Red Table Talk: Season 1/ Episode 11 “Becoming Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Part 1)” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Red Table Talk Season 1 Episode 11 Becoming Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Part 1) - Title Card featuring Will and Jada kissing.
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So much knowledge is dropped beyond the background of Will and Jada’s marriage that you’ll feel like you are in a master class.


Network
Facebook Watch
Air Date10/22/2018
Characters Introduced
HimselfWill Smith

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In The Beginning: Jada, Will, Sheree

Fun fact, Alfonso Ribeiro, forever known as Carlton Banks, went on a date with Jada. Also, he is responsible for… Will marrying Sheree. Making a complicated story short, Will is the type who recognizes a person’s potential, especially in relation to his life, within 15 minutes. With DJ Jazzy Jeff, clicked and that started his career. Alfonso? Clicked and took him to superstardom, with Jada? Hot fire. However, the way it is put, he got sidetracked, thanks to Alfonso hooking him up with Sheree. Thus, Will went through the motions, got married, and was going to stay married.

Mind you, this is even when he got to finally have a real sit down with Jada, thanks to then couple Tisha and Duane Martin, and realized Jada was the one. Only to sit with Sheree, the following day, and realize she wasn’t the one. The man cried over it because, and this is a consistent theme in the episode, divorce wasn’t part of that picture he painted for his life. A life he had a general idea of since he was 5 years old. Meaning, he’d rather suffer, knowing Jada was out there, but be with Sheree, raising Trey, than perhaps truly be happy.

Making the fact Sheree wasn’t happy and filed for divorce, on Valentine’s day, the sweetest present she could perhaps give him. Leading to us understanding why things were weird in the beginning for no sooner did Sheree serve him papers was Will calling Jada and making a quick transition from one woman to the other.

Commentary

YOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I’ve always jokingly said when you get older you stop giving a f*** but it might be true. For the Smith family, while very public, since we’d often see Will’s face and family in pictures, no one really knew much about them. Even with them active on social media, including Will becoming a serious YouTuber, you got this almost glass window effect.

Something different than what we get out of the likes of other Black celebrities. For while Will and Jada seemed ideal, you get it. They would joke around, Jada would sometimes side eye Will when his antics were getting a bit much, but none of it felt fabricated. So with learning how hard Will worked to counter his upbringing and break the cycle, it makes sense why things seem so perfect yet so natural.

But you got to kind of feel bad for Sheree with the way Will talks about their marriage in this. I’m sure this conversation, if not episode, was heard by Sheree beforehand – but damn! Will never meant to talk to her and he was trying to use his hook up to get to Jada. Then, before Sheree even brought up divorce, Will was longing for another woman. Much less, called said woman as soon as he was able to have a clear conscious in doing so! Leading you to wonder, should we consider Will a coward or think it was noble that he truly wanted to honor his vows and try to make it work? No matter what feelings or temptations he had?

And mind you, when I say coward, I am not using that word in a mean spirit way. More so, I wonder if he had this fear of looking like the bad guy in the situation. Since, while not afraid of confrontation now and addressing things head on, let’s not forget the Will at the red table isn’t the Will who existed back in the 90s. At least, not this evolved form. So calling Will a coward stems from him being willing to suffer, go through the motions, with a woman who is a consolation prize while knowing the woman he truly wants is out there. Much less, a phone call away.

After The Divorce: Will, Jada, Gammy, Willow

As noted, Will got his divorce papers one day and was calling Jada in record time, having her fly out from Baltimore to LA, and perhaps that was the beginning of what could have been the end. For the way it seems, Jada was kind of put on auto-pilot. Yes, she maintained control of her career but the more she integrated her life with Will’s by marriage and children, she became Mrs. Smith. Perhaps explaining why that Pinkett is there, in her name. Maybe it is there to remind herself, “I was someone before this huge personality came into my life.” Presenting the idea, even early on, she made that precaution to remind not just the world, but herself that she is more than Will Smith’s wife.

And speaking of huge personalities, as you can imagine, and as Willow shows by her reaction to her dad’s antics, and what he says, Will can be a pain in the ass sometimes. Leading to a serious explanation of how their relationship works. For as much as Will seems like this cool dude, he recalls a moment, while playing Pictionary with 20 people, Jada cursed at him, while Trey was in Will’s lap. He returned her expletive with popping her with a newspaper – mind you, they are dating at this point.

Taking note of that moment, it seems Will realized he may have fought hard to create a perfect family, and didn’t succeed once, but that doesn’t mean he is just going to follow his parents’ blueprint now. So, it was agreed that neither would curse at the other, raise their voice, nor be violent. Which threw off Jada because, well, it isn’t like she didn’t get raised with a certain level of dysfunction. So for someone to recognize they are going down the wrong path, confront it, and want to work on being better, that was something different.

Oh, and when I say work, I mean work. It is noted they took communication classes and the whole 9 yards. After all, they loved one another and when you love one another, that work doesn’t feel like a job. Especially since they were raising kids and trying to do for those kids what their parents couldn’t do for them.

However, one conflict, though not necessarily a huge one, was Jada never saw herself as someone who’d be married. If only because, the traditional expectations of what a wife, mother, and etc didn’t necessarily appeal to her. Remember, Jada has long been used to her independence. So to trade that and be subservient? That would be like drinking a slow acting poison. Which, depending on how you look at it, is what she did.

Commentary

Willow looking to the side about a situation.

Anyone else shocked by the idea of Will hitting Jada? Newspaper, backhand, whatever, I’m trying to imagine this man, who is often seen as the epitome of approachable Black guy, hitting a woman. Especially because she cursed at him. Now, I can understand maybe he had a childhood trigger and that is why he did what he did, but can you imagine the 20 people in the room, watching Will Smith, who was a star at this point, hitting his girlfriend, also a big name actress, and how dysfunctional they must have seemed? They must have thought they were the acting equivalent of Bobby and Whitney, just without drugs being visible.

Which makes you glad he recognized the need to set boundaries, rules if you will. For one of the things Will pushes is that, as great as he is, it is because he knows what he had to do to be great, worked the steps, and accomplished what he set out to be. So, to have this ideal family, he knew it wasn’t just about the external stuff, but internally as well. He and Jada could talk for hours on end, but if in an argument, which would be inevitable to happen, they both from the hood and were raised in environments where negative, not constructive, reactions seemed acceptable – they’d need to learn how to argue fair.

Now, remember, for part of this, they aren’t married yet. On top of that, their whole courtship is kind of weird. Will Smith, this huge actor, called Jada and said you my girl and she said okay. She had a whole new life set up in Baltimore, a rustic sounding one, and this man offered her the opposite and she said okay to it. Also, lest we forget, he is barely divorced, has a child, and as noted in the season opener, Jada is trying to face things head on and stumbling. Can you imagine how crazy it is that this man, with all this power in the relationship, over you cursing at him, he pops you like a dog? Then talks about boundaries and proposes taking classes?

I think we really do have to recognize that their relationship came to be purely because of timing. That and a unique upbringing which, let’s be real, allowed Will to get away with stuff that Jada probably wouldn’t have allowed if her life was different. Maybe would not even go for if they got together, certain things happened, and Will proposed it.

The Shallow Picture: Willow, Jada, Adrienne, Will

So, they have gotten past a very weird grey area between getting together and Will’s divorce. They have gotten past Will, amongst 20 some odd people, popping Jada on the head and going through communication classes. Jada has given birth to two of Will’s kids and they are flourishing. I’m talking, within 6 months, mimicking their parents’ success with the release of Karate Kid and “Whip My Hair.” On top of that, they get to go to the Noble Prize Ceremony and Jada, alongside Will, find themselves being one of the first to talk to President Obama after he wins the peace prize. Not to forget, Will seemingly still has the permission to play Obama in an official biopic.

Yet, despite these highs Will and his family were reaching, Jada was starting to hit a low. Something which confused Adrienne a bit because, again, taking note where she and Jada came from, seeing this splendor would lead one to wonder: What’s going on? Your husband doesn’t beat you, is a good provider, kids seem happy, so what’s up? Well, from the outside in, it seems Jada kind of became the things she never wanted to. She got consumed by wifely duties and found herself lost in roles which she knew would never work for her.

But it seems like Wil woke up to that fact eventually. Partly because, even at 9 years old, Willow saw that she and the family weren’t perfect like her dad wanted. Then, later on, Jada was crying 45 days straight and with her posing the question, if they were alone together on an island, what would they have and Will answering, their own island – it clicked. It clicked he got consumed in the visuals and not actually having a connection with his wife and family. For Jada, it also clicked at 40 that she can’t keep this up and that’s why, in the preview for the next episode, it is hinted they may have taken a break.

Commentary

Jada reflecting back on her questioning why she was so unhappy?
Jada: How could you be so unhappy?

I think there is a lot to say about how making it is seen. Because Will is goal-oriented as he is, it seems making it essentially meant money and material things for a long time. Maybe experiences as well, but it seemed he might have neglected the foundation to his success in the process. He cites Jada holding him accountable, and vice versa, as the reason they have the wealth and platform they have today. So you have to wonder when Jada might have been less so a three-dimensional person and more so a two dimensional part in this dream Will has had since he was 5?

Because, to be frank, it seems like there was a time when Will looked at people to see how they could better him, take him to the next level. Then, to excuse how selfish he was being, he’d do things like building Jada a house. Another display to make it look like, from the outside, everything is fine. Take the famous picture of Will just having his arms out like, “Look. At. This!” With all that is said in this episode, it kind of helps you understand that, whether divorce rumors were true or not, there may have come many times when Jada got tired of the appearance of doing well and wanted to actually feel good about her relationship.

Which, perhaps explaining the 45 days of crying, was hard because, look at that life! As noted, there were times Jada felt ungrateful and while her mother never used those exact words, you know how things can be deciphered when you hear them out loud. I mean, from what we’ve seen of Jada and Will’s life, can you imagine going from working poor to one of the richest celebrities in America? Having houses built for you, kids in private, likely elite, daycare, your mother being taken care of, all this grandeur and yet you are unhappy?

And it makes me really think back to when Jada was talking about losing herself. Considering all the distractions I’m sure Will presented, on top of his personality which probably brightened some days, you can understand why, between him and taking care of the kids, she eventually felt buried. Yet, something snapped in her and, as established in the addiction episode, there is something about women in Jada’s family where, when they are done feeling a certain type of way or maintaining something which doesn’t benefit them, it just ends. Often abruptly, but sometimes it is just them setting their mind on something which leads them to getting back to where they need and want to be.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • People and topics coming up: Toni Braxton, Domestic Violence, Confrontation, Leah Remini, Interracial Marriage, Ellen Pompeo,

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

I have a thing, I recognize when I see a person, if our relationship can be exponential.
— Will Smith

Highlights

  1. Will Smith came to the red table and was as open as Jada was. I’m talking cursing, admitting the type of things, like him hitting Jada, which could have him dragged, and so much more.
  2. With getting Will’s side of the story, a lot of gaps in the first half of the season get filled. Be it questions about Will and Sheree’s relationship, Will’s role in Jada’s depression, as well as why he perhaps was oblivious to when Willow was self-harming, among other things.


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