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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.

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  • jan

    I too was very disappointed with the show Reed Between the Lines. But in all fairness I didn’t like the Cosby show either. I thought Cosby was a silly,unbelievable waste of time. How many black families do you know that handled every situation with jokes? Kids get bad grades, make funny faces and jokes. Theo never got into a real fight, he’d come home whining to dad that somebody didn’t like him.Dad would say something silly and bam all is better. everything was always peaches and cream with them and if there was a problem it was nothing a stupid funny face and joke couldn’t fix.Kids have a problem at school, hey let’s invite the teacher to dinner. If you’re going to be a family show then show realistic family situations. Is it too much to have a show that’s mixture of Good Times and mY WIFE AND Kids – hardworking parents, respectful kids, everyday problems and things that most of us can relate to. There can be some laughs and jokes and even well meaning messages. for the Reed show there is no chemistry between the cast, it’s like they’re reading lines. the son is dressed like a baby yuppie, the youngest daughter is a turnoff with her sassiness which I’m tired of tv trying to make us accept as normal. Does anybody know how the family came together, there’s a hint of a father but we don’t know anything more. Do the mom and dad ever go out I mean as a couple, do the kids have ballet, karate, cheerleading, play on the basketball team, girl scouts. I think I’ve seen enough of tv back families now I’ll go back to the real world.

  • connie

    It is truly sad that as black people , we can not accept a sitcom as just that! We have to set a standard to surpass everyone’s expectations. All Blacks don’t fit into the GoodTimes or my Wife and Kids mold . Some do live, interact and talk this way. Stop pigeon holing us into the same stereotypes you say you don’t want others to .

  • Trevor

    This is a frustrating one for me because I too had high hopes for this show I think the writer’s fail to deliver for the actors…we all know what Tracee is capable of and the writing is not leveled to her talent and I also think that Jamal being a very talented actor himself is not a chemistry made in heaven with Tracee…it’s just not a click! the over the top interpretation of this family makes it to superficial…I hope there will be more season’s to come and writer’s who showcase every aspect of the actor’s talent and abilities!

  • annie

    I thought the show was a little overrated,corny<and predictable. Im all about saving the earth and all but that daughter was just annoyingly obnoxious about going green. However overall it was refreshing to see a good wholesome show that doesnt portray African Americans in a degrading matter. I say keep up the positivity but make the situations and acting from the kids a little less rehearsed.