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What happened between Joan and Toni on Girlfriends?

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In the 2000 sitcom, Girlfriends, Joan and Toni’s friendship ended during the season six finale, which coincided with actress Jill Marie Jones’ decision to leave the series in 2006.

Overview

One of the most prolific sitcoms to feature an all-female black leading cast is the 2000 sitcom, Girlfriends. While the show did not get the acknowledgement it deserved during its original run, in the years that have since passed, it has been celebrated with its availability on Netflix.

Most of Girlfriends’ original cast stayed on the show until the series finale. However, Jill Marie Jones who played Toni, left the sitcom during the season six finale, after Toni and her best friend Joan, played by Tracee Ellis Ross, had their last falling out.

What Was Girlfriends About?

Girlfriends was created by Mara Brock Akil. The show premiered in 2000 and it took, “A look at the lives, loves, and losses of four different women, Toni, Maya, Lynn, and Joan.”

The women were best friends who were all connected due to their friendship with the title character, Joan Clayton, who first met Toni when they were children.

She met Lynn, played by Persia White in college and she met Maya, played by Golden Brooks, when she hired her to be her assistant.

The sitcom is now considered as cult-sitcom due to the significance of having an all-Black leading cast in the 2000s, which confronted the lived experiences of Black women accurately.

What Happened Between Joan And Toni On Girlfriends?

Due to their long-standing friendship, Joan and Toni had multiple fallouts during the first six seasons of Girlfriends.

One of the most memorable out of all the falling-outs they had, was when Joan revealed Toni’s affair with Greg to her fiance, which resulted in the end of her engagement. Toni then sought revenge by half-heartedly attempting to seduce Joan’s boyfriend.

Nonetheless, their friendship recovered from this falling out. However, this reunion was short-lived, as their friendship met its demise in season six.

This was after Joan failed to make it to Toni’s custody hearing during the season six finale. In retrospect, they might have been able to make amends in the following season, if actress Jill Marie Jones had not decided to leave the show at the end of season six.

Jones’ decision to leave the show marked the definite end of the friendship, as Toni moved away.

Why Did Jill Marie Jones Leave Girlfriends?

Due to their antagonistic relationship on Girlfriendsat the time of Jill Marie Jones’ exit from the sitcom, it was believed that her and Tracee Ellis Ross also had a falling out behind-the-scenes.

On account of these rumours, it was believed that Jones left the show for that very reason. However, a couple years later, Jones dismissed the conspiracies and shared the real reason why she left the show.

She stated that at the time, she was seeking more film roles and following the end of her five-year contract with Girlfriends, she decided not to renew her contract in order to fulfil her ambitions.

When Did Girlfriends End?

Girlfriends came to an end after eight seasons in 2008. Fans were surprised at the abrupt end of the show, as the eighth season left the lives of the best friends open-ended.

Moreover, unlike most shows that get cancelled, Girlfriends still had a steady and dedicated viewership. Which was supported by The CW cancellation announcement, which stated, “This was a very difficult decision for us and was based solely on the considerable cost to licence each episode in an extremely unusual business environment.”

Why Did Girlfriends End?

The statement by The CW, which aired all eight seasons of Girlfriends, was alluding to the Hollywood Writers’ Strike, which took place between November 2007 and February 2008.

The strike affected multiple productions, one of which being Girlfriends. Therefore, unlike other shows that might have been popular with the network and had survived cancellation during the strike, Girlfriends did not, as it was one of the casualties.

This is further emphasised by the fact that season eight was not a conclusive series finale in any way, as the stories of all the characters were left open-ended.

Conclusion

In recent years, Girlfriends has finally received the credit it deserves for being ground-breaking, as it introduced an all-female Black leading cast that confronted the lived experiences of Black women with integrity.

Arguably, its surprise cancellation was short-sighted and anchored on the times of its constellation in 2008.

However, when the leading cast of the show reunited in 2020 for the promotional campaign of Girlfriends’ arrival on Netflix, they put much of the conspiracies to rest.

The biggest of which was the alleged animosity between Ellis Ross and Jones, which resulted in Toni leaving Girlfriends in season six.

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