The Racialicious TV Roundup

By Guest Contributor Kendra James and Managing Editor Arturo R. García

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Say what you will about Fallon’s “Slow Jam The News” bit (to put it lightly, Fallon’s take on “soul” is no favorite of mine), but featuring President Barack Obama last week paid dividends for both men: Fallon taping the episode at the University of North Carolina provided Obama with a prime audience for his campaign pledge to reduce the financial aid burden and, according to The Washington Post, Obama might have attracted enough viewers to give Late Night its best ratings in two years.

The final numbers for the show won’t be released until Thursday but, of course, the skit has already drawn the ire of conservatives, who will no doubt keep this video handy when it comes time to bust out the “Celebrity President” smack-talk as election season rolls on. (And hey, if presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney wants equal time with Fallon, I say go for it. After all, even Pat Boone released a metal album, right?)

From there, the President returned to the airwaves in a slightly more bipartisan setting, as he turned in another good showing at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, despite being “a 5 on the Just For Men scale.”–AG

30 Rock: In which Tina Fey continues to think that blackface is funny.

Everytime I go and attempt to give this show a second chance I find myself cringing on my couch. I’d given up after the first season–it just wasn’t my kind of humor, and let’s be frank: watching Tracy Morgan just makes me extremely uncomfortable, even if the character is supposed to be a joke. The first time I decided to give it another chance I was (un)lucky enough to tune in to the Black Swan episode. This time–a year and a half or so later–I tuned in because I like live television. For my troubles I received the live television… and Jon Hamm in blackface.

I chose to include this here rather than writing an article, because I’ve already said most of what I feel on the topic of white entertainers using black face for a cheap laugh. That said, it still needed to be mentioned. Whether intended to be satirical or not, whether it’s ‘full’ blackface or not, I don’t find it amusing. I don’t enjoy Tina Fey grabbing a cheap laugh from a historically degrading medium. I don’t understand why Fey felt the need to stick Jon Hamm in blackface multiple times during the live show last Thursday night. I don’t enjoy knowing that somewhere, someone is laughing at the bit without knowledge of the history behind the use of blackface in entertainment.

You don’t say the n-word, and you don’t black up. I don’t get why this is so difficult for white Hollywood to understand.–KJ

Girls: Great news for minority female twenty-somethings: HBO decided to renew Girls for a second season! This means that Lena Dunham gets the opportunity to fix her ‘completely accidental’ all-white casting and add in a WOC. We, too, can bathe in the water our roommate shaves in while eating a cupcake–unless this Black character has filled that promised quota slot that is. - KJ

Scandal: Kendra advised us to keep an eye on this show last month, and based on social-media activity, it looks like she was right; any given Thursday night, my Twitter feed is bursting with people following along. So, courtesy of Tambay at Shadow and Act, here’s a PSA: the show’s first season will be released on DVD on June 12th, presumably along with a Blu-Ray edition.

Tambay also points out that as of Tuesday morning, ABC still hasn’t renewed the show for a second season, but the numbers do seem to favor a return:

It’s telling that ABC hasn’t renewed it for another season yet; the numbers, which aren’t mindblowing, but, from all I’ve read, are steady: roughly 7 million viewers, taking the number 2 spot during that Thursday 10pm hour, behind CBS’ The Mentalist, with about 11.9 million. Compare that to Shonda Rhimes’ other ABC series, Grey’s Anatomy, which comes on the hour before Scandal, with 9.7 million viewers.

With three weeks to go until the season finale, Racializens, how do you feel? Should Kerry Washington and her crew come back?–AG

  • http://twitter.com/Ellington3 Rhonda Yearwood

    I am a fan of 30 Rock I find it funny, witty and clever. 
    As for the blackface use in 30 Rock I find that I concur with Toure’s assessment of it.

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/tina-fey-and-30-rock-persistently-touch-the-third-rail-that-is-blackface/

  • Mickey

    To say “get over it” is a lazy cop-out. People like to travel and like to escape any indignations they suffer in their home country. I would like to visit a place without some idiot assuming that because I am X that I am they way they see X people portrayed on television. I should not have to travel and say to myself “Okay, how much armor am I going to need when I step outside and encounter someone’s stereotypical bullshit and have to educate them?” We should not have to educate everyone we encounter because eventually it gets tiresome. Racist images from America go around the world and, trust me, people pick up on those things and think, for better or worse, that is what the targeted group is like.

  • Anonymous

    On one hand you’re saying this is problematic, then saying we should get over it. Even if people outside of the US do not know the historical context for such images, they are still picking up negative images and stereotypes from them. The images of different groups in America globally is linked to media images and we know how biased those are. I don’t think this is something we should find acceptable.

  • Mike

    No Game of Thrones!? Maybe next time, I hope :)

    • Kendra

      I don’t think any of us watches while it airs aside from Latoya. Personally, I’m waiting until I have time to rewatch S1 before diving into the current season. (Also, after speeding through the books, I needed a Westeros breather…)

    • Kendra

      I don’t think any of us watches while it airs aside from Latoya. Personally, I’m waiting until I have time to rewatch S1 before diving into the current season. (Also, after speeding through the books, I needed a Westeros breather…)

      • Anonymous

        I do! We also have a new contributor w/ a GOT perspective that we are editing now. Hopefully, it will run Monday.

      • Anonymous

        I do! We also have a new contributor w/ a GOT perspective that we are editing now. Hopefully, it will run Monday.

  • http://twitter.com/mezz98 gillian rosheuvel

    I want to like Scandal. I like Kerry Washington. I like seeing a network TV show with a black female lead. But after watching 2 episodes, I’ve found that I *still* don’t like Shonda Rhimes’ writing style (I can only take so much lightning-fast/overly precious dialogue).

    • http://twitter.com/Ellington3 Rhonda Yearwood

      Thanks for saying that gillian rosheuvel. I feel exactly the same way about Scandal and I am not a fan of Shonda Rhimes other shows either. I find the writing style a tad too twee and overly dramatic.

  • Ada

    I can’t watch 30 Rock anymore… It has too many rape jokes, racist jokes and Tracy Morgan hates queer people and those with disabilities.