Saturday, November 21, 2015
One of the reasons I Love and appreciate the television show BLACKISH. Is that it continues in the tradition of THE BOONDOCKS, KEY & PEELE and THE CHAPPELLE SHOW. Where not necessarily a skit show like the last two, but more episode like the boondocks. What they all have in common is that not Only are they hilarious, but also a voice and critique of the view of the world from a more African-American point of view. It also delves into and let's us dissect and see the humor in the African-American community that while universal also speaks to the audience it highlights. More through satire.
Now while we still have films like DEAR WHITE PEOPLE and DOPE. That are also comedic satires. Though films such as those come along every once in awhile and are in a way self contained as they are more period pieces that can make their Point. In 90 minutes to 2 hours. Though by the time another film like it comes along. Those films will be seen as classic yet dated (though unfortunately the subjects and issues seem to stay the same. Only presented in a different way for another generation) they are contained, but with shows such as blackish as long as they stay Sharp they have 22 Half hour episodes basically 11 hours a year where the show has a platform to take on contemporary issues within the community and outside of it and deal with them.
One of the problems Is that these shows while dynamic and a breath of fresh air. Surprisingly or unsurprisingly have a short life on the air. They are well remembered, but only last a few years. As they are either canceled or the creators cancel themselves for various reasons. Not to mention as these shows are smart they do well in the ratings. Yet are never quite as popular as shows like EMPIRE, SCANDAL, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER or the reality factory over at VH1. while BLACKISH is shocking. Those other shows go for outrageous shocks continuously to keep viewers and then have to deal with the consequences by trying to straighten out these shocking moments, by making it even more Incomprehensible it seems at least to me. Now while these shows make certain points to explore issues within an African American community, again it is more once in a while and at times seems oddly out of place. As I chooses to make a stand after helping in the diminishing vision of image for that same community. Though at least is helping to make African-American programming diminish in rarity. One step at a time.
Where as in the past we had shows like THE COSBY SHOW. That was universally watched and embraced by the community it showcased. Though was hard for some to identify with. As it took on issues but it never seemed to address certain ones. As it stayed light and breezy. Then Again the community watched just as everyone. Else did. For representation and laughs as hopefully it raised the profile of African-Americans and helped inspire a new generation to crave that lifestyle.
It's Like THE HUGHLEY's or EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS or even MY WIFE AND KIDS. Shows that seemed like they were going to be more prolific, before falling into a more basic and simple premise. Which I am not saying there is anything wrong with. Was just hoping for something more powerful and important. Though then again falling into the dangerous territory of having one represent all. Just as it seems more and more African-Americans and minorities In General are treated in the same way. Especially any art that might be produced. They can't be seen as just an artist who happens to be whatever race. No it seems you are a minority artist and every expression can only be representative of the whole community. Like it's a group think or like we all share the same brain. Kind of like the Borg on STAR TREK. Though they were powerful and wrecked shit like no tomorrow. It is still a negative attached as they were also villains who believed in divide and conquer only.
It is also nice to see Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross get a show that showcases their talent. As Ellis-Ross was on the show GIRLFRIENDS for years and finally found a successful sitcom and showcase, to be on that doesn’t have her only stay in the wife or girlfriend role. She gets to create a character and have a number of comedic scenes. Anderson has usually played the overweight happy buffoon and now finally gets to be silly physically, but also be funny and smart. Who though mostly has been a comedic relief or side-kick. now finally gets his chance to shine in a show much better then his only other real starring role in KING’S RANSOM. Let’s not forget that he played a major villainous role on THE SHIELD as well as played in dramas like HUSTLE AND FLOW. Ut's a revelation watching them move forward and into stars to be reckoned with.
I am not saying BLACKISH is revolutionary, It might not even be everyone's cup of tea in the community that stars on it. but for right now it is a welcome addition to the tradition of African-American shows that get it right and are funny as well as not purely fantasy. It has some bite. It's not playing entirely safe. Hopefully it not only stays that way, but is an addition to the well remembered if not legendary African-American themed sitcoms and shows.