Too $hort Retires His Player Card on VH1's Couples Therapy
After seven weeks of sifting through the eye-rolling antics of teenager Courtney Stodden and her 52-year-old husband Doug Hutchison on VH1's Couples Therapy just in order to get two-minute glimpses of the far more genuine explorations of Oakland-reared rapper Too $hort (aka Todd Shaw) and his on-again, off-again girlfriend Monica Payne, the latest episode finally centered on our rap hero and the woman he wants to call his own.
monica-payne.com Too $hort and Monica Payne.
It was a shock to see $hort on this show at all, since he's spent the past quarter-century perfecting the image of a callous player, declaring the lifestyle with album titles like Born to Mack, $horty the Pimp, and Married to the Game. But at age 45 (and following an eye-opening Internet scandal earlier this year), he feels it's "time to man up," as he tells the program's counselor Dr. Jenn Berman, and put his player card down for Payne.
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The positive impact of this therapy process on $hort is palpable, because he didn't start it as a fully willing participant. In one of their two-minute cameos a few episodes back, he tells Payne that they're simply there to explore how to have healthy relationships in general, and that she shouldn't expect him to sell her dreams and be with only her after it's over.
But on last week's show, a change in motion began to appear. He thinks the age gap between Stodden and Hutchison is as creepy as everyone else there does, but he tells Payne that watching them makes him realize how he must come off to others as a 45-year-old man going out to dinner with 19-year-olds. He doesn't like how it looks.
By this eighth episode, he has appeared to abandon his fear of committing to her altogether. They're given time for a one-on-one date, so they take what ends up being a really romantic gondola in Redondo Beach ("Gondola Amore"). In the exchange that follows, his change and focus is evident; he wants to spend his life with this woman. When he tells her that he isn't running game, his happiness at being unguarded (perhaps for the first time) and letting go of his worries is visible. It's a very brave moment to be captured on television.
Moving forward, it will be compelling to see how Todd Shaw manages his personal life versus his Too $hort persona and how it might reflect his artistry. He may be growing up and settling down, but he's also growing the biggest set of balls right now, bitch!