One year ago, Brandy attended the Season 4 premiere of The Game and walked away with one thought.
"I was like, 'This is a fantastic show. I would love to be part of something this smart and this amazing and relatable,'" she tells TVGuide.com.
So surely she must've reached out to BET and producers, right? Nope! "I was busy with other projects, but then they wanted me to read for this character. But the timing was so weird because I didn't really have time to prepare. Then they said, 'We're just going to give it to you!' I was like, 'What?!' So the moral of the story is, don't take initiative!" she jokes. "This all just happened by chance."
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In her biggest TV role since Moesha ended 11 years ago, Brandy will recur on Season 5 of the comedy as a spunky bartender named — wait for it — Chardonnay who romances the newly single and slightly heartbroken Jason (Coby Bell). But it's anything but love at first sight for these two. For one, they don't exactly get off on the best foot, as seen in the sneak peek below.
"He's a football player, so he's arrogant and egotistical, and she's feisty and can stand up for herself, and they butt heads. But he puts her job in jeopardy, so in the beginning, she definitely has an attitude toward him," Brandy says. "She was saving up for a special dream that will be revealed later in the season and he takes that away from her, so she hates his guts. He tries to make it up to her, but she's not having any of it."
That is, until, Chardonnay finally acquiesces, and their alcohol-fueled make-up session turns into, well, not a make-out session, but something much more complicated. "There's a very interesting twist, and this one night ends up bonding them," Brandy says. "She starts to see how charming he is and she starts to look past the façade of who Jason Pitts is. She sees that he really is a gentleman and just needs somebody to put his ass into place! That's all he needs! And she's absolutely that person to keep him in check. She's sassy and she's not fazed by his fame or anything."
Still, their road to romance will be slow and steady. After having a heart to heart, Jason and Chardonnay will become close friends first, which Brandy says is necessarily for Jason, following his divorce from Kelly (Brittany Daniel) and breakup with Camille (Stacey Dash). "Any good relationship needs a good friendship [as a foundation], and they will definitely have that. You'll see them connect and embrace each other."
The singer/actress — who is working on her sixth studio album, scheduled for a spring release — hopes The Game fans will welcome her to the show, which they helped resurrect from the dead two years ago. And even if fans aren't keen on Chardonnay right away, perhaps they will warm up to her — like Brandy did with her name.
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"It took me a minute to like it. I thought it was so ghetto. I hated Moesha too at first. But I think Chardonnay is such a cute name now," she says. "I'm excited to see what the fans think of her. Jason and I are having so much fun. The chemistry was just magical, so I knew our characters together were going to be something special. That's my homeboy now. We sing on-set, we laugh and crack jokes. I hope fans will like Chardonnay and Jason together, and they can feel what we feel when we're playing the characters. Those Game fans are very protective of their show!"
Brandy, who's appeared on Dancing with the Stars, 90210 and Drop Dead Diva the past two years, is attached for 11 of the 22 episodes. Although she hasn't yet heard about returning for the sixth season (if there is one), she would "totally" be up for it — hopefully as a regular. And if it doesn't happen, it's onto the next, preferably long-term TV project.
"I told them they might as well make me a regular!" she jokes. "I would love to come back. Chardonnay is such a fun and different character than I've ever played before. But everything is a step toward my goal, which is to have a show of my own. ... That's definitely a dream of mine. That's why I've been doing shows like The Game — really smart, incredible shows that people can see this is what I want to do. Hopefully, they saw it with Drop Dead Diva and 90210. This and music are stuff that I love. This is what I'm used to — doing both at the same time. It's good to be 32 and getting back into what you love and reinventing yourself. I haven't had this much fun since I was kid!"
Season 5 of The Game premieres Tuesday at 10/9c on BET.