This week's The Game continues to pile on the drama for everyone involved, to the point where these once-beloved characters are becoming caricatures.

Malik is selling his huge mansion. Not because he's matured and realized he doesn't need it, but because it's another opportunity for him to be whinging and insisting there's nothing wrong with him. Now, this plot development would have made sense if it stood for something. But as we have to listen to "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday," it's hard to feel sympathetic for a guy who brought the situation on himself. We're supposed to feel bad for him because he's moving out of the mansion he's only been in for six months? When I know people losing their homes through no fault of their own, I just can't do it.

Near the episode's end, he has a moment of clarity ("This is my dream. I blew it," he says), but it's not the first time he's seemed to get it and then not gotten it, so I have to admit that I don't believe him anymore. I'll care about his character when he cares about someone other than himself.

Melanie thinks she and Derwin need a date night. "The only reason you want to go to Drop Bar is to mess around with Tasha," Derwin points out. "You already took the woman's fashion show. Isn't that enough?"  But it isn't, as she drags him to the bar and starts mocking Tasha from the moment they walk in the door. "I don't even know who you are right now," Derwin tells her hours later as she's glaring at Tasha across an otherwise empty room like a bratty twelve-year-old. I've said it all season, but I think Melanie's fame has gone to her head, and there's very little left to like about her anymore.

Meanwhile, Jason shows up to work only to find out the network's hired an attractive female co-anchor for his show. Being that the show has his name in the title, he's understandably irritated, but that doesn't excuse the insult he unleashes on Summer (asking her if her great-grandmother "did porn in the 20's"). Chardonnay slaps some sense into him, reminding him that it would free him up to spend more time with his daughter, but Jason just points to his kid's "raging hormones." It's sad that the first time I think Chardonnay makes sense is another time I'm reminded that Jason has become a pretty delinquent parent.

Unfortunately, later on Chardonnay starts picking a bone with him, wanting to know how he's going to handle the situation. This finally makes him snap...but again, it would be more sincere if he'd actually do something to better things. Granted, I'll give him a pass on not dealing with his ex-wife since the actress is unavailable this season, but rather than complain about his kid, he could try being a father. If he's worried about his job, perhaps it's not a good idea to insult the people he knows he's going to have to work with. Yes, he feels threatened so he might be a jerk, but to ask someone if their great-grandmother was a pornographic actress is an exceptionally low blow, even for him.

I hate to belabor the point, but this is the same problem, in a different episode. We've taken a tremendously likeable cast - I've interviewed half of them and found them all to be lovely people - and saddled them with characters that are just not people I want to spend time with anymore. I used to think of these characters like friends, and now I'm not sure I want to be in the same room with them. But because this cast is so likeable, I'm going to hold onto the hope that they're going to come back to the characters we know and love sooner rather than later.

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.