl who forgets we don’t all grow up with middle class status and a well-connected daddy in the business world.

It’s a good thing Mary Jane doesn’t often talk that talk with this brand of racial politics on air. Otherwise, she’d be Don Lemon and I’d be watching something else. For that reason alone, I’m kind of not mad about her being blackmailed. That’s what you get for talking down on your folks, beloved.

6. Is Mary Jane a drunk?

We’ve heard this before. Mary Jane’s niece, Niecy, called her out on this last season given her auntie’s house is full of empty wine bottles. Her job is no good for using that against her, but then again, if you’re downing tequila in your office to take the edge of, maybe you should instead try a flask that you hide in your purse and take to the bathroom. Wait. Am I an enabler?

Anyway, when all of this was going on, I did start singing, “She got that gin in her system. Somebody gon’ be her victim.” Hey, Big Freedia.

Until next time, y’all.