Tag Archives: HBO

The Wire: The Musical!’ Takes Aim At Pop Culture Reductionism

By Arturo R. García

So a little while back, this happened:

Oh yeah, watching Michael K. Williams as Omar Little smile and dance his way through a jazzed-up version of “The Farmer In The Dell” was definitely designed as a cringe-worthy moment–and that’s why it’s the perfect response to something like this becoming part of the legacy of The Wire:

Courtesy: of Redbubble.com

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That’s No Lady, That’s My Sister!: The Racialicious Roundtable For True Blood S5, E1

Meanwhile, back in Bon Temps, True Blood hit the ground running this week. Lucky for us, so did our Roundtable. Discussing the proceedings this week are Alea Adigweme, Kendra James, Jordan St. John, Joseph Lamour, and Tami Winfrey Harris to discuss Bill and Eric’s excellent adventurealliance, the new threats awaiting Sookie, and give their take on what’s going on between Eric and…his sister. Sort of.

Alea: Watching Eric play housemaid is kinda hilarious.
Jordan: Love that Eric kept his outfit on, just added those purple gloves and doesn’t have a spec of blood on him.
Joe: That fast forward cleaning was pretty delightful.
Jordan: Ohhh, that would come in handy. Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could speed up some tasks in life? I don’t think I would ever have a reason to clean up vampire guts super quickly but it would be nice to know that I could.
Kendra: So, is “f-ck Sookie” going to be the theme of the season then? Because I could be okay with that.
Tami: It’s my theme for every season. How’s that?
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The Racialicious True Blood Season Preview Roundtable

Courtesy: Collider.com

Welcome back to another year of picking apart Everybody Loves Sookeh True Blood!

With the season premiere looming on Sunday, we’ve gathered together EIC Latoya Peterson, longtime friend of the R Tami Winfrey Harris and Guest Contributor Kendra James to get the ball rolling on the analysis–including their wishes, predictions, and issues with the trailers heading into this season.

Tami: Real talk. If Tara doesn’t come back as a ghost or zombie or some shit, Alan Ball is dead to me!
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Game of Thrones’ Sexposition and Race Quandary

by Guest Contributor GeekMami, originally published at Geekmundo

I sat on this post for a long time, because I really wanted to get my thoughts together on this and wait until a few episodes into the season. However, it’s painfully clear that I am not the only in the ‘Game of Thrones’ fandom to take issue with the sexism and the race issues being brought up in the show this season.

From ONTD to well-written essays on the topic, it seems like one or both of the aforementioned issues I am wrestling with regarding the show are being discussed, whether people like it or not. Does ‘Game of Thrones’ have a race and sexposition problem?

Sexposition is defined as the using sex to give the characters something to do, or grab the audience’s attention, as opposed to really contributing something major. Don’t get me wrong, sex scenes can be quite vital, but in this season of Game of Thrones, there tends to be a trend to add sexually graphic scenes to grab our attention, not develop the characters I mean, in season two, there were women wiping some man nectar from their mouths in a flagrant show of sexposition. What was the point in that?

Sex in The Seven Kingdoms: Where’s the Beef(cake)?

Sex in HBO’s version of the Seven Kingdoms seems to be a primarily male pastime, with the women on the fringes or on the receiving end of a piping down.

As a fan of the ASOIAF books, I know that sex is not taboo but isn’t as prevalent as in the series. Sexist and misogynist men are, but that’s natural because that’s keeping with the time and attitudes of the world. For example, Brienne of Tarth encounters grief for having the nerve to be a woman in armor and mail because she’s actually very good at fighting, seems vastly uninterested in sex—even though she was in love with Renly, she wanted to protect and defend him by force, not by providing him a womb and her bosom—and she’s rejected the idea that only men are powerful and in control of their destinies while other women in Westeros just have children and hope for the best.

Yet, it seems like the series adds lots of boobs and lady parts just to titillate the audience. My question to the producers, the writers, and the HBO honchos who approve this is who in the audience are you trying to tantalize? It doesn’t titillate me at all, but leaves me wanting to go smoke a cigarette or post on Twitter because it’s like watching a Divas match on the WWE (the TNA Knockouts are much more enjoyable, by the way)… It’s just there for the people who, for whatever reason, need to see tits and ass (and more) and get all hot and bothered for it. I have plenty of sex in my own life. I don’t need an already built in plot from the books usurped by sex scenes that don’t make sense or waste time. We wasted time on Roslyn and the man nectar scene when we could’ve learned more about Catelyn, Robb’s trials as a new king, Tyrion, Sansa, even Arya… Game of Thrones’ doesn’t need to be softcore period porn for me to enjoy the show.

Then again, I don’t think the producers or the writers are catering to me. I think they are courting a male demographic that they believe will enjoy that kind of thing. Sex is not taboo to George R.R. Martin when it comes to writing it into the books. We’ve got all manner of incestuous relationships going on, along with hetero and non-hetero relationships. I was and am able to enjoy the books easily. The problem is the series is clearly doing too much. It’s the TV equivalent of girls who kiss each other in a nightclub, not because they enjoy it, but because they think it looks “hot.” Continue reading

Ten Diverse Web Shows To Solve HBO’s Girls Problem [Culturelicious]

By Guest Contributor Aymar Jean Christian, cross-posted from Televisual

So, HBO has a problem with Girls. Mainly, that a lot of smart people are really pissed the show is so white! And they’re right. I’ve refrained from writing extensively about this because (a) so many other people (links above!) are doing it well, (b) I think the show is smart, and (c) I agree with Seitz: race is the industry’s problem, not Lena Dunham’s. She is privileged, yes, but–let’s be honest–also got lucky with a sweetheart Louie-like deal: cheap production and relative freedom in lieu of high ratings (Girls‘s paltry 0.4 rating in the demo would get it canceled everywhere but HBO, and maybe FX**).

In the spirit of shifting blame back on the industry and being constructive, I’ve decided to link to some web shows mainstream TV critics might not know about because there are so many.

The Girls imbroglio, which was easy to see coming but surprised and heartened me in its scale, has shone a light on the ugly side of Hollywood most people forget about. Mainly, that mostly everyone is white, and most people in power are male. Alyssa Rosenberg has done a really great job highlighting this in the past week (see: her posts on women of color already writing for TV and her stats on their employment).

There’s been some discussion about how the Internet figures into all of this, with a number of people mentioning Awkward Black Girl, hugely popular and shopped to networks only to stay online (following The Guild, that might be a good call for Rae). Latoya Peterson linked to my black, gay and latino web series pages–links at the top–in her great critique of Girls.

I thought I’d make it easy, and, in the spirit of “put up or shut up,” spotlight a few shows, past and present, which could use an FX-style pick-up. A lot of these shows would be cheap to do but could benefit from the little bit of low-risk cash TV networks can deliver (I’ve highlighted shows by men and women, because the problem isn’t just with female-led shows on TV, far from it).

As always, this is the tip of very large iceberg. Please put other suggestions in the comments!

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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

Dear Lena Dunham: I Exist

By Guest Contributor Kendra James

Lena Dunham (third from left) and cast of Girls. Courtesy: Rolling Stone.

The advertisements for the new HBO series Girls presented us with main character Hannah referring to herself (while on drugs) as “The Voice of a Generation.” Salon calls the show a “generational event,” and other reviewers rave over the series’ realism and call it “spot on,” and the characters’ feature by Emily Nassbaum in New York Magazine refers to it as “FUBU: For Us, By Us.”

But which “us” are you talking about? And how is this a realistic? I asked myself, as I struggled to figure out exactly what I had in common with these four white girls.

I only became more confused when I remembered what Dunham and I actually do share.
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Ain’t No Sunshine: True Blood Season Finale

Brown Folks Cain’t Never Have Nothin’! Especially not in the season finale! We’ve been waiting for the shoe to drop all season, but they ended up dropping a crate from Zappos on us. Kendra, Joe, Alea, Amber, and Jordan joined me to parse out our feelings – and you may want to grab a snack and clear out some time. Just when you thought they couldn’t top the fleeing from the plantation scene…

Kendra: oh sweet, we get some nudity this ep.
Joseph: I got my hot chocolate, my Luray Caverns fudge and I’m ready to bitch!
Latoya: You know, this cut to Marnie!Laffy was a bit anticlimatic for the season ender.
Alea: Yes. Too many damn storylines this season. Andy and the Faerie; Sam and Luna playing house–the writers are all over the place.
Jordan: They could do a whole season on the stuff from this season on
Latoya: We aren’t gonna finish everyone
Kendra: Oh, can we take bets now on whether the Were Panthers will be back? Because… where on earth did that thread even go?
Latoya: Hmm. That’s tough to call. Next season?
Amber: Right. I think Ball is hoping we forgot about HotShot and is waiting to hit us over the head with something next season. After all that build up, that storyline can’t just be over…right?
Alea: Probably, but I feel like its expiration date will have passed by then. There’s way more interesting stuff going on.
Latoya: You know? there’s the Pam-Eric split; the Alcide fall out; the BilEkie drama, Jason-Jessica.

Tara

Kendra: Tara’s an Atheist!
Alea: Score one for non-Christian black folks.
Kendra: Tara’s… back? well, for once she might be safer with Sook than Laffy.
Latoya: Look Ball, I would have appreciated this nice touching coffee scene about three seasons ago.
Jordan: The loyal black sidekick…always there to talk to you about your problems over coffee.
Amber: Loyalty is an understatement. We’re right back where we started with these two, as if no serious drama just went down.
Latoya: “[Gran] did have all the sense in the family.” Damn Tara, burn.
Alea: She speaks the truth.
Kendra: “Be good to each other.” Advice more for Sookie than Tara…
Jordan: Ummmm… and just like that we’re all good
Alea: Tara’s magical, so she has the ability to fix any problem through humor, down home wisdom, and self-sacrifice.
Latoya: Never thought I’d say this, but I miss attitude Tara.


Amber: @ Alea @Jordan Mammy anyone?
Latoya: This is the stangest friendship ever.

Sam & Luna

Kendra: Sam does clean up nice. (But his dress shirt has pockets on both sides >.>)
Alea: [Totally. I love that his idea of formal funeral wear is adding a black tie and sport coat to the type of shirt he wears every single day.]
Amber: Complete with cowboys boots and a gold plated belt buckle. He pulled out the big guns for this special occasion. Lol.
Latoya: I love watching Sam trying to process Ms. Thortenberry’s confessions
Alea: “Nobody taught Tommy how to love somebody without hurting them” — combined with Thortenberry’s litany of shit-Tommy-stole, that’s a pretty apposite eulogy, right there.
Jordan: I think all Sam does are strange friendships
Alea: Absolutely, Jordan.
Joseph: thats probably cause its a western shirt (fashion correspondent strikes again!)
Latoya: Pork Rind Casserole just sounds all kinda nasty.
Amber: Agreed–like a crunchy soggy mess. * shudder *
Alea: I do not imagine her to be a very good cook.
Alea: Dear god. Which is worse — no family or Mama T?
Joseph: all her dishes sound (and look) unpleasantly mushy
Alea: That’s a casserole for you, a genre of food around which I still have difficulty wrapping my mind.
Latoya: So the Skinwalker moment for Luna and Sam has passed I suppose.
Kendra: Oooh, I like the end of that scene. I think Sam may have a new family, Mama Thortenberry. Continue reading