The Racialicious TV Roundup: 2.26-3.3

By Arturo R. García and Kendra James

Kevin Hart greets the crowd before his opening monologue on “Saturday Night Live.”

Kevin Hart hosts SNL: Not only did Kevin Hart get to host a funnier than usual Saturday Night Live this week, he got NBC to play an ad for his BET parody show, Real Husbands of Hollywood, during the broadcast. Miracles really do happen.

The gems of the evening included Hart’s opening monologue (these are always better when the show’s writers have nothing to do with them), “The Z Shirt” (90s nostalgia rarely fails), and Really? With Seth and Kevin (commentary on the Voting Rights Act debate stuck between some less funny “Weekend Update” material).

But since it wouldn’t be SNL without some kind of middle finger to the world, they also chose this week to re-air the fairly racist Starbucks commercial sketch from a few weeks before. And I guess they know I’ve been pulling my hair out wading through “Why wasn’t Cloud Atlas nominated for a Best Makeup Oscar?” posts on Tumblr, because they featured Bobby Moynihan as Kim Jung Un during “Weekend Update.” That sketch, along with a Quvenzhané Wallis skit, “New Pope,” highlighted the major non-white holes in the cast. A quick protip: it helps to have Asian and African American women in the cast if you’re going to parody Asians and African American women. While the consistent need to throw Keenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah in drag because they’ve failed to find a single funny black comedienne is annoying and at times uncomfortable, Moynihan doing his best Mickey Rooney as Kim Jung Un–accent and all–is just straight-up racist. Is it too late for Aisha Tyler to quit the Whose Line revival?

Check out the funniest sketch, “Z Shirt,” below, and Hulu for the rest of the episode. Justin Timberlake hosts and performs next week. –KJ

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MHP vs. The Onion: Melissa Harris-Perry and her panel spent a good portion of her show on Sunday picking apart the various derailments people have attempted to launch on behalf of The Onion since its Oscar-night disaster involving Quvenzhané Wallis. Aside from a couple of missteps–comedian Judy Gold speculated on the race of the person behind the Onion’s tweet, while Planned Parenthood federation President Cecile Richards briefly attempted to connect the incident to Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke–Harris-Perry and her panel went over the issues associated with the website’s “satirical” efforts and, in the clip above, the silence from white feminism at large.

“It’s not just a one-off thing,” Harris-Perry said. “This is the kind of thing that makes you feel like you’re being bombarded.”

Speaking of which, you should absolutely check out Tressie McMillan Cottom’s analysis of how several feminist sites handled–or didn’t–the issue. –AG

[Note: Fellow NBC anchor Brian Williams also touched on The Onion’s Oscar Night Misstep during his program Rock Center on Friday night. Coincidentally they’d been prepping a story on The Onion’s writing staff prior to the incident. It was interesting to note that when they allowed the cameras in to film their writing staff meeting, everyone sitting around the table was white. We don’t know the race of the exact tweeter, but a picture does say a thousand words. –KJ]

The cast of NBC’s “Community.”

Community: While the show’s new creative team is still writing like they’d like you to forget Troy and Abed are PoC while giving them points for diversity, there’s a potentially interesting subplot developing with them in an otherwise middling fourth season.

The series’ creator, the since-deposed Dan Harmon, got the ball rolling, perhaps unintentionally, with the February 21 episode, “Conventions in Space and Time,” when he teamed with writer Maggie Bandur to establish that not only has Troy’s relationship with Britta made it to the bedroom, but that Abed was aware of it. It also introduced the idea of Abed seeking friends outside of the show’s primary ensemble. His efforts failed, but only because his new contact (Little Britain’s Matt Lucas) was anti-social, as opposed to just awkward.

Abed’s encounters continued this past week, when he recognized a member of the Group’s old enemies, the Germans, as a fellow gamer. But this time it was Abed who was at fault, as he lied to his new friend for the sake of a wacky scheme and then ditched him to join Troy for “a thing.”

Nontheless, the new writers seem to be inching toward preparing the characters for a post-Greendale life spent unjoined from each other’s hips. Hopefully, this story gets some of the spotlight in the series’ final episodes (and barring divine intervention, this will be the last season). That is, if the “return” of Chang–an unbridled mess of a character, despite Ken Jeong’s best intentions–doesn’t entirely sour the whole thing. –AG

TV ICYM: You can go the Shonda Rhimes route and write your own diverse shows, or you can start an entire cable channel. That seems to be the route quite a few Hollywood PoCs are going these days. Director Robert Rodríguez is joining the ranks of Oprah, Magic Johnson, Jennifer Lopez, and Sean Combs with his own Comcast cable network, El Rey.

We’ll have a full pilot season recap once filming wraps and upfronts are done, but this week Tracie Thoms was cast in ABC’s Gothika, which sounds like a goth-lit version of Once Upon a Time. Amandla Stenberg will join The Office’s Craig Robinson in an NBC comedy pilot that sounds about as interesting as the premises of Guys With Kids and Whitney, so expect a five-season run at the very least.

And finally, I’ve been following the development of Big Thunder, a 19th-century ABC drama following a doctor in a Wyoming Territory. We all know how much I love frontier doctors, but my interest was piqued even further when I saw that they were looking for two Apache series regulars. This could be great fun or wildly disappointing, but either way I’m sure we’ll be talking about it next fall. –KJ

  • sean

    kevin hart’s snl opening monologue was EXTREMELY classist and disgusting.