Written by Jihan Dempster
Primetime favorite Brandy Norwood returned to television last night in all of her grandeur as the sassy-mouthed Zoe in the BET Sitcom Zoe Ever After. Growing up a sitcom star, we’ve seen Brandy progress from teen character Moesha in the drama-filled Moesha, love interest in 2000’s series One on One, the ruthless tongue bandit Chardonnay in hit series The Game, and now, Zoe. Zoe is a well-collected, recently divorced mother of one, who has a tongue sharp as a knife and a sarcasm sour as a lemon.
The episode begins with Zoe’s doorman awkwardly trying to shield her from entering her apartment with her handsome date. Unbeknownst to her, in mid-lip lock, Zoe’s ex-husband Genesis (Dorian Missick) is playing video games with her son Xavier (Jaylon Gordon) on the couch. With her former spouse is a notable football star, her date becomes engrossed in stirring up conversation with Genesis and swiftly gets thrown out. Throughout the seen we are made aware of the existing conflicting relationship between both Zoe and Genesis. They often joke about their position in each other’s lives. Being that they are only separated at this point and aren’t completed divorced we are made to think there is some type of promise in their reconciliation. Successful co-parenting is made prominent in the series and it gives us a new view on the typical sitcom family. They are dysfunctional but their lives are so syndicated that you would assume the pair were never even married.
Continuing the night of comedy, we are given an overview of Zoe’s work environment. Her rambunctious demeanor is complimented by her two best friends who assist her in running her cosmetics business. Supporting characters Valente (Tory Smith) and Pearl (Haneefa Wood) who are less than moved by Gemini’s presence ginger the perfect mix of comedy and flamboyance to the cast keeping all conversations light, no matter how heavy they may be. It is here that we also see the nature of co-parenting. Genesis openly flirts with and entertains several women in the light of both Zoe and little Xavier’s presence. They argue about their split. Genesis seems to be boasting a stance of power since he funded Zoe’s company and business. In the midst of their argument, they lose Xavier.
For the pilot for the upcoming season, this episode covers dating in the modern age, heavily referencing and highlighting sexting, the infamous online dating world, as well as what it means to be a parent in the digital age. It successfully juggles this new found life as a woman in the digital age, regaining agency as to the end of the episode, it connects viewers to intimate experiences that they might be able to touch upon in their own daily conversations.
Understandably, there might have been pressure to create the episode with an excess of comedic relief to keep the conversations going, but I feel like in upcoming episodes this can partially be cut out. We really see another side to Brandy as an actress and comedian which I think is a great addition to the production. The casting is perfect for the sitcom and hopefully it will learn to successfully juggle comedy and the real life scenes that they touch as this newly single female develops into her own. A bit of foreshadowing in the last scene, when Brandy has a touching moment with her son, vowing to always be there for one another, I’m on board to give the next episode a fair shot.