Three years ago “The Game” premiered to rave reviews on the CW and continues to keep us tuning in weekly with the crazy, dramatic lives of professional athletes and their families. With talk of the CW reportedly pulling the plug on its comedy division, the fate of the show hangs in the balance. As show creator Mara Brock Akil fights to keep her series alive, we reminisce on some of the biggest on-screen moments from the star-studded show.
“The Game” launched as a spin-off of “Girlfriends,” as Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross) welcomed her cousin Melanie (Tia Mowry) to the West Coast, where her boyfriend had recently been drafted. Our fingers are crossed with hopes that Melanie will somehow attend Joan’s wedding on an episode of “The Game,” since “Girlfriends” never got a proper ending.
Derwin’s (Pooch Hall) first year in the league with the fictional San Diego Sabers and Melanie’s stress over medical school brought the power couple-in-training many heated moments in their new lives.
Starting quarterback Malik (Hosea Sanchez) and his sassy mom, Tasha Mack (Wendy Raquel Robinson), share an interesting bond as she fends off prowling groupies with their sights on her eligible bachelor of a son.
“My character is inspired by a dear friend of mine whose son is a rapper as well as the relationship between Malcolm-Jamal Warner and his mom whom I’ve known for a long time,” Robinson said. “I’ve always admired their relationship and how much he adores and respects her.”
Tia Mowry and Jaleel White (formerly Steve Urkel of “Family Matters”) both proved they had made the transition from child stars to adult actors with style, as he guest-starred on “The Game”—sans suspenders, oversize “Revenge of the Nerd” specs and requests for cheese.
Tahj Mowry, Tia’s younger brother and former star of “Smart Guy,” appeared on the show as Cameron, her on-screen baby bro who visited just in time for the holidays on the first season.
Derwin proposed to Mel with a fabulous ring during his rookie season—against the advice of his teammates. Diamonds truly are a girl’s best friend, but the bling wasn’t enough to make Melanie forgive and forget once she discovered Derwin was creeping.
In season two, momager Tasha allowed Malik to spread his wings and seize control of his life, as she found one of her own. She began dating former NBA star Rick Fox, who costars as himself, working at the same sports agency as Tasha until recently.
One of the best things about this show is, you never know which big star will pop up. Lil’ Kim guest-starred on an episode as herself and Malik (Sanchez) made an appearance in her fictional music video.
Serena Williams once made a cameo appearance as an exaggerated version of herself—a tennis player with an attitude. She and Malik were set up as a publicity stunt but her bossy ways ended things sooner than later.
True to “The Game” style, season three kicked off with plenty of drama. Malik began dating Robin Givens, who starred as a caricature of herself. After falling in love, she agrees to marry him for the publicity. The relationship ends just as quickly as it began.
“The biggest epiphany for me has been these players are absolutely nothing without the women in their lives, whether it’s a mother, sister or wife,” said Hosea Sanchez, who plays Malik.
The drama continued to unfold as Melanie learned Derwin’s ex Janay (Gabrielle Dennis) is pregnant, just as the two try to reconcile. The two ladies have plenty to discuss when Melanie visits Janay’s store.
Malik was not excited to learn his mother was dating Rick Fox. But Malik’s discomfort had little to do with his mom’s new beau and everything to do with her losing her gig, while Rick enjoyed a promotion at the agency.
As Melanie tried again to move on from Derwin, friends Tasha and Kelly walk in on her making out with the cable guy, played by Tia’s real-life husband, Cory Hardrict.
What we love about “The Game” is its ability to skillfully tackle real-life issues. Here, Derwin and Janay debate whether a baby is a good enough reason for them to stay together, especially when his heart still belongs to Melanie.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed in hopes that this isn’t the last quarter for “The Game.” Aren’t you? Share your predictions and favorite memories of the show below.