ABC Sitcoms and Identity Politics

This is not anything new. Consider George Lopez (Hispanic), All American Girl (Korean), In Living Color (urban African American), Charlie & Company (suburban African-American) and a whole crapload of others that go back at least as far as the original Goldbergs (1949 on TV, 1929 on radio.)

As a matter of fact, with The Goldbergs, Mama, I Love Lucy, Amos & Andy, Cisco Kid and a detective show called The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, 1951 was a veritable rainbow of “identity politics” in television.

Huh. Well, learn something new every day.

My wife watches the Goldbergs and it never occurred to me that they were Jewish.

Don’t forget about Haley getting arrested for underage drinking and assaulting a police officer. Other thank getting kicked out of a college she was going to flunk out anyway the worst thing that happened to her was spending an picking up garbage by the side of the road. And she found jewelry on the side of the road to boot.

First of all, The Middle started in 2009. Not exactly just sprung upon an unwitting populace.

Fresh Off the Boat and Blackish are primarily ethnic comedies and the new one with the disabled kid also seems like it will primarily play with our stereotypes and expectations in a very funny way.

I wouldn’t put the Goldbergs in that category though. The family is Jewish, but it seems more like an 80s oriented show, with the family’s Jewishness being a pretty small part of the story they are telling, whereas in Blackish and Fresh off the Boat race and culture are central.

Haven’t seen the “white people” comedies on your list.:slight_smile:

As for ABC’s motives, I think it’s really not any more complicated than that Black-ish overperformed, so they added Fresh off the Boat in midseason and that performed well. Speechless doesn’t look like it will be like those other two shows, so it’s not really an assembly line. And while the humor in Fresh of the Boat and Black-ish is similar, the showrunners are coming from totally different places with different motivations. Fresh Off the Boat also addresses how different family members integrate differently. Eddie is SO different from the rest of his family that you almost wonder if he was switched at birth or something.

The grandfather is called Pops on Black-ish and The Goldbergs, so they’re essentially the same show. :rolleyes:

And no one has ever aired a show on network TV like The Goldbergs before.

It’s obviously a newfangled and radical idea pushing modern political ideas down our throats.

(I know this was mentioned, but I still needed to get it out of my system.)

I have been beaten into submission. :slight_smile:

Seriously, I think you’re right. While Black-ish and FOtB may be fraternal twins, in my enthusiasm to find patterns that weren’t there I over-extended my thesis.

I noticed the pattern as well, you’re not crazy. Like you said, you just saw too MUCH of a pattern that included other shows that aren’t really all that similar.

I will say though, if you know nothing about these shows, the marketing for these shows definitely feels like they’re all different versions of the same show. Especially since they’re on a block.

If you’re watching another show on ABC, they’ll show a commercial for all of the shows, that basically go, “After Modern Family, see our show about a black family! Followed by a show about an Asian family! Followed by a show about an 80’s Jewish family! And introducing our new show: Irish family (with a gay son)!”

My issue with the family sitcom is they focus too much on the youngest child which is why I stopped watching blackish

I’m guessing Charlie and Company didn’t survive because it was too similar to the other new black shows which had just premeired the year before. I think Family Matters was able to survive because the Cosby show had already been on the air 6 years and it didn’t look like a obvious copy.

Not sure if ABC’s new show called Uncle Buck will get a fall schedule.

The last Asian American family sitcom was 20 years ago (All American Girl). One show every two decades is rare.

To the question that you may have meant to ask - one of ABC’s strengths is family sitcoms. They are shows that the ABC in house team knows how to shepherd, develop, and promote. It also is very, very on brand for them (they’re Disney, after all). So, yes, they do keep going back to that well because it works for them. People who watch family shows (and more importantly, the people who advertise to that demographic) know that they air on ABC.

Mine, too, and agreed. As Movie Mogul pointed out, that show’s schtick seems to be “Remember the Eighties?”