Late night’s only black guy is gone once again. The Arsenio Hall Show, the recent iteration of the groundbreaking late night talk show hosted by Arsenio Hall between 1989 through 1994, has been cancelled. The cancellation of the show is bad enough, but even worse was the underhanded way in which Arsenio was let go.
CBS initially renewed the show for a second season. But then CBS decided to reverse their decision, cancelling it quite out of the blue. It’s undoubtedly a sad day for late night television, a virtual landscape which has not been kind to hosts of color.
I can’t speak for all Asian Americans, but personally, whenever I see a new Asian face on television, I panic. My blood pressure goes through the roof. There’s a vague unease and anxiety, even before the character opens his or her mouth. Because I’m ready to see yet another shticky Asian stereotype.
Some of the questions running through my mind: Is this Asian a main character? Does this Asian character have an arc? If the Asian character is a woman, does she have an Asian significant other? If the Asian character is a man, does he even have a significant other? Does this Asian man have sex, in a non-comedic fashion?
Or I worry that the Asian character is “too good” – an overcorrection for political correctness. There’s an ironic flaw to perfection – it doesn’t allow for the quirks that make a character compelling. Every American minority group has this stock, “perfect” caricature: for Asian Americans, it’s the Model Minority – the hardworking, emasculated genius. He’s the support for the protagonist, but never the protagonist himself. Continue reading →
The cast of Fox’s “Hieroglyph.” All images courtesy of Fox.
Fox’s latest high-concept sci-fi drama, Hieroglyph, is as fascinating as it is potentially problematic.
The show begins airing early 2015 with a doozy of a storyline: Master thief Ambrose is taken from prison by Pharaoh Shai Kanakht to find the dangerous and magical Book of Thresholds. The story also incorporates sexual and political scandals thanks to the machinations of Pharaoh Shai’s half-sister Nefertari Kanakht; his advisor, Magister Bek; Ambrose’s lost love and second-rate priestess, Peshet; Vocifer, a peddler and old friend of Ambrose’s; the Pharaoh’s captain of the guard, Rawser and Lotus Tenry, a palace concubine and spy for the enemy kingdom.
Oh, and there are also vampires, for some reason.
Everything (except for the vampires) sounds great, but there are some pros and cons with this show. Let’s go down the list. Continue reading →
There was one clear winner at the network Upfronts this year: DC Comics.
Yes, DC Comics a company that hasn’t managed to do much this year except piss off their fans, came from behind, hurdled over the teen barrier that is the CW network, and dominated the fall 2014 pilot season. Thanks to pickups on NBC, FOX, and the CW, DC (in part with Marvel’s presence on ABC) has managed to leave CBS as the only network without a show centered around superheroes.
Of course, with a demographic needle pointed exclusively at the 45 and older column and two more NCIS and CSI spinoffs headed our way, it’s possible CBS just doesn’t care. Not that CBS was the only network with a line of uninspired pickups for the fall season– there’s plenty more of that (and the full details of DC’s television takeover) under the cut.
Friday brought some surprising news, as Comedy Central announced that Daily Show longtime “Senior Black Correspondent” Larry Wilmore had been picked to take over the valuable post-Daily slot starting next year from Stephen Colbert, with the show being retitled The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore.
Besides hosting the show, Wilmore will also serve as executive producer, with the Report maintaining its production link to its predecessor through Jon Stewart’s Busboy Productions.
The network’s release did not shy away from the significance of Wilmore getting this spot, either:
“The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore” will provide viewers with a distinct point of view and comedic take on the day’s news from a perspective largely missing in the current late night landscape. Hosted by Larry Wilmore, the series will feature a diverse panel of voices currently underrepresented in comedy and television.
But, the concern’s already rung out on Twitter: Does the title already point toward self-limitation on Wilmore’s part? What do you think of Wilmore’s hiring and the show’s prospects?
Columbus Short confirmed that he had been fired from ABC’s hit show Scandal late April. His departure is a result being charged with misdemeanor spousal battery against his wife, Tuere Short. “At this time I must confirm my exit from a show I’ve called home for three years, with what is the most talented ensemble in television today,” Short said in a statement.
After thanking the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes and the cast, Short said, “Everything must come to an end and unfortunately the time has come for Harrison Wright to exit the canvas.”
With the confirmation of his departure, it puts the show and fans at a crossroads—who will pick up where Harrison left off and become the next right hand to Olivia Pope?
It would seem that certain qualities are necessary in order to be a great second-in-command at Pope & Associates. Those qualities–an infinite amount of charm, cunning and the ability to play a little dirty–seemed to be what kept Harrison employed. So, with that in mind, I have list of eight actors and actresses (yes, actresses!) that could become the new Harrison. All of the actors meet the criteria of:
Being either glamorous or alluring in some capacity, which the character could use as an assist to their charm technique
Playing roles with a certain amount of intensity, and
Are either available for new television roles or are on shows that could allow for a dual role on a different show (like if a show is shooting in the off-season or something). Let’s jump into it.
But while Zamata’s presence has failed to revolutionize the show (duh), it was nice to see that Black female characters could be played by an actual woman. Alas, we got something far more offensive to Black women than Keenan Thompson in a dress when Jones made her on-camera debut on the long-running “Weekend Update” sketch, reporting on Lupita Nyong’o’s “Most Beautiful” honor.
I missed the sketch, but was urged by writer/comedian Mary Pryor to check it out early Sunday morning. I was, of course, horrified. My anger changed shape over the course of the day. At first, I was disgusted that Jones dared make light of slave rape AND dismiss the significance of The Lupita Moment all in one fell swoop—and that she jumped and hollered like some sort of banshee while doing it. While I am typically disinterested by the concept of putting on a “good” face for White folks, it was appalling to see this sister gleefully acting like she was auditioning for Birth of a Nation 2: We’s Really Like Dis!
Leslie Jones is not a slave. She chose to both develop and perform this skit and for that reason, she should be ashamed of herself, but put her to the side for a moment. What about the producers, directors, cast members who watched this play out? No one said, “You know this is going to upset a lot of people, right?” SNL now has at least five Black actors and writers…one would hope that that would have been enough to stop this train. That is why we wanted Black women in the writers’ room in the first place, to prevent exactly this. Because I am willing to bet that had a Jewish writer conceived an ‘Anne Frank meets Justin Bieber’ skit after the singer made his regrettable comments about the young Holocaust victim, someone would have had the good sense to shut it DOWN.
By Tope Fadiran Charlton, Arturo R. García and Kendra James
Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Rowan (Joe Morton) reconcile — for now?
After threatening to go out by blowing the president up, Scandal ended its third season by making him whimper, in an oddly melancholy episode that actually did seem to change everything for Olivia Pope and her associates — if not end them altogether.
Remember, the series has not been confirmed for renewal, even if signs suggest we’ll see a new season announced soon.
But do we even want to see the show return after a third season that was inconsistent at best? For this special edition, Arturo and Kendra were joined by friend of the blog Tope Fadiran Charlton, whose work can also be found at Are Women Human?