African Americans and TVLatest News and Opinion
Posted Wednesday 4/18/18 at 11:16PM EDT
Roseanne's jab at Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat was "a dog whistle so strong that it might have brought Lassie back from the dead"
According to Emily Nussbaum, that one controversial joke about "all the shows about black and Asian families" explains Roseanne. Nussbaum says the joke was a racial dog whistle. If it wasn't, why not target shows about white families like The Middle or Speechless? Is it because those shows are "just like them"? "The jab," says Nussbaum, "was clearly aimed at Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat, comedies that share ABC’s Tuesday schedule with Roseanne. The line establishes a few things. One is that the Conners don’t live in the same America as the Johnsons, from Black-ish, or the Huangs, from Fresh Off the Boat. There will never be a crossover episode—no fun clash, say, between an aging Jessica Huang and Roseanne, on a Conner trip to Florida. Instead, the Conners are themselves bored, alienated ABC viewers, unable even to remember titles, just that these are the 'black and Asian' shows."
- ABC having the No. 1 show with Roseanne hasn't happened since Who Wants to be a Millionaire in 2000
- What is the point of Mary Conner? The one black Roseanne family member is nearly invisible
- Johnny Galecki's return was a perfect metaphor for the revival's messiness
- David being back only made sense in an alternate universe
- Did Barbara Bush actually call Roseanne Barr "brave," as Barr claimed? Not exactly
- 90-year-old Estelle Parsons looked really good in her return as Bev
Posted Saturday 4/14/18 at 12:07AM EDT
Asian-American Bob's Burgers writer shares the aftermath of criticizing a Roseanne joke
Kelvin Yu, who also appears on Master of None, went viral with his tweets slamming Roseanne for a joke taking a shot at Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat. "Many of the comments I received were supportive — retweets, likes and the always flattering fist emoji," he writes in The New York Times. "However, I have to admit that the loudest voices to me were the ones that were vitriolic and shockingly mean," including racially disparaging remarks. Yu writes that he found it "so galling that a show celebrating ostensibly marginalized Americans would consider shows about even more marginalized Americans a punch line, tossed off between two yawns and a meh, followed by a roomful of people laughing. And although, admittedly, I have no idea what it means to be white or working class, there are at least a half-dozen shows out there through which I can experience it vicariously. Meanwhile, white working-class people have one — and only one — current network show to help them understand the lives of Asian-Americans (hint: it rhymes with Shmesh Off the Shmoat)."
- Even the haters should appreciate Roseanne: "When a TV show — or any pop culture artifact — is drawing that kind of a mass audience, it has something to tell us about ourselves and the times in which we live"
- Here's your first look at Roseanne's mom Bev's return next week
- Seth Meyers has Roseanne "fans" explain to him why they love the show so much
Posted Thursday 4/12/18 at 10:36PM EDT
Atlanta is "a show about nothing while being a show about everything
In a way, Donald Glover's FX show could be described as "black Seinfeld," says Michael Harriot. In an essay about "the invisibility of black genius," Harriot writes that Atlanta's "subversive personality doesn’t even try to accommodate white sensibilities. It is not unapologetically black, because it seems to be unaware that an apology is even necessary." He adds: "The beauty of Atlanta is that it proves that there are shades of black by rejecting every stereotypical portrayal of blackness and embracing the nooks and crannies. That is the unheralded genius of the show. It does not portray us at our best or our worst. It is black Seinfeld. It is a show about nothing while being a show about everything. It does not try to be black. It just is. The greatest thing about Glover and Atlanta is that they don’t seem to care if anyone else recognizes their genius. Perhaps that is a lesson for us all. Maybe we should stop giving a f*ck."
Posted Friday 4/06/18 at 10:24PM EDT
It's simply not true that Roseanne is a rare comedy that tackles politics and the working class
ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey, in explaining last week why Roseanne in the wake of Trump's victory, said "we had not been thinking nearly enough about economic diversity and some of the other cultural divisions within our own country.” To which Vox's Caroline Framke and Todd VanDerWerff respond: "This falls in line with how some people, and especially conservatives, have been talking about the Roseanne revival. The way this logic goes, Roseanne is one of the only shows on TV that dares talk about 'economic diversity' and 'cultural divisions,' political correctness or whatever be damned. The weird thing about that line of reasoning, however, is that it’s not true. While Roseanne’s original run was indeed groundbreaking, in the years since, countless politically and socially relevant sitcoms have followed in its footsteps. Many of them are on the air right now; some are even already airing on ABC." In fact, Vox has a list of 11 shows that tackle politics and the working class, from One Day at a Time to The Middle.
- Roseanne isn't the only "real" working class sitcom: What about Mom and Superstore?
- What about black working-class shows?: It's "frankly ludicrous" to say Roseanne represents the working-class voters who elected Trump
- Former Fresh Off the Boat writer Kourtney Kang explains her problem with this week's Roseanne slam
- Why the whole Black-ish-Fresh Off the Boat controversy is dumb: Roseanne is supposed to be a modern Archie Bunker!
- Is Roseanne's gender nonconforming grandson designed to appease "anti-trans feminists"?
Posted Friday 4/06/18 at 10:24PM EDT
Donald Glover wasn't on set for this week's Atlanta episode because he was in character for the entire time
"There was no Donald on set whatsoever," Derrick Haywood says in describing Glover's method acting for last night's episode. "I kid you not. Our engagement on season one compared to our engagement on this episode was drastically different." ALSO: "Teddy Perkins" episode showed the horror of black childhood trauma.
Posted Friday 4/06/18 at 4:27AM EDT
Bob's Burgers writer: Here's why Roseanne's joke about Fresh Off the Boat and Black-ish was so offensive
Kelvin Yu addressed the controversy over Tuesday's episode in a nine-tweet thread. "At the very least, it's reductive and belittling, as if to say those shows are nothing more than 'Black' and 'Asian' in their existence," he wrote. He said Tuesday's joke "implies that the point of any show about a minority family is simply to normalize them. That's it. The stories, the humor, the characters... not important."
Posted Thursday 4/05/18 at 6:37PM EDT
Hidden Figures is set to become a Nat Geo TV series
The producers behind the 2016 Best Picture Oscar nominee are developing a TV series based on the film about the true story of black female mathematicians whose contributions to NASA's space race were previously unheralded. The movie was based on the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly.
Posted Wednesday 4/04/18 at 5:25PM EDT
Why did Roseanne take an "unnecessary jab" at Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat?
Last night's episode contained what one critic called a "snide dismissal" of Roseanne's fellow ABC comedies, which Dan Conner called "shows about black and Asian families." As the Shadow and Act blog notes, "in an effort to represent 'middle America,' the network has completely missed the mark, and seemingly the writers room as well, for this not only unnecessary jab, but one that has the audacity to compare what the show represents to the plight of black and brown families." Asked about the remark, Roseanne co-showrunner Bruce Helford said the show was "commenting on the fact that all sitcoms really want everybody to feel included of all diversities and it's kind of a funny thing. That's all. When we did the George Lopez show, we didn't want anybody to feel excluded because it was about a Mexican-American family. And I don't think anybody wants to be excluded because it's (a show about) either a black family or an Asian-American family."
Posted Monday 4/02/18 at 2:55PM EDT
50 years ago today: A white woman touched a black man's arm for the first time on primetime TV
The fleeting moment on an NBC primetime special between Petula Clark and Harry Belafonte on April 2, 1968 while they sung the anti-war song "On the Path of Glory" "was controversial enough to prompt an executive with the Chrysler Corporation, the program’s sponsor, to protest vehemently—turning what one critic would eventually call 'a stylish, sophisticated musical hour' into an inter-racial cause célèbre," says Donald Liebenson.
Posted Thursday 3/22/18 at 6:23PM EDT
What's up with TV's "Black Lady Therapist" trend?
Is the "Black Lady Therapist" the new "Black Best Friend"? Aisha Harris says it "does seem a bit peculiar" that shows like Broad City, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Grace and Frankie all have black female therapists. "If you watch enough shows with dysfunctional protagonists who get to the point of seeking help, you might notice that a lot of familiar black female character actors are popping up in roles that require they wield a notepad and pen while listening intently to other peoples’ problems. And with rare exception, their patients are usually white and at least moderately affluent," she says.
Posted Wednesday 2/28/18 at 12:25AM EST
UCLA's diversity report finds that minorities are still underrepresented on TV
The Los Angeles Times, reporting on the annual study, notes that "overall, people of color remained underrepresented, considering they were 40% of the U.S. population in 2016... On TV, 18.7% of scripted broadcast leads, 20.2% of scripted cable leads and 12.9% of scripted digital leads were people of color."
Posted Friday 2/02/18 at 6:18PM EST
CBS’ rebooted Magnum P.I. is expected to star a minority actor
In addition to pursuing a non-white actor to take on the role of Thomas Magnum, the proposed reboot will replace at least one member of the original all-male team with a woman. Similarly, CBS’ reboot of Cagney and Lacey is planning to cast a non-white actress in the role of Lacey. The CW’s Charmed reboot will also have a diverse cast. “This is part of an across-the-board effort by the broadcast networks this year to have casts that represent the diverse makeup of America,” says Nellie Andreeva. “What’s more, while non-white actors had often been relegated to supporting roles in the past, judging by early buzz, some predict that we may have one of the most, if not the most diverse group of broadcast pilot leads ever.” As Andreeva notes, ABC announced last year that its Greatest American Hero is being reimagined with an Indian-American female lead.
Posted Friday 2/02/18 at 3:15AM EST
Mo’Nique: Here’s a copy of Netflix's contract to prove I was offered $500,000 for a standup special
The Oscar winner posted a copy of the contract proposal on Instagram after rumors circulated that she had actually been offered $3 million. The proposal gave Netflix exclusivity over any future Mo’Nique comedy specials, at least for two years, while also restricting the use of her jokes.
Posted Tuesday 1/30/18 at 8:39PM EST
BoJack Horseman creator confronts the “whitewashing” of white actors voicing minority characters on his show
Raphael Bob-Waksberg recently discussed with a Twitter follower why the Vietnamese-American character of Diane Nguyen was voiced by white actress Alison Brie. It’s something he’s wanted to talk about, but it's a topic that hasn't been brought up to him. “I think I used the idea of color-blind casting—(of) ‘It doesn’t really matter” — as an excuse to not pay attention,” he says. “I just said, okay, let’s find good people for every role … But I think if you’re not paying attention, you’re going to end up with mostly white people just because that’s how our industry is set up. If you want to go against that, you have to be active about it. You have to actively hire people of color. You have to actively think for every role: Can this be not a white person? If I’m not thinking about, it’s not going to happen.’”
Posted Friday 1/26/18 at 1:32PM EST
The Bachelor creator found lower ratings for first black Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay “incredibly disturbing”: “It revealed something about our fans”
“I found it incredibly disturbing in a Trumpish kind of way,” says Mike Fleiss. “How else are you going to explain the fact that she’s down in the ratings, when — black or white — she was an unbelievable bachelorette? It revealed something about our fans.” Speaking of President Trump, Fleiss said the current White House made it harder to bring in more Bachelor franchise stars from around the world for The Bachelor Winter Games because securing visas for them proved difficult. “Our president didn’t make things any easier,” says Fleiss. Eleven countries other than the United States will be represented.