I’m not sure what you were up to at 2 a.m. last night — my guess is sleeping — but I was up. Issa Rae’s reality series The Sweet Life: Los Angeles returned for its second season on HBO Max on Thursday night (August 4), and to my surprise and glee, came back with a bang. It rolled out four episodes to help me catch up with my favorite twentysomething Los Angelinos. I was excited — and then I quickly became stressed.
I was reminded pretty quickly of how fast this group can get catty, petty and overreact about small pickings and how sometimes those misunderstandings can end in explosive ways. Like one cast member calling the boyfriend of her best friend everything but a child of God.
It all started when the ladies, led by show lead and event planner Tylynn Burns, and her friends Amanda, Rebecca and Briana, decided to confront fellow cast member P’Jae Compton about comments he made about the ladies following the cast’s “Group Chat” or reunion last summer. He felt attacked by the women at that event. They called him out for behavior displayed at an overnight birthday celebration for Tylynn in Palm Springs that ended in plenty of drama — much of which he was blamed for. So during the radio interview, he said just that, and noted that he didn’t know where things stood with the ladies. It wasn’t anything really messy or mean to me.
The group just happened to be listening in though and took his comments as a slight, saying he was mentioning them (though he didn’t name anyone in particular) but not speaking to them directly about how he felt. So at Briana’s event for her Buttrd by Bri body care line, they felt, for some reason, that it was the perfect time to speak to him about it.
But of course, four people confronting one person rarely goes well. P’Jae felt that once again, he was being ganged up on, and that he deserved as much of an apology as the women felt they did. Watching from afar and feeling like P’Jae was a man on an island alone, Amanda’s boyfriend, Rob, a transplant from Chicago making new connections (including with P’Jae), stepped in. He jumped into the conversation to tell the women to allow P’Jae to talk. Things quickly went sour though, with Tylynn telling him to swiftly “get off of P’Jae’s d–k.”
Offended, he called out what he felt was an issue — that when people don’t agree with Tylynn about something, they’re automatically “anti-Ty.” And after that, she snapped. Tylynn would hit below the belt multiple times, telling him “F–k you,” calling him a “weak a– ni–a,” saying that he would “wake up and regret this,” and that he was “dead to me.”
It was extreme.
But even more disturbing in that moment was that Amanda said nothing about it. And I mean, Rob is not like a new “little” boyfriend as the elders say. He and Amanda are in a pretty serious relationship, and at the start of Season 2, they’re getting ready to move in together. I was astounded by the fact that when she wasn’t standing there with the “WTF” face, her focus was on getting Rob out of the venue (for the record, he didn’t respond to Tylynn with the energy she directed at him) and not on the BFF talking to her partner in a pretty ugly way in front of everyone.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen something like this happen on reality TV. Nene Leakes told former bestie Cynthia Bailey’s ex-husband Peter Thomas to “stop acting like a b—h” on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta. And even on shows without predominately Black casts, like MTV’s Siesta Key (yes, I watch that too), main character Juliette’s best friend sat silent while that woman’s boyfriend brutally accused the TV personality of using his friend for money and opportunity. I blame all the drinking these people do for these cringe-worthy moments.
But it doesn’t just happen on TV. People are generally not good at creating boundaries between their partners and their pals in everyday life. Still, things you wouldn’t allow yourself to say to your significant other or friend, your best friend and boyfriend shouldn’t be allowed to spew. And as Amanda’s co-stars stated, a slight against one’s partner is, in a sense, disrespect to that person, too, whether they realize it or not. When you choose to love someone, it’s almost like they’re family and therefore even when you don’t agree with everything they may do, you don’t let people drag them through the mud because they’re an extension of you. And same for your best friend. They too are like family, and you shouldn’t allow a romantic partner to disrespect them either.
If that scene could have been redone, it would have been great to see Amanda halt both parties as their energy got a bit more, let’s just say lively; letting them both know they were they stepping out of line and needed to cool off. That way, sides wouldn’t need to be taken but drama could be quelled before it had a chance to escalate.
In her defense though, as later scenes would show, Amanda claimed that she never comprehended the things Tylynn was saying. Perhaps she “heard” them, but in a panic over the fact that her best friend of more than 20 years and boyfriend she loves were at odds, she may have shut down. The good news is, once Amanda was made aware of the comments directed at her boyfriend, she handled things well. She spoke to both parties and let them know they were both at fault, which was true. While I do respect what Rob was trying to do, he could have come into the conversation calmly to help the group of ladies see that they were jumping on P’Jae. I respect how he handled things after that, but he didn’t approach the situation initially as a peacemaker, which created more tension. And yes, Tylynn was completely out of line. Just last season she called out her good friends over perceived disrespect to her boyfriend (a disrespect she wasn’t there to see), so to act that way directly to her best friend’s boyfriend was a bit hypocritical.
Amanda allowed them to see both sides while also listening to the ways in which her man and her bestie felt mistreated. She even called out full-on foolery, which was refreshing to see. In the end, Rob may still feel a little burned (that Amanda doesn’t defend him enough, which can be debated), but she was able to bring both parties together to talk. Apologies were offered, and steps were able to be taken to move forward. She didn’t handle things in the best way in the moment, but she handled them perfectly in the end. She showed that you don’t have to pick sides when your friend and your boyfriend have a major disagreement or misunderstanding, but you do need to hold both parties accountable, in a respectful way, so it doesn’t happen again.