I have had the opportunity to watch a few episodes of “Reed Between the Lines”, the new sitcom currently airing on BET that depicts the balancing act of a couple played by Malcolm Jamal-Warner of Cosby show fame and Girlfriends alum, Tracee Ellis Ross, who try to juggle each of their careers while also maintaining a stable household for their three kids. The other sub-characters played by Melissa de Souza and Anna Marie Horsford only provide light diversions which add a disjointed factor to the show.
So far, the show isn’t unbearable to watch but it does distractingly echo the themes and even certain episodes of “The Cosby show” which makes it hard to fully embrace its originality. To watch the two characters Alex and Carla Reed improvise a sketch in order to make a point to their pre-teen daughter played by Zoe Borde about self-acceptance, revives the memory of a similar episode on “The Cosby Show”, when Warner’s character Theo underwent the same treatment with his family when he decided that college was unnecessary to survive in the real world.
Perhaps if the show had a healthy chunk of hilarity and timely doses of wit, it would be easier to accept the undeniable “Cosby” Show comparisons that were bound to surface. But it is disappointing that a show that garnered so much hype really has only been able to rely on the formula of its mentor which wouldn’t be so awful except for the fact that the writers were too lazy to seize this opportunity to create a show that could have positively shifted the landscape of black comedy by offering something urban, modern and humorous. Instead of playing on the usual stereotypes and worn out topics without any inspiration attached.
It’s still pretty early to tell the lifespan of ‘Reed Between the Lines”, but so far its pretty clear that it will not live up to the standards of TV shows of the past that have been catalogued as memorable.