TV Producers are a spineless bunch. Afraid of offending a minority in less than stellar representation. So they feel NO
representation is better.
Great reasoning and logic.
Yeah, there probably would have been protests on the first week if Cosmo Kramer played by Martin Lawerence was the
only representation of an integrated cast on an NBC situation comedy, but if “diversity” were scattered more randomly in
TV land it wouldn’t be a problem. Of course I’m being too idealistic again. Should I go to become cynical, realistic, or what?
I think I’ll settle for a counterpoint.
Who here remembers “The Jeffersons.” Movin’ on Up! To that Deluxe Apartment in the ski-i-ie. . .
Remember George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley). How would you describe him. Pompous. Obnoxious. Racist even. Amazingly
that show somehow enjoyed huge modest popularity for by much of the population during the late 70s and early 80s. O.K. so it
wasn’t the most diverse, though it had one regular white character, so it already has one up on “Friends.”
My point is that you don’t have to have the minorities always being the saints of virtue.
My Second point of contention is the fear of offense. It may be more of inertia. I saw that interview with Larry David on ET
sometime back in August. They had about a half-dozen producers talking about this issue. Most of them said something to the
effect of “We didn’t really think about it.” “We didn’t really pay that much attention to it.” or “We didn’t realize.” (Which would
more explain the rush to add token minority parts.)
A few said, “It wouldn’t fit with the setting.” (The setting being a super exclusive boarding-school in New England, Manchester
Some blamed casting. If it doesn’t specifically mention a race, would you assume white? If it takes place in New York?
Washington D.C.? Detroit? I remember “Homicide: Life on the Street” had a Lt. Giardello. He was written as a Italian-Amer.
character. Casting had assumed white, but chose Yaphey Kotto, a black. He was the best at audition. But how often would
Another question? How do you write black? Apparently that is a bigger problem now-a-days than back in the Norman Lear
years of sit-comedy back in the 70s and 80s. Many white writers fear writing for black characters. Some of their fears are
understandable. Several sitcoms on the big three that attempted to have majority black casts were canceled. (Who remembers
Brandy’s first sitcom. Nooo, not “Moesha” [sp?] it was “Thea”! Who remembers? . .) I’m not sure if the converse is true, if
black writers fear writing white.
Of course, the last group (I’m sorry, I think I turned this into a blame list. I didn’t wish to.) are the advertisers. They make it a
big deal (or at least the networks say they do) to want to court the uncourtable 18-49 year-old demographic. In particular, the
white 25-34 year old latte drinking crowd. Which is the cast of most any situation comedy on ABC and NBC. (the WB skews
younger, Fox, if they have any sitcoms left, also skews younger. CBS skews older.) Apparently, the older faces they can’t
mindwash anymore. The Blacks have their own shows and channels (they assume) as do the Latinos.
Now that I’m done, may I ask, why exactly do Whites and Blacks have different viewing habits? “Fraiser” being no. 1 comedy
but in the 80s or so among black audiences. Likewise “Steve Harvey” was in the top among blacks but doesn’t break the top
That would be a question that would probably be posed to me (I’m black, I guess), but I don’t like the “black” shows in general.
(I don’t like that many TV shows in general, but you get the idea.)
OK, race tends to be one of the only issue we treat like a landmine field. Most of us risk NOT being blown up by saying
something that could risk being labeled “Racist”. Which is why I like this place. There have been more meaningful discussions on
race, where people expressed their opinions and feelings without some of the demogogueing (sp?) or uneasiness of fear of being
Anyway, I’m glad we brought up the issue of comics. I haven’t seen Franklin in over a month in “Peanuts.” Where is he. Why
are the only minorities I see are the kids in “The Boondocks,” and “Curtis,” and Hector from “Tits!”?