The TV show “Girlfriends” premiered on Netflix earlier this month and fans like me were excited! Best of all? Seeing four beautiful, educated black women navigate their lives in dating, relationships, careers, and personal struggles. I was a child when the show premiered in 2000, so I didn’t understand the jokes then. Now that I’m in my 20s, it all makes sense.
These friends were like sisters, but sometimes sisterhood is toxic. Whether it’s your sorority sisters, your blood relatives, or your friends, it’s not always easy. We see this toxic character in Antoinette “Toni” Childs. She’s been friends with Joan since childhood and “specialize in results” as a real estate broker. She’s fabulous, yet narcissistic, selfish, materialistic, and envious of anyone who does better than her. She is more of a frenemy than a friend.
In the pilot episode, her bad character shows when she dates Joan’s ex and brings him to Joan’s birthday party. She asked Joan if she was fine with it and Joan said yes, yet we clearly see that Joan was upset. This was who Joan thought she would marry, but the man said he wasn’t ready.
Toni only chased him because of his wealth and the gifts he would give her. For six seasons (I’m still binging the show), Toni doesn’t change her ways.
EXHIBITS C thru Z: She blamed Joan for breaking up her and Greg when it was her fault. After that, she seduced Joan’s boyfriend in retaliation. She said Joan was envious of her for getting married, which was true, but Toni was rude about it. Anytime Joan needs support, she never listens to her and immediately wants to talk about herself. Joan needed a therapist to help her realize how Toni takes advantage of her.
Two episodes that really stood out to me on Toni’s narcissism are on season 4 episodes 13 and 14. This time she’s married to Todd –– a white, Jewish doctor, who she bullies with her “short man” jokes. In episode 13 on valentine’s day, she completely ignores him, doesn’t buy him gifts, and wants Joan to be miserable. In episode 14, she ignores Joan’s pleas for help at a charity auction, going to a book signing of a celebrity instead. She never donated to her auction, while the other girls did.
We all have a “Toni” in our lives. What do you do with that kind of person? Cut them out of your life.