Reality TV is well known for many things, including catchphrases that end up on T-shirts, contestants on competition shows eating eyeballs and testicles for money and men—like the Stallionaires of VH1—who would normally have trouble getting one woman to look their way—inexplicable having their choice of 20.
However, reality shows are also chock-full of opportunities to learn—instances in which viewers have a great example to either learn how to act or how not to. These are called teachable moments.
There were more than a few teachable moments during season 1 of “Basketball Wives: LA.” Tanya Williams and Kimsha Artest were great examples of how to avoid drama. Malaysia Pargo displayed for fans the correct and most efficient way to remove heels before engaging in fisticuffs, and viewers learned that you should always invite a girlfriend along when you’re doing a barely-there, lingerie photo shoot.
However, those were the extra-credit lessons. The main nuggets of wisdom—the ones that will likely stand the test of time—are below.
You reap what you sow: This old adage proved most true in the case of Jackie Christie. The self-proclaimed First Lady of the series—and the entire NBA—started off so large and in charge that she caused former co-star Tanya Williams to flee after only two episodes. The only thing faster than Tanya’s exit was how quickly Jackie found a new target. With her cosigners in tow, Jackie alienated former stripper Draya Michele, going so far as to research her on Google and drag her in front of a firing squad, minus the weapons. After beating that dead horse until PETA was about to appear at her door, Jackie then turned a cold shoulder to Laura Govan, who was supposed to be a friend.
Eventually, Jackie got a taste of her own medicine when the ladies began to compare notes. They concluded that Jackie was the cause of all their drama and literally kicked her off the island and collectively broke up with her.
Don’t believe the hype: Imani Showalter learned the hard way what many likely learned in middle school: Don’t believe everything you hear. The miserably single mom could easily be considered Jackie’s #1 victim, not chronologically, but in terms of the damage done. Jackie nearly ruined the friendship between Imani and Laura by telling Imani all the horrible things Laura allegedly said about her. Jackie was at fault for spreading the rumors, which Laura said were lies, but Imani was the one who believed Jackie’s words as though they were coming straight from the New Testament.
Luckily, Laura and Imani were able to salvage and repair their friendship after they uncovered the truth about Jackie’s gossip. Crisis averted.
Rise above the haters: Arguably, the most impressive display of maturity on the show came from the youngest cast member, Draya Michele. The 20-something was berated, insulted, ostracized and simply hated on by her castmates. Laura even beat her to the ground in a ring. Not such a display of haterade has been witnessed since the days of Jim Crow. Draya wasn’t forced to call her older counterparts “Ma’am,” but they probably would have taken it in stride and thought it appropriate if she had.
However, she just kept her head up and remained smiling. Although she said some pretty hilarious things about her co-stars in her confessionals, she always kept it classy and charming in their presence. To her credit, it worked, and before it was all said and done, Draya had come out on top.
What lessons did you learn from this season of “Basketball Wives: LA”? Share them below.
—Tracy L. Scott