Black Sitcoms…and the Flu – Angenita Williams-Childs

Over the past week, I’ve been ill…I’m talking sweaty, feverish, painfully ill. I slept a lot, but I also had time watching movies, and television. And maybe it was my sickly, foggy brain, but I analyzed everything I watched.

‘Reed Between the Lines,’ the new show on BET, came on. I was skeptical, but I gave it a few chances. The show is Cosby-esque in that the comedy isn’t derived at hurling insults at one another. It’s actually entertaining, and makes you wonder if BET is finally on to something really positive. I like that the main characters are professional, thoughtful, insightful, and are actual parents; teaching their kids in zany, yet meaningful ways. Just like Bill in the 80’s and 90’s. However, a few others shows I used to watch and love, gave way to new perceptions about them.

Picture courtesy of Bing TV

I absolutely LOVED ‘The Parkers’.  MoNique was one of my favorite actresses because she overcame Hollywood’s fascination with rail thin women. She was a successful comedienne. And the fact that she was plus sized made everything better.  She embraced her stature, and flaunted it with honor. She redefined beauty to me; someone who was drawn away because she felt ‘too big.’ But after watching a few episodes this week, I saw that she fell right into a stereotypical big woman.

She constantly chase a partially successful man who did nothing more but hurl insults at her. Her mission in life was to snatch this man who hated the sight of her. And she made it known to the world that this man was her man, even when he had a woman on his arm. That struck a nerve with me. I know it’s fictitious, but as a plus sized woman, I know how it feels to be completely ignored, or told, in so many words, that you are just a little too much woman for someone professional, seemingly decent, guy. I’ve been told that I would be a dime if I lost more weight. That was quite a few years ago, but that shocked me. I put the guy out, but his words lingered. Watching her throw herself at this man like that threw me off a bit…it could have been the flu.

I also loved ‘Living Single,’ but it was a little stereotypical as well. Kyle (TC Carson) and Maxine (Erica Alexander), two professionals, both with darker skin, have the snappiest mouths. They hurl insults at each other constantly.

Picture courtesy of Bing Images

Regine (Kim Fields), prissy diva who is everyone’s business. Khadijah (Queen Latifah), the bigger than life person with a great personality, but takes no bull off anyone. And then the two light skinned people, Synclaire (Kim Coles) and Overton (John Henton) were really sweet, and perceived to be airheads. They were also blue collar, Synclaire, a receptionist and aspiring actor, and Overton, the maintenance man of the apartment building.

It is known that historically, Black comedies were funny because of a constant and consistent flow of insults, and they flowed so much on the few ‘Living Single’ episodes I watched that I had to turn it. With all the success of the group of friends, there was a constant bicker. And yeah, the delivery is what made it funny, but take away that delivery, and image you talking to your kid like that. Do you know what kind of damage that could be done?

Then again, maybe it was the flu…

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1 comment so far

  1. Hmmmm that really makes you think…


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