Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Pussified: Why All (Yes. All.) Of Our Shows Suck Ass

"That was a funny joke. Too bad it's too funny for our show."

Last weekend, I attended Blogalicious — an annual conference celebrating diversity in women involved with social media — a great opportunity to meet old and new friends, make countless contacts, and inhale obscene amounts of free liquor. (How much free liquor? Let’s just say that you know you’ve probably had a bit too much when you wake up the next morning and see that you didn’t even close the door to your hotel room) 

It took place at the Gaylord National right outside of D.C. — a hotel so big that I once got lost four different times in the same night, prompting a clerk who I’d hit up for directions three times to take a look at my VSB t-shirt and joke “If you’re the smart brotha I’d hate to meet the dummy.

Anyway, I was invited there to speak on a panel. Titled “Setting Your Own Stage: Creating An Outlet for Your Voice,” Helena Andrews and I spoke to the audience for approximately 90 minutes — 50 minutes answering questions from the moderator (the lovely Liz Burr) and 40 taking questions from the audience — about how to create a niche for yourself in this vast and perpetually expanding new media universe.

Most of the questions were relevant but somewhat predictable — i.e. “How do you continue to come up with ideas?” and “How would you advise a new blogger attempting to follow your footsteps?” — but one in particular stuck with me for the entire weekend:

(Paraphrasing) “How do you sift through the muck to find quality content?”

I responded by saying that regardless of what’s surrounding it, talent and quality content will eventually stand out. It’s our job as consumers to support it when we actually do find it.

The panel ended soon after that, but throughout the rest of the day I was approached by people who wanted to continue that part of the conversation, extending it past the new media world and into television and film. The overarching theme: Why does everything we do on screen nowadays pretty much suck ass?

The usual black media boogeymen (Tyler Perry, the mainstream media, etc) were oft cited as the main culprits, and a few potential saviors who need our support (Issa Rae of “Awkward Black Girl” fame, Helena Andrews — who has a movie based on her book in production, etc) were named as well, but I didn’t find a convincing answer until watching an episode of “Louie” on Hulu yesterday night.

Now, it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Louie C.K., so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m also a huge fan of his critically acclaimed show. But, watching it has become a bittersweet experience. I appreciate everything about it —  its humor, its awkwardness, its pacing, its fearlessness (more on this in a sec) — but it’s disheartening to realize that I may never see a “black” show that’s anything like it.

It’s not that I don’t believe that we have any comedians/artists as talented and creative as Louie C.K., but the fearlessness that makes the show is mainly due to a freedom to be fearless that we (black audiences) just don’t grant black artists, and this is why most of our “good” shows and movies are tepid and sterile to the point of lifelessness.

Basically, our art sucks because too many of us are just too gotdamn f*cking sensitive.

Seriously, a show like “Louie” might have lasted two episodes if it were made by a black comedian. It either would have been forced off the air by all of the petitions, blogs, tweets, and impassioned YouTube pleas attacking it for every “ism” and “phobia” imaginable, or it would have been forced to become a pussified version of itself, turning it from fearless and iconoclastic to “Reed Between The F*cking Lines.

“The Chappelle Show” was able to touch on many of those “untouchable” themes, but I think the sketch comedy format made certain things ok in a way they wouldn’t be in a series. It also became popular before social media became truly ubiquitous, and I wonder if an artist as perceptive and sensitive about his craft as Chappelle was would have allowed the countless blogs that undoubtedly would have derided his humor as offensive, racist, and sexist to affect his work.

Now, I understand why we’re pussies. Decades of having to defend ourselves, our images, and our culture has installed a certain vigilance in us that makes us hyper-sensitive to any screen depictions that don’t portray us in a certain way. But, while that same activism may not stunt our creativity, it does restrict our willingness to allow others to be creative.

It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t have this epiphany while at Blogalicious. Not sure how well calling black audiences a bunch of pussies would go over in a room full of women, and I probably would have just started railing on Tyler Perry again. As I’ve learned, whenever in front of a potentially hostile audience full of intellectuals, just make fun of Madea.

Damn, I guess this makes me a pussy too.

—The Champ

Filed Under: ,
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • http://twitter.com/wavecapwillis Wave Cap Willis

    1) The first episode of “The Married Bachelor,” a romantic comedy web series I’m producing, is up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAFsX_N9uyI

    Enjoy!

    2) Yes, Black audiences are too sensitive! But that’s due to a history of Black characters being racist caricatures of real people.

    • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

      Congratulations man. Proud of you. Sincerely.

      • http://enterknight.blogspot.com Misty Knight

        Wow Willis, good stuff , congrats ;)

        • Fivegirl

          That was great! I really enjoyed it. Especially the dialogue which was realistic but not caricature-esque at all

          • CurlyTop

            Agreed. I hate forced dialogues. This was awesome!!

    • LadyC

      Congrats Willis!!!

    • http://biggerthomas.wordpress.com MadScientist7

      good stuff

    • O_Oawok

      Nice! Get the right blogs to post it and I see people wanting to see more.

      • O_Oawok

        I posted it on my Twitter! Good luck!

        • http://iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

          Just tweeted it too! Stay on ya grind!

    • http://twitter.com/#!/XylinaChapman Lina

      Yo, my mom has the same body butter/lotion.

      This episode had me dying, I still can’t stop giggling to myself. Congrats, and thanks for sharing!

      • Fivegirl

        lol yes! When he was like “nourish AND shine my sh!t” #iDied

        • xLadyTx

          +1 That cracked me up!

          This was great!!! Looking forward to more! :)

    • http://Twitter.com/nik_jax Yaadgyl (in Paris)

      Congrats…will def check this out after school tonight.

      • http://Twitter.com/nik_jax Yaadgyl (in Paris)

        Me likes….when’s ep 2?

    • http://naturallydreaded.wordpress.com N.I.A.naturally

      He put Jane Carter Solution on his junk?! lol.

      I like it. Good job.

    • Corey

      Hey I just watched. That was actually quite good. Felt like you were actually sitting in on real convos. Keep doing your thing bro.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Congrats! *throws cans of Dax Wave and Groom on stage*

    • Nell

      Congrats, dude! I’ll never look at Jane Carter products the same again. lol

    • A Woman’s Eyes

      Where can I get the t-shirt, Wave Cap Willis? Congratulations, man!

    • J Mickedy Mack

      LOVE IT! Posted it on ABG’s wall on facebook and on twitter!!! So excited for you!!! Keep up the GREAT work Brotha!

    • CNotes

      Nice job! Definitely left me wanting to see more.

    • Telekendall

      That was great! I am ready for the next one. . . But I wish my man would use my $22 Jane Carter on his stuff. . . lol

    • http://www.pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

      \(^_^)/ to Wave Cap Willis!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      good shit, man

    • http://www.wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

      Love it! So when do we find out what he does with the pic? I bet he sends it to barista chick and wifey finds out and there is a discussion about whether that is cheating…..right?

      • kidsister

        I want him to do the right thing and withstand the peer pressure. He should just send it to wifey to make her smile…Corny? I know…lol

      • xLadyTx

        @WC, I was thinkin the same thing about the pic. Or maybe, since they’re newlyweds and still in that honeymoon phase, he really does send it to his wife…

        Look at me, anticipating the next episode like it’ll be on Showtime next wk lol (as it should!)

    • The Law

      Great first episode! Congrats! My suggestion for ep 2 is that he sent the pic to everyone on his contacts list…hijinks and hilarity ensue…

      • http://www.wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

        Ooh, yeah, like accidentally. That would fit.

    • miss t-lee

      This was hilarious. :)

    • UrbaneTalker

      @WCW who did he send the pic to, was it his wife or coffee shop barrista, OMG…good episode

    • LMNOP

      oh i’m excited to watch this, i need more funniness in my life

    • http://WWW.ifiruled2011.wordpress.com Mahogany Princess

      Digging this episode! “Busting yall ass in my hard bottoms.” lol Keep up the good work!

    • Royale W. Cheese

      Good stuff! Al’s personality is adorable. I think I’d like to see him send the pic to barista girl, just as an experiment, with zero intention if actually trying to get with her. That would challenge the female viewers to think about whether our assumptions about cheating are always accurate, and whether an all or none level if tolerance is too heavy-handed.

      Having the pic be a romantic gesture fir the wife would kind of kill the series.

    • http://twitter.com/wavecapwillis Wave Cap Willis

      Thank you, everyone.

    • Nappy Mind

      Good stuff. I look forward to seeing more!

  • http://mrweethomas.wordpress.com Mr. Wee Thomas

    Yeah, the concept of supporting good talent just doesn’t resonate very well with us. . .

    • http://iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

      Sadly, +1

      *turns on Tyler Perry Presents: Madea Occupies Wall Street*

      • http://twitter.com/itztrizz617 Tristan.

        lol

      • Royale W. Cheese

        LMAO.

      • Nappy Mind

        Please don’t give Tyler Perry any ideas!

  • Mo-VSS

    Dave Chappelle’s show was awesome because it was fearless. Most of the shows now are just blah…and that’s on ALL front. TV is wack nowdays. Unless a show is on FX or premium channels like HBO and Showtime, it’s pretty much safe to say that it’s gonna suck.

    • xLadyTx

      +1

      Unfortunately, all the great black shows died in the 90s after Martin, Living Single, Fresh Prince, etc, ended…

      *sigh*

    • http://Sarcasmforbreakfast.wordpress.com MizzCam

      YES. The Dave Chappelle show was THE BEST. Literally one of my favorite memories of my freshman year at O State. I don’t know that there will ever be a show like that again.

      • Mo-VSS

        Sh*t pissed me off cuz our freshmen year we had Sinbad. He was still funny, but he was no Dave Chappelle.

        • xLadyTx

          No one will ever come close to Dave Chappelle!

        • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

          Sinbad is still pretty funny. I wouldn’t mind him doing a show again.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          sinbad’s stand-up is surprisingly funny. i’ve never not enjoyed one of his specials

          • Mo-VSS

            I did enjoy myself when I saw Sinbad. I’ve always thought he was hilarious. I just wanted to see Dave as well.

    • http://twitter.com/wavecapwillis Wave Cap Willis

      Yeah, but even Dave Chappelle became self-conscious about the racial implications of his skits. If that doesn’t illustrate challenges of creating iconoclastic, groundbreaking content with Black characters, I don’t know what does.

      But the existence of Chappelle Show, The Wire, and the Boondocks does give me hope. Of course, they’re all cable shows that have gone off the air, but at least there’s a precedent for quality content with Blacks in lead roles.

      • 90sgagirl

        does anyone know if there’s gonna be a 4th season of the Boondocks? I miss my ninjas Riley and Huey!

        • http://twitter.com/itztrizz617 Tristan.

          John Witherspoon says there will be…but when its airing who knows

          • http://twitter.com/itztrizz617 Tristan.

            #occupymoderation

      • http://asiyah3.wordpress.com Asiyah

        I think what happened with Dave Chappelle is what happens with a lot of people who are minorities. When we start making fun of ourselves and having a sense of humor, the “majority” feel like it is ok to point and laugh at us (let’s face it, they aren’t laughing with us) because we aren’t exactly ultra sensitive. I know because I have a very good sense of humor and don’t mind laughing at myself, but many people start taking full-blown advantage of that to laugh at me in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable and makes me feel like they are ridiculing me before I ridicule myself. I hope this makes sense. It does in my head.

        • Mo-VSS

          It does make sense, but why can’t others laugh at us? Hell, we laugh at others. I know the racial history of his country leaves a lot to be desired. But, why is it that many black folks feel the need to constantly be in control of how OTHERS view us? News flash…with or without the jokes, people not of our race or culture are gonna think what they want.

          I think when folks get that, we’ll all be less sensitive.

          • http://asiyah3.wordpress.com Asiyah

            I agree with you about laughing at oneself and getting to that point. I laugh at myself, at others, etc. And I’m not sensitive at all. I’ve heard every Latina and Muslim joke there is out there, and laugh at most of them. I only become concerned when it deals with certain things that I know for a fact are said jokingly but are actually not jokes. I’ll give you an example. One of my bosses always makes comments like “when you go to the department of finance, you will come across a rude b*tch. you can’t miss her. she’s black” and then he’ll laugh like it’s such a funny joke and I just blink not knowing if I misinterpreted that as covert racism or if he was really just trying to make a joke. I wouldn’t go all violent on the guy, but I wouldn’t blame some people for keeping their guards up.

            • Mo-VSS

              Yeah, those aren’t jokes at all. I’d be offended.

            • UrbaneTalker

              whoops i put this comment in the wrong place but I meant it to be here lol

              @Asiyah

              Girl, I’m tryna fast from cursin on public internet forums, but I am so upset at what your boss said. Not in a oh-I-feel-sorry-for-her-cause-I-wouldn’t-take-that way….but in a I-have-taken-that-garbage-from-non-black-employess-and-how-dare-they-when-Asiayh-probably-does-her-job-better-than-they-ever-could….

              Asiyah, I know you are a no-joke-mad-professional employee jus because you did not get up in his behind like a so called b%&ch would have (Please see Larry David and JB Smootha in Curb You Enthusiam acting a fool; some inappropraite language though http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ewr4BSTr8Q)

              Sistah, i inquired with one of my superiors about my intentions to become manager and this fool told me that I change my hairstyle too much and what a group of associates need from a manager is consistency and changing my hair from shoulder length to mid-back leangth, back to shoulder length hair is too inconsistent.

              Asiyah, don’t let no one mess up your money, gurl. Because what the people you work with don’t know is that you are the best thing they have.

              RE: your response to “’Ive heard every Latina and Muslim joke there is out there, and laugh at most of them.” Yeah, black people love laughing at racial and gender jokes, but I bet you one thing, Asiyah, I know you would not be at a board meeting and repeat that expecting the only latina or assoaite who practices islam to laugh and not be offended.

              African Americans have a good gauge of that, its like we will repeat those crazy jokes in front of fam, our crew, or salon troope, but we would never repeat it with intent to disrespect a fellow associate or to rub elbows with bossy.

              To piggyback off of A Woman’s Eyes latter post “White people were getting too comfortable for his tastes.” Some people get too comfortable with our humor and have to step back and consider maybe repeating the latest black joke they heard on tV to their black colleague at work, could be light-weight inappropriate.

              Thank you for your post, Asiyah, OMG, I am upset about that lol.

            • A Woman’s Eyes

              Do you happen to work in the same environment as Tasha Mack? It sucks that this happened, and yes I’d take it to mean he’s being racist, especially since he brings those types of jokes in the workplace. The types of jokes a person brings to the workplace speaks volumes on their intention behind their jokes. That’s the thing about covert racism, it doesn’t announce itself with white sheets.

            • Nappy Mind

              Your boss is definitely out of line. The irony is the systemic redlining from which many Blacks suffer when we go to departments of finance.

        • A Woman’s Eyes

          I know exactly what you mean. And Dave Chapelle’s issue was when White people came up to him and felt free to tell n!gger jokes and use the word with him as if they were equal in being able to share in the very humor he was using on the Dave Chapelle Show. White people were getting too comfortable for his tastes. Shoot we don’t like when strangers get real familiar with us, but for him as a Black comedian, White people wanting to come up to him with “Hey n!gger” led to his discomfort with the show along with White execs taking creative control from him and deciding what the skits would be for the final season.

          • http://asiyah3.wordpress.com Asiyah

            Exactly. I have a great sense of humor. I truly don’t mind being the butt of jokes, but when it’s taken to an extreme I can’t help but get offended. Just because I have a great sense of humor doesn’t mean I don’t have any feelings and that it gives you the right to say things that are offensive and hurtful in the name of comedy. Is it human nature to go to extremes when we feel too comfortable with something? That’s a good question.

  • ashely

    im in the top of the comments!!! im bout to go back and READ the article and contribute all educated like… btw im watching RBTL right now! so i can speak on it! =]

    • http://Twitter.com/nik_jax Yaaadgyl

      Is it any good? Is it worth the effort to try to find it online?

      • nappyandhappy

        its not funny so no but i believe in keeping our blacktors working so yes. what i do is turn it on in one room and watch what i want to watch in the other so that whatever magic box tells Nielsen how many people are watching a show they can count me as watching RBTL.

        • LMNOP

          LOL

  • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

    Champ continues to show that he is awesome for liking Louis CK.

    I share very similar views with all of this. I think in order for one of use to create something in television format near the quality of Louie we’re going to have to expand what exactly our shows are based on. I mean how many majority Black shows written/produced by us expand beyond family life or trying to ‘find a man’? Even within those broad based templates, it usually is always in the vein of some (very narrow) haphazard comedy with light drama elements. The Boondocks and Black Dynamite are the only two exceptions that come to mind.

    We have far more interests than what is commonly showcased.

    • Royale W. Cheese

      “Champ continues to show that he is awesome for liking Louis CK.”

      +1. Have you seen that “bag of d1cks” monologue? It’s awesome.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ronbronson RB

    Nothing really to add other than amen. I can’t say how many times I search through my Netflix hoping for this hidden treasure trove of obscure awesomeness that I managed to somehow to miss out on. So it goes…but like most things, I suppose the culture catches up to the needs of folks. Music did it, so I suppose movies and TV will someday follow?

    One can hope…

  • http://www.bellesandgentssociety.com Myssdee

    We can have black shows if our people stop over-analyze every thing they see on TV

    My goodness…

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      +1

    • http://twitter.com/itztrizz617 Tristan.

      Ninjas went crazy cuz a dude checked out a white girl in a Pepsi ad….we got a long ways to go

      • http://enterknight.blogspot.com Misty Knight

        Sigh tis true :(

      • http://www.bellesandgentssociety.com Myssdee

        Yes I remember that Tristan…I was surprised that there was no protests going on outside.

        but then again…Twitter is a virtual way of doing protests

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      that is very true. i’m not immune from being immensely critical of everything i see black related, and to be honest, i’m not even sure why.

    • http://www.pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

      I think we hold ourselves to a high standard… and sometimes way too much so. It’s actually classic of someone who has been devalued for so long (as a group) only to finally reach the top. It’s rampant amongst the educated kneegrow set. You KNOW the educated know how to nit and pick.

      • nillalatte

        Good point Cheekie. Will have to ponder that too.

    • nillalatte

      Myssdee—
      I have noticed this too with some black folks. Not all, but a good majority. I’m glad to see others recognize it too. I have a particularly outspoken black girlfriend who seems to always be ranting at her friends and family about this too, among other social ills. Just like racism is passed on to some children of white families, it seems like being over-sensitive is passed on to some children of black families. Now I’m going to have to think a while on what sensitives are passed down in other cultures, but I’m sure there are some. Maybe religion to some arab cultures. Not sure about asian. Humm…. something new to ponder.

  • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

    I’m surprised there isn’t a Black show about music considering American music IS Black music.

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      But White people needed to steal our music! Otherwise, they’d have to deal with opera and racist a$$ country music. Opera sucks, and racism is only the province of White trash, so they were forced to ste…I mean broaden their horizons.

      Oh, but if there’s a show featuring Led Zeppelin giving away every dime of their wealth to Music Departments in predominantly Black schools in America, I’d love it. After all, those idiots got rich poorly remaking Blues classics and passing it off as their own.

      But enough of my hobby horses. :)

      • Dash

        I enjoy opera.

      • feral anarchy

        i enjoy opera and classical….

      • http://Twitter.com/nik_jax Yaadgyl (in Paris)

        Ditto…especially live

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          I stand corrected on the Opera thing. But y’all with me on country, right?

      • Nappy Mind

        In those History of Rock and Roll series that used to air on PBS, Led Zeppelin and other bands openly admit to being “heavily influenced” by Black American blues musicians.

  • http://edotreed.blogspot.com E. Reed

    Only fearless show that we have recently have is The Boondocks, but then again it is on cable TV. Everything else has been pretty sterile. Personally, I blame the Cosby Show. It has become the template of what a Black series is supposed to be. Prior to Cosby our shows pushed the edge.

    Irony is “our shows” were produced and written by old white men. Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son. All controversial but not created, nor controlled by us.

    We’ve had edgy shows that challenged the Cosby prototype, but they were dismissed with the quicks. South Central and Roc were gone quickly.

    Everything else has been your typical family sit-com or the now overdone searching for romance theme that ALLof Black media, whether it be film, TV, or lit seems stuck in.

    • Dom

      Roc was IT! My whole family used to watch that, Martin, LS, Fresh Prince hell even Homeboys from Outter Space together. If it had a black cast it was on our screen.
      I shudder to think of black families tuning in to Meet the Browns or The Game.

      • http://edotreed.blogspot.com E. Reed

        Come on Martin and Homeboys in Outer Space are no better than The Game or Meet the Browns.

        The Game had potential, but it got too estrongenic for my taste.

        It would have been much better on cable(HBO, not BET) And as an ensemble piece, instead of focusing on TIA and ole dude.

    • 90sgagirl

      exactly…Girlfriends produced by white guy, Kelsey Grammar…this ish cray
      I respect Shona Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy)…it’s like if a movie/show has more than 1 black cast member = urban/black film…I remember reading something like what if it was a movie like the matrix but with a predominately black cast? would people dismiss it as a straight to Bet/dvd film?…on the other hand I’ve seen some of the better/less advertised films in Redbox or $5 dvd you never heard of bin

    • Fivegirl

      While Cosby may not have pushed any “edges’ he was FUNNY. So it was okay for him to be a little boring. Because he CRACKED YOU UP!!!! I was never bored with a Cosby show episode because the man was genuinely talented at his craft and could make a phone book funny. Which he did. The problem is now people want to recreate that sort of wholesome content without any outstanding talents behind the project. The reason Reed Btw is whack is because it was written to prove a point and fill in a gap rather than to be a platform for a talented person with a good idea for a show. I think that’s what we’re lacking nowadays.

      • http://6monthsto30.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/a-new-fear/ chunk

        +1

    • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

      Eh, our shows weren’t any edgier than the jokes we already saying in comedy clubs. Hell, a lot of it was cleaned up for the shows. The Cosby Show was actually far edgier than all other Black shows that came before because it actually challenged the notions of mainstream America with a stable family that had parents both in lucrative/high value careers. Our culture lives and breathes throughout that show. Not just terrible 70s slang and slogans sprinkled throughout it like Good Times. He brought back Jazz, if only for a little while, back to Black Americans after we abandoned it. Just because everything is what it is now doesn’t change how much The Cosby show changed American television when it was on.

      And then he obviously gave us A Different World.

      • hehe

        I agree with your assessment of The Cosby Show it was edgy for it’s time. I HATE Good Times and don’t know why so many ppl like it. It’s a very dated show. Although Cosby was great for its time I’m not a fan of the show either. It just don’t entertain me.

        • Mo-VSS

          I, too, disliked Good Times after they killed James. Like, hated it then.

      • http://edotreed.blogspot.com E. Reed

        Cosby’s version of A Different World was bland and boring as ever. It wasn’t until season 2 when Debbie Allen took the reigns that it became the socially conscious and forward-thinking program that we all love.

        I always preferred George Jefferson over Cliff Huxtable. Cliff was too idealized for me. No true human flaws. And the Jefferson’s were a nuclear family that raised a college educated son who went on to become an engineer. Plus, Jefferson was an entrepreneur who called his own shots.

        That’s very respectable to me.

        And let’s not forget how the Jefferson blantantly dealt with issues of class and race shamelessly.

        I always felt Cosby was some model minority ish and was trying to prove that Black people are worthy to whites. Personally, I could care less about trying to prove my worth to white folks— that can become stifling, especially in arts and entertainment.

        • http://Twitter.com/nik_jax Yaadgyl (in Paris)

          I would agree Cliff had limited flaws but growng up, i never saw my Daddy’s flaws! And it was a famiy show! His bad eating habits resonated with me as a kid nd i always asked my Dad if hat he was eating was goid fr hm.

          I struggle with your last paragraph. I know people who were inspired to go to college – HBCUs even because of th Cosby show. I was inspired to learn a second language cause Claire Huxtable spoke Spanish (my French is still terrible, my Spanish only slightly better)…. Regardless of what the intentions may have been, I prefer the impact the Cosby show or a diff world as opposed to say basketball wives… Though I I’ll admit I watch, what are shaunie’s and the brass at vh1s intentions?

        • http://www.shay-d-lady.com shay-d-lady

          always felt Cosby was some model minority ish and was trying to prove that Black people are worthy to whites. Personally, I could care less about trying to prove my worth to white folks— that can become stifling, especially in arts and entertainment.

          @E Reed
          exactly.. hence the reason we cant produce anything else.. we want these fantasies we dont like to see realism.. we want cosby which will funny and smart was not realistic

          • http://www.shay-d-lady.com shay-d-lady

            *while*

          • kidsister

            I think the Cosby show was realistic. I’m sure all of us have a story similar to something Vanessa, Theo, Rudy, Denise, and Sandra went through on the show. Sure, most of us didnt grow up in a household with a doctor for a father and a mother for a lawyer but I don’t think that makes the show unrealistic. I’m sure thats somebody’s reality.

            • Mo-VSS

              I HATE HATE HATE when people say that The Cosby Show was some sort of farce…cuz the underlying sentiment of those who say that seems to be “we ain’t never been that put together.” (at least that’s what I think people imply when they say that).

              Maybe some folks have never known happy, well-adjusted black families with two parents doing well, loving each other and their kids, and having minimal drama, but they do exist in abundance. Despite what people think/believe.

              • kickandasnare

                +1 +2 +3 +4 +alladat!
                Mo-Vss Thank yooou! I grew up in a predominantly blk neighborhood and there were quite a few cosby-esq families in the area. Yet when I went to college (west cost) people (2520′s) acted like they had never heard of or seen a middle-class black family! It was surreal to have convo’s where I had to ‘explain’ that yes Virgina, I have a daddy and mommy and yes, they were married and lived together. Don’t even get me started on explaining the buick station wagon we drove.

                • amore

                  @ Mo-VSS and kickandasnare

                  THANK YOU FOR SAYING THAT!! there are PLENTY of black households with a nuclear family. I can’t even tell you how many people (both white AND black) who act like they can’t believe a nuclear family exists. YES my parents have been married for 33 years. YES my sister and I have the same parents and NO there’s no other half siblings running around from any side pieces over the years. and YES I grew up in a safe and loving household where both parents were supportive of my endeavors.

                  And I know plenty of other examples of black families like that. One of my best friends has a very Cosby-esqe household. Lives in the suburbs in a huge house, mother is an accountant, father is a lawyer who is a partner at a lawfirm downtown and both her and her brother are practicing lawyers.

                  The Cosby Show world DOES exist people….

              • http://edotreed.blogspot.com E. Reed

                Cosby seemed to fairy tale-ish.

                It wasn’t a matter of well-adjusted Black people from an upper middle class background, as I said, the characters lacked depth and layers.

                Whitley Gilbert, Freddie Brooks, Ron Johnson, Kyle Barker, Phillip Banks, George Jefferson, Maxine Shaw, Joan Clayton, and William Dent were all well to do Black and multi-faceted characters.

                The lack of realism with Cosby Show is mug grip.

                • http://edotreed.blogspot.com E. Reed

                  EDIT: TOO fairy tale-ish.

                  My main gripe.

                • kidsister

                  Ron Johnson? multi-faceted? You need more ppl on that one.

      • Royale W. Cheese

        Comedy club jokes are mostly “dirty,” not necessarily edgy. Edgy is different. It challenges the viewer/ listener.

        The edgiest monologue I ever heard from a black comedian (directed to a mostly black audience) was Jamie Fox’s recollection of his encounter with Prince, regarding his confusion about his own fascination with how pretty Prince is.

        Also, props to Dave Chapelle, who was especially edgy considering his mixed audience.

        • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

          I wasn’t speaking in terms of profanity. I was speaking in terms of how far the comedians went into the material. It was extremely pacified for television. I wasn’t on during any of the shows initial runs so a lot of the humor runs flat for me. Which if it were great jokes, it would have survived because Richard Pryor is still hilarious. As is a decent portion of Lenny Bruce’s material and George Carlin.

          • Dash

            Dick Gregory and Mort Sahl’s material is still great. As is early 80s Robin Williams, believe it or not. Great material tends to stand the test of time.

        • feral anarchy

          you want to hear edgy comedy that is still funny as sh*t even 30-40 years later….find CDs of richard pryor and redd fox in their prime

      • http://www.shay-d-lady.com shay-d-lady

        Hell, a lot of it was cleaned up for the shows. The Cosby Show was actually far edgier than all other Black shows that came before because it actually challenged the notions of mainstream America with a stable family that had parents both in lucrative/high value careers

        i actually disagree..
        i dont think it pushed any boundaries, i think it was a very safe show, it was a show that although the cast was black it wasnt a “black show” it wasnt about black issues, black themes and if you look closely they used stereotypes to their advantage.. all 2520′s think that we sing and dance in the house all the time..
        cosby show made that funny, while allowing 2520′s to say “I knew it”
        Cosby was able to shuck and jive and buck his eyes as much as he wanted to satisfy the whites and we felt comfortable with it because he did that as a rich OBGYN.
        I dont think anything about cosby was ever edgy, it was a novel idea, and very influential but it was very SAFE…yet funny…

        • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

          Our culture is more than poverty and hating white people though. ALL Black shows have used stereotypes because every single action and reaction we’ve ever had has been put on the Minstrel Circuit. I mean there’s a ‘black way’ to eat food, to walk, to be happy, to be sad, etc. I can’t believe people are low key calling Bill Cosby of all people a sell out.

          • http://uphereoncloud9.wordpress.com Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

            “Our culture is more than poverty and hating white people though. ”

            Somehow we keep forgetting this.

            • kidsister

              +1

            • Mo-VSS

              Exactly!

        • Nappy Mind

          The Cosby Show’s cast members were even dancing in the show’s opening.

          I forgot about how Cliff used to buck his eyes.

    • A Woman’s Eyes

      I liked Roc despite one person’s “over-acting” and South Central was deep– that was a show about a single Black father raising his child!

      • kidsister

        I thought South Central was the prequel to Moesha and was about a single mother raising her three children…?

        • http://twitter.com/itztrizz617 Tristan.

          it wasnt a prequel per se…just after the show got cancelled they tweaked with it slapped a teen artist as the lead and voila, then when they tried to get “south central” deep again…umm yea….

          • kidsister

            I couldnt think of a better term than prequel but I figured you guys would get my drift…and lol @ umm yea.

        • A Woman’s Eyes

          What have I hallucinated? I could have sworn there was a tv show with a single dad who was Black raising his sons in South Central. (And no, I’m not talking about Boyz N the Hood with Furious Styles and his son.)

    • http://asiyah3.wordpress.com Asiyah

      Roc was one of the best shows of all-time.

      • Royale W. Cheese

        Roc was August Wilson’s “Fences,” essentially.

  • 90sgagirl

    It’s nice to see a depiction of a positive black family on tv, that we can speak proper English and have nice jobs, but somethings missing with “Reed Between the Lines”.
    I keep seeing “Joan” and “Theo” randomly placed on a show… I know they can’t please everyone, and every show is Not for everyone..I gave the show a chance though (saw two episodes) but it lacks the funny or realness factor that “My wife and Kids” and “Bernie Mac” show…hopefully the show grows on me…I don’t know if it’s the network that the show is on or what….anywhoo
    The internet has provided a great platform for VSBs and VSSs webseries. I love Awkward Black Girl and Dormtainment I literally LOL..and if they ever went on tv I think the shows would lose their flava.

    • Tentpole

      You called perfectly. It is the Joan and Theo show and that is the problem with RBTL. It got the frame work correct (ie parents and kids complexion). There are 2 parent household both professional and that where it ends. Tracee is just doing Joan all over again and Malcolm is doing his imitation of Theo doing Cliff. This show is what you call a paycheck show. The purpose is for people to just get paid as long as they can.

      This is what you get when you cater to the lowest comon denominator and pass it of as you can’t please everyone

      • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

        Agreed but I don’t think Joan and Theo don’t look natural together at all. MJW looks young as hell too. I tried watching it for a little while but it was pretty dry. I’m going to give it another try though.

        • http://twitter.com/itztrizz617 Tristan.

          I seen this episode where the daughter got a perm and they was treating it like some family emergency…i cant i just cant

          • kidsister

            While I haven’t seen the episode, that sounds like something that really happened in my family. Giving a virgin relaxer for the 1st time is an emergency because it can’t be reversed.

    • kidsister

      “if they ever went on tv I think the shows would lose their flava”

      …as do most things once they become mainstream. I was telling my bff about that the other day (I was actually telling her how I thought my fav comedian has become HOLLYWOOD now, but the same logic applies). You want the good stuff to be seen by the masses because its good stuff. However, the downside is once it reaches the lime light, its almost instantaneously watered down.