"Blackish" .. Oh.... REALLY?

No idea if this belongs in Café Society or here. Move as seen fit.

We watched “Blackish” this week. There were many mediocre things about the show. They are interchangeable with every other sitcom of the last 5 years. This isn’t about but one particular plot bit and how it was handled.

A running thread through the show is that the son doesn’t act like his father or grandfather ( Grandfather is played by series Exec. Producer Laurence Fishbourne ). Specifically, he doesn’t watch women as they walk past and respond in the manner that the two older generations feel are the proper response.

He’s supposed to gape and twist up his mouth in some thunderstruck slack-jawed expression of lust and admiration and who the hell knows what else.

This lack of response is tied into the son’s apparent lack of appreciation of and respect for “The Struggle”. I don’t put it in quotes because I’m being derisive. I am putting it in quotes because it was referred to with such gravitas by the two male leads that it can only be written out as such.

By the end of the show, in a lame attempt to fit in with the two male -cough- role models in his life -cough-, the son sat between father and grandfather on a park bench. Women walked past. African-American women walked or jogged past. The son attempted to produce the approved facial contortions. The camera- and this was a very specific placement of the camera and angle of shot ( so believes the Cinematographer of 33 years who is writing this OP ) was set at their eye level on the park bench. This meant that the women who walked or jogged past were to a great degree shown in a medium to close up while the three sat in the background.

The first woman who jogged past was wearing tights and a top. It was no mistake that her genitals were so clearly outlined in her tights so as to produce the so-called “camel toe”. Do women have dangly bits? Yeah. Do they wear clothing they deem as comfy and a good call when jogging? Yeah. But here’s the thing. The costume choice was made VERY specifically. Because as the first woman jogged past and the son did not produce the appropriate facial expression, he was chided for his lack of…uh… whatever the fuck those two adult men were trying to elicit. Or force. Or produce. Through the episode, they were encouraging the son to focus on the buttocks of a woman as she walked past and to learn to make the proper facial expression of delight and approval of her buttocks.

When the second woman passed by a few moments later, the son produced the expected facial expression. His father and grandfather were proud of him. He then asked if swearing was permitted. They both seemed pleased that he would ask and informed him that yes, it is permitted in such a situation.

He then said, " Damn !.. " and they all laughed.

Now then.

In what Bizzarro parallel universe of television is it acceptable for this plot thread to be encouraged and exploited? Remove the African-Americanness of the entire cast and don’t change a single word, scene or camera angle.

I do not imagine for one second that this entire plot thread would have made it past the Network censors. And, I don’t think it would have made it out of the writers’ room. Why? Because it is the most craven sexist base objectification of women I have seen on television in decades.

Apparently, because the cast is, as the title states, “Blackish”, teaching the son to grin wolfishly and exclaim, " Damn !!! " as a woman walks or jogs past is to be encouraged.

What. The. Fuck.

This show needs to be off of the air. Mr. Fishbourne has made a sad mistake: He has expended an enormous amount of his Hollywood street credibility on a show whose tawdry and degrading stereotypes are more at home in a 1936 Warner Bros cartoon than on a sitcom set in 2014.

My white self and my white wife were both completely disgusted by the hubris and awfully mistaken presumptions being made in this episode.

You get the green light to do a show in prime time featuring an African-American family and this is the shit you produce!!???

Actually, Fishburne isn’t the brains behind the show. It’s Daily Show alumnus Larry Wilmore:


I love the show myself.

It’s been very well received by critics and audience alike. This white family has thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve read comments by black families that say a lot of the cultural issues are spot on and things I’d never heard of myself they say are really accurate.

The reviews and articles I’ve read on the show have praised it for being one of the few to directly address issues of race. And even if you’re not black, you might be able to identify with maintaining the balance between mainstream culture and your own separate culture.

(That said, though, I think The Goldbergs is funnier.)

Never seen it, but based on the title alone, how is this not the most racist thing ever?

Oh, that’s right. Its TV, so its okay.

:confused: What part of the OP made this look like a general “what’s your opinion of this show” thread? Do you guys have a defense for the actual episode he’s describing?

Because, despite what you claim, it sounds both sexist and racist. I remember the white family shows where this sort of behavior resulted in comeuppance at the end for the men. You have to learn to have respect for women as people, not as objects. Here we have the reverse being pushed as a “black” thing to do.

Are you guys saying this is a one off, or disputing his explanation?

Here, perhaps.

Are white people really this dumb? After 250 years of slavery in the U.S. alone plus another 100 years of Jim Crow type laws, do you really expect blacks today to to just middle-class white people with a better tan?

Black culture in the U.S. is distinct and runs very, very deep. The chances are outstanding that they were brought over and forced into servitude 200 years before your grandparents even thought of leaving Europe.

Some of it has been very good: virtually all modern music and many styles of food. Some of it hasn’t worked out that well but American blacks can almost be considered an indigenous culture at this point. They have their own lingo, styles of romantic engagement and social institutions like churches.

I know that everyone gets sick of hearing it but I was basically raised a small black child by my Mammy and the fact that my parents taught an all black school when I was young. It was all good. The one thing I learned from that is that even the most poor American blacks are genuine people and generally good but their social norms differ greatly from mainstream society because of historical social reasons that aren’t very far out of date. In my experience, other white people that express recreational outrage about these types of things do not know what the are talking about. I could walk into a black church in at least three towns in different areas and be greeted with nothing but hugs and kisses and I don’t even consider myself to be a liberal or even a good person. Could you do something similar with the same results?

Shows like that can have a positive effect because satire and comedy can highlight problems in ways that would be offensive if expressed directly. There is a long history of that. TV shows from All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times and even South Park have used the same methods.

Do you have any idea how fucking patronizing that sounds? No, you were not a “small black child”. You may have cared about your nanny, but you weren’t a “black” child. Shut the fuck already.

That wasn’t my main point and I did not elaborate on the full reason why I said that but I love you anyway as always even though you get irritated at me sometimes. I hope you and your family have a really spectacular holiday season and and even better New Year!

Or, as I like to call it, jew-ish.

“Well, what’s the word, Lana? You freaked out on me when I said ‘quadroon’!”

I never watched Two and a Half Men but from everything I have heard about it and from what little I have seen, if I were a betting man I’d bet there’s some relevantly similar scene in that sitcom. (Is there? Anybody? Anybody?)

The scene you describe does sound disappointing, but I’m inclined to trust Larry Wilmore on this one–he’s a superintelligent and really funny guy who has demonstrated he is alive to nuances when it comes to this kind of thing–and not pass judgment before I’ve seen the scene in the context of having watched a few episodes of the show.

I haven’t seen it, and I don’t know what to think. On the pro side, there’s Larry Wilmore, and it’s got Cartooniverse screechin’ and BigT a-preachin’. But then there’s this:

Man, this is confusing!

Anybody who knows me on this board can be fairly confident that I’m a dyed in the wool feminist and super-sensitive liberal type (:)) who feels righteous anger towards the mistreatment of women and disenfranchised groups.

That scene was absolutely hilarious and actually really sweet in context of the whole episode.

I’ve watched every episode (I think), and with my liberal sensitivity meter set to high, the discussions of race, class, cultural identity had gender equality etc have been funny and relatable. The sheer number of other TV shows where woman are hooted at and objectified are staggering. This episode was nothing.

Shagnasty, when is the last time you strolled into one of those churches and loudly and proudly proclaimed that you were raised a small black child by your mammy ?? How’d that go for you?

True that at the end of my post I decry the wasted opportunity afforded the Producers. **adaher[/], thank you for the straight dope on who is the creative force behind the project. Having said that, my O.P. was about the behaviors actively promoted and encouraged in the one episode.

I thought this week’s episode was a rerun of the pilot? That’s the episode I was talking about in both my posts.

Interesting. We virtually never watch television. We do not have any level of cable t.v. We get our t.v. Through the air. Phone line DSL for a internet.

We watched because the t.v. was on from the football game, and because we had heard about the show from colleagues. ( some raved, some eye rolled ).

If as you say this episode is nothing, then television has fallen farther than I could have imagined.:dubious:

I do know that I sure as shit never taught my son to track the passing of a woman’s body parts and remark upon them by loudly exclaiming “damn”.

ETA: this was the Pilot Epidode ??? Well. That makes it just that much worse.

You don’t like the show and you certainly don’t have to. But don’t act like the objectification of women and stereotyping of minorities is something new. It’s been that way in tv and commercials since day 1.

Yes, I enjoy tv (I know that makes me a SDMB anomaly) and personally thought the scene served a good purpose within the show’s context. I didn’t watch the show this week and am assuming it’s the same episode as the pilot based on your description. If it’s not then I can’t speak to it.

Where is that Al Jolson smiley when you need it?