R.I.P. Girlfriends (Sept. 11, 2000- Feb. 11, 2008)

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It’s over.

Eight years of love and fights, boyfriends and husbands, lovers and friends. It’s official from the CW Network that Girlfriends, the longest running show on the channel, has been cancelled – without fanfare and without a proper season finale.

The last show aired Feb. 11, and most didn’t know that it would be. According to the network, to produce a series finale would be “too expensive.”  And Girlfriends isn’t worth this? In the grand tradition of African-American sitcoms without a deserved send-off, such as Half & Half and Living Single, Girlfriends seems to be quietly hushed off the air. It makes no sense.

In honor of their eight hilarious, thought-provoking and sometimes sad years, I’ve compiled a list of eight moments in Girlfriends history I loved:

Toni gets chlamydia: This episode took the cake. It seemed like the first time an African-American show, particularly with an all-woman cast, talked openly about having a STD. The women are very frank about discussing this issue, especially Maya, who responds in her famous catchphrase, “Oh, hell no!” Toni learns she has chlamydia, which she got from a sexual partner who was not her boyfriend, Greg. Toni encourages Greg to get tested, but discovers he doesn’t have it. Very refreshing. (Season 2)

Joan and Toni Fall Out: Too much drama ensues when Joan breaks off her long-time friendship with Toni – more than once. It goes wrong when Joan tells Toni’s boyfriend, Greg, about Toni’s engagement to another man. Then Toni sleeps with Joan’s boyfriend, Sean, for revenge. Joan sees a therapist; Toni barges in on her therapy sessions. It just goes on and on. But they always manage to find a way back to each other (even when you’re not sure why). Their friendship is real because we all have a friend like Toni, as much as we hate to admit it.

Maya writes “Oh Hell Yes”: From a D+ graded class essay, Maya turned her thoughts into a best-selling book, “Oh Hell Yes.” It’s a motivational thought piece filled with her wisdom and ghetto speak that she originally sold in her cousin Ronnie’s hair salon. With Ronnie’s help, Maya eventually gets a major publisher interested in the book and receives a $25,000 advance. It leads to a three-book deal and Maya finally quitting her job to become a full-time writer. (Season 4)

Joan confronts Reesie: In one of the more memorable “serious” episodes, the girls’ college buddy, Reesie shows up. Apparently Joan is shocked that Toni and Lynn are still speaking to her after Reesie steals Joan’s boyfriend, Brian, all those years back. Joan is still bitter and holding on to her grudge, but soon changes her mind once she finds out Brian gave Reesie AIDS. Instead of being mad, Joan realizes she’s lucky because that could have been her. We find out four episodes later that Reesie has died. (Season 3)

Lynn’s wigger sister comes to  town: Lynn’s sister, Tanya, visits to celebrate Lynn’s adoption anniversary. Adopted into an all-white family, she was always considered an outsider. Tanya wanted to make sure Lynn didn’t forget her roots and adopts the black culture herself. The girls are shocked at her black mannerisms – except for Maya. But it all goes to shit when Tanya utters the n-word during a Jay-Z song at Ronnie’s hair salon. You know it’s about to be on when Peaches starts waving his hot comb. (Season 2)

Joan and William..finally: After five seasons, we finally get to see Joan and William as a couple…finally. You’d think it was a good idea, but it was disastrous. They were unaffectionate, awkward, and even more disturbing to watch. Especially the episode they were to finally get it on…and couldn’t. So sad, cause in the words of Toni, “You might as well go lesbian if you can’t make it work with William.” (Season 5)

Maya meets Rev. Al Sharpton: True, true and more true. Maya is greeted by Al Sharpton, who is a client of William – and does everything unprofessional in the book to get him to read her book, “Oh Hell Yes.” After asking him whether he relaxes or has a press-and-curl, Sharpton gives William some advice about putting Maya in check; he says he would never have someone with her behavior stand in the way of his progress. Maya is then put on probation by William. (Season 5)

Lynn falls for Sivad: Lynn, the more “promiscuous” of the foursome, meets a poet who is celibate, and tells him she is also. Of course, he knows she’s lying, but the two continue a relationship anyway. Lynn agrees to Sivad’s lifestyle at first, but it becomes apparent that she can’t handle it when she continuously asks him for nookie. It ends, when, after nine months of not getting any, Lynn finds out exactly what “the thing” is Sivad’s been hiding. (Season 4)

Honorable mention also goes to Toni for never remembering the name of Maya’s son, Jabari (Jumanji, Gymboree, Jujubee, Jabooboo).

I will miss Girlfriends and I only hope it’s going to get the finale it deserves. A clips show is not enough to say goodbye to four friends I truly felt were my own.

If you want to do something to save the show, please sign the petition at http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/SaveTVseriesGirlfriends.

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Like You’ll Never See Me Again

It’s a brand new year — 2008 to be exact — but already I feel like I’ve been through a lifetime during the first three weeks of ’08.

Beginning with New Year’s Eve, my significant other and I spent a quiet evening in a hotel suite, reflecting and just enjoying each other’s company. Both of us laughed about the new year’s superstitions our mother’s taught us (hey, we’re southern), like eating greens will bring you good luck, washing will wash someone out your family, etc. Then we prayed together (the PG version) and then got it on (the X-rated flick)!! I think that can pretty much sum up the night.

I was thinking 2008 was beginning off right. Until the night of January 5

That was the night I was involved in a hit-and-run accident.

I was driving home from a farewell dinner for my sister’s mother-in-law, around 9:30 down a dark highway toward town. As I get about two miles from any gas station or stop light, I see bright lights of a black or dark-colored truck coming closer. He (or she) was driving so fast that I’m worried he’s going to slam into the back of my car. He doesn’t but decides to go around me.

In my mind I’m thinking, Yes, he can go around me cause I definitely don’t want him driving behind me. So relieved, I watch the front cab of his truck go around.

But I don’t see his back. And the rear of his truck, moving at what had to be 60 mph, pushes my car clear off the road. I see myself veering into a pitch-black wooded area. An then I see my car rolling over once, then twice, then three times, with me landing upside down.

I’m still in my seat belt, right side up, trying to figure out how I ended up like this in a matter of seconds. I unbuckle my seat belt, crawl toward the passenger side door, and can’t push it open to save my life. (Funny how we use expressions like that not knowing how true they can become.)

I start to panic, my next thought about trying to get help. I try to locate my cell phone, and after a minute, I grab for it once I see the light of my Bluetooth. I call 911, then my sister. What seems like two seconds later, a sheriff comes up to my car and asks me if I’m okay. I say yes, but I can’t get out.

Minutes later my car is surrounded by a fire truck and ambulance. It takes about five of them to open my car door. Then I’m slid out of the car and given a ride to the nearest hospital.

It all transpired to be a typical night spent on a hospital gurney in crowded hallway, waiting for doctors and ex-rays and paperwork.

Then the sheriff who first saw my turned-over car shows up. He tells me, as a lot of people did that night, that I am lucky to be here. When I rolled over, a pile of brush, and not the nearby pine trees, helped soften my fall.

Alicia Keys’ Like I’ll Never See You Again takes on a whole new meaning every time I hear it.

I could hardly bring myself to write about this, considering some things about the night remain in my mind. Mostly the flipping over again and again…

But I remain blessed beyond measure, cause only it was only the Lord that spared me, and He’s been helping me through the rest.