Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Black Extinction

So, I am not one to pull the race card at all, so I won't but I have to say that when I was doing my blog entry for best new tv shows, it really hit me that there is absolutely NO black tv show on network television besides Brothers (not unless you want to include The Cleveland Show, which is an animated show). How can this be?? Granted TV shows aren't what they usually are but it had me thinking. They keep saying that we are progressing as a nation in terms of race but I don't know if I personally agree with that. I think the world just knows how to cover it up better and we've reached a point where we are not even sure if something is racist or not. I sorta digress, but I think this might or might not be one of the examples.

I got to this country in 1999. Over the years, there were a lot of black sitcoms on tv - Sister, Sister, Wayans Brothers, Parenthood, My Wife and Kids etc etc. Fast forward 10 years and nothing. How did this happen? Check your tv stations and check out the number of syndicated black sitcoms on tv - Good Times, Cosby Show, The Jeffersons, Martin, Living Single the list goes on and on. What I want to note is that these T.V shows were on air for longer than one season. They lasted for years AND were doing well in the ratings. What changed? Ladies and Gentlemen, it was a slow phase out. The major networks suddenly dropped all major black cast tv shows and we were relegated to only WB and UPN. Then they decide to merge and only about 4 shows were left including the ever popular Girlfriends and The Game. All of a sudden, "ratings were low" and these shows were cancelled. Girlfriends (which is a very well written show) didn't even have the dignity of a series finale.

Okay, I don't buy this b.s that they call Nielsen Ratings because as big of a TV addict as I am, no one has ever asked about my tv watching habits. Who are the people being measured? How are they getting these numbers? This is the reason that's always given when you ask why a show was cancelled but in Taynement's ratings, almost every black person I knew watched Girlfriends and The Game (BET picked this up and will start airing new eps in 2010). I did not forget about The Wire which was on HBO (not network tv) and was critically one of the best shows on T.V but even then, the show never got any recognition from any of the major awards shows.

I don't have access to any studio exec but my assumption is that they a lot of black shows will not transcend the black audience and cross over to the white audience. If my assumption is right, then it's gonna be a long time before we see any on TV. I think it's kind of sad for younger kids not to see faces that look like them on T.V.

So what do you guys think? DO you think that in this day and age we can have an all black show that will actually stay on air?

NEW YORK I LOVE YOU : I was so excited to see this movie and I was let down. The stories just seemed odd, even for short stories and didn't have the romanticism that its French equivalent had - Je T'aime Paris. I only like 3 of the stories and sorry to bring in politics but it was kind of hard to watch a movie about love in new york (supposed melting pot) and there were no stories centered on gay people or black people ( hey, the indians, jewish, chinese, brits etc were represented)

GOOD HAIR : Ok, how do I review this movie? Ok, remember that Chimamanda video where she said : The problem with stereotypes isn't that they are untrue but they are incomplete? That about sums up the movie. Yes, it was true but I am a black woman so I know wassup, but any other person will leave the theater with totally wrong idea. I don't know if I can give examples without spoilers. My friend that I went with felt like it set us back and a lady walking out the theater with us thought it was trash lol. I really feel that's the only way Chris could probably get the movie greenlit (with exaggeration) but besides that it was an entertaining movie.

THE INVENTION OF LYING : Enjoyable romantic comedy. It was basically showing a world where there were no lies and asking if you'd choose your life partner based on looks or what makes you happy (if he is not so goodlooking). Ricky Gervais is already a comedic genius so I was expecting to like it and I did.


Myne Whitman said...

I discussed the black show thing with a few friends when Everyone hates Chris was pulled and then the Game. I think I saw my wife and kids and an old Jamie Foxx show on one of the channels but daytime. It's a pity sha, the Brothers is so lame for me and I feel it was deliberately chosen so they can soon pull it off the air. Another thing, there is no black major(primary) character on any of the series. No black Jack bauer or Ugly Betty. Maybe they explect blacks to have their own TV like BET is trying after all latinas have spanish language TV. Oh well, they say there's no racism.

On the movies, thanks for the reviews. I also loved the romcom aspect of invention of lying but not the man in the sky fun poking. Some of the jokes fell flat for me. I won't watch good hair too, too much ado about nothing I think. The Love in New York is in limited release so no nearby cinemas :(

TayneMent said...

@Myne - Not sure if it counts because it's more of an ensemble cast but Lawrence Fishburne's character on CSI may count.

re:invention of lying, it's probably because Ricky Gervais is an atheist. lol

Original Mgbeke said...

Is 'Everybody hates Chris' still on?

Bibi said...

i feel you on that. black tv shows are kind of extinct. unless you watch channels like bet and tvone but yeah, thats aboout it.

Tatababe said...

Wow! I didn't know Girlfriends was cancelled. I think you might have been right when you said "my assumption is that they think a lot of black shows will not transcend the black audience and cross over to the white audience" to us it's entertainment but to them it's all about the money and ratings which is sad but.....that's all they seem to care about.

miss.fab said...

Lol I like how you didn't mention the major spoiler part of the Invention of Lying that all the other movie reviews did. Thanks! I still want to see the movie though, despite that.

I totally agree with you on Black TV shows. They will never appeal to white audiences and for that reason, they will always be short-lived. Girlfriends, The Game, My Wife & Kids... those were all really good shows with good plots & characters, yet only Black people watched them. Sad, really.

Gee said...

loooolllll....i miss the game!
i miss derwin, mel, tasha, maliq lol...i sooo miss the game!

LucidLilith said...

Whoa you are really thorough in your analysis of 'black show'. To tell you the truth, I think networks just got too lazy and rather than base shows on ethnic segmentation, they decided that all 'white' shows would have at least one 'black' character. You know, the token black friend/cop/neighbor/boss/assistant etc etc.

Anonymous said...

The perpetual question of black representation... I do not understand why shows like Girlfriends and The Game were pulled despite the cult following they had while shows like Prison Break seemed to last forever. I mean for how long can u break out of jail and get re-arrested? The whole thing is quite confusing...

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