The Popular TV comedy series and homogeneity

curlyarcacurlyarca Posts: 8,449Registered Users
Outsourced is on. It is a comedy series done in the spirit of The Office, 30 Rock, Community and Parks and Recreation. All of those shows are pretty successful. I've had several thoughts while watching:

1. Um, I don't think it's that funny.
2. I also can't help but be disappointed in networks. Why can't they make a funny/interesting sitcom with visible minorities that isn't so....I don't know, it gives me an icky feeling. Similar to the one I get when I watched The Jungle Book (1994) - IMDb .
3. Why can't a network (that's not BET or the now defunct UPN) manage to have more than one or two token black people on any one show or keep interesting sitcoms like Girlfriends and aren't Tyler Perry productions on the air, but here they've managed a cast that is majority actors and actresses of Indian ethnicity.....and it's been picked up for another season?
4. Why are white people (coughtmencough) at the center of this show?

Even the other sitcoms on other channels...How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, sitcoms on Fox no one cares about or watches (LOL), etc.....they rarely have more than one token/or special guest that is black. Or hell, hispanic for that matter. I used to really like the George Lopez show (minus George Lopez's stupid Mexican jokes). It's just nice to see something different sometimes without having to go to a channel just for hispanics, spanish speakers, black people, or TBS.

I think the last super successful sitcom starring black people (besides Girlfriends, and it was really only acknowledged in the black community it seems) was The Cosby Show.

Am I reaching for the stars here? :confused1:When are we going to see successful shows with more diverse casts, ones that aren't so homogenous? If you know of some, can you point me to them? Know of any that aren't as scandalous as "The Game"?

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  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    There was Undercovers, but I think it hasn't been renewed. You can check it out though.

    Undercover isn't a comedy though.
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  • Nappy_curly_crownNappy_curly_crown Posts: 4,162Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    The only one that comes to mind is The Game (i kinda like that one). The funny thing about Girlfriends is that the creator of the show is Kelsey Grammer. I think the reason that Girlfriends didn't become really mainstream is because it was on a startup network and once it became "popular" it dropped all its ethnic shows that helped it get it started. Remember FOX in the 90s? Martin, Living Single, NY Undercover...those are the shows that basiclly MADE Fox a network and then it just dropped them all one season like a bad habit.
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  • mrspoppersmrspoppers Posts: 7,223Registered Users Curl Novice
    kayb wrote: »
    There was Undercovers, but I think it hasn't been renewed. You can check it out though.

    Undercover isn't a comedy though.
    Aww, really? I like that show and hardly ever miss it.
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  • moosegrl_86moosegrl_86 Posts: 403Registered Users
    The only one that comes to mind is The Game (i kinda like that one). The funny thing about Girlfriends is that the creator of the show is Kelsey Grammer. I think the reason that Girlfriends didn't become really mainstream is because it was on a startup network and once it became "popular" it dropped all its ethnic shows that helped it get it started. Remember FOX in the 90s? Martin, Living Single, NY Undercover...those are the shows that basiclly MADE Fox a network and then it just dropped them all one season like a bad habit.

    I really hated that too, when UPN and the WB ended all my favorite (and my family's favorite) shows went with them. I loved Girlfriends. It was like the black version of sex and the city. Tony was my favorite, except for her dysfunctional relationships.
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  • Jess the MessJess the Mess Posts: 5,844Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I am a white woman who doesn't watch mainstream or prime-time TV. I feel like those shows also don't relate to me. I'll be interested to read more responses.
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I'm an equal opportunity sitcom avoider. White, black, hispanic, other...I watch NONE of them. I stopped watching network TV over 10 years ago when reality shows started getting popular...don't miss it. Mostly I watch political cable news shows and the home improvement channels, and the occasional HBO series.
  • AllyTAllyT Posts: 613Registered Users
    I don't like any of the comedies/sitcoms post-1990's. They seem to be designed for viewers with no brain cells and 30-second attention spans. Unfortunately, they're pretty true to life any more, more and more with each new generation. :-(

    Oh and I'm glad minorities are a.... minority on this type of show if "30 Rock" is the best they can do.
  • subbrocksubbrock Posts: 8,212Registered Users
    i actually had to point this out to people when they started the stupid "why is there a BET? why isn't there a WET?" lament. when i reminded them that they have every other channel i challenged them to name a show where a minority was cast as the lead, particularly in a show that wasn't full of a cast of minorities (kind of like the opposite of outsourced). i haven't heard any complaining again.

    sometimes i wonder if it is the fault of the creators of the show, the television execs, or if it's the audience...or a combination of all of them. but it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to mix things up a bit.
  • multicultcurlymulticultcurly Posts: 5,136Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Actually I don't think Outsourced is doing anything for Indians. I've only watched snippets of it, but it seemed like a minstrel show to me. It was shocking that it was okay to put that on the air. And I find it weird that, at least when I've seen parts of the show, the Indian men come off as stupid and geeky and everyone is slightly tan or light brown when Indians who work in call centers range from white to black.

    I think in general, noncable comedies suck as a whole. I've not met many white people who fit the target audience of How Met I Your Mother. The show seems a little too 1950s. And honestly, I don't see many straight women being attracted to a guy like Barney unless he was rich or could make them famous.

    I personally don't care for most of the comedies that have a majority black cast, especially if Tyler Perry is involved. The people are always loud and are people that I would avoid in real life. And although I think George Lopez is hilarious, I find him to be a little too low-class and caricature-like, much like a Tyler Perry show. But I guess there are people really like that; that is why these shows make money.

    I think the problem is that the people who create most sitcoms for noncable channels are disconnected from the different types of people who now populate America. Not all white, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, etc. come from the same class or culture. To me, that should be obvious...

    (I also find it odd that with all of the medium brown to dark brown people of Mexican and Puerto Rican origin, most of the comedies have white Hispanics playing the lead, as if all Latinos are white. George Lopez is about the only nonwhite Latino on tv.)
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  • geminigemini Posts: 3,325Registered Users
    I agree and I also believe this applies to most movies and books. Yes, there are racial and cultural differences but ultimately it's minor. If "minorities" can generally relate to watching or reading about a white main character, it should not be such a stretch for the opposite to be true.
  • SnarlsSnarls Posts: 2,537Registered Users
    I can't believe Outsourced ever made it on air, it is so awful. Just awful. Also awful are Bleep my dad says and that awful Mike and Molly show. I also hate How I Met your Mother. These are all shows that I consider offensive in the extreme besides being just generally awful.

    It's slim pickins especially if you don't have cable (guilty).
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  • multicultcurlymulticultcurly Posts: 5,136Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Snarls wrote: »
    I can't believe Outsourced ever made it on air, it is so awful. Just awful. Also awful are Bleep my dad says and that awful Mike and Molly show. I also hate How I Met your Mother. These are all shows that I consider offensive in the extreme besides being just generally awful.

    It's slim pickins especially if you don't have cable (guilty).

    I actually like Mike & Molly; I think it's cute. But I don't see it lasting any longer than two seasons. Once they lose the weight, it can no longer be a central theme of the show or the writers will split them up. And bleep my dad says would be better on cable. After all, all the tweets that landed the son a tv deal are full of profanity, and that is a big part of what made his tweets so popular.
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  • The New BlackThe New Black Posts: 16,754Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Snarls wrote: »
    I can't believe Outsourced ever made it on air, it is so awful. Just awful. Also awful are Bleep my dad says and that awful Mike and Molly show. I also hate How I Met your Mother. These are all shows that I consider offensive in the extreme besides being just generally awful.

    It's slim pickins especially if you don't have cable (guilty).
    Actually I don't think Outsourced is doing anything for Indians. I've only watched snippets of it, but it seemed like a minstrel show to me. It was shocking that it was okay to put that on the air. And I find it weird that, at least when I've seen parts of the show, the Indian men come off as stupid and geeky and everyone is slightly tan or light brown when Indians who work in call centers range from white to black.
    I agree with the bolded. I was very surprised when I saw the trailers for Outsourced, and then saw parts of the show. It reinforces stereotypes too much. And it's just not funny.
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  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    Actually I don't think Outsourced is doing anything for Indians. I've only watched snippets of it, but it seemed like a minstrel show to me. It was shocking that it was okay to put that on the air. And I find it weird that, at least when I've seen parts of the show, the Indian men come off as stupid and geeky and everyone is slightly tan or light brown when Indians who work in call centers range from white to black.

    I think in general, noncable comedies suck as a whole. I've not met many white people who fit the target audience of How Met I Your Mother. The show seems a little too 1950s. And honestly, I don't see many straight women being attracted to a guy like Barney unless he was rich or could make them famous.

    I personally don't care for most of the comedies that have a majority black cast, especially if Tyler Perry is involved. The people are always loud and are people that I would avoid in real life. And although I think George Lopez is hilarious, I find him to be a little too low-class and caricature-like, much like a Tyler Perry show. But I guess there are people really like that; that is why these shows make money.

    I think the problem is that the people who create most sitcoms for noncable channels are disconnected from the different types of people who now populate America. Not all white, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, etc. come from the same class or culture. To me, that should be obvious...

    (I also find it odd that with all of the medium brown to dark brown people of Mexican and Puerto Rican origin, most of the comedies have white Hispanics playing the lead, as if all Latinos are white. George Lopez is about the only nonwhite Latino on tv.)


    There is Sofia on Modern Family, and her role is considered a lead. Oh wait, NVM.
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  • SuburbanbushbabeSuburbanbushbabe Posts: 15,402Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I saw the trailers for this and appalled, but not really surprised. Television has taken a step back IMO, except for HGTV. I like Southland, Leverage, Lie to Me, the Good Wife and I loved the Unit (great Mamet dialogue). But many shows are just not relevant to people are not white or men. And not even relevant to some whites as one poster said. I don't know why producers are unable to see the world through any other set of eyes. It's quite boring and self-centered.
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  • cyndicyndi Posts: 3,341Registered Users
    I don't know about comedies, but ABC has minorities in their dramas.

    Grey's has several minority (gay, asian, latina, african-american) characters.

    Private Practive has an African American male lead.

    Brothers and Sisters has a gay couple.

    I don't watch B&S anymore, but on the other shows, they are not "token" characters.
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  • SariaSaria Posts: 15,963Registered Users
    You're forgetting The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a successful black sitcom. It's the power of Will Smith there. :p Will Smith is pretty much proof that Hollywood is wrong about people not going to see movies with a minority as the lead. Even so, Hitch was a very rare movie in that a black man was the lead in a romantic comedy. Hollywood still prefers to see black men blowing things up and beating people up.

    Anyhoo, back on topic, the real comedy you've missed and that is sorely missed is A Different World. I forget the stats, but I do know that it made history in some way as a black comedy. It's one of my favorite shows ever, and I was recently thinking how TV had changed. I mean, I learned so much from that show, but I still didn't see it as being just some educational show. Hell, I've watched The Game some, but it sure as hell doesn't do this:

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    For me I liked watching a show where there were black people and they were distinct personalities. A lot of shows focused on black people basically have caricatures. And I think that makes it difficult to get one on the air that lots of people will watch. Of course, getting any show on the air with people who aren't white is hard enough.
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  • HappycurlsHappycurls Posts: 188Registered Users
    Glad you mentioned "A Different World" - I loved that show! I really liked Girlfriends too. I don't know why there can't be more great shows like that made.
  • FieryCurlsFieryCurls Posts: 2,904Registered Users
    There are only three shows that I watch outside of Food Network and HGTV. Army Wives, Gilmore Girls, and Criminal Minds all have at least one strong main black character.

    Army Wives
    Lt. Colonel Joan Burton and Dr. Roland Burton(psychiatrist)

    Gilmore Girls
    Michele Gerald is a highly skilled French concierge and becomes manager at Lorelai and Sookie's new inn.

    Criminal Minds
    FBI Supervisory Special Agent Derek Morgan and acts as Temporary Unit Chief for a few episodes


    ETA:
    Gilmore Girls also has Liz Torees of Puerto Rican descent
    Miss Patty the town's dance teacher and former broadway performer.

    ETA:
    Gilmore Girls also had Keiko Agena of Japanese American descent
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  • SigiSigi Posts: 2,379Registered Users
    cyndi wrote: »
    I don't know about comedies, but ABC has minorities in their dramas.

    Grey's has several minority (gay, asian, latina, african-american) characters.

    Private Practive has an African American male lead.

    Brothers and Sisters has a gay couple.

    I don't watch B&S anymore, but on the other shows, they are not "token" characters.

    ABC also had Ugly Betty.

    Family Matters and 227 were also successful shows.
  • SCGSCG Posts: 5,416Registered Users
    I'm not sure if you were saying this in your OP, but Community is pretty diverse... Although technically I guess you could consider them to be diverse to the point of having a "token" character from pretty much every group. :lol:

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  • legendslegends Posts: 3,073Registered Users
    Saria wrote: »
    Anyhoo, back on topic, the real comedy you've missed and that is sorely missed is A Different World. I forget the stats, but I do know that it made history in some way as a black comedy. It's one of my favorite shows ever, and I was recently thinking how TV had changed. I mean, I learned so much from that show, but I still didn't see it as being just some educational show. Hell, I've watched The Game some, but it sure as hell doesn't do this:
    Damn, I miss that show.

    As to the bolded, I think that pretty much sums up the problem with tv shows in general. There's a complete lack of respect for the audiences' intelligence. I'm not saying that a tv show has to be super deep or intelligent, but when sitcoms always go for the obvious, over-the-top jokes, and when dramas always go for obvious, overwrought melodrama and "Very Important Lessons," it gets old really quickly. And while those shows may get good ratings when the casts are mostly white (because what the hell else is there to watch?), combine that kind of writing with a minority lead cast and you're not going to get many non-minorities watching. Like with everything else in life, minorities have to live up to higher standard to be accepted by the mainstream.
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  • SariaSaria Posts: 15,963Registered Users
    I was trying to think of who was black on Gilmore Girls and then FieryCurls named the character. He was hardly a main character. He was comic relief. The most memorable minority in that show was Lane's character. Now I admit I'm not a huge fan of the show (I kind of liked the first two seasons), but it's about as white a show as there is. Granted it may be realistic considering where it was set, but it's hardly representative of cultural diversity. It was as WASPY as could be!
    Also, he wasn't American, which is significant because it seems it's hard to present an American black man as anything other than a stereotype. Contrast that with the Asian American character who is smart, studious, and obedient but struggling with the pull of two cultures. Why, she fits right in with the WASP coterie!
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  • susususu Posts: 767Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Thanks, Saria - I don't even watch GG, but I was thinking the same thing!

    Another issue I have is that even shows that have interesting, non-minstrelsy black characters tend to sideline them. THey're very rarely the ones driving the plot (or given their own plots); they're often just plot devices for the white characters. Even Lost, which I loved (well, not so much the last couple of seasons) and which received a lot of praise for its multicultural cast (among the original castaways, there was an African American father and son, a Korean couple, an Iraqi, and a Latino guy who served as comic relief) left no doubt as to who the main characters were (Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke) and who was dispensable (pretty much all the people of color save for Hurley at the end). Same for Walking Dead, another show that I love, but that hasn't exactly fleshed out the minority characters (in one infuriating scene from the finale, the sole black female character - who of course had an average of one line per ep - decides to stay behind and let herself be blown to bits; there's basically no reaction from the others until a white female character considers doing the same - of course, the latter survives).

    Oh, and don't even get me started on Heroes, which i basically gave up on during the second season. The show that had tons of minority characters with potential, but either killed them off, forgot about them, or destroyed their characters, so that we were basically left with two white families at the center of all the drama. Perfectly underscores why having a few minority characters on a show - even ones who aren't walking stereotypes or tokens - doesn't necessarily mean squat.

    And even though I wasn't a huge Girlfriends fan (although I watched a lot of episodes), I agree that it was refreshing to see a wide spectrum of black female characters on shows like that and A Different World. Especially boho types like Lynn and Freddie - you just don't see that on TV very often.
  • CheetaraCheetara Posts: 2,182Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Does anyone miss this as much as I do?
    13livingsinglecast2.jpg

    Outourced is terrible. I lived in India for 3 months outsourcing work and it is nothing like that. If I were Indian, I would be offended by that show.
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  • subbrocksubbrock Posts: 8,212Registered Users
    SCG wrote: »
    I'm not sure if you were saying this in your OP, but Community is pretty diverse... Although technically I guess you could consider them to be diverse to the point of having a "token" character from pretty much every group. :lol:

    i love community, but i think every character on that show other than the heterosexual young white male lead (jeff) and the heterosexual young white fenale lead (brita) are made to be constantly laughed at/made fun of.
  • subbrocksubbrock Posts: 8,212Registered Users
    susu wrote: »
    Thanks, Saria - I don't even watch GG, but I was thinking the same thing!

    Another issue I have is that even shows that have interesting, non-minstrelsy black characters tend to sideline them. THey're very rarely the ones driving the plot (or given their own plots); they're often just plot devices for the white characters. Even Lost, which I loved (well, not so much the last couple of seasons) and which received a lot of praise for its multicultural cast (among the original castaways, there was an African American father and son, a Korean couple, an Iraqi, and a Latino guy who served as comic relief) left no doubt as to who the main characters were (Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke) and who was dispensable (pretty much all the people of color save for Hurley at the end). Same for Walking Dead, another show that I love, but that hasn't exactly fleshed out the minority characters (in one infuriating scene from the finale, the sole black female character - who of course had an average of one line per ep - decides to stay behind and let herself be blown to bits; there's basically no reaction from the others until a white female character considers doing the same - of course, the latter survives).

    Oh, and don't even get me started on Heroes, which i basically gave up on during the second season. The show that had tons of minority characters with potential, but either killed them off, forgot about them, or destroyed their characters, so that we were basically left with two white families at the center of all the drama. Perfectly underscores why having a few minority characters on a show - even ones who aren't walking stereotypes or tokens - doesn't necessarily mean squat.

    And even though I wasn't a huge Girlfriends fan (although I watched a lot of episodes), I agree that it was refreshing to see a wide spectrum of black female characters on shows like that and A Different World. Especially boho types like Lynn and Freddie - you just don't see that on TV very often.

    i kind of disagree. while the character in itself is one you don't see in every show, the portrayal is always the same. that character is always played by a light skinned biracial woman with curly/natural hair. they tend not to deviate from that formula. other examples are rachel true on half and half and kim coles on living single (don't think she's biracial but she's light skinned and wore curly hair).
  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    We left out Sister, Sister. On that note, are there any Disney shows with people of colour?
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  • SariaSaria Posts: 15,963Registered Users
    Was Sister Sister that successful though? I didn't care for it, but I don't get the impression that it was all that popular.
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  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    It started at ABC, ran for a year before it was cancelled. It then ran for 5 years on WB, granted it had a very small audience. I don't understand why ABC would cancel a show with 10-11 million viewers.

    I think it was pretty successful back in Jamaica; as were most of the others mentioned here. I just remember loving the girls, and being really miffed when they straightened their curls.
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