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Published:March 1st, 2008 05:59 EST
Goodbye to Old Girlfriends

Goodbye to Old Girlfriends

By LaShelle Turner

Heartbreaking news. The CW network decided to abruptly end the long running half hour comedy, Girlfriends. After eight years and 172 Monday night`s dates filled with laughter and love, this will not be an easy breakup. What`s a girl to do, especially when there are no other prospects waiting in the wings? The lost of Girlfriends leaves an empty space in my love hate relationship with television.  The saddest part is after eight seasons the CW cancelled Girlfriends without giving the show a proper finale. For eight years I welcomed Joan, Lynn, Maya and even crazy Toni into my life. These were women I related to personally on some level. At times, I have a little bit of them all in me. Sometimes I am classy like Joan, materialistic like Toni, ghetto like Maya and a little wanderlust like Lynn.

Not since Fox`s Living Single has a TV show so realistically portrayed black female life in America. When the show ended I got to see my favorite characters finally getting the life they wanted after four seasons. I wanted the same thing from Girlfriends.  I wanted the closure all women want at the end of any relationship, good or bad. As a loyal viewer, I was unceremoniously dumped without any real explanation.  It was worst than when Carrie of Sex and the City got the infamous Post it Note break up from Burger. That it all we get? Not even a goodbye?

I did not see lovelorn Joan finally walk down the aisle in her own wedding. I am left wondering if Maya and Donnell will make it work this time around. Will Lynn really commit to her music career or a man? Will Toni return and her Joan`s friendship reconciled?

LikeYvette Lee Bowser, the creator of Living Single, Mara Brock Akil is a true pioneer in network TV. Both women successfully depicted the lives of African American women as being multifaceted and complex. They showed us its okay for Black women to be choosey when it comes to what you wanted in life. There is nothing wrong with having choices. But there is something wrong when you feel you do not have a choice because you are a Black woman. 

Both of these shows proved black women are not monolithic people. Being a `real` black woman means being the woman you truly want to be. We all have different backgrounds, be it economic, education or culture. We all have our own personal definition of a `good` man. What is Mr. Right for you might not be Mr. Right for your girlfriends.

Like Living Single, Girlfriends let us know it is okay to change your mine. It is okay to switch path midstream. It is okay to get off of the straight and narrow path when you are unfulfilled. What you wanted a few years ago might not be good enough now.

Girlfriends showed us we are not the mythical superwomen society portrays most us to be. The show let the viewing public see our human side. Our true strength lies in our ability to know when we make mistakes and fall from grace; we know how to get back up again. And when you get back up you do not forget how you fell down in the first place. Learning this is the key to success in any career or relationship. Joan did. Toni did. Maya did. Lynn did, sort of in her own unorthodox way. 

Most importantly, both shows taught us Black women could not all be painted with same brush. We are as different as our shades of skin tone. Each of our painter`s strokes is different.  Some live out our lives in vibrant color, while others settle for more earthly tones. 

If network execs are listening, please bring some more women of color to network TV. Girlfriends debuted three years after Living Single ended its network run. That is too long for any woman to be without a good healthy relationship. Lack of diversity in TV roles for black women is obvious. Very few network shows have sexy vivacious women of colors as lead or supporting characters. Our faces are prevalent in stereotypical reality shows, but when it comes down to a dramatic or comedic role we are missing in action. 

I will have to learn how to spend my Monday nights without my girlfriends. Well, at least I have the memories and re-runs.