Bigger is the kind of streaming service launch title that could convince you to add a new monthly reoccurring bill to your budget.
|Vince||Tristen J. Winger|
How It Expands Beyond The Sex Hook
When Bigger begins, the term is used to talk about penises primarily. In fact, multiple times, you see actual or blurred out penises. Yet, once the show believes it has you hooked, it tones down being overtly sexual and switches things up. Thus transitioning the term to more so imply bigger and better things for many members of the cast. Be it Layne seeking more in terms of consistency and having bigger expectations, Vince doing better in his career, or supporting characters like Willy and Liberty having the ability to dream bigger thanks to Layne giving them the opportunity to do so.
The Reoccurring Characters Leave You Wanting More
Usually, being left wanting more is a bad thing, for you feel like the show presented a missed opportunity. However, when it comes to Liberty and especially Willy, that isn’t the case. Starting with Liberty, with her being borderline outrageous, it makes you wonder whether getting more could ruin the magic? Yet, with the way Ko handles the character, there is this sense that by fleshing out Liberty and showing who she is outside of Layne’s shop, she could operate the same balance of funny but still human as the members of the Ride or Die 5.
But, while Liberty has potential, Willy honestly eclipses some of the characters sometimes. How? Well, when you combine Willy’s backstory of being a veteran, add him having PTSD, and being homeless, it creates the kind of character and story we don’t see that often. Especially outside of the indie film world. Then when you add him talking about gentrification and his scenes with Layne, it brings a surprising sense of emotion to a show which largely is a comedy.
Showing What Happens When You Listen To The Women In Your Life, And When You Don’t
The Ride or Die 5 is comprised of Veronica, who is an ace in real estate, Tracey, who is well versed in social media, and Layne, who started her own business and is doing good enough to have an employee working for her. The men? Vince begins the season struggling, working the day shift at a strip club, and Deon lets prejudice acts get a pass for a promotion he doesn’t end up getting in the long run.
Both men are presented with women who are doing well and are willing to advise them on how to do better. Deon, when given the idea of going out on his own from Layne, he rejects this and not only makes an ass out of himself but insults Layne in the process. Making it so he has to eat some humble pie.
Vince, on the other hand, he goes to Tracey and while clearly uncomfortable with involving social media in his work, even doing gigs outside of clubs, strip clubs, or otherwise, listening to her leads to him making $1500 a night before tips. And, in general, compared to a whole lot of shows, women on this program, the Black women especially, while they may not have their lives together all the time, their messy isn’t necessarily over the top.
For half of the season is Layne cheating on her fiancé with a dude who is hitting it in all the right places? Yes. But outside of that, even if you include Veronica going nuts since her former assistant was doing better than her or Tracey flipping out during a reunion show, generally, these women are balanced in ways most shows barely seem to attempt. That is, allowing us to see Black women as professionals who aren’t perfect. But! In the pursuit of showing how they aren’t perfect, not taking it to the point where you feel they are functioning addicts or people who are in deep need of a psychologist.
Layne Being The Type Of Character Who Can Be So Easily Forgiven
Refocusing on Layne, let’s take note that when she cheats, she is cheating on a man who is a doctor, who loves her, and is actually trying to be a better partner. Maybe not as fast as she wants, but considering how Deon acted, Greg trying to do better without a huge argument having to be done says something. So the fact she cheated on Greg and remained someone you didn’t want to write off as trash says a lot about Long’s ability to play a lead character.
Now, as I believe Viola Davis said, just because a woman is a lead character doesn’t mean she has to be likable. However, despite how grimey Layne is, or was, depending on how you look at it, I don’t think you ever can develop feelings of hate or disgust. If anything, Layne, at worst, becomes that messy friend you have.
Plus, taking note of Layne’s history of living her life without getting to really explore what she likes and being chased, a part of you understands why she is trying to have it all by combining the talents of two men. Life’s too short to take the first decent guy to approach you and see if you can negotiate not becoming a Stepford Wife.
Layne x Deon Growing On You
I was not pro Deon and Layne getting together since, while I respected corny Greg’s decision to drop Layne, I was hoping Layne and Reggie would get together. He was a dark skin, heavyset dude, had some edge to him, and seemed like he’d be an interesting match to Layne. But, with time, and seeing their chemistry, and them talking nasty to one another, I learned to love the option I was given. Maybe not some of the “Will they or won’t they?” but with them being friends since college, and the combination of the road trip and college episode, it became difficult not to root for them a lil’ bit.
How Things Ended For Tracey
During season 1, Tracey’s goal was shedding her former image and crafting a new reputation for herself. One that was real, respectable, and gave her a sense of dignity. So for all of that work to be over in a snap, due to some petty producer? The word disappointed comes to mind but is by no means strong enough.
On The Fence
Here is the thing about Greg, like with Reggie, you have to enjoy the two extremes being featured. That is, a Carlton Banks type of character and a hood booger. However, when Greg broke up with Layne, it was easy to support. After all, she cheated on him, and while he seemed to want a housewife more than the kind of woman Layne appears to be, that didn’t justify how he was treated. Also, considering how he treated Layne’s friends, Deon, and Vince in particular, who had limited guilt over knowing what Layne was doing to him, Greg seemed better off.
Hence why his reappearance in the season finale felt a bit unfortunate. For one, it sets up a new love triangle. On one side you have Greg, who is established, financially secure, and safe, and on the other hand, you have Deon, who has no job, will be broke in a few months, and hasn’t been the most consistent guy in Layne’s life.
Then, on top of that, you have to remind yourself that Layne didn’t seem to like Greg because she wanted Greg. What she may have liked about Greg is the fact he chose her since that isn’t something Layne was used to. So a guy with a job, a decent family, and who didn’t seem crazy wanting her? At times, it seemed like being with Greg was a source of validation more than anything romantic or chemistry-related.
So one can only hope, if Greg returns full-time, at the very least they build up that friendship and create some real chemistry. Otherwise, Greg could become a liability.
Veronica’s Storyline Felt Weak Compared To The Rest of the Ride or Die 5
Between her meltdown when she saw Shelley doing so well in commercial real estate, not learning how she and Vince got started, and being one of the few who didn’t necessarily have growth as a character, Veronica seems like the least invested in member of the Ride or Die 5. Which isn’t to say the show doesn’t help you understand why Veronica doesn’t date but instead has a roster and how that bites her in the ass in the end. I’m not saying that. The issue here is, when compared to her peers, Veronica’s journey doesn’t really seem to start until the season finale. Up until then, she is meandering about, maybe dropping bits and pieces of information, but doesn’t necessarily have a cohesive journey to anywhere notable.
The benefit of Reggie is that he gave us a hood booger mentality without the incorporation of urban life. What I mean by that is, on most Black shows, there is a clear line. Either you focus on the middle class and upwardly mobile Black people, or you focus on those who live in the hood and struggle. Based on our viewing habits, outside of The Chi, I can’t say there are a lot programs focused on Black lives that don’t segregate social classes. So with Reggie’s inclusion, it seemed like we were going to get everything from the highly educated suburban raised in Greg, down to the more ear to the street types like Reggie, and perhaps Vince.
Yet, as we sadly learn when Greg ends his engagement to Layne, all Reggie was looking for was some ass. Anything beyond that he didn’t sign up for since he was perfectly cool with being a side piece and the lack of commitment that meant. But hey, considering Reggie was fine with being a ho, maybe Layne dodged a bullet?
Overall: Positive (Watch This)
Bigger, in some circles, seems like something that should have been on BET rather than what, so far, is a very meek streaming service. However, I’d submit shows like Bigger are what more streaming services need, especially if they have an established channel, if they expect people to have a new monthly bill. For whether it is finding a good balance between showing upwardly mobile Black folk, who still can be messy, or having the kind of characters you can rock with through good decisions, bad decisions, as well as their various emotional states, that isn’t something a lot of shows can do. So while, with Bigger over, there isn’t really anything to watch on BET+, I do believe for $9.99, before tax, if you don’t get to complete the season before the trial is over, you’ll still feel it was worth the price.