A sitcom other than a Tyler Perry production
Remember that magical time from 1990 to about 2003 when you could turn on the television whenever you got home from school or work and there were all these people who looked like you doing all sorts of things and learning lessons that were relevant to your life? Well, those days are over. Now you have the pleasure of flipping through Turner Broadcasting to catch a glimpse of stage actors turned small screen stars playing melodramatic roles and experiencing, dealing with, and solving, life changing issues in less than 30 minutes. How did we go from the Huxtable residence, to UPN serving as our family reunion, to this: two sitcoms owned, produced, directed, and written by the same person? Every artist who has the cheese is entitled to their pursuit of artistic happiness, but can I get some variety please?
Black people on TV who are not playing the sidekick of a less talented mainstream actor
Many times, highly accomplished and educated Black actresses are relegated to roles of little merit. For instance, Sanaa Lathan, who holds an advanced degree from Yale University, stars in “The Cleveland Show,” a cartoon created for adults. Or even UCLA honors graduate, Gabrielle Union had been playing teenagers throughout the 90s in favorites like “Sister, Sister” and “7th Heaven”— only to matriculate to Sci-fi dramas “Night Stalker” and “FlashForward,” both of which were cancelled. Recall comedian Aisha Tyler—her performance chops were groomed at Dartmouth University where she founded an all-female a capella group. Now she can’t even get a decent spot on Comedy Central. Premium Blend anyone? Not only are most viewers completely unaware of these women and their undeniable brilliance, it does not seem like anyone would care if they did show up. Even though actors are said to focus their craft no matter the role, the bills will not pay themselves, and if it means taking a lesser role to stay relevant in the game, they must open wide for a belch inducing gulp of pride. At a time when actresses like Jennifer Aniston and Sarah Jessica Parker have dominated the small screen for so long, maybe we can catch a glimpse of some colorful actresses with “ The Game.”
BET Networks can possibly set a trend for other networks to pick up high-quality Black sitcoms and remain profitable.
If they are not looking for love, they are plotting revenge against a housewife whose home will soon be up for foreclosure. It’s like some producers and writers came together and planned to turn every woman’s nightmare into everyday reality for television viewing. Hopefully, the return of the beloved series will be the beginning of many more to come.
BET, Why you gotta be like that?
Prior to its cancellation and subsequent rebirth, “The Game” was tangoing across the lines of social commentary and stereotypical rhetoric. Was Kelly Pitts supposed to be the irritatingly submissive White girl who nabbed a baller with a hefty contract? Or was the relationship a display of money, control, and torn families. Did Tasha Mack always have to be loud and vulgar? Or was her tone the cries of a hardworking mother who was not getting the man, treatment, or credit she deserved (her wardrobe was fly though). And how did Melanie go from wholesome student, crazy enough to reject Johns Hopkins Med for her beau, to frisky and open (if you know what I mean) girlfriend falling behind in her studies. Was she finding herself? Or was it an effort to sex up her “Sister, Sister” image.
My greatest worry is that the show might get cancelled again—double insult. Sure, many of us might have our issues with Black entertainment venues throughout the media world, but if we don’t support such shows, who will? At the end of the day, the name of the game is revenue; media executives invest in shows that guarantee a return. What reason will we have when networks refuse to place Black actors and casts on air, if the targeted audience refuses to watch?
I might have my issues with BET, but come airdate I will be watching. Will you?