For starters, this series is a reboot of Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It” film that debuted in 1986.
I stumbled across “She’s Gotta Have It” on Netflix about a month ago and binge-watched the first season in two days. I really enjoyed the idea of it, but the series only piqued my interest on a surface level, and here’s why…
Nola Darling is our main character and protagonist. She’s somewhat of a free spirit, super artsy and completely wingin’ it. Nola is a 27-year-old sex-positive, polyamorous pansexual and artist, sifting her way through life.
So, Nola has three main love interests. There’s Mars Blackmon, Jamie Overstreet and Greer Childs. We also have Opal Gilstrap, a single mother, as well as Nola’s part-time lesbian lover, but we’ll discuss her in a bit. Each of these individuals bring a different part of Nola Darling to life, and that’s why she spends an equal amount of time with them all.
First, there’s Greer, the over-the-top metro-sexual and possibly even gay, guy. Nola is attracted to his spontaneity. Then, we have Mars, the token Brooklyn resident, who makes Nola laugh until her sides hurt. Lastly, we have Jamie, the older, married, ex-hood-turned-businessman headass, who cares about Nola in a way no one ever has.
Nola’s character is definitely a little selfish when it comes to sharing anything other than her “lovin’ bed” with her men. And, as a change of pace from the typical storylines, Nola is not involved with any of her men in hopes of it becoming something longterm. In fact, it seems she could not care less about how any of the involved parties feel as long as she gets what she wants. They, on the other hand, are all anticipating for Nola to one day give up her options and choose them.
That never happens, by the way.
Anywho, I really enjoyed Nola’s sexual freedom, as it is frowned upon by most of society for a woman — especially a black woman — to embrace and act on such things. Though Nola’s character lacked depth, I still feel like I understood the message Spike Lee attempted to portray.
There’s an emphasis on attempted, because it seems the men of the series had more backstory than Nola. Nola’s group of friends, as well as her lesbian love interest, all lacked that character development we really needed to fall in love with the series as a whole. Her friends were there, but only because they needed to be to complete the story; her friendships didn’t actually add any value to the plot.
I absolutely did not like how Spike Lee dismissed the lesbian relationship Nola and Opal shared. In the series, Nola only saw Opal when she was taking a break from her male roster, or needed that stability and comfort only Opal could provide. It’s almost as if he doesn’t consider anything outside of a heterosexual relationship, valid.
Not cool, Spike.
So, eventually you find yourself asking what is it that Nola Darling has to have? And, there’s really no answer to this question, which makes the series that much more pointless – unless IT, is sex…and that’s just kind of meh.
Backstory: Nola struggles to make ends meet and get her art off the ground the entire season; she can barely pay her rent and is just all over the place. Even as the series concludes, there’s no inkling as to what this IT is, or even a glimmer of hope that Nola might have an idea as to what it is.
Frustrating and unfulfilling, to say the least.
In conclusion, I did enjoy the overall idea that women can enjoy sex just as much as men, and can also have a variety of partners without being labeled a freak, a sex addict, a ho or the property of one man. Let’s be real, guys do it all the time. So, seeing this storyline from a woman’s perspective is great. If only it had been executed as well as we all imagined and hoped.
Have you watched? What did you think of the series? Let me know!