Numb and raw, a single thought consumed me as Thursday night’s premiere of “Sisters in Law” came to an end: I just wasted 45 minutes of my life that I would never get back.
The premise of the show has some potential; it documents the careers of five Black, female attorneys in Houston as they navigate through their professional field. A look into the lives of high-powered, minority women kicking ass in a well-respected profession would be a welcome addition to television, a positive change of pace from the usual mudslinging. Instead, WE TV created a series following the “Sisters” as they “juggle their families, busy careers, and even more demanding social calendars.” It becomes clear that the central struggle of the episode is how much food to order for a socialite fundraiser — and with that, it’s obvious that the show will make no real attempt to explore the world’s injustices.
The series’ attempt at a clever title is the only true reference to the law at all. Perhaps it’s because disclosing confidential attorney-client information is illegal. Still, instead of discussing their legal practices or firms, the women spend the majority of their screen time dissecting their love-hate relationships with each other. However successful these women might be in their off-camera lives, their portrayal on screen is that of little intelligence, egotism and insincerity, completely eradicating any hope of a feminist portrayal of working professionals.
Since the premiere has virtually no insight into the legal system, the episode instead revolves around the backstabbing and finger-pointing that seems to be the foundation of all reality television. In fact, the series was filmed, produced and packaged exactly like an episode of “The Real Housewives.” It even has that awkward intro when each women smiles seductively at the camera as she shifts her weight from one stiletto to the other beside a block-letter projection of her name. From the artificial elevator music added to footage of individual interviews to the heavy hand of the producers’ editing, piecing together segments of conversations for dramatic effect, “Sister in Law” is significantly less entertaining and more depressing than most reality TV. Which is saying a lot.
At the episode’s climactic fundraiser, the group explodes into an emotionally assaulting debate on whether Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. One of the “Sisters” astutely noted, “It’s getting really ratchet.” Yes. Yes it is.
Enough with the catfighting, people! I don’t care if Jolanda is living proof that, “You can take the girl out of the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of the girl.” It’s about time that women stop ripping each other apart for entertaining television and stepping on each others’ backs to get ahead. Women who break through the glass ceiling shouldn’t be stabbing each other with the fallout of glass shards.
Watching “Sisters in Law” was a life-changing experience. I might have enjoyed the occasional episode of “Dance Moms” or “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” relishing in the escapism of a world filled with drama that I will never actually get to see. But on the Thursday night that I watched “Sisters in Law,” I made a vow to never watch reality television again. I’ve wasted too much time already.