Being Mary Jane / Screen

It’s All Relative: Being Mary Jane ‘The Huxtables Have Fallen’ Review

At work Mary Jane took on the story of Samantha Haven, a thirty-eight year old woman who died in front of her TV and went unmissed for three years before being discovered only after her checking account ran dry.   Unlike some of the other stories Mary Jane’s picked up, this one wasn’t as on-the-nose in its metaphorical connection to Mary Jane’s real life.  Samantha Haven was a moderately successful woman with a fiance and a family, but when she died no one realized it because no one cared enough to come looking for her.  In the end, Samantha Haven was completely alone and remained alone until a filmmaker decided to make her story into a documentary.  Mary Jane, on the other hand fears being alone, and that’s why she persists in her relationship with Andre, apparently operating with a bit of all “better than nothing” philosophy.

“The Huxtables Have Fallen” gave an even deeper look into Mary Jane’s home life, focusing on her relationship with Patrick after he walked in while she was performing oral sex on Andre (in a scene that gave me severe secondhand embarrassment for everyone involved) and recognized Andre.   Since I was a fan of The Cosby Show I can tell you that no one in the Huxtable clan would have been caught in that particular situation, any more than it would have touched on Patrick’s cocaine addiction.  In one episode of The Cosby Show, Claire and Cliff found a joint in one of Theo’s textbooks.  It wasn’t his, and when they confronted him about it, Theo told them so.  Instead of dropping the whole matter entirely, Theo hunted down the kid who put the joint there and made him tell his parents that it was his and not Theo’s. It’s safe to say that Mary Jane and Patrick aren’t exactly reminiscent of the mostly functional, supportive and honest Huxtable clan.

After Patrick called Mary Jane out on the affair, he pointed out that her actions mirrored his as a cocaine addict and allowing Andre, as Patrick allowed coke, to fill  some kind of void in her life.  And she does so even though she has reservations (at least one per episode) about the relationship and has moments where she seems close to breaking it off.  She got irritated with Andre for not fixing a pool light like he said he would, but as soon as he did so, she was sold.  And there was no mention of any lingering tension after Andre ignored her texts last episode because of his and Avery’s reconciliation. 

Part of what’s influencing Mary Jane’s continued presence in her relationship with Andre is her fears of being alone. There was very little to know about Samantha Haven besides the circumstances surrounding her death. Besides this, all that was told was that she had a fiance and a sister who both remained ignorant of her death for years. Whether the distance between them was induced by Samantha in some way was unclear, but it’s hard to imagine Mary Jane ending up like Samantha.  First of all, Mary Jane has a very busy life and numerous responsibilities that people would notice if she missed out on, but the reality of it didn’t keep Mary Jane from experiencing some anxiety over the possibility of her loneliness being so pronounced that her death goes unnoticed for years. 

To help Mary Jane fight off her “cravings” for Andre, Patrick took her to their Aunt Toni’s where everyone is a quirky and average in their livelihood, a far cry from the dramatic lives of Mary Jane’s immediate family.  At Toni’s everyone’s warm and pleasant, if a little annoying in large doses though they mean well.  Toni (Lorraine Toussaint) has obviously been a comfort to Patrick at times, and she has potential to be there for Mary Jane as well but only if Mary Jane, an infrequent visitor at her aunt’s house, allows it (and I hope she does because it’s Lorraine Toussaint!).   Though Mary Jane avoids Toni’s house, she’s undoubtedly loved there.  There are pictures of her on the refrigerator and her younger cousins brag about knowing her because she’s famous.

It was only because Mary Jane’s relationship with Andre took a backseat (at least in screentime shared between the two) that Being Mary Jane was able to introduce Toni and her brood.  It was a signal not only for Mary Jane but for the show: if Mary Jane were to really end things with Andre she could devote more time to this section of her family – or to anything else really.  Mary Jane’s not as alone as she perceives herself to be.  Even if she doesn’t want to burden her already heavily-burdened family with her issues, Toni seemed happy to take some on, and Patrick was equally willing to help his sister through her hard time.

Putting Andre on the backburner also gave Being Mary Jane the opportunity to delve further into Mary Jane’s brother, Patrick.  Formerly a hotshot club owner, Patrick spun out with his cocaine addiction and the closure of his club.   It was nice to see Mary Jane spending some quality time with him, and to see him developed as more than Mary Jane’s money-grubbing brother.  Though he means well, Patrick’s stuck in the same spiral as Mary Jane with his drug addiction, which seems to have been going on for a while considering his unwillingness to go through with his “surprise” party and his pained look when his wife congratulated him on his sobriety. Not to mention his easy access to cocaine in his parents’ house.

Though Patrick isn’t as well of as his sister financially or career-wise, both seem to have it together a lot more than they actually do.  No one’s considered that Patrick may have relapsed.  On the contrary, everyone’s very relieved that he’s doing better.  But at the episode’s end Patrick snorted a line of cocaine while Mary Jane woke up in bed next to Andre.  Neither one of them is able to hold to their promises to stop what they’re doing, and neither is able to admit to anyone else that they’re not in a big hurry to stop anyway.  Though they both gave each other opportunities to be there for one another, neither took the bait because neither one is ready to set aside their respective addictions just yet. 

With Patrick’s new business venture, it’s more likely than not that he’s going to hit rock bottom again before he tries to make any changes, and Mary Jane and Andre are a ticking timebomb.  For both, it’s going to take something huge to make them change, and for Mary Jane, maybe it’ll be her altercation with Avery in next Tuesday’s episode.

Random observations:

  • Lily van der Woodsen turned up to not-so-subtly  threaten Mary Jane’s job if she ever took one of her stories and one-upped it again.  I don’t know what this means for future episodes, but at least Kelly Rutherford is working.
  • It seems like Patrick’s wife had a personality transplant since we last saw her, or maybe Andre’s birthday just had her in a really good mood.
  • Where’s Mary Jane’s other pot-dealing brother?
  • Apologies for the late review.  My Tuesday/Wednesday got a little hectic.

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